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DaVinci Resolve Dongle vs Activation Key: What’s the Difference?

For many years, most software you purchased, including DaVinci Resolve Studio software, was activated through a disk or USB dongle. You’d insert the USB into your computer and follow the activation process. Recently, Blackmagic Design released an Activation Key (non-dongle) version of their software. It’s the same software and the same price, so what’s the difference? And why should you choose one over the other? Here we’ll compare the pros and cons of both versions of DaVinci Resolve Studio software.
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USB Dongle

Pro – Flexibility
A great perk to the USB Dongle is that it works with not only DaVinci Resolve but also with Blackmagic’s Fusion Studio, giving you access to both software packages. You can also move the USB between as many computers as you need to just by plugging it into your computer’s USB port. If the software is installed on that computer, the dongle will give you access. This feature makes it ideal for content creators who work in multiple environments and want to quickly access their work on the closest machine.

Con – Easily misplaced
Unfortunately, because it’s easy to carry around and move from computer to computer, it’s also easy to lose. Once this dongle has been misplaced, you’ll lose your access to DaVinci Resolve Studio. Another downside, it’s quite easy to damage. Especially when it’s thrown into your bag or pocket. Our word of advice? Keep your USB Dongle in a safe place. (Then try your hardest to remember where that safe place is….)

Pro – No Internet Required
Both the USB Dongle and the Activation Key allow you to work offline. However, unlike the Activation Key, the Dongle does not require you to have internet access for activations and deactivations. Although keep in mind that software updates to newer versions of Resolve will require an internet connection.

Con – Make Some Room
Because the dongle does require a USB port, you’ll have to keep that in mind when working with other programs and flash drives on your computer. So, if you’re someone who has a habit of using up every available USB port at their workstation, you might want to reconsider.

Buy DaVinci Resolve Studio Canada - DaVinci Resolve Studio Dongle vs Activation Key

Activation Key

Pro – Ready When You Are
The activation key is ideal for just about everyone in post-production because they don’t have to take anything with them. Why add one more thing to your list of stuff to remember? Once you enter the activation key on your workstation, it’s always ready to go. It also doesn’t take space in one of the USB ports, leaving it open for portable hard drives, your phone charger or your DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor.

Con – Keep It Safe
Unfortunately, if you lose the activation key, there is no way to get it back. Worst case scenario, if you lose the activation key, someone else could find and use it. We recommend taking a photo your code, saving it to your phone and filing the plastic card away somewhere safe.

Pro – Switch It Up The activation key can be installed on two machines at a time. Note that this does not mean simultaneous editing. Instead, it presents a more versatile environment allowing you to easily switch from a computer to a laptop without losing progress. When the time comes to upgrade your computer there’s nothing preventing you from activating DaVinci Resolve Studio on a third machine. But do remember that two is the limit and as a result Resolve will deactivate from one of your previous devices.

So Should You Buy DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Dongle or Non-Dongle Version?

DaVinci Resolve Studio is the ultimate solution for any editor or postproduction house to produce top quality content. However, there is a choice to make. Both the activation key and the USB dongle version are the same price and give you access to the current software. So how you will be using the software will often determine which version is best for you.
Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio Canada

If you’re coordinating a post-production house filled with editors, producers and CG Supervisors then perhaps the activation key is right for you and your team. Providing you can keep those activation codes in a safe place, there’s less risk of an editor leaving it on public transport, losing it among 30 other editing suites or even getting to hear that classic excuse: “my dog ate my dongle”.

On the other hand, if you’re a freelancer you may want to consider the Dongle version. The ability to work wherever, whenever is an extremely important part of freelancing. Imagine wanting feedback from a client and having the ability to carry your project from your workstation over to their office. Just take the dongle along with you and never worry about reactivating your software on multiple devices. This is also a huge benefit for teachers who prepare work at home and showcase their editing workflow in class the following day.

Since Blackmagic Design doesn’t sell DaVinci Resolve (or any of their products) online directly, people are sometimes frustrated by not knowing where to buy Resolve, ATEM Minis, etc. Due to the high demand of DaVinci Resolve there’s a lot of risks that come with purchasing these from “grey market” resellers. How can you tell if you just bought a fake dongle until it’s too late? Avoid any unnecessary stress and buy from Annex Pro. We’re an authorized Blackmagic Design reseller in Canada who carry a lot of inventory with fast, reliable, free shipping, full Canadian warranty and a 30-day return policy. Our staff are also industry experts who know what they’re taking about and will answer any tech questions if you get stuck. You can check it out here: annexpro.com/store/blackmagicdesign

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