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My occupation means that sometimes I have to work out of the office and on archaeological sites across the country. We are always using cameras to record and document sites and which particular camera will depend on which is in the camera cupboard at the time. I always take a card reader with me on away jobs so that I can upload and backup my photos wherever I am. Generally I only need it for SD and microSD cards but this does a whole lot more!
The Sony card reader comes in a small and compact plastic box packaging with the Sony branding across the top and you can see the card reader inside. The card reader is well wrapped and protected in the plastic casing and there is an extensive instruction booklet. We try to keep most of our company equipment in its original packaging, which you can't really do with this as it is in one of those plastic packets that you end up destroying to get into it, but it is kept for the warranty.
The card reader is a very nice looking gadget, it is rectangular in shape with approximate dimensions of 86 mm x 50 mm x 16 mm height and so is quite a compact reader. The colour of the casing is like gunmetal silver and it has a nice textured metal finish. It feels sturdy and hard wearing unlike some of the plastic card readers I have used in the past and is good for users like me who take it with them on long journeys and outdoors. The metal casing has Sony engraved on the top of the device.
The card reader has the standard USB 2.0 connection for transferring your photos and data, this USB connection is on the back of the card reader. The reader comes with a short cable which is adequate for everyday transferring. On the front of the reader are the card slots, of which this particular reader takes 21 of the most common types of cards, there are 5 slots to fit these in. As I have mentioned I typically only use this for the bog standard camera SD cards and microSD cards that you put in camera phones.
Additionally this card reader also takes an xD Picture Card, Microdrive, CompactFlash, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Micro. This works with Windows 2000 operating systems onwards and is also compatible with Mac systems.
To work the card reader you simply plug the USB connection into your pc or laptop, there is no installation as your computer will detect the device and a pop up window will appear asking you how you want to display you photos and videos. The reader has a small LED light to show that it is on and working, this flickers when the device is transferring data. The speed of transfer seems very rapid to me, I tend to export <100 photos at a time and it opens and transfers in seconds. The USB Transfer Rate- High Speed is stated at being 480 Mbps.
I did not purchase this myself as I have mentioned it was provided by my work that has a number of different card readers in stock. From my experience of using this compared to other card readers it is a really good product, it is hard wearing and sturdy, very reliable and looks great with a quick and easy transfer speed. This model is quite old and so you can find it on Ebay and Amazon for around £20 which for the quality, design and 1 year warranty is a good purchase in my opinion.
Given to me today was the Sony MRW-EA7 card reader, I was tasked with testing this bad boy out and testing card readers out is not something I enjoy doing because I find that they are all about the same. In the card reading industry we seem to have mastered the way to build these devices but realistically we hardly ever need a card reader, maybe once a year if that. The truth is every device we own that uses a memory card can probably plug straight into a computer making it 10 times easier to transfer data.
This device came in a plastic wrapping supplied with the USB lead to connect it to your computer; I was not impressed with this packaging as a drop could have damaged this or even broke it. What Sony were thinking with this packaging I don't know but I was a little bit angry at the way it was packaged given that it costs £30 to start off with so it's not even cheap for a card reader.
Ok so the packaging wasn't to a great standard but let me tell you the design is impressive. This has an aluminium finish is about 3 inches long by 2 inches wide and is stunning, if for nothing else this is a great looking paper weight although expensive.
I'm going to add a short installation line here because it doesn't warrant its own title. To install this product all you simply have to do is plug it in using the supplied USB wire and it should be working. You can tell by going to my computer and you should see the corresponding memory cards available.
I put a few memory cards in this and transferred a few files I was transferring to the memory cards quite quick, I have no problems with the device as far as this area is concerned. Here's a list of the memory cards you can plug into this device.
* Memory Stick.
* Compact Flash.
This is a nice variety of cards and if you have an SD adapter you can even use a micro SD card on this device.
To sum this up it's a good device, it works well, and it looks great. Would I buy it? I don't think I would at £30 it's just too pricey for something that will barely get used; I have to say that if I did buy it 90% of it would be based on looks alone because I really do like the design of this device. You can get a memory card reader which does the same job for a third of the price so unless you constantly use memory sticks on a computer and need one of these I really wouldn't recommend spending so much money on this device.