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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
Panasonic
PNY
PQI SD & mini SD High Speed
Ridata PRO 66x
SanDisk (Standard Speed)
SanDisk Extreme III High Speed
SimpleTech

CF Cards
Butterfly Media
Crucial
Delkin eFilm
Kingston Elite Pro High Speed
Ridata PRO 80x
SanDisk
SimpleTech
SST
Viking

Memory Stick / Memory Stick Pro
SanDisk

MMC Cards
SanDisk

RS-MMC Cards
ATP

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
Inanycase

Handspring Springboard
MemPlug CF & MemPlug Smart Media

Storage Cards for your PDA: Memory Card Product Reviews
by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief,
March 27, 2002 (updated 2/2004)

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

SanDisk SD (Secure Digital) Cards
www.sandisk.com, prices vary with capacity, 5 year warranty

SanDisk is one of the big names in the storage card arena. Heck, they invented the CompactFlash card in 1994, and worked jointly with Matsushita (known mostly by the name Panasonic in this country) and Toshiba to develop the SD memory card. We've been using their CF cards for years and the SD cards have worked perfectly for us in a Palm m130, i705, Casio E-200 and iPAQ 3835. We've tested their 32 meg and 128 meg cards. Transfer speeds are excellent, and we haven't experienced MediaPlayer skips and stutters on the iPAQ 3800 series (that iPAQ has some speed issues with SD cards because of the way Compaq implemented SD). SanDisk is the OEM manufacturer of Compaq SD cards. Buying hint: Compaq marks up the price of their cards, buy SanDisk instead! The cards come with a protective case.

 

SanDisk SD Card

 

 

SimpleTech SD (Secure Digital) Cards
www.simpletech.com, prices vary with capacity, 1 year warranty

SimpleTech is another big name in the storage card arena. They've been around for over a decade and make all kinds of memory products. Their cards are widely available and competitively priced. We've been using their CF cards for years in a variety of PDAs and digital cameras, and the 64 and 128 meg SD cards we tested have worked perfectly for us in a Palm m130, m515, iPAQ 3835 and Toshiba e740. Transfer speeds are excellent (max transfer speed is 2MB/sec), and the cards are fully compatible with the SD Memory Card Physical Layer Specification version 1.01, File System Specification version 1.01, and Security Specification version 1.01. The cards come with a protective case.

 

SimpleTech SD card

 

 

 

MemPlug CF Springboard Module for Handspring Visor handhelds
Portable Innovation Technology www.memplug.com, price $49.95 for CF and SmartMedia version, $69.95 for SD/MMC and MemoryStick versions

 

Now, this is one cool invention! Springboard memory and backup modules have been very expensive (around $59 for an 16 meg module). CompactFlash (CF) cards are the cheapest storage card technology these days, and they're readily available and fast. Wish you could use CF cards with your Visor? MemPlug CF lets you do just that. It's a Springboard module that has a built-in CF type I slot.

They also have models that accept, SD/MMC cards, MemorySticks and SmartMedia cards. If you've got a collection of these cards from your digital camera, MP3 player or old PDA you're in luck.

 

MemPlug

You'll get a group of utilities with your MemPlug, including PiBackup a program that allows you to backup your handheld to a storage card, PiMover, which moves files and databases between your Visor and a memory card, gMovie movie viewer and more. Quite a generous bundle for the price.

Our test CF unit worked flawlessly, even on a Visor Deluxe with the now ancient 3.1 OS. The bundled programs were just what we needed to take advantage of the storage card technology and worked without a hitch. If you need more memory for your Visor, get this module!

 

 

CompactFlash Memory Cards: SanDisk and Viking
SanDisk | Viking, prices vary depending on capacity, 5 year warranty

SanDisk invented the CompactFlash and as you can imagine, they're one of the names you can trust when shopping for a CF card. Over the past 6 years we've used just about every capacity CF card made by these folks with never a problem or a worry. Transfer speeds are excellent and beat most no-name cards in our tests. SanDisk has come out with a "faster" CF card, which promises to improve picture-taking times for digital cameras. We'll be testing one in our PDAs soon and will update with the results.

