The prospect of entering into a lengthy discourse about a card reader is not exactly the most thrilling proposition at first glance. Fortunately, the SanDisk has a little extra pizzazz to it in order to make our discussion far more interesting.
From the outset, this slender package clad in sleek black plastic is quite a sight to behold after having lumbered around card readers of old. To provide even more interest, the small black rectangle can be mounted on the included silver stand using a magnet at the base of the unit. Having pre-empted the trepidation some users might feel about placing a magnetic object next to your precious data on a memory card, the instruction booklet helpfully advises that the magnet in the stand will have no impact on a card's data.
Smooth piano black finish means just one thing, and that's fingerprints galore. Also, if you decide to use the reader attached to the stand, you'll find that the magnet is a little temperamental, as when you try and insert a card into the reader it is a delicate balancing act to avoid toppling the reader from its stand. Smaller cards are quite tricky to remove as well, given the precarious nature of the stand.
The transfer button (at the top of the device when using the stand) launches one of two utilities, available for download from www.sandisk.com/ImageMate, allowing you to launch your image editing program of choice and to change the drive letter allocation.
Features and performance
Arguably the most important feature about a card reader is the card formats it supports, and the SanDisk ticks the boxes for just about all the major formats: Compact Flash, microSDHC, miniSD, SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick/Pro/Duo and xD. Provided with the reader is a mini USB cable.
Transfer speeds (read and write) are also stated as being up to 34MBps; however, this number has been quoted by SanDisk when using a SanDisk Extreme IV Compact Flash card in conjunction with the reader. We put an assortment of memory card brands and formats through testing with the SanDisk. Your results will vary depending on the format and maximum transfer speed of your card. We found for the most part, with fast enough media, we were able to almost reach those claimed speeds.
|Memory Card||Capacity||Read/write speed|
Lexar Professional UDMA CompactFlash 300x
SanDisk Ultra II SDHC
The SanDisk ImageMate reader is a stylish addition to any photographer's arsenal, and with a wide range of support for most card types, it's good value too. It's perhaps more suited to sitting on a desk rather than being lugged around with a stack of lenses and peripherals thanks to its somewhat delicate stand system.