Product Type: Just Rams Card Reader
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Old, but does its job
Integral USB 2.0 MultiCard Reader
Member Name: alexandjef
Integral USB 2.0 MultiCard Reader
Advantages: Does the job
Disadvantages: No really place in the market with newer version available at better prices
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.
Summary: An old bit of kit that still does the job