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The Flujo Signature Pro is a USB-C hub with built-in M.2 SSD expandable storage

A new Kickstarter campaign launched in collaboration with Singapore-based Flujo presents Signature Pro, a product claimed to be the first SSD enclosure with an HDMI port that also functions as an adapter hub for USB devices and SD cards. The accessory was designed for graphics professionals and others who deal with large amounts of data, external displays and dongles.

Flujo Signature Pro is around the size of a smartphone, offering USB-C connectivity and M.2 SSD support for use as an external drive. Unlike other external SSDs, however, Signature Pro also packs an HDMI port; it can be connected to a laptop, for example, via Thunderbolt 3 as an external drive and also drive an external 4K monitor via HDMI, offering both functionalities while only using a single port on the computer.

In total, Signature Pro features two USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 ports with up to 10Gbps speeds and power for USB devices, a USB 3.0 TF card reader and a UHS-I SD card reader, a USB-A 2.0 port, a USB-C power delivery port with up to 100w, the Thunderbolt 3 port with support for up to 4K/5K 60Hz video and up to 40Gbps data speeds, and an NVME M.2 PCIe enclosure for SSDs.

The enclosure is made from aluminum; it measures 140 x 72 x 10.45mm (5.5 x 2.8 x 0.4in), making it around the size of an ordinary smartphone. The team has already exceeded its funding goal on Kickstarter where the Signature Pro is offered for pledges of roughly $150 USD. The company estimates that products will start shipping to backers in November 2019.


Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there's always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.

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sibuzaru

if they prove that it can transfer from SD card to internal storage in full speed using the iOS/Android standard file explorer I will be very interested

although, price is a little high if you consider that you can basically buy a SD card dongle+external SSD drive at that price (more cable mess in that case), not to mention that they claim up to UHS-I for the SD card reader making it a little outdated

4 weeks ago
sh10453
sh10453

Much, much smaller USB-USB-C 3.0 or 3.1 enclosures for M2.2280 SSD's have been out for a long time, and they are less than $10.
They don't have the other ports, though.

4 weeks ago*
joger
joger

will be interesting to see how you connect a display and a USB A stick simultaneously ;-)

Especially iPad PRO owners will love such solution having only one USB-C port.

I guess the Sony MRW-S3 will be even more attractive having the possibility to feed with USB PD up to 100 W in.

https://www.sony.net/Products/memorycard/en_us/mrws3/

Personally I got two 50 USD casings with superior thermal capabilities - I avoid too cheap solutions - normally you pay twice - while traveling I like the idea of getting rid of too many devices - the Sony adapter is IMHO currently the best option so far.

4 weeks ago
sh10453
sh10453

The Sony adapter looks like a good USB and SD card travel solution.
I'm sure it will be copied soon, and at a fraction of the Sony price, like everything else.
As for the product in the article, it's trying to wear too many hats.
Any modern laptop, even the cheap ones, will have an HDMI port. Many laptops now have both, HDMI and Display ports.
I have purchased several HDMI-to-DP, and DP-to-HDMI adapters in the $4 range, and they are as good as the OEM adapters that are priced at 10 times this price.
The $150 pledge here is too far from being reasonable, IMHO.

4 weeks ago
Impulses

There's plenty of existing USB-C hubs with multiple USB-A ports, SD slots, HDMI out, and PD pass thru (they usually add Ethernet to boot)... And you can connect any M.2 enclosure like the ones mentioned by sh10453 to said hubs at full speed with a C to A cable... The only thing special about this Kickstarter is it combines both things in one, but doesn't really minituarize it and it does put some long term bottlenecks on the M.2 drive.

The only thing special about the Sony one is the UHS-II slot which seems like a rarity in other cheaper hubs, course you can just use a Type A UHS-II reader on them...

4 weeks ago
joger
joger

@ impulses

but only in case there is enough energy in the USB-C plug available.

I travel in the meantime with my iPad PRO 11" only - saves at least half the weight of a LabTop and is even faster than most available LabTops.

The idea is getting rid of some old fashioned workflows in the interstate's of loosing weight in the mobile gear.

I am sure the Sony solution will cost at least 100 USD but at least for me such an "investment" is beyond thinking twice in case it brings advantages :-)

4 weeks ago
Impulses

" but only in case there is enough energy in the USB-C plug available. "

Not sure what you mean there, the hubs I've used are usually powered just fine and can support a couple flash drives etc. I've been using hubs in that way for a while now, to copy files from SD card readers to flash drives and SSDs, first with my Android phone/racket and more recently with a Surface Go.

