* Prices may differ from that shown
When me and my girlfriend moved in together, among the countless boxes of shoes and clothes and shoes (SO MANY SHOES) was a pretty old PC (now about 7 years old, a relic) and in the box was tons of bits and bobs - including this little card reader. Now, this is an old bit of kit and many much better, newer types exist that can be bought crazily cheap (£1-£2 for a top of the range card reader) so this very old, but still does the job. There is not a huge variation between ones like this (about 7-8 years old) and brand new ones. It is not like a phone or PC, the tech doesn't really date. Its a very functional product that does a specific job.
------WHO NEEDS A CARD READER AND WHY-------
With the growth of tech has seen the growth of the kind of storage capacity tech is capable of, to crazy new levels. If you were to tell someone 10 years ago that in 10 years time you'd be buying a 2tb hard drive on the high street for under £100 they'd ask you what a terabyte was. Phones, cameras, laptops, desktops, tablet PC, gaming devices and more and more recently TVs - all have data storage of some kind.
Many things use removable storage in the form of memory cards. Increasingly tiny cards, less than 1cmx1cm in size, are an essential part of many mobile phones, cameras and laptops. Its the storage device that can be removed from the device its used from and replaced, upgraded, swapped or used on another device. As these devices come down in price, get popular and become more universally used products - memory cards naturally follow suit and become used by more and more people. Because of this, more and more people come into contact with memory cards and find them an essential bit of kit.
If you have a smart phone, unless its an Apple product, chances are it will have a memory card slot behind the battery. If your lucky it will be a separate slot along the side. Same goes if you have a digital camera - some where it will have a memory card slot. Memory cards are then inserted in these slots and data is stored on these cards. If its music to be used on a phone, or the storage for photos on a digital camera - memory cards store data - its up to the device to be able to use that data. So, basically, memory cards are a product used by many have many used. There is one problem....
------THE PROBLEMS WITH MEMORY CARDS------
Memory cards do not have a specific build specification - so the types of cards can vary. Some older phones will use MiniSD, newer ones MicroSD, and thats just two of a very wide range. You might have a camera that uses one type of memory and a phone that uses another. With so much variation between size, shape and type - and the nature of tech, compatibly is an issue.
------ENTER THE CARD READER-------
See a card reader as a way to make the different sized and shaped memory cards compatible with a universal connector - a USB slot. All PCs have a USB, if not 4-5. You'll have to travel to another planet to find a laptop or PC without a USB port. Here on earth its a universally compatible slot on the back, side or front of your computer.
So, to make your less than compatible memory card compatible with a very compatible port you'll need a card reader.
Now, all a card reader does is make it capable to plug your memory card into a USB port. The most common way is into a laptop or PC, so you can even add or remove data from the card. Adding music to a phone, removing photos from a digital camera (PUN ALERT), you get the picture. So, if you use memory cards chances are you'll need a card reader of some description. If you have a 'newer' laptop or PC, for about the past 3-4 years card readers have been built in - and whilst the support most types of card, not all will always be catered for.
The card reader isn't simply a way of connecting to a USB port, it is also responsible for reading and writing to the card. This is one of the places card readers can vary; how quickly and reliably card readers can write or ready data to a card. As well as this, card readers can vary in how many types of card can be used, the build quality and overall design. Other than that, there are few ways a card reader can vary from another. So, how does this particular card reader shape up.
-------HOW DOES THIS MODEL STACK UP?--------
Well, there is little to complain about here. I didn't use this card reader much, as my laptop has a card reader - but last year when I was traveling and using a Netbook without card reader ports - this came in handy. Whilst I only used it a few times to add/remove music from my phone, it did the job. I simply inserted the microSD memory card (that was already in an adapter that fits into the miniSD slot on the card reader, you will need a mini-micro adapter to use microSD with this) into the slot, plugged the card reader into my USB and it was showing under 'My Computer' within seconds. From there I just dragged and dropped the music I wanted, left clicked on the card - chose remove device, physically unplugged and put the microSD card back into my phone and was done. So, all in all - it did the job required.
It has capability for to be used by a variation of 17 different types of memory card - newer card readers are compatible for 150, that should indicate how much of a variation in memory cards there is. Luckily, most devices use a small handful of memory card - mini and microSD being notable popular sizes. So, despite this card reader being 7-8 years old, it still works OK among tech market.
However, with an ever changing and growing number of memory cards, a newer model would be a better bet as its slightly more future proof.
