≡ Menu ≡ Menu

21 in 1 USB 2.0 Card Reader

USBGeek.com sent me a tiny 2.5 x 2.5. x 0.5 inch USB 2.0 card reader that is not much larger than a standard Compact Flash card. This reader is compatible with 21 different media card types. No, I’m not kidding, I said 21! They include: CF-Type I, CF-Type II, CF-Ultra II, Micro Drive, SD, SD-Ultra, SDC, Mini SD, MMC, HS-MMC, RS-MMC, MS, MS(MG), MS-Pro, HS-MS-Pro, MS-Duo, MS-Pro Duo, HS-MS-Pro Duo, SM, X Card, and T-Flash. Some of the types I’ve do not even recognize. For example, what the heck is T-Flash?

I came to understand that most of the formats listed above are really just different names for the same thing. CF-Ultra II is not an actual card type, it’s just a designation that some card manufacturers give their faster CF cards. The same goes for SD-Ultra. SDC is the same as a regular SD (Secure Digital) card. HS-MS Pro and HS-MS-Pro Duo also are just speed ratings for MemoryStick Pro cards. HS-MMC (aka MMC Plus) is a speed rating too. It should also be pointed out that this reader doesn’t really support some of those formats without an adapter. There are 4 slots that can accommodate CF-Type I, CF-Type II, SD, MS, and SM cards.

The reader is constructed of what I think is aluminum. It’s very compact and will fit easily into any gear bag. Included with the reader is a USB cable and users manual.

This reader is totally plug and play if you have a modern OS (read: not Windows 98 or something equally ancient). When you plug it in, an extremely bright blue LED in the bottom left corner will turn on to let you know you have a connection to your computer. This LED glows constantly when the reader is idle, and will blink when file transfers are in progress.

Like most multi-card readers, you can insert more than one card at a time and copy files between them. Speed-wise, this reader feels about the same as other USB 2.0 readers that I have reviewed in the past. I conducted a quick and dirty file transfer speed test with this reader, a 1GB LEXAR 80X Compact Flash card and a 17.8 MB file. Copying the file from my G5 iMac to the LEXAR card too less 3.5 seconds. Copying the file from the Compact Flash card back to the iMac took about 2 seconds. FAST! The same test using a very old 48MB Kingston Compact Flash card took 20 seconds copying from the iMac to the card and about 15.5 seconds going from card to iMac. Still not bad!

I like this reader because it’s so small that I don’t notice it in my gear bag. If you’ve been looking for a really small reader to stuff in your tool pouch, take a closer look at this one.

Price: $22.00

Pros:
Small

Cons:
None

 

Product Information

Price:22.0
Manufacturer:USB Geek
Pros:
  • Small
Cons:
  • Reader doesn't really support all 21 formats without adapters

{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Julie August 23, 2005, 2:51 am

    Post your comments here on the 21 in 1 USB 2.0 Card Reader review.

    http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/21_in_1_usb_2_0_card_reader

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • reidme August 23, 2005, 2:57 am

    This looks pretty neat, but with that many formats I’m surprised it doesn’t support xD (unless that’s what they mean by X Card.)

  • trophyofgrace August 23, 2005, 3:04 am

    So when’s the iMac review coming? :)

  • Julie August 23, 2005, 3:07 am

    Tyler:

    When I get caught up with my regular review queue ;) It won’t be a review though. More like an article about how the switch #3 has gone for me and what software I’m using, etc.

  • trophyofgrace August 23, 2005, 3:14 am

    Oh ok :) I look forward to reading it!

    I will enjoy it! (can anyone guess what movie that is from?)

  • Pony99CA August 23, 2005, 5:13 am

    Julie wrote:

    Some of the types I’ve do not even recognize. For example, what the heck is T-Flash?

    Just in case that wasn’t humorous, T-Flash is TransFlash (now called Micro SD). It’s typically used in very small devices (like my Motorola V710 cell phone).

    Note that many of these 21,032-in-1 readers don’t natively support the formats they claim. For example, many that claim to support RS-MMC, Mini SD, Micro SD and Memory Stick Duo do so only with adapters that fit their larger relatives’ slots (and they don’t include those adapters, of course).

    Does this reader actually have slots that hold those format cards directly or does it require adapters?

