USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader (17-in-1)
Reviewed by: Jack Reikel, November 2006
Published by: IntegralMemory
Available at: Proporta
Requires: D ROM drive (for Windows 98SE Drivers only), USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port (compatible with USB 1.1 at low speed only), Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP or Vista; Mac OS 9 through X or higher
The point of Kickstartnews reviews is to give products a workout in real situations (as opposed to simulated ones) in order to determine how well they'll stand up during day-to-day use. So my little Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader is now officially a world traveler. I brought it with me on two separate trips outside of North America. The device is designed to be plugged into a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port which provides both data transfer and power. The 17-in-1 designation refers to the various kinds of data storage cards which can be read by the device.
Depending on the destination(s), I travel with either a two year old Apple PowerBook or a newer Dell Precision M65. In either situation, I also carry a number of additional portable devices including a digital camera, iPod, a PDA/Smartphone and so on. Being able to read memory cards from the camera and the smartphone is very handy (although I can certainly do that easily enough by simply connect the camera or PDA directly to the laptop). However, when I have to read data from cards that are given to me, a card reader is essential. My card reading preference at home is the multicard reader built into my Dell 2405 monitor, but it doesn't offer as much card compatibility as the Integral. The office is another matter because we receive data in all sorts of formats, on a wide range of media, from a wide array of devices. A 17-in-1 multicard reader is absolutely essential.
Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader is compatible
with 17 types of memory cards:
Card and New SDHC
Pro (4bit data transfer)
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed data transfer rates run around 480Mbps,
give or take a few bits here and there. Results may be
slower when there's too much happening on a computer during
the transfer process. On a quiet computer however, you
can move a lot of data, real fast across a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
connection. The Integral appears to operate at top speed
and I didn't notice any unusual slowdowns except for the
file access time differences for different cards. For example,
a 4GB FujiFilm 40x CompactFlash (CF) card took almost ten
seconds to access before the initial file copy could begin.
By contrast, both the SanDisk Extreme III and Extreme 4,
CF, 4GB cards were accessed almost instantly. Sony MemoryStick
data transfer rates were abysmally slow, but MemoryStick
Pro and MemoryStick Pro Duo rates were excellent, just
slightly behind the SanDisk Extreme and Kingston SD Elite
Pro. The point is that the Integral reader is as fast or
faster than the cards you use.
Installing and using the Integral in Windows Vista, XP
and Mac OS X is just a matter of plugging it in. The firmware
in the Integral seems to work comparatively quickly, providing
each operating system with the data it needs to make the
device available to the system. A Windows 98 driver is
supplied on CD for those of you who haven't yet seen the
light. Be warned though that you cannot get USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
data rates out of a USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 Full Speed port.
Those last two operate at 12Mbps only, with the USB 2.0
Full Speed port providing compatibility with some newer
devices that require a power lead.
Cons: Lightweight plastics such as polystyrene used to
form or mold cases for the little PC boards and card slots,
really don't offer much weight. That means you need two
hands to use these multicard readers: one to hold the device
in place, the other to insert a memory card. It would be
nice to find a multicard reader which accepted and mounted
cards inserted with one hand. The device is not supplied
with any cork or rubber feet which means it rests flat
on a desk or surface, the resulting problem being that
you have to tilt the Integral upward with one hand to gain
enough clearance above the desk surface in order to cleanly
insert a CF card.
Pros: Lightweight and strong, you can safely toss the
Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader in a desk drawer,
pocket, briefcase or suitcase. We tried a dozen different
cards without any problems. Installing the Integral in
Windows Vista, XP and Mac OS X is just a matter of plugging
it in and waiting a few seconds for the operating systems
to recognize it. The LED activity light seems to work with
all card access attempts, a visible reference which should
prevent you from removing a card in the middle of a copy
procedure. If you have the need, the Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
MultiCard Reader (17-in-1) is a good choice. Available
KSN Product Rating:
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