ELAGO Nano Mobile Micro SD Reader Review

When you purchase a netbook or a MacBook Air, you want a lightweight, compact computer that you can carry in a small bag or even your normal purse/gear bag.  A limitation that some netbooks, especially older ones, and some MacBook Airs have in common is low amounts of data storage.  You can connect an external disk for more space, but having to lug around another device defeats the purpose of getting those tiny computers in the first place.  You can use a USB flash drive, but again, it’s another thing to keep up with.  Not all netbooks or Airs have built-in card readers, so you can’t just opt for leaving an SD card in for extra storage.  The Nano Mobile Micro SD Reader from ELAGO will allow you to add memory with microSD cards, and it’s small enough that you can put it in a USB port and leave it – even while your computer is in your bag.

You’ll see that the ELAGO nano I purchased is white, but there is also a black version.  The Nano is tiny.  It’s about 0.6″ wide X 0.3″ thick X 0.9″ long with the cap in place or 0.7″ long without the cap. As you can see from the top picture, it comes with a tiny lanyard so you can attach it to a keychain.

ELAGO says the Nano is compatible with Windows Vista and is certified for Windows XP and Mac OS X.  It’s a plug-and-play USB 2.0 device.

When inserted into the USB port, it protrudes from the computer about 0.25″.  The top side of the Nano has a blue LED that lights up when it’s plugged in and blinks as it is accessed.

I use the Built Neoprene Tote Bag for the 13″ MacBook with my MBP, and the laptop sleeve inside the bag is a very snug fit.   I was afraid that I couldn’t fit the laptop inside with the Nano installed, but it slipped in with absolutely no problems.

The Nano is certainly not as big and bulky as standard USB flash drives.  It’s not a flash drive, though.  It’s a card reader.  (It’s also much smaller than other USB card readers.)  You’ll have to supply your own microSD card.  I used a 4GB Dane-elec microSD card I happened to have on hand.  I’ve owned this card for at least 3 years, so it’s probably not the latest and greatest technology.

You can see the microSD card just peeping out of the Nano’s metal connector (above).  Note the position of the yellow tab on the back of the white plastic part.  This yellow tab is the ejector for removing the microSD card when you want to swap it out for another card.

You can see the yellow tab is fully exposed here, indicating that a microSD card is in place.  I plugged it in to my MBP, and the Nano was immediately available.  There was no delay for driver installation and no problems reading the card.

I decided I’d try out the Nano by doing a speed test for copying files from my computer to the Nano.  I compared its copy rates to a 4GB Dane-elec USB flash drive I also had on hand.  The flash drive is about the same vintage as the microSD card.

I tested each storage device by first copying over a folder with 457 pictures in it; it had a total of 1.25GB of data.  I then copied over a single file that was 1.85GB.

I realize, of course, that the speed of the ELAGO is determined by the card inside it.  I’m not sure what the data, above, shows – other than the microSD card is much faster than the USB flash drive. But, hey!  I felt I should show something to indicate that I tested it out. ;)

I think the ELAGO Nano Mobile Micro SD Reader has a couple of advantages over USB flash drives and external drives.  First of all, the tiny size allows you to insert it in your computer’s USB port and just leave it there.  You don’t have to worry about transporting it or losing it.  Secondly, it is a card reader, so you aren’t limited to a set amount of storage like with a USB flash drive.  (Yes, I still have a USB flash drive with a whopping 256MB of space…)  You can easily use multiple microSD cards as a means of organizing your files, or you could replace a microSD card with one with much more storage, as your storage needs grow.  You could buy a 32GB microSD, plug it into some netbooks with the Nano, and have a second drive with more storage than the internal drive.  The Nano is easier to carry than an external drive and cheaper than a new netbook.  It’s an economical way to extend the useful life of your small computer without adding to the gear you have to lug around.

