* Prices may differ from that shown
Memory cards come in all shapes and sizes but when it comes to copying their contents to your computer the most common method of doing so is by using a Card Reader (presuming you don't already have a built-in internal card reader).
One option to consider should you need one is this "Hama USB 2.0 Card Reader - 35 In 1" which is a cheap solution to support a wide range of memory cards.
It supports all the most common types of memory cards including SD, mini SD, micro SD, SDHC, Compact flash, all types of Memory Sticks and XD. The support for the SDHC type memory cards is welcome but I'm unsure if it will support the newer SDXC cards (I didn't have one to try nor do I know anyone who uses them yet.)
It is host powered meaning it does not require an additional or separate power adaptor, instead drawing power from the same USB cable. It's very light, easily transportable and compact being just ten centimeters in length, because it is so light it does move around the desk very easily and I secured mine down with some duck tape to stop it moving when I tried to insert a memory card.
As with most USB devices this is very easy to use (being plug and play) it's simply a matter of connecting the cable and your set (you don't even need to install a driver).
Build quality is pretty good considering the price, yes it's plastic but it's still rather robust plastic. The supplied USB cable is a bit short (just over 30cm) but it can easily be extended with an extended cable if required.
In terms of performance the card reader can't really be faulted for read or write speed. It is only USB2.0 and not the more recent USB3.0 however it can still access and copy files very quickly. I'm sure the USB3.0 readers are a lot faster but they are also more expensive.
Hama is a well known name in the field of memory and this card reader is pretty good, offering something that can't really be faulted.
You can purchase this from Amazon for £5.99 but prices vary from different retailers.
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)
Some time ago I decided that I needed to get myself a memory card reader. I was managing fine with connecting my various devices to my laptops with cables, but then my laptop decided it didn't want to recognise my old phone, so I couldn't clear the memory card - which I needed to do in order to give the memory card to my dad along with the phone, as he was adopting it once I was done with it.
So after much browsing on Amazon, I chose the Hama USB 2.0 Card Reader 35 in 1. It was reasonably priced at £6.99 (now £9), it took most memory cards, and the reviews were generally favourable. I have mainly micro SD memory cards, but I also have an XD in my camera, plus the Sony M2 card from the abovementioned phone - which I managed to ascertain the card reader would take.
The card reader arrived, and is quite a neat little thing. The reader is contained in blue plastic, and is around 6 x 10 x 1.5cm in size. It has a USB cable with it, a little light on top to show when it is on, and four large slots on the front for the memory cards, all labelled.
The first thing that was obvious to me was that the memory cards needed to be in adaptors for them to fit into the card reader. Maybe this is something I should have known, but I didn't. I'd always wondered what the point was in those adaptors that always come with memory cards. So I hunted out an adaptor for my micro SD cards and got to work backing up and organising photos.
After a minor blip to start with, when my computer kept telling me to plug the card reader into a faster USB slot for better performance (but wouldn't tell me which one was a faster one), I got the card reader going and found it to be very efficient. Files copied from the memory cards onto my laptop quickly and easily, and it recognised new cards very quickly.
I used the card reader for my new 16GB micro SD card for my phone, which I wanted to load with music. Given that I was transferring around 12GB of music, this took longer than the photos, but it was still surprisingly quick. I thought I would have to set it to copy and then leave it overnight, but I was done within about an hour, which included a lot of messing about with what music I wanted on it.
However, I had a bit of a problem when I came to one of the main reasons for purchasing the card reader, transferring photos from the M2 memory card. It needed an adaptor, and although I assume I must have had one at one point, I couldn't find it. I suppose this can't really be taken as a negative point against the card reader, given that it's not a fault of it that I don't have an adaptor, but it's still rather annoying.
That aside, I'm happy enough with the Hama card reader. It's not a terribly exciting gadget, more practical than interesting, but it seems to do the job and it means I don't always need to find various different cables to copy files from my various gadgets.
Maybe it's just me, but I have managed to bend three of the pins in the MS/MS Pro slot after using it just a few, at most five, times. So now i cant use it for my MS Pro card which i bought it for. I'll of course try to fix it, but it's not easy as it seems like a bit of the pins is broken off.
So for me this overshadowes the fact that its easy to use when it works, plug and play, and the speed is good (usb2.0)
It looks okay with transparent dark blue color, but feels a little cheap.