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Royal SCR2 SIM Card Reader/Writer review: Royal SCR2 SIM Card Reader/Writer

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The Good The functional Royal SCR2 SIM has a simple, easy-to-use design with some extra features.

The Bad The Royal SCR2 SIM card reader accommodates only one SIM card at a time and it does not let you clear contacts directly from its memory.

The Bottom Line Though it's certainly useful, the Royal SCR2 SIM card reader is not without its flaws.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

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You may wonder why you would need a SIM card reader, but the idea really isn't as unnecessary as it sounds. Just think about it: if you ever lose your cell phone (not an unusual scenario by any means), you also lose your SIM card and any contacts saved on your SIM card. Sure, you can get a new phone and SIM card, but then you'll have to reenter every contact by tapping away on your handset's keypad. But the SCR2 SIM card reader from Royal Consumer Products can help you avoid all that by backing up your contacts for later retrieval. It is well worth the $19.99 price tag, though we wish it were easier to clear its memory.

While the keychain Royal SCR1 was designed with extreme portability, the SCR2 isn't so designed for carrying in your pocket. Don't get us wrong, at 3.5 inches by 1.8 inches by 0.5 inch and 2.56 ounces it's still compact, but it's probably better carried in a purse or bag. It also comes in a protective carrying case made of sturdy plastic. You can't remove the SCR2 from the case completely; rather it's attached on one side, so it opens in a manner resembling a door hinge.

The black and silver design is identical to the SCR1, except that everything is on a larger scale. The monochrome 2.3-inch LCD serves as your interface for interacting with the device. On the left is a menu control and a pair of scrolling buttons, while an enter key and another pair of scrolling buttons sit on the right side. The menu design is simple, but using the buttons can take some practice since they perform multiple functions. Even for such a basic device, it's a good idea to read the instructions first.

The left side holds the SIM card slot while the cover for the replaceable battery and a tiny reset hole are on the SCR2's back. Like the SCR1, the SCR2 doesn't have an off switch in the traditional sense; you only can make it sleep between certain times. Though that option saves battery power, we think an off switch is a better idea.

Backing up your contacts could hardly be easier. After inserting your SIM card into the reader and selecting the "Backup" option from the menu, the SCR2 then scans your card and transfers your contacts. It all takes a matter of seconds, but there is an important caveat to this process. Whenever you transfer contacts to the SCR2 or back to a SIM card, they will overwrite any information already saved there. That means you can't pick and choose which contacts to transfer; rather you transfer everything or nothing at all. What's more, the SCR2 only works with one SIM card at a time.

While we could get past the above complaints, it's ridiculous that there's no Clear or Delete command on the SCR2. In other words, you can't remove saved contacts on the unit itself. As far as we can see, the only way to clear the SCR2's memory is to put in a new SIM card with no saved contacts and then perform a transfer. Besides being a rather tedious way to accomplish something exceedingly simple, it also means you'll need to have a second SIM card sitting around. And how many people have one of those?

Storage on the SCR2 is limited to 250 contacts, but that's not an issue since SIM cards only store 250 names to begin with. Contacts are now stored alphabetically and multiple numbers for each person are indicated by the type of number ("M" for mobile, "H" for home, and "W" for work). You can protect the contact list and the backup options with a password and the SCR2 supports SIM card PINs as well.

The SCR2 also offers a few basic organizer applications. And it offers a stopwatch, a world clock, and a countdown timer. It also comes with three very basic (yet somewhat entertaining) games: Slot Machine, Dice, and Lotto (gambling is an obvious theme). As for personalization options, you can change the screen's contrast, the font size, the display mode for the date and time, and the language. The SCR2 supports German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, Italian, and French, and it's important to note that it can't display characters from non-Roman alphabets. The battery life is viewable in another menu option.

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