Review posted August 3, 2005 by Lisa Gade, Editor
Making life easier, taking the dullness out
of mundane tasks and saving you time: that's what Ridata's
QuattroDrive is about. Sure you can take the CF, SD or Memory
Stick out of your camera, put it in a card reader attached
to your computer, load up your preferred CD or DVD burning
software, tell it what to burn and wait while your PC or Mac
does the job. But why spend the half hour doing this tedious
task when you can put your flash memory card in the QuattroDrive,
use the LCD panel menus to tell it to burn the photos and
videos to a CD-R or CD-RW, then walk away. Ever so convenient,
especially for avid photographers who come home with a few
hundred pictures on a card and want to dump them quickly and
go out for another shoot.
Ridata is well respected among digital photographers thanks
to their very fast flash memory cards. They've branched out to
offer "Information Appliances" such as the Quattro
optical drive with card reader. Ridata describes the aptly
named Quattro as a 4 in 1 device because it functions as a
photo storage device, card reader, external USB CD-RW/DVD drive
and as a multimedia player that can play DVDs, Audio CDs, MP3s,
VCDs and JPGs when connected to a TV or PC.
The QuattroDrive is a compact unit that's not
much larger than a CD. The top LCD and play, FF, RW and Stop buttons
allow you to use the unit in a standalone fashion, or you can hook
it up to a TV and use its on-screen menus to control the drive.
In addition, the Quattro has a USB 2.0 port so you can use the
drive with a computer to watch DVDs, read and write CDs and access
storage cards. Very versatile! You can use the drive as a portable
DVD player and burner with a desktop or notebook, use it to view
photos on your TV and use it to quickly burn photos from a storage
card to disc.
Card reader drivers are supplied
for Windows 98/2000/XP and no driver is needed for the CD portion
nor does Mac OS X require drivers.
The Quattro has an integrated card reader that supports
SD, MMC, CF, MicroDrive, Smart Media and Memory Stick (including
Pro) cards. Thus you can burn media from any of these card formats
to a CD. The drive can burn to CD-R and CD-RW media and can play
but not burn DVDs. It can write multi-session CDs so you need not
worry about wasting CD-R disks if you don't have enough photos on
a card to fill the disc. Simply write the next batch of photos from
a card to the CD-R when ready. In our tests, the drive wrote fifty
3.5 meg photos from our Pentax
*ist DS digital SLR camera's high speed SD card in under 5
minutes. We got the same results using a fast CF card full of photos.
We tested the drive with our Sony Vaio S460 notebook
and a Windows XP desktop and it worked flawlessly as an optical drive
and card reader on both. We used the included RCA cables to hook
the Quattro up to our TV and again, it worked well and made viewing
photos using the slide show function a breeze.
In addition to RCA outputs and audio out, the Quattro has a Component
video port (cable not included). You can also use the drive as a
portable discman and hook up a set of headphones or self-powered
speakers to the audio out port.
Go get one! It makes burning photos and videos from
most any flash storage card fast and easy. It serves many purposes
and makes an excellent portable USB CD burner and DVD player for
your computer and works as a DVD player for TV. The device is extremely
affordable and while it might be cool to burn DVDs as well, we know
that would raise the price out of the bargain category.
In the box:
QuattroDrive, power supply, 10 blank 48x CD-R discs,
USB cable, AV to RCA inputs cable, driver CD, printed getting started
guide and PDF manual.