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Tried and Tested: Memory Card Readers - The memory card reader is a useful device that connects to the computer's USB port, allowing images, music or video files to be uploaded from flash memory cards, without the need for the camera to be connected to the PC. In this buyer's guide Rebecca Bradley reviews nine of the latest readers on the market.
SanDisk Imagemate 12 in 1 card reader £29.99
Easy to use but not particularly compact. Has a docking station included with the product which seems a good idea at first glance, but when used, seemed to be too lightweight and was easily pushed over the weight of the cable. This however, can be easily removed. Reads 12 different types of card. Fairly expensive compared to a lot of other readers. Includes USB travel cable and Adobe Photoshop album 2.0 starter edition. May require installation of a device driver (included). Compatible with 19 different types of memory cards including xD.
Cable length: 100cm. Also has a handy travel 15cm cable.
Speed test: 4 seconds.
Lexar USB 2.0 Multi-Card Reader
Easy to use, and has an indicator light to show when card reader is connected, and when a card is being read. Also has a handy cover that clips on the front for use when the card reader is not being used.
Reads a variety of card formats, but is at the higher end of the price range. With a cord length of 83cm, I found it slightly too short.
Speed test: 8 seconds
Atech Flash Technology (AFT) PROGear Solo 10-in-1 card reader
At the higher end of the price range is the AFT PROGear Solo reader. It is compact, easy to use, and is compatible with all the card formats. It has an indicator light to show when the card is being read and an ample cable length of 92cm.
Speed test: 9 seconds.
SanDisk Extreme 3-in-1 card reader (USB 2.0)
Lightweight and compact, the product is easy to use, but is limited in terms of the cards that can be used with it. Because of this it seems relatively expensive in relation to some of the other more versatile card readers on the market. While most of the others have four card slots, this one only has two, therefore may not be compatible with many types of card. See table below for exact compatibility.
Cable length: 94cm.
Spped test: 8 seconds.
Lindy 23 in 1 card reader
Great value for money and a lot smaller than some of the card readers available, but quite fiddly to use with the various card slots being on different sides of the reader. Having said this, it is compatible with all the different card types, and has a useful indicator light to signal when the card has been correctly inserted.
Cable length: 102cm.
Speed test: 11 seconds
Hama USB 2.0 Card Reader
At £11.99 the Hama Card Reader is good value for money, and is compatible with all
Kingston Hi-Speed 15 in 1 Reader
With 15 different varieties of cards compatible, this product is great value for money, although it is sometimes hard to tell whether the card has been correctly installed. Because of this, long term use may potentially cause damage to the pins of the memory card and render it unusable.
Cable length: 116cm.
Speed test: 8 seconds.
My Memory USB 2.0 Card Reader
Extremely compact and with a stylish design, the My Memory card reader has an indicator light to suggest when the card has been inserted properly.
Cable length: 72cm.
Speed test: 8 seconds.
The speed tests were carried out using a 100Mb file transferred from an SD card.
Which card reader you choose to buy obviously depends on how many different types of card you will be wanting to use with it, so here's a check list for you to see which reader is compatible for which types of card.
|Card Reader||Card Slots||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||
|Lexar Multi-Card Reader||4||8|
All items featured in this article are available to buy from the following suppliers:
Key to flash media formats
1 - Compact Flash™ (CF)
Includes CF I and CF II and CF Ultra Speed
2 - MicroDrive® (MD)
3 - Memory Stick® (MS)
Includes MS Pro, MS Duo MS Select, MS Rom and MS High Speed and MG (Magicgate)
4 - Secure Digital™ (SD)
Includes SD High Capacity, and SD v1.1
5. Multi Media Card™ (MMC)
Includes MMC Mobile, MMC High Speed, RS-MMC and RS-MMC High Speed.
6. Smart Media™ (SM)
7 - xD Picture Card™ (xD)Includes Type M and Type H