DPInterface Mini Multi-Slot Card Reader Review
Brad Soo - August 21st, 2006

When I set off to shop for a new card reader last weekend I had one thing in mind - a stylish, compact reader compatible with each and every memory card available. The Mini Multi-Slot Card Reader is just that; it uses USB 2.0 High-Speed too! I think this is an OEM card reader but I could be wrong. Even if it was, it sure doesn't feel like your typical OEM product!

Let's start off with the exterior: This card reader has an elegant shiny black finish (reminds me of the Canon S80's front). The only rant here is that it shows fingerprints very easily. The front of the Mini Card Reader is simplistic, boasting a few sculptured words to describe itself (It says: Mini Version 2; Multi-Slot Card Reader) and an LED indicator at the corner.

The little LED stays solid yellow when the reader is connected to a computer and blinks orange when there's activity going on (accessing, copying, transferring, etc).

In the box, the Mini Card Reader comes with the only thing you need to get started: a USB cable (which comes along with your camera too). Anyone who's been frequenting DPInterface would know that I prefer cable connection versus direct plug-in on my card reader. And that's for one reason: Direct plug-in card readers are prone to contact problems, caused mostly by internal wire bending - too troublesome and costly to repair.

The Mini Card Reader says that it read almost any memory card without the need of an adapter, with the exception of the Micro SD aka TransFlash. Among the cards readable are:

  • Compact Flash Type 1 and 2
  • Smart Media
  • Extreme Digital (xD-Picture Card)
  • The SD family (SD, Mini SD, SDHC, all except the Micro SD)
  • Memory Stick Duo/Memory Stick Full-sized (Includes PRO and non-PRO variations)

As you can see, it can really read almost any card - and more importantly, no adapters required - which is convenient if you're a digital camera reviewer like me or own cameras which use more than one type of card.

Again, I'd like to emphasize on the no-adapter required feature. Don't have a full-sized Memory Stick adapter? No problem, just slot that MS Duo right in and it works. Wanna download your mobile phone's content from its Mini SD? You can insert it right away without any SD adapter.

Let's have a better look at those slots now. I'll begin with the top two slots which read Secure Digital and Memory Stick cards respectively, followed by the Compact Flash and xD card slots below.

Since this thing supports USB 2.0 High-Speed, all your fast cards (be it 60X or 133X) will work to their full potential when moving data back-and-forth between the computer. Based on my experience with the card reader, my SanDisk Ultra II cards transferred their loads to the computer at around 8 to 9 MB per second.

Finally, the Mini Card Reader is portable and quite a bit smaller than your regular ultra-compact camera. It even makes the S100 Digital ELPH look big in the photo above.

The biggest attraction of the Mini Card Reader is probably the price - With that kind of feature set and a price of only $10, it's a sure value for money. For comparison's sake, both SanDisk and Lexar's multi-card readers (which have the same features) come in at $35.

The Mini Multi-Slot Card Reader looks great (though you need to always carry a cloth to make it stay that way), has great features and is a great bang-for-your-buck. I'd definitely recommend it to all photographers alike.

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