 

Product Information

Price:about $9.00 - $9.50, depending on color
Manufacturer:ELAGO
Retailer:Amazon
Pros:
  • So tiny you can leave it in your laptop all the time
  • Can use microSD cards of any capacity
  • It's a card reader, so you aren't limited to a set amount of storage
Cons:
  • So tiny you could easily lose it if you don't leave it in your computer at all times
Posted in: Laptops and Gear, Reviews

11 comments… add one

  • Jackie Cheng December 15, 2011, 2:54 pm

    Such a coincidence, I just ordered that from Amazon yesterday. =)

  • Louis M December 16, 2011, 12:06 pm

    These are great. The only negative is that the caps fall off easily after a few uses. While “in use”, the cap is detached and is so small that it can easily get lost, becoming food for the denizen under the fridge or soot sprites- never to be seen again.

    There is however, a fix that makes this device much better- simply drill (or melt with a pin) a tiny hole through the tip of the cover and pass the cord through it before you connect it to the base. You’ll never lose it and it will not get in the way. Not my idea and the instructions are online somewhere.

  • Gary March 5, 2012, 7:43 pm

    I have a black one of these w/a 32GB class 10 patriot micro sdhc card and it works flawlessly in everything I stick it into except my 15″ macbook pro (6,2).

    It ‘sees’ it for < 1min and then I get the improper ejected media message. Extremely frustrating. This is under SL, not Lion btw. It's not a hardware issue as booting the same machine into linux does not exhibit any issue whatsoever.

    Serious FAIL mode wrt Apple.

  • Jeff January 7, 2013, 11:44 am

    Gotta love these non-technical reviews… thanks for the r/w speed info, how bout a transfer rate test or what the max capacity card these readers can use?

  • Lynn M. Roberts May 19, 2013, 6:02 pm

    I have one of these and Windows 7 views a 4GB card in it as a flash drive, But XP does not see the card at all. The same 4 GB card in a A Data adaptor lets XP View the card, Seems I may have wasted my money? would appreciate an answer to this problem as I would like to use this device on my XP comp. Thanks.

  • Janet Cloninger May 19, 2013, 9:06 pm

    @Lynn M. Roberts The Gadgeteer is a review and news site. We do not provide customer support for this or any other product. You’ll need to ask your question at Elago.

  • Lynn M. Roberts May 20, 2013, 12:02 am

    The reason I posted here is because there is doesn’t seem to be any tech support at elago. people have emailed them and don’t get any answer from them. So I figured maybe someone had figured out this problem with this reader and could pass along an answer. Sorry to have bothered you Janet.

  • Janet Cloninger May 20, 2013, 12:31 am

    @Lynn It isn’t a bother. I just assumed you’d have more luck getting your question answered at Elago.

  • Lynn M. Roberts May 22, 2013, 4:15 pm

    Took your advice and went to Elago web site and could just barley make out the info on the site , but found the contact email address and asked the question about XP that I mentioned in my comment to you and they responded very quickly, which I was led to believe they wouldn’t. So much for assumptions. They suggested I try it on another XP computer. I did and found out that indeed it did work. So I thought it only fitting I should post a detraction of the original post. So here it is! It does work as it is publisized. Thank you for steering me in the right direction.

  • Janet Cloninger May 22, 2013, 4:49 pm

    @Lynn M. Roberts I’m so glad you got your answer from their customer service. Sometimes people ask questions here about a product, and sometimes they will get an answer. You have to hope that someone who knows what you need to know just happens upon your question, though.

    So, it works with XP on another computer, but does that mean it still won’t work with the particular computer you wanted it to work with?

  • Lynn M. Roberts May 22, 2013, 9:05 pm

    This is true but I can use another A Data adaptor to access the Microsd card. Ill try to investicate why my desktop recognizes the adaptor but will not recognize the microsd card in the Elago adaptor. I tried to download the free drivers listed on your web site but the download failed. It seems Google stopped it from changing their settings. I turned down all the offered sotware that applied to seargh toolbars. But evidently the dowload still tried to load into the toolbar. Guess I’ll eventially have to bite the bullet and get a new computer. I Am seriously looking at a Mac. Thanks Again

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