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: Proporta 7-in-1 Reader
by Lisa Gade , Editor-in-Chief, April, 2003

(Read 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 Jaguar).

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. £44.95/ ~$67 US



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