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Occasionally, you pick up a product and simply think, - why has no one thought of this before? The DataTraveller Reader from Kingston falls firmly into that category. