Card Readers for your Computer: Proporta 7-in-1 Reader by Lisa Gade ,
Editor-in-Chief, April, 2003
Storage Options for your PDA: an explanation of the different types
of cards here.)
Now that I'm on a mission to find reliable card
readers with stable drivers, I set out to review Proporta's new 7-in-1
reader. You've likely seen 6-in-1 readers, so what's the seventh
item? Its 16 megs of built-in flash storage memory, so you can use
this reader to transfer files between home and office, or simply
use the area as a way station when transferring files from one card
to another which require the same slot.
The Proporta reader is a USB
1.1 device that is highly portable, measuring 3.5" x 2.5" x .4" (96mm
x 63mm x 13mm) and weighing 2 ounces (55g). It has a permanently
attached USB cable that's 2" long, which tucks into the long
edge of the reader and is easily popped out for use thanks to the
thumb cutout (see image, right). Should you need to place the reader
at a greater distance from your computer, you can use the included
USB extension cable to add a few feet of length.
The Proporta 7-in-1 can read
CF type I & II
memory cards, IBM Microdrives, SD cards, MMC cards, SmartMedia cards
and Memory Sticks. It has 3 slots, located on the side. How does
this work? The larger slot on the right is for CF cards and the IBM
Microdrive. The left lower slot can read SD/MMC cards and Memory
Sticks, while the upper left slot accommodates SmartMedia cards.
So you can have a maximum of three types of cards in the reader at
one time, and you'll see 4 additional drive letters under My Computer
(PC) representing these slots. On the Mac, the cards mount on the
desktop after you insert them and the Flash Disk appears as a drive.
On the PC, the fourth drive icon doesn't represent
a memory card slot, but rather the built-in flash memory disk. The
7-in-1 reader has 16 megs of storage space which is accessible as
a drive on your computer. Thus you can use the reader itself as a
portable storage medium, and use the space as a temporary way station
when transferring files from one SD to another, or from an SD to
a Memory Stick and vice versa. Note that for some reason, the Flash
Disk isn't accessible when a SmartMedia card is inserted. The manual
states this, and indeed, the Flash Disk will show 0 k size when a
SmartMedia card is inserted.
The Proporta reader comes with drivers for Win98
and Windows 2000, as well as Mac OS 8.6 through 9. You don't need
to install drivers for Windows ME and XP since these natively support
card readers), 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
The reader has two LEDs: a green one to indicate
power (from the USB port) and a red LED to indicate that the card
is being accessed. Since it's powered through the USB port it doesn't
require a power adapter. The reader comes with an installation CD
that includes drivers and a manual for the reader. The reader's literature
claims it's capable of an average 950KB/sec transfer rate and that
seems on target.
Conclusion: a reliable, very portable reader that
gives you three slots: handy if you want to transfer files between
card types. The Flash Disk is an added bonus. It comes with a nice
leather slip case.