4 weeks ago
samfan

Isn't it "a little" large?

But yea a perfect solution for those ultra thin laptops with one USB port and soldered on storage. Solution, buy a gigantic hub with more storage. Brilliant.

Seriously 10 years ago I got a netbook with 3 USB ports, video out (not HDMI yet), ethernet, a full sized SD card reader and storage that can probably be expanded ro terrabytes (RAM is also expandable). It was about 200 €. I'd still use it today if it had a higher res display rather that those useless ultrabook which then need another smartphone sized object and a bag of cables and are trash once you run out of RAM or space.

4 weeks ago
EasyClick

I stopped reading at Kickstarter...

4 weeks ago
MirkoK

i would be much more interested if there was a SD to SSD auto backup button.

1 month ago
zubikov

This is a terrible deal since the I/O for that NVME M.2 SSD drive will be severely capped . You're essentially paying $150 for an external USB-C SSD enclosure with an outdated SD card reader.

If someone IS looking for an external Thunderbolt 3 NVME enclosure btw, I recently got a Fledging Shell enclosure for the same price, but without any ports. Works very well and seamlessly with my iMac.

1 month ago
CekariYH
CekariYH

If promoted as a professional device I'm kind of disappointed that it only supports SD UHS-I and not UHS-II. Other than that it looks quite ok.

1 month ago
Impulses

The price isn't terrible, at $150 USD, but I don't see much point in combining both devices... Similar USB-C hubs with identical or better functionality (they often add Ethernet too and/or more ports) will run about $50-70 at most for a proven one. Small M.2 enclosures with NVMe support are like $30-50. Both things combined aren't much larger than this single device... There's some convenience in having it all in one but some long term drawbacks too.

1 month ago
Impulses

Also, if they wanna cater to photogs they could've spent a little more on a UHS-II slot, which is actually surprisingly rare on most other USB-C hubs I've seen... Tho I'd probably still carry a separate Type A reader since it's small and easier to use even with a phone & a dongle.

1 month ago
danielw2599

Its the Thunderbolt 3 controller that jacks the price up. Those cheaper $50-$70 dollars might be NVME and USBC but it won't be Thunderbolt.

1 month ago
Impulses

Is it a TB3 controller tho? They only seem to mention TB on a single graphic within the campaign, and on the single upstream USB-C port. The rest of the time they call it a USB-C hub, the M.2 specs are vague, and the graphic below compares the functionality with a regular USB-C to M.2 enclosure:

https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/026/059/076/17f5ff27b4399d561879b211bdc82208_original.jpg?ixlib=rb-2.1.0&w=680&fit=max&v=1565159607&auto=format&gif-q=50&q=92&s=d23b0f7bc1987829d7aa6424bf3d440b

(and somewhat disingenuously draws a cost comparison to multiple individual dongles rather than to a similar hub)

1 month ago
panther fan

It is NOT thunderbolt. That's also why the SSD is capped at 10Gbs instead of 40 and the video output is limited

It is likely a USB-C + Displayport splitter, which is then connect to USB ports, storage, card readers and converted into HDMI out

1 month ago
Impulses

First few seconds of the video DPR linked also underwrite "up to 10Gbps" to the M.2 port which isn't really consistent with TB3 (up to 40Gbps) and if someone actually wanted to use a particularly high end NVMe drive that would be a bottleneck... Curiously they never specify that next to the M.2 info on the campaign text, the just talk about the compatible M.2 key sizes.

I'm guessing if it had an actual TB controller like Alpine/Titan Ridge it'd be even pricier, and including TB in that one graphic was a mistake, possibly a very misleading one. DPR might wanna look into it before co-signing it in their text. Edit: Panther beat me to it while I wrote. The campaign page never even spells out 40Gbps yet Brittany added that in DPR's text, hmm...

1 month ago*
panther fan

@Impulses
It certainly doesn't have a TB controller. Because it is either USB hub OR TB hub. As far as I know there is no chip supporting both. And since they claim USB-C compatibility it is almost certainly no thunderbolt hub

[https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/026/792/090/91d0c825c62c724f3cab36f36a1e7862_original.jpg?ixlib=rb-2.1.0&w=680&fit=max&v=1570731058&auto=format&gif-q=50&q=92&s=55c067dbbfe2a80da6bb1d7a47796043

They clearly label the SSD 10Gbps]

1 month ago*
Impulses

Heh, I was looking for it in the text, glossed over it in that graphic, tho it's in the video as well as I pointed out... And they just talk about a USB-C to C cable being included rather than a certified TB3 cable. A rather sloppy presentation of the specs overall...

