Hotway Hotreader Review


Product Requirements:
A computer running Win98SE/2000/ME/XP/Mac OS 8.6 or higher
USB port

Owners of products utilizing one of Sony’s proprietary memory card formats might want to consider Hotway’s Hotreader offered by the Brando Workshop (USB). It supports all four of the Sony Memory stick formats (Memory Stick 4MB~128MB, Memory Stick PRO 256MB~1GB, Memory Stick Duo 8MB~128MB, and Memory Stick PRO Duo 256MB). Unfortunately it is USB 1.1, so don’t expect it to perform like a USB 2.0 device. Most USB 2.0 ports are backwards compatible with these older devices, so it should work with the new ports.

By restricting the device to the Sony memory stick formats, Hotway was able to build a very small reader which easily fits in my camera bag. The reader measures approximately 2.5" long x 2.2" wide x 0.5" thick and weighs 1 ounce. As you can see, it fits comfortably in my rather small hand. I refuse to reveal the actual measurements of my hands, but they are small enough that the other kids used to tease me. I would like to say that I was compensated for this injustice, but, in the interests of keeping this review accurate and factual in every possible way, I will refrain.

The USB plug features a swivel which allows the device to rotate 180 degrees with respect to the USB port that you plug the device into.

The reader comes with an extension cable in case the swivel plug does not provide access to your USB port.

When you plug in the device on a Windows machine, a new drive letter will appear in your Windows Explorer.

I have been using this device to transfer picture files from my camera’s Memory Stick Pro cards onto my laptop when I am out in the field for the past couple of months with no problems.

The Hotway hotreader for Sony Memory Stick is available from Brando Workshop. Similar single-format card readers are also available for other types of memory cards.


Price: $18


Very compact and dependable design


USB 1.1


Product Information

  • Very compact and dependable design
  • USB 1.1
Posted in: Computer Gear, Laptops and Gear
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Julie August 6, 2004, 12:26 am

    Post your comments here on the Hotway Hotreader review.

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • chriszzz August 6, 2004, 12:52 am

    looks pretty chunky for a single format reader/writer.

    for something only slightly larger, you could easily get a all-media ( CF, MD, SD, MMC, MS, SM ) reader, and with USB2.0 too.

    Check this out (,202 )
    for a really small, USB cum PCMCIA/PCCard alternative. This is the one to get if you don’t use CF. The same site has a bunch of other readers you might want to check out.

    I have a CF PCMCIA reader that I keep stuck into my laptop’s PCMCIA slot. laptops and notebooks nowadays come fully equipped with Ethernet and modem ports, so the PCMCIA slot remains empty anyway. It’s more convenient than carrying a separate reader around, and you’ll never forget to bring it along !

  • trophyofgrace August 6, 2004, 1:15 am


    This is slightly off topic for this thread, but do you know of any PC-Card SD readers that work with your Powerbook? Thanks!

  • questionfear August 6, 2004, 1:51 am

    Originally posted by trophyofgrace

    This is slightly off topic for this thread, but do you know of any PC-Card SD readers that work with your Powerbook? Thanks! [/B]

    if you’re looking for an sd reader, the sandisk one works without drivers on my ibook. (10.2.8)

  • Julie August 6, 2004, 2:15 am
  • Mountain August 6, 2004, 3:34 am

    I have to admit i’m surprised at the sheer number of proprietary card readers still in existence. Just the other day I was in a bind when my favorite card reader took a bad tumble off the side of a hill.

    Since I was heading to compusa to pick up a few things anyways, I decided to grab a card reader while I was there, and I was just surprised at all the dazzles and what nots that just read one or two kinds.

    I know I can’t be the only one out there with a mess of different cards for a mess of different toys throughout the years. heck i still have my first 16mb Smartmedia card that I use to this day!

    In the end I got the lexar multi-card reader with usb 2.0 for about 30 bucks. While I didnt care for the usb5 side port instead of regular usb port, I did like the fact it has a protective cover over the front which suits my needs perfectly.

    Its small, its cheap, it works, and its faster then my old usb 2.0 reader was by alot actually.

    I also picked up another multi card reader this week as well. the Semsons 5 in 1 Memory Card to Compact Flash Adapter. Since i already have a pcmcia to CF adapter thanks to my Sandisk CF wifi card, i can now use both with my laptop. But while having two readers might be overkill for some, it serves my purposes better.

    I can leave the usb reader in a pouch on my shoulder and i have a batch/autoplay command that all i have to do is put the card in the reader, it downloads all the files, and plays a wav file to let me know its done, without having to remove the laptop from the backpack.

    Hmmm what I need to do is find a way to make it wake up from standby and go back into standby using the batch file. Gotta be a way 🙂

  • williamray August 6, 2004, 1:58 pm

    To everyone who has posted alternative card readers — Thanks!:)

    I am particularly interested in finding a PC Card solution for Memory Stick PRO and Chriszzz seems to have found one. It would be nice to find something that reads both Memory Stick PRO and Compact Flash, but I haven’t found one yet. The form factor my prohibit a single adapter.

  • trophyofgrace August 6, 2004, 6:56 pm


    Thanks, that’s exactly what I’m looking for!

    Now to see if there’s one on ebay or otherwise online outlet…

  • Mountain August 7, 2004, 12:09 am

    Originally posted by williamray
    It would be nice to find something that reads both Memory Stick PRO and Compact Flash, but I haven’t found one yet.

    Check out Semsons . While this isnt an all in one solution you can buy a PCMCIA to CF adpated for 10 bucks, and then get their 5 in 1 Memory Card to Compact Flash Adapter. While I don’t have any MS Pro’s, I do use this setup to read/write to SD and Smartmedia cards when I don’t want to use my USB reader. While that’s not why I bought either item, I have found that it works perfectly for that.

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