RedShark review: Fancy having a USB3 and Thunderbolt 3 hub for your MacBook Pro? How about if the hub contained a swappable HDD/SSD bay and could simultaneously charge your computer with one cable? If you do, CalDigit has the solution for you.
With its new storage product range, CalDigit takes a completely different approach from its competitors. The company seems to realise more than any other supplier that Apple’s portable solutions are poor in legacy connection capabilities. Hence, the upcoming T4 RAID system and the recently released AV Pro 2 single-disk solution will charge your laptop and adds a USB 3.0 hub to get more connectivity without adding extra devices.
If you connect an AV Pro 2 to a Thunderbolt 3 laptop, it will charge the laptop with up to 30W without connecting a factory AC adapter. The AV Pro 2 features a storage hub with two USB 3.0 Type-A ports that allow you to connect USB peripherals such as card readers, other drives and Apple SuperDrives. The USB 3.0 ports also feature stand-alone fast charging at 1.5A (7.5W), even when not connected to a computer.
My test unit was a 3TB AV Pro 2, which seems to be the most popular option — the AV Pro 2 can be had with up to a single 6TB disk or a 2TB SSD as well. The unit features both active and passive cooling systems that allow the hard drive to stay in nominal operating temperatures at all times. I might add it never sounds like it’s having trouble to keep it there, either, as the drive goes about its business quite silently. That’s partly because the ambient temperature-controlled smart fan runs only when the AV Pro 2 needs it most.
The CalDigit AV Pro 2 adds a lot of convenience and connectivity - CalDigit
The AV Pro 2 is unique in that it comes with one removable drive module that looks exactly the same as the ones installed in the T4 RAID box and which are compatible with it. Replacement CalDigit drive modules come with a hardshell case to keep your backups and archival drives secure. You can, if you want to, install any third-party disk inside the module, but CalDigit’s Toshiba drives are certified by the company to be 100% working and compatible.
The AV Pro 2 has two incoming ports — one USB-C 3.1 port and one Micro B USB 3.0 port. The latter is great for use with older laptops that don’t support USB-C yet. Speed-wise, there’s a difference. Using the AJA System Test, the USB-C connection gave me a 200MB/sec speed on both read and write tests. The USB-A connection still managed a decent 170MB/sec write speed and 195MB/sec read speed on my mid-2011 iMac — enough to process a 2K file, but on the skinny side for 4K files.
The replaceable drive module is a boon. If the drive fills up with footage, you can just swap it for another one, put it in its padded yellow storage box until you’re at your post production workstation and duplicate it to a RAID system, for example.
The AV Pro 2 retails from $299.99 for a base level unit with 1TB of HDD storage, up to $849.99 for the top level 2TB SSD option.