    Steve

  • MitchellO August 23, 2005, 6:10 am

    Yep, T-Flash is transflash.

    It is really stupid how these card readers say basically the same thing several times. ie:

    *CF-Type I
    *CF-Type II, CF-Ultra II, Micro Drive – all basically the same, CFII and CFII Ultra are the same
    *SD, SD-Ultra, SDC – all the same. Great, it supports both SD and SD Cards!
    *Mini SD, T-Flash – same thing
    *MMC
    *HS-MMC, RS-MMC – what is a HS-MMC? Sounds like an RS-MMC to me.
    *MS, MS(MG), MS-Pro – same thing
    *HS-MS-Pro – what is that? Never heard of it
    *MS-Duo, MS-Pro Duo – same thing
    *HS-MS-Pro Duo – I think this is made up
    *SM
    *X Card – probably supposed to be XD card

    I count that to actually be 12 distinct formats, or 10 if you remove the imaginary HS Memory Sticks.

  • AdamaDBrown August 23, 2005, 7:57 am

    This thing is so much hype. There is no such thing as “CF Ultra II,” except that “ultra” is a designation given by some companies to their high-speed cards. It’s not a seperate format. Likewise, there’s no “SD Ultra,” “HS MS,” etcetera. 12 formats is generous–I’d call it 8. CompactFlash, SD, MiniSD, MicroSD/Transflash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, MS Duo, and XD cards. That’s assuming it has seperate slots for MiniSD, MicroSD, and MS Duo, and doesn’t expect you to have an adapter.

    Say, why not make it a 50-in-1 reader for no extra cost? They forgot to list MiniSD Ultra, HS MiniSD Ultra, HS MiniSD Ultra 2, HS MiniSD Ultra 2 1/2… ;)

    Being able to read everything is great, but “everything” still usually boils down to CF, SD, and MS, with the possible but very rare addition of MS Duo, MiniSD, and MicroSD.

  • MitchellO August 23, 2005, 8:33 am

    Yep, I doubt very much that it can read Mini/Micro SD without an SD adaptor.

    Julie, I reckon you should add into the review the discussion that has gone on here about the overrated number of cards that can be read.

  • One of One August 23, 2005, 10:53 am

    Yes, I’d agree, some of these “formats” are misleading, confusing, or redundant and just plain stupid:

    -X Card – is this supposed to be xD Card? If so, they should use its proper name so people know what they’re talking about.

    -T-Flash – this would obviously be TransFlash as others have pointed out, but this card is no longer referred to as TransFlash, but as MicroSD.

    -SM – who cares about SM? Nothing uses SM anymore. This is a dead format.

    -SDC – this is just another name for SD Card. Who are these guys kidding???

    -CF Ultra II – this is not a format, but a speed rating.

    -SD Ultra – this too, is not a format, but a speed rating.

    -HS-MS Pro and HS-MS-Pro Duo – these too, are not formats, but speed ratings (“HS” = High Speed).

    -HS-MMC (aka MMC Plus) – again, this is not a format, but a speed rating.

    A format is defined by a card’s unique shape and/or size, or a difference in internal controllers, not simply by a difference in speed.

    Sony’s MS vs. MS Pro cards, are similar in size and shape but have different controllers inside, which require readers to be specifically adapted to read the new Pro format. (Same thing goes with Sony’s MS Duo vs. MS Pro Duo cards; and again with SD vs. MMC cards, which unlike Sony’s cards don’t represent an evolution of the same card, but rather, are two different formats made by two different companies, but which happen to share the same outer size and shape).

    So this card reader in the review is essentially a 13-in-1 card reader, NOT a 21-in-1. And we still don’t know if some of the smaller cards require adaptors, or can be read natively. If they got rid of the SM slot, had a built in cable (instead of an external one that you have to mess with), and cut all the “bull” by being realistic when listing the formats it can read, along with listing their proper names, they’d actually have something.

    With that said, what I’d like to see then is an attractive, compact USB 2.0 / 12-in-1 card reader with a short-built-in cable, capable of reading the following REAL formats natively with NO adaptors:

    -CF I
    -CF II/Microdrive
    -SD
    -MiniSD
    -MicroSD
    -MMC
    -RS-MMC
    -xD
    -MS
    -MS Pro
    -MS Duo
    -MS Pro Duo

    Give me that, and I’ll open my wallet!