Viking is another old name, though they aren't a standards creator and product innovator like SanDisk. Viking started out as a PC memory manufacturer and branched out to CompactFlash memory several years ago. We've also been using Viking CF cards in PDAs and digital cameras and have found them to be reliable, fast and reasonably priced. The cards come with a protective case.

 

SimpleTech CompactFlash Memory Cards
www.simpletech.com, prices vary with capacity, 1 year warranty

SimpleTech is another big name in the storage card arena. They've been around for over a decade and make all kinds of memory products. Their cards are widely available and competitively priced. We've been using their CF cards for years in a variety of PDAs and digital cameras, and the 256 and 512 meg CF cards we tested have worked perfectly for us in an iPAQ 3835, NEC MobilePro P300, Toshiba e740 and HP digital cameras. We used these cards to play some long movies (MPEGs and AVIs) and ran intensive games off of them such as X-Ranger and Hyperspace Delivery Boy.

Transfer speeds are excellent achieving sustained write speeds up to 1.5 Megabytes/second and burst speeds up to 8 Megs/second. They are forward compatibility to Secure CF cards.
The cards come with a protective case.

SimpleTech CF memory cards

 

CompactFlash memory cards: Silicon Storage Technology (SST)
SST, prices vary depending on capacity, 1 year warranty

Though not a household name among retail customers, Silicon Storage Technology has been making memory products since 1989. Located in Northern California, SST has been making all kinds of flash memory products for years, including PC BIOS chips, ATA Disk chips and more.

Their cards are quite fast, with 1.4 MByte/sec write times and read times of 6 Mbyte/sec. burst. Reliability has been excellent for our 128 meg card. Transferring a card between an HP digital camera and an iPAQ worked perfectly with no card corruption.

The cards come with a protective case.

SST CF card

 

 

CompactFlash memory cards: Butterfly Media
Butterfly Media, prices vary depending on capacity, lifetime warranty

Another smaller company, Butterfly Media is located in Los Angeles, and has been in the memory making business since 1998. They also make PC memory, notebook memory, SD and SmartMedia cards. They began making CompactFlash cards in 1999, and offer a range of sizes (currently 8 - 256 meg) all made in L.A.

Reliability and speed have been good on the 32 meg and 128 megs cards we tested. Butterfly cards have transfer rates that are quite good: Read 3.2Mbyte/sec Max. Write 0.6Mbyte/sec Max. Transferring a card between an HP digital camera and an iPAQ worked perfectly with no card corruption.

The cards come with a protective case.

Butterfly sells direct via their web site, and also through Fry's Electronics stores.

Butterfly Media CF cards

 

 

CompactFlash memory cards: Delkin
Delkin , prices vary depending on capacity, lifetime warranty

Delkin has been making memory products in the San Diego, California area since 1986. That's a long time in the high tech world! They call their cards "eFilm" and eFilm memory cards come in CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia,
SD Card, and PC Card formats. That said, they aren't just for digital cameras!

This is the only CompactFlash card we've seen that actually comes with a mini-CD ROM of bundled software. You'll get software such as "Digital Camera Suite", "Explorer" to view and catalog digital images, MP3 software and more. Not bad! Delkin cards are at times priced higher than some competitors, but the software bundle could make it worthwhile for you.

The cards come with a protective case.

Delkin CF card

 

 

SanDisk MMC (MultiMedia Cards)

SanDisk MMC cards (MultiMedia Card) were jointly developed by SanDisk, Matsushita and Toshiba. SanDisk MMC cards are available in 16, 32 and 64 meg capacities. We've used their MMC cards in various Palm PDAs with SD slots and the Casio E-200 and iPAQ 3800 series. In all cases there were no compatibility issues and despite the fact that MMC cards are slower than SD cards, we didn't experience painful waits while programs launched and data was accessed except in the case of Pocket Windows Media player on the Pocket PCs. We did notice occasional stutters with MMC cards compared to SD cards. Not SanDisk's fault, but rather than fact that SD cards have faster transfer rates than MMC cards.

The cards come with a protective case.

