Windows 98 or later
Mac OS 8.6 or later
Most PDAs, digital cameras, MP3 players, etc. have one thing in common. They
all use removable media. Whether it be Compact Flash (CF), SmartMedia (SM),
Secure Digital (SD), Memory Sticks (MS) or MultiMedia Cards (MMC). That in
itself is fine and dandy, but there is the matter of convenience when you need
to copy files from your desktop PC to one of these devices. Juggling cables,
cradles, various card readers and so forth can be a big pain when all you want
to do is to copy one file to one card quickly. Enter the 4-in-1 Memory Card
Reader/Writer from Semson’s & Co. Inc.
This memory card reader/writer has 3 slots for CF (including IBM microdrives),
MMC, SD, and SM cards. You’ll notice that I left out the Memory Stick in that list.
Unfortunately, that’s the only card this reader/writer doesn’t support.
Physically, it is small and compact and is approximately the size of a deck of
playing cards. Made of a light weight silver colored plastic, it has little
rubber feet on the bottom to prevent it from scratching your desk. It also has a
detachable USB cable. But guess what it doesn’t have…. an AC power brick. It
actually draws its power directly from the USB port on your PC or notebook
computer which means one less power outlet that you need.
Installing the CSD4-USB in your computer is a snap if you use Windows XP. You just plug
it into a free USB port and you’re done! No extra drivers are required. If you
run an older version of the Windows OS or use a Mac, a CD is included with the drivers
you’ll need. I’ve been using this reader/writer with XP Pro for several weeks
now and have never had a problem with it locking up or not being recognized.
There is one card slot on each of three sides of the device. So, depending on
how you have it sitting on your desk, one or more slots may not be that easy to
see or access. I have mine situated so that the CF slot is to the front since
that is the type of media I tend to use most often.
One bad thing about this device is that it is so light weight, that you have
to hold on to it to insert or remove a card. I guess a person could always
Velcro it to their desk!
On top of the reader/writer are 4 small status LEDs that glow green when the
unit is powered on (attached to your computer), or when a card is in one of the
various slots. The power LED blinks when you are accessing one of the cards.
This device meets the USB 1.1 specification and is rated for 12mb / sec.
transfer speeds. I conducted some pretty unscientific tests with a stopwatch,
two files, and three different memory cards, just to see how well it performed.
96Mb Sandisk CF card
32Mb SM card (unsure of the brand)
128Mb Kingston SD card
23.6Mb .wmv video, 4.6Mb .mp3 song
|1.09 min to copy a 23.6Mb file from PC to CF|
1.10 min to copy a 23.6Mb file from PC to SD
36.09 sec to copy a 23.6Mb file from PC to SM
|12.65 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from PC to CF|
14.75 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from PC to SD
9.22 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from PC to SM
|1.02 min to copy a 23.6Mb file from SM to CF|
1.38 min to copy a 23.6Mb file from SM to SD
|12.31 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from SM to CF|
14.53 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from SM to SD
|1.04 min to copy a 23.6Mb file from CF to SM|
1.11 min to copy a 23.6Mb file from CF to SD
|8.34 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from CF to SM|
14.22 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from CF to SD
|36.75 sec to copy a 23.6Mb file from SD to SM|
1.03 min to copy a 23.6Mb file from SD to CF
|8.0 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from SD to SM|
12.47 sec to copy a 4.6Mb file from SD to CF
All in all, copying files to and fro seemed pretty snappy and I have no real
I use this reader/writer at least once or twice a day and it has a permanent
position on my desk. If it only had a Memory Stick slot, it would be perfect. As
it is, I will still recommend it as a good product that is small, very portable
and easy to use.
Doesn’t require an AC power cord
Reads/writes 4 card formats
Doesn’t have a Memory Stick slot
Very light weight