The Satechi Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader ($29.99 direct) is an attractively designed, portable solution for users without a built-in card reader in their system, or have one that can’t read different card formats. . It serves up a convenient, USB 3.0-compatible way to access and transfer data stored in SD, XD, MS, TF, M2, and CF formats.
Measuring 0.6 by 4.1 by 2.5 inches (HWD) and weighing a scant 4 ounces, the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader is tiny enough to slip into your pants pocket or backpack without adding any noticeable bulk. With the exception of the plastic front and rear panels, the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader is constructed entirely out of sleek brushed aluminum. Consequently, its chassis earns points for style while also providing a degree of sturdiness that would otherwise be absent in, say, an all-plastic design.
The top of the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader is simple and unadorned, save for an LED power indicator that emits a bright blue light when the unit is connected to your system. Four included adhesive feet can be affixed to the bottom of the unit to provide a grip for smooth surfaces. The front panel of the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader houses slots for MS, TF, M2, and SD card formats. The rear panel, meanwhile, sports XD and CF card slots.
There’s a USB 3.0 port for connecting the reader to your system. It’s backwards-compatible, so the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader can also be connected via USB 2.0. Moreover, since the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader is bus-powered, no external power supply is required. As its name implies, though, the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader only supports a USB connection; users with a preference for eSATA or FireWire need to look elsewhere.
The Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader is compatible with Windows (2000/XP/Vista/7/8) and Mac (OS 10.2 or higher). In both operating systems, setting it up is a straightforward process that requires little beyond simply plugging it into your system’s USB port. Since it’s a plug-and-play device, I found it equally easy to use in both Windows and Mac, and functioned identically in both operating systems, albeit with one wrinkle: In Windows, the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader appears as five removable disks, with each one representing the five slots. In the Mac interface, conversely, only slots with inserted cards appear as a removable drive. More importantly, the card slots are judiciously arranged between the two panels in a way that prevents overcrowding when the Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader is fully loaded. That, along with a generously-sized 24-inch USB cable, make for a hassle-free user experience.
Whether you’ve got data stored across multiple SD, XD, MS, TF, M2, CF cards and don’t have a system with an integrated card reader or if you prefer to access multiple cards at once, the Satechi Multifunction USB 3.0 Card Reader is an great option. Overall, it’s a portable and convenient way to access and transfer data stored in multiple card formats. While it would have stood to benefit from giving users the option of connecting via eSATA or FireWire, it’s nonetheless worth checking out.
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