Although the 'SD' card is by far the most popular storage media device, I still have a camera which uses the slightly smaller 'XD' variety. XD cards were mainly used by Olympus and Fuji cameras - but in the last few years they have been gradually phased out (XD = Xtremely Dated?). Still, there are a number of people whose devices still accept the good ol' XD, and are in need of a quick transferral of files from camera to computer. Price wise, the Integral reader can be picked up for under £3 from a number of sites (current amazon.co.uk price = £2.83) - although i've seen this particular model in used condition for under a quid on eBay.
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As well as the XD variety, the reader is available with an SD slot (which I also own) for a similar price. Made from white plastic and looking very much like a small white and square thingy, the device measures 6.5 x 2 cms, and features a transparent plastic cap to protect the USB connector at the end. Overall It feels quite sturdy, but probably wouldn't survive if you trod on it, blasted it with a shot gun, or inflicted upon it any other tragedy that could feasibly happen to a card reader. The very end of the reader sports a small hole which allows it to be attached to a cord for transportation if required - it's not something that i've personally used, but it's good to have the option there.
Using the Reader
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To use the device you simply need to slide your XD card into the reader's side until it will go no further. Now push the reader's USB end into the USB port of your computer (Mac or PC), and let the transferral process commenceth! The Integral is a USB 2 device, meaning that it should allow faster transfer speeds than the old USB 1.0 card readers on the market. Whilst connected to your computer, a red light on the reader's bottom edge illuminates, which basically serves as a warning you that you shouldn't suddenly wrench it out, unless you want to risk corrupting your files (they say that the only thing worse than a corrupt file is a corrupt copper). In my experience, XD cards seem to slide in smoothly, and are removed in a similarly fluid motion - I have owned readers in the past which feel a bit rough when the card is going in, so it's good that this one has a feel of quality about it.
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Quite simply, the Integral USB 2.0 Single Slot Reader will save you having to connect your camera to your PC via it's USB cable every time you want to access your pictures - it does the job perfectly, is well made, and i've experienced no issues with it in the years that i've owned it. Now, as much as i'd like to continue talking to you about the thrilling world of card readers, it's time for a bit of sun while it's still shining.