Review: MacAlly USB 2.0 8-in-1 Reader
Flash card readers have gained popularity, thanks to digital cameras, MP3 players, and PDAs that utilize such cards. Rather than drain the batteries of a camera other other device to copy a few files to or from your computer, you can simply insert the card like you would a disk and it will appear on your desktop. From there you can manipulate files.
p>There are plenty of card readers out there that are Mac compatible, but few that actually match Apple’s latest offerings. MacAlly has introduced the USB 2.0 8-in-1 Reader, one that will read almost anything you can throw at it and looks good doing it, too.
MemoryStick & SD/MMC Slots
CompactFlash & SmartMedia Slots
The card reader has a form factor familiar to most card readers — a small box about the size of an iPod with various slots for different kinds of memory cards. Green LEDs atop the reader let you know when a card is inserted (if you couldn’t see it sticking out of the side) and blink if the card is being read. A very short (just a couple of inches) USB cable sticks out of the back, and folds into the card reader for travel. A USB extension cable is included for desktop users.
The cards that this particular reader can be used with include CompactFlash Type I/II, IBM Microdrive, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMedia Card, and SecureDigital.
The card reader works just as we would expect. Putting a CompactFlash card from a camera in it made it appear right on OS X’s desktop. Opening iPhoto and Image Capture made the card reader act like a camera, where photos could be downloaded directly into these applications.
Read and write speeds were faster than our camera, primarily because this reader utilizes USB 2.0. It will, however, work with older Macs that only have USB 1.1.
Another useful feature is that you can have multiple cards in use at a time. Perhaps you want to copy the contents of a CompactFlash card over to a SecureDigital card — put both cards in and copy the files. Each slot is treated like a separate drive. On Mac OS X, it’s transparent (you don’t even need to install drivers). On Windows, each slot appears as a different drive letter, regardless of whether there is any media in a slot or not.
Overall, this card reader combines excellent compatibility, good looks, a 3-year warranty, and a competitive price tag. Although it won’t read some specialized cards (like xD), it will take care of almost anything else out there.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
MacAlly’s card reader works well and will match any modern Mac perfectly, making it a great value.
Pros: Nice design, reads most popular formats, good for travel
Cons: None significant