SanDisk MMC card

 

 

Toshiba PC Card Hard Drives: 2 and 5 gig PCMCIA card drives
Toshiba, $299 for 2 gig, $399 for 5 gig, 1 year warranty

Toshiba is the inventor of one of the small miracles in portable computing: the 1.8 PC Card hard drive. They've been one of the big innovators and manufacturers of notebook computer hard drives for several years, so they're a name you can trust in micro storage. These PCMCIA cards actually have little spinning platters inside, same as your notebook hard drive, only smaller. These are available in 2 gig and 5 gig capacities, and the technology has been around for a few years now, and has proven to be reliable.

You can also insert one of these cards into a PC or Mac notebook's PC Card slot in order to transfer files, or to use it as a secondary hard drive. Any PDA that can accept PCMCIA cards, such as the Compaq iPAQ with a PC Card expansion sleeve can use these cards for storage in the same fashion you'd use a CompactFlash card.

Toshiba 2 gig PC Card hard drive

Toshiba 2 gig PC Card Hard Drive and Case

 

Does it seem a little weird hearing a disk drive ever so quietly humming inside your PDA? Well, yes, but you'll get used to it. Do you need to worry that these drives have internal moving parts and may thus be more delicate and consume more battery power than a solid state storage card such as a CF, MMC or SD card? Yes. PC Card hard drives and the IBM microdrive do consume more power since the internal disk platters must be spinning when the drive is in use. However, if the drive is not currently being used, then the platters will stop spinning until you need to access programs or files on the disk. This will save power. Some PDA PC Card expansion sleeves have internal batteries to help offset the more power-hungry nature of PC Cards. And you do have to be more careful with any high tech device that has moving parts. Solid State cards aren't susceptible to damage due to movement, shaking and bouncing while hard drives are. Take care when handling your PDA (as I hope you do!) and keep the card in the nice rubber-isolated storage case that comes with your hard drive and you should be just fine.

Speed of these PC Card hard drives is very good thanks to a 15ms access time and 4,200 RPM rotational speed (similar to notebook hard drive specs) and the 16 bit data bus they use to interface with your PDA. And they won't weigh you down much at just under 2 ounces (55 grams).

 

SanDisk Memory Stick Cards
www.sandisk.com, prices vary with capacity, 5 year warranty

Standard Memory Sticks

SanDisk is one of the big names in the storage card arena. Heck, they invented the CompactFlash card in 1994, and worked jointly with Matsushita (known mostly by the name Panasonic in this country) and Toshiba to develop the SD memory card. Most recently they worked with Sony to develop the new high capacity, high speed Memory Stick PRO cards that will be coming out in 2003. So they're a name you can trust when it comes to Memory Sticks, and you can often find them at major retailers for a few bucks less than Sony brand sticks.

We've used their Memory Sticks, up to the 128 meg capacity, in Sony PDAs such as the SJ30, NR70V and NX70V without a problem. They behave nicely in card readers and generally make us happy campers. Transfer rates are excellent, and those of you who use Memory Stick devices should be pleased to know that they are one of the fastest memory technologies used in PDAs and digicams.

 

SanDisk Memory Stick

Memory Stick Pro

These cards were released in the Spring of 2003, first by Sony and then by Sandisk. The Pro cards were a joint development effort between Sony and Sandisk, so you can trust you're getting the same quality that you'll find in the Sony branded Pro cards. They come in 3 capacities: 256 meg, 512 meg and 1 gig. Not only do they offer larger capacity than regular Memory Sticks, but they're faster. Just how fast depends on the device you're using the card with. Devices with native Memory Stick Pro support show greater than 33% faster overall speeds improvements compared to regular sticks. Read and db access are the most improved. I tested the 256 meg Memory Stick Pro against a 128 meg Sandisk Memory Stick using VFSMark on an NX80V, which has native support for Pro. Each card had 60 megs of identical data on them. The VFSMark overall score for the Pro card was 251, compared to 160 for the standard stick (higher numbers are better). Not bad! A great choice if you like to watch videos on your Clie, and want the quickest image writes when taking photos with the built-in camera.

Sony NX, NZ and TG models are compatible with the Memory Stick Pro format. The NX73V, NX80V and TG50 have native support. For older NX models and the NZ90, you'll need to install a Sony-supplied driver. Some recent Sony cameras also support the Pro format.

Sandisk Memory Stick Pro card

 

 

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