Minds@Work has an excellent solution for digital photographers who frequently run out of space on their camera's storage card while out shooting pictures. With the Digital Wallet, you can stray far from your PC and take as many pictures as you want. This handy little device is a smart, portable 6GB hard drive that can read just about any digital camera media and can store literally thousands of pictures. Minds@Work has an excellent solution for digital photographers who frequently run out of space on their camera's storage card while out shooting pictures. With the Digital Wallet, you can stray far from your PC and take as many pictures as you want. This handy little device is a smart, portable 6GB hard drive that can read just about any digital camera media and can store literally thousands of pictures.
The Digital Wallet is easy to use and is slightly larger than a Nintendo Game Boy. You just plug in your media card to a PC Card adapter, put the adapter into the Digital Wallet's PC Card slot, and tell the device to copy the data onto its hard disk through a simple LCD menu, which takes only a few seconds. Back at home, simply connect the Digital Wallet to your PC or Mac via the USB connector and download image files directly onto your computer. When connected, the Digital Wallet acts like a hard drive; just drag and drop files as you like.
Included with the Digital Wallet is a PC Card adapter for CompactFlash. If your camera uses another type of media, such as SmartMedia or Sony's Memory Stick, you'll have to throw down a few extra dollars for an appropriate adapter. The Digital Wallet's rechargeable nickel-metal-hydride battery takes about three hours to fully charge and lasts a few days with modest use before it needs another recharge. (To conserve power, the unit automatically powers down if it is idle for more than 30 seconds.) The software bundle includes some basic file management software and ArcSoft PhotoMontage 2000 Pro.
However, we have a few bones to pick with this device. First, the Digital Wallet's case feels like it's made of a cheap, fragile plastic. The flimsy PC Card door, which seemed liable to snap, was of particular concern. Something a little more rugged would have given us more confidence that this device could stand the test of time. Also, the LCD menu has very limited information and may keep you guessing at times. You can check the amount of free disk space and battery life by percent, but you cannot see how much memory that a particular file or folder takes up. Finally, it's a tad too big to easily fit into most pockets.
Despite the few small imperfections we found, the Digital Wallet is a handy tool for just about any digital camera user. Its only big problem is the $499 price tag, which could quite possibly make it more expensive than your digital camera. However, the Digital Wallet is more versatile than flash media; you can even use it as a portable hard drive to tote big files from one PC to the next. And despite its price, it gives you more bang for the buck than you'd get by buying several spare memory cards.