PDA, Notebook and Phone Reviews and buyers guide

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Flash Memory Card Reviews:

SD Cards
ATP Mini SD and SD cards High Speed 60x
Kingston Elite Pro 50x
Kingston Ultimate SD Cards 120x
PQI SD & mini SD High Speed
Ridata PRO 66x
SanDisk (Standard Speed)
SanDisk Extreme III High Speed

CF Cards
Butterfly Media
Delkin eFilm
Kingston Elite Pro High Speed
Ridata PRO 80x

Memory Stick / Memory Stick Pro

MMC Cards

RS-MMC Cards

PC Card Hard Drives
Toshiba 2 & 5 gig

Multifunction Drives
Ridata QuattroDrive

USB Flash Drives
Kingston DataTraveler Elite
Crucial Gizmo

Card Readers
Asante Gini 6 in 1
Crucial 6 in 1 Reader

Dazzle 6-in1 Reader
Proporta 7-in-1 Reader
Sandisk ImageMate Memory Stick Pro Reader

Card Cases

Handspring Springboard
MemPlug CF & MemPlug Smart Media

Card Readers for your Computer: Dazzle Universal 6-in-1 Reader, from
by Lisa Gade , Editor-in-Chief, February, 2003

(Read Storage Options for your PDA: an explanation of the different types of cards here.)

I have a little confession to make: I live in Silicon Valley, where bargain computer and electronics parts stores are more common than pollen spores in Spring. Figuring a card reader was just a card reader, I bought an inexpensive, no-name reader from my local Fry's Electronics. Its mini-manual was written in translationese and the drivers came straight from coder's hell. The build quality of the unit itself was fine, but the documentation, drivers and support (sorry, no support: no URL, no nice web site from which I might download better drivers) were not so fine. Not that every no-name reader is a bad reader, but I set out on a quest to review some name brand readers that wouldn't have me bashing my head against the wall or wondering if the $20 I saved was worth the 2 hours of time I spent coaxing the thing to play nicely with my state-of-the-art Windows 2000 desktop.

Enter the Dazzle 6-in-1 Universal Reader which the good folks at sent to us. As the name implies, the unit can read CF type I & II memory cards, IBM Microdrives, SD cards, MMC cards, SmartMedia cards and Memory Sticks. Like most multi-card readers, it has 2 slots. How does this work? The larger slot at the top is for CF cards and the IBM Microdrive.

The lower slot can read SD/MMC cards, SmartMedia cards and Memory Sticks. So you can have a maximum of two types of cards in the reader at one time, and you'll see two additional drive letters under My Computer (PC) representing these slots. On the Mac, the cards mount on the desktop after you insert them.

The Dazzle comes with drivers for Win98 and Windows 2000, as well as Mac OS 9. You don't need to install drivers for Windows ME and XP according to the documentation, and Mac OS X (version 10.1.3 and higher) supports card readers natively without additional drivers. The unit performed reliably for me under Windows 2000 and Mac OS X (version 10.2, aka Jaguar).

The reader has a permanantly attached 4 foot USB cable, and has an LED to indicate that the card is being accessed. It's powered through USB and doesn't require a power adapter. The Dazzle is bundled with OnDVD (PC only), a nice app that you can use to create photo albums and slideshows with audio that you can burn onto a CD for playback on your PC or TV using a DVD player. The reader comes with an installation CD that includes drivers, a PDF manual for the reader and a manual for OnDVD. The manual states that it's capable of 1.5 megs/sec transfer rates and that seems on target.

If you have trouble reading Lexar brand Memory Sticks on the Dazzle, visit their web site to get an updater that will flash the reader's firmware and make the unit compatible with the Lexar sticks., $45.99





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