1 month ago
danielw2599

While I did notice the graphic, my comment was based on DPs text.."Thunderbolt 3 port with support for up to 4K/5K 60Hz video and up to 40Gbps data speeds"

4 weeks ago
Impulses

I sent a PM to Brittany about that but she never replied. /shrug

4 weeks ago
panther fan

Call me old fashioned but a laptop with a USB-C + USB-A + HDMI Port and a user changeable M.2 drive or two is the way to go

1 month ago
Fly18
Fly18

And cd and floppy drives. Might as well.

1 month ago
gaul

Computers users want ports to communicate with other devices ..

Only Apple does not understand that

1 month ago
panther fan

@Fly18

Either you need the ports > Than they should be in the Laptop

Or you don't need the ports > Than you wouldn't need this device

So which is it now?

1 month ago
Fly18
Fly18

Guys, guys. I have news for you. It’s 2019 and all latest devices are USB-C. Enjoy your external CD drive and floppy drives.
My monitor is USB-C (LG)
My camera is USB-C (Z7)
My drive is USB-C(Samsung and SanDisk)
Everything else is wireless.

1 month ago*
panther fan

So you are type b. So why even bother with this device? You don't need it

1 month ago
noirdesir

There is also the docking aspect (ie, you only have to connect one cable when bringing your laptop back to your desk). Some people commute with a laptop and for them the docking aspect is useful (though for this particular device, you'd better need those files on the external SSD in only one of the two locations).

1 month ago*
panther fan

@noirdesir

If you want a docking station replacement there are far far better options. And the SSD part doesn't even make a little sense with that. Just get a NAS

Or if you live in 2019 like @Fly18 move everything to the cloud

1 month ago*
Impulses

Ehh, hubs have their uses, not everyone wants to carry a larger laptop with all these options... I often use a USB-C hub with a cheap/small Surface Go or even an Android phone. Mashing the hub together with a drive enclosure that'll be obsolete before the hub is would be the dubious part, specially since it leaves out ports other hubs typically offer.

I'd rather keep things separate and easier to replace but some might see some convenience here. Even with a large/expandable laptop with multiple drives a lot of people would still want external storage on the go for redundancy/backup. This isn't a bad idea IMO, their presentation and execution is definitely questionable tho.

1 month ago*
panther fan

@Impulses

Having your cold backup in a most of the time connect hub seems a little strange ;)
And as a phone hub? Is that even fully supported in this case?

And for the Surface go ... You need a hub. But only because the manufacturer is stubborn. In a more optimal world it would at least have another type A port like its bigger brother

1 month ago
Impulses

Why would the hub be connected most of the time? I pull mine out to backup stuff from my camera's cards and then I put it away, I've been using hubs like that for a long time before I even bought the Surface Go last month (hell I'd been doing it with micro USB 2.0 OTG dongles).

It's a damn handy travel tool for me, and functionality varies by phone but the downstream ports and the USB PD pass-thru of most hubs works on most semi recent Android phones, Ethernet too, HDMI-out tends to be the only one that's hit or miss. Even if the Surface Go had two ports I'd still want a hub in order to be able to connect the card reader (because it's faster), the drive I'm backing up to, and supply power thru the pass-thru port (I use a PD charger when traveling rather than the Surface charger).

It it had 3+ USB-C ports I could maybe get away without a hub, but the hub seems like a perfectly workable alternative to having a bunch of ports on a tablet sized device, or on a phone.

1 month ago*
panther fan

@Impulses
I don't share the use case, but I can understand why it is neat for phones or tablets.

But the marketing material is clearly marketing it towards laptop users where my comprehension ends

1 month ago
Impulses

Well yeah I was speaking to hubs in general, they serve a purpose for mobile usage cases. There's a lot of lines getting blurred by really compact laptops or convertible devices, I think it's silly to suggest anyone that might someday need HDMI out or w/e should absolutely get a laptop with it built in.

For a permanent setup I'd want something different altogether for sure tho. This hub in question is definitely not a docking station, or it's a kludgey alternative to one at best without Ethernet... If I'm home and at a desk then I'm not using WiFi to connect to my gigabit internet. ^.^

1 month ago
panther fan

@Impulses

That is where my comprehesion ends. It is a terrible docking station and far too large and clumsy for a micro travel hub if you just want some USB and HDMI ports
This thing is bigger than an iPhone 11 Pro

So what is it then? A gnarbox without internal smarts?

1 month ago