  • MitchellO August 23, 2005, 12:06 pm

    Ah, I was thinking of HS as HalfSized, not high speed.

  • Julie August 23, 2005, 12:50 pm

    Thanks guys for pointing out all the different formats that this reader doesn’t really support without adapters. I’ll go in and update the review. I like the reader because it is so small. But like One of One said, I’d like to have one with a built-in USB cable. Half the time I forget to bring a cable with me, or I accidently leave it plugged in to another device. Having one attached would be much simpler.

  • Pony99CA August 23, 2005, 2:08 pm

    MitchellO wrote:

    *Mini SD, T-Flash – same thing

    Actually, that’s not true. Mini SD looks like a shrunken SD card; TransFlash is even smaller and has a different (odd) shape. They should count as separate formats — if they don’t require an SD adapter to read them. If they require an SD adapter, there should be a disclaimer saying something like “with adapter (not included)”.

    Steve

  • Pony99CA August 23, 2005, 2:12 pm

    One of One wrote:

    A format is defined by a card’s unique shape and/or size, or a difference in internal controllers, not simply by a difference in speed.

    I think you’ll need to qualify that a bit more. My understanding of high-speed cards is that they achieve higher speeds by using different controllers in the card.

    To be completely correct, you’d probably need to say something like “incompatible controllers”, but that just sounds bad. :)

    Steve

  • Pony99CA August 23, 2005, 2:30 pm

    Julie wrote:

    Thanks guys for pointing out all the different formats that this reader doesn’t really support without adapters. I’ll go in and update the review.

    You need another minor tweak. As I mentioned above, TransFlash is not the same as Mini SD.

    Julie wrote:

    I like the reader because it is so small. But like One of One said, I’d like to have one with a built-in USB cable. Half the time I forget to bring a cable with me, or I accidently leave it plugged in to another device. Having one attached would be much simpler.

    The downside of a built-in cable is having to get a whole new reader if the cable goes bad. With costs of some USB 2.0 readers under $10 now, I suppose you can consider them as disposable, though. I bought one of those sub-$10 ones to keep at work so I wouldn’t have to carry my other USB 2.0 reader back and forth.

    Steve

  • dmccarty August 23, 2005, 8:38 pm

    Am I the only one out here who would like to see a USB port on those x-in-1 adapters? I know, I have a gajillion USB ports on my computer and monitors, but my card reader sits right next to my keyboard and is the easiest thing to plug a removable piece of media into.

    BTW, I think they meant “xd picture card” for “X card.” That’s the card type recently introduced by Fujifilm and Olympus. Supposedly it’s smaller/faster/uses less power than anything else.

  • One of One August 24, 2005, 12:43 am

    Pony99CA wrote:

    I think you’ll need to qualify that a bit more. My understanding of high-speed cards is that they achieve higher speeds by using different controllers in the card.

    To be completely correct, you’d probably need to say something like “incompatible controllers”, but that just sounds bad. :)

    Steve

    That may be true, but if different controllers are indeed used to achieve higher speeds, those particular controllers shouldn’t prevent a card reader from reading higher speed cards. The controllers I was referring to require a reader to be specifically enabled in order to read their data. But then, this starts getting confusing for some, so I just kept it simple. ;) :p

    Pony99CA wrote:

    You need another minor tweak. As I mentioned above, TransFlash is not the same as Mini SD.

    Steve

    That’s right. TransFlash is actually known as MicroSD now. MiniSD is just slightly larger in size than MicroSD.

  • MitchellO August 24, 2005, 1:10 am

    Pony99CA wrote:

    Actually, that’s not true. Mini SD looks like a shrunken SD card; TransFlash is even smaller and has a different (odd) shape. They should count as separate formats — if they don’t require an SD adapter to read them. If they require an SD adapter, there should be a disclaimer saying something like “with adapter (not included)”.

    Steve

    Oops. :p Forgot that it was Micro SD not MiniSD that the Transflash is related to.

    I have a card reader (I think its 18-in-1), and it said on the box “some cards will require adaptors”. :unsure: Doesn’t sound exactly like 18 to me…

Leave a Comment