As well as performing its basic 'on the tin' instructions, it excels size wise. Its small, and thats great for a piece of kit you might want to be carrying around. Something that doesn't get in the way, and this goes barely unnoticed. Its mad of plastic, and feels and looks a little cheap - but assuming your not taking this on space missions - it seems robust enough. As I acquired mine, it came just as it is - but I imagine boxed it comes with a USB cable. However, to be totally honest for the minimal price difference you may as well opt for a newer card reader, just because you can and there is no real need to by this. Unless you see it super cheap in a second hand shop, I'd suggest getting something new.
This is about £3-4 on Amazon at the time of writing. A brand new model being about £5 at the moment, with some slightly cheaper - and other newer models as little a 1p second hand in the marketplace.
As a stand alone review I'd give this 4/5, against everything else on the market factoring in price and function I'd give it 2/5.
Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Microdrive, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, Memory Stick Duo, xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick PRO Duo, miniSD, CompactFlash Card, RS-MMC, TransFlash, MultiMediaCardmobile, microSD, MultiMediaCardplus
Its also worth noting, as with most devices using high speed USB - versions of Windows 2000 and later are essential.
My girlfriend and I are both avid photographers and like to take loads of photos when we go on holiday or if we go out and about walking and sight-seeing. When it came to transfering the photos to the computer it has always been a bit of a painful event, my camera which takes an SD memoory card is quite possibly the slowest USB device I have ever encountered. My girlfriend's camera (which uses an XD card) whilst not being quite as slow as mine, is sill a bit of chore when it comes to transfering the photos as it takes a different USB to mine, which some how I always manage to misplace.
I decided to get myself a card reader to making it less of a chore. I decided to go for a multi card reader seeing as our current cameras use different cards and if at any point we got different cameras, it would be good to have a reader that would take any card a new camera might use.
After a good bit of searching, I found this card reader for a £10 in a sale online and decided to give it a try.
Thr reader itself is about 4 inches by 2 inches and a bit less than an inch thick. on the front face there are several slots to accomodate various different memory cards. On the back is the USB socket for attaching the USB lead for using the reader, and on one side there is another slot for one of the micro memory card types.
Using the reader couldn't be more simple, just slot the memory card in the correct slot, which is simple to do as on the bottom of the reader there is a diagram showing exactly which type of card goes in which slot, insert the USB and connect it to the PC.
Once connected, the reader is mounted up as several removable drives, just select the right one and there is your
memory card and all your files.
Copying photos across to the computer is great, the reader is USB2 spec so file transfers are lovely and quick, much, much faster than using my camera.
If I had to say anything negative about this card reader, it would be the way it mounts up removable drives for all the slots not just the one in use and if you don't remember which letter relates to which slot it might take a few clicks to get the right drive for your card but that really is not much of a hardship and it wouldn't surprise me if other card readers all work them same way.
If you need a card read, this is fab!!!
Many people own at least one memory card, be it a micros SD card to use in a mobile phone or a standard SD card for a camera, although the likes of Sony do require you to buy there 'special' cards, calling them a Memory stick pro/pro duo.
But for all those that own more than one memory card, and believe me there are myriads of the blighters on the market, there is nothing more frustrating than having to find a card reader so that you can transfer some data from your card to your PC, or visa versa, sometimes owning several card readers at once.
So instead of having to carry all those different card readers around with you then boffins in the technical labs came up with the idea of combining the many individual card readers and making one unit which can read several cards, one at a time or even all at once. These cards are called Multi card readers and there are many on the market, almost as many as there are actual memory cards.
Some of the readers are pricey, (in card reader terms), such as the Lexar professional firewire which lands in at a gut wrenching £50.00+, or it's little brother, the lexar pro dual slot, rounding off at around a score, there's even the Jobo 33-1 which comes in at around £30.
Then there's the lower end of the price spectrum, such as the Alba 56-1 which usually sells for around £15.00 but is actually selling in argos for a mere £2.99 at the moment. Or an even cheaper one being the Argos value, which usually sells for just under a tenner but is going for £1.99 at the moment... yes, you heard me correctly, one pound ninety nine pence...
Anyway, one of these multi card readers, which I personally own, is the mid priced Integral USB 2.0 17-1 Multi Card Reader which manages to do exactly what it is supposed to do... read multiple memory cards.
This unit, like many others, is USB powered and gives a good transfer rate, due to it being USB 2.0
It supports several memory formats such as...
SD card, SDHC, MicroSDHC, MicroSD (Transflash), MultiMediaCard, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, MemoryStick PRO Duo, MMCmobile, Memory Stick M2, xD Picture card, CompactFlash, MMCplus and RSMMC.
Also, with additional adaptor,
And it works on Operating systems such as Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista and 7, also Mac 9.0 or above.
In the package you'll get the multi card reader itself, a USB lead and a CD driver if needed, (this driver is really for OS's windows 98SE).
** MY OPINION...
I have had this card reader for quite some time now, although it's only now that I've thought about reviewing it.
Anyway, it's a cracking little multi card reader and so easy to use, in fact, if I recall correctly, the hardest thing about this card was actually getting into the package itself as it came in that horrid Earth 'unfriendly' plastic heat wrapped package which all friends of the earth detest.
But once you've opened the package, after donning your thick oven gloves to protect your fingers from being sliced open, you'll be quite amazed at the size of unit itself, with it being a nice handy size, approximately 105mm long by 60mm wide and a mere 15mm deep, making it so easy to slide into your laptop case or even your pocket if needs be.
It looks the part as well, being a nice dull silver colour, even if it looks a little cheaply made, with four slots on the front for my memory cards to go into.
As for setting it up, well this is a breeze, you simply plug it into the USB port of a PC and it is instantly picked up as a removable drive on your system, allowing you to see everything that is on the cards that are slotted into it, so within seconds you're ready to transfer data to and from card to PC, via copy/paste or drag and drop, the choice is yours, it even allows the possibility of copying from card to card,
The best thing about it apart from its size, is that it is capable of recognising almost every memory card on the market, which saves you carrying a multitude of readers around with you just in case you may need to use one of them.
Personally, I mainly use mine for transferring my photographs from my camera, which has a Sony memory stick pro duo, onto my laptop, which only has a port for an SD card, his saves me having to carry the camera cables with me, but I do use it for other memory cards I use, such as a microSD from my phone and even the old compact flash which I still own.
I know there are cheaper readers on the market, some which I have mentioned, but if you buy one of these they may, repeat may, not last as long as they should. So spending a few extra quid on a 'better' modal is probably worth it in the long run as this one has lasted me a fair while now and is still going strong.
As for the price, well, as I said earlier, this is a mid priced reader, being around the £12.00 region, I think that's what I paid for it anyway, but after a quick on line scan I have noted that this is on sale for a remarkably low price of £2.01 on amazon at the moment, although delivery isn't free on this deal so the price with delivery is £5.96, which is a remarkable price for what you get.
The Integral USB 2.0 MultiCard Reader is available on Amazon for a frankly amazing £1.33 and for that you'd be forgiven for thinking it might be a cheaply made or shoddy item. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a sturdy little bit of kit and it works fantastically. It supports Memory Stick, MS PRO, Microdrive, MMC, SD, SM, MS Duo, xD, MS PRO Duo, miniSD, CF, RS-MMC, TransFlash, MMCmobile, microSD and MMCplus - formats that most casual users would find more than appropriate - it's suitable for use with digital cameras, both modern and older, mobile phone cards, even Sony Playstation memory sticks. It really is a one stop shop for all your memory transfer needs.
Using it couldn't be easier. It connects via USB and appears on your Mac or PC as a separate drive - all you need to do is drag and drop and file transfer is quick too. It's great for getting digital camera pictures quickly, or transferring songs to an mp3 player. It has so many uses.
For the money I cannot fault it whatsoever. I have had mine for nearly a year now and it is as good as new. I have even bought one for my mum when she got a digital camera, and my in laws too. It is something that I have used so many times and it has never let me down. It is so handy! There is no need to spend any more money than this for a card reader - this is spot on.
I bought this about 4 months ago from a tesco near me due to only having a built in SD card reader in my laptop and needing different types of readers for various memory cards and digital cameras.
This has covered pretty much every single memory card i own so thats a plus for me. I managed to pick it up for a few quid so its well worth purchasing, just incase you might need it in the future.
One word of warning though, if you do not install the proper software or your system is not compatible with usb2.0 then it will cause your pc/laptop to crash when you put in a memory card.
This can be annoying, i tried it on an older computer because i wanted to transfer a few files, but it continued to make it crash and i was unable to do anything.
- You wont need any other memory card reader
- Its cheap
- Fast transfer
- Small, so you can keep it tucked away in a drawer somwhere.
- Easily replaceable if it breaks
- Not compatible with older computers
- Feels cheap (It is cheap)
- Could look better.