Flash Memory has quickly become the portable storage medium of the masses, replacing the old and extremely out-dated floppy disk. However, with the new medium also comes a plethora of different types of flash memory. There is CompactFlash Type I, CompactFlash Type II, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, SmartMedia, xD-Picture Card, MultiMediaCard, SD Card and others. The problem now is how do you manage all the different types of flash memory without having to buy lots of different equipment. With the SanDisk ImageMate 8 in 1 Reader/Writer managing all those flash memory cards is not that difficult.
- Hi-Speed USB 2.0 certified for superior data transfer
- Backwards compatible with all USB 1.1 ports
- All four memory slots are active, which allows you to copy data directly from card to card.
- Separate reader and docking station for quick desktop/laptop connectivity
- Easy to install and use; true plug and play… no driver needed.
- Saves batteries; let an ImageMate 8 in 1 Reader/Writer (not your portable device) transfer your files
- USB Mass Storage Class Devices
- Certified Windows XP and Mac OS X
The design of the SanDisk ImageMate is one of its high points. Even though it supports 8 different formats it doesn’t have 8 different slots, in fact it only has 4 slots. SanDisk was able to double up on each slot, allowing each slot to hold two different card formats. Each slot has a light above it and it will light up to let you know you have the card in correctly and it is connected. There is also a bigger light at the top that lights up when it is plugged in and has power.
Another great design point is the small size. You can easily pack this in your camera bag or suit case for travel. To make it even smaller you can undock it from the base and then you only have to carry the reader/writer itself. Because it does not take much power it is able to get all it needs from the USB cable. This eliminates the need for an extra power plug.
In addition to the docking cradle the ImageMate also comes with a USB cable (which you will use when it is undocked), a driver cd and a manual. In addition to the drivers, the CD also has Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 Starter Edition. With this software you can find photos quickly, fix common flaws, and share you photos.
As with most USB devices installation is very easy. If you have Windows XP, ME, 2000 sp3 or Macintosh OS x v10.1.2 or higher then you do not need to install any drivers, you just plug it in. If you have Windows 98SE, 2000 sp2 or lower, or Macintosh 9.1.X or higher, then you must first install the drivers from the disk and then you can plug in the device. After you plug it in you will notice that 4 new drives show up. This represents the 4 card slots. You can then insert any of the supported cards in the correct slot and access them like a disk drive. This lets you access 4 different cards at the same time.
Because it features Hi-Speed USB 2.0, the ImageMate 8 in 1 Card Reader/Writer is able to achieve transfer rates of up to 480 Mbits/second. This speed is really helpful, especially considering how much some cards can hold. You don’t want to wait around for an hour while you download your photos from your camera. It is also compatible with USB 1.1, but the maximum data transfer rate drops to 12 Mbits/second.
This really is a great device. I couldn’t find anything to complain about during this review. It is self-powered, small, supports all the major formats, and is fast. These are the features that make this work really well. At the time of this review you are able to pick one up for under $30, so even the budget minded individual has nothing to complain about. I really recommend this device to anyone who has more than one electronic device that takes a flash card. Not only does it save you from having to buy multiple readers for each card, but it also saves batteries because you don’t have to plug in your camera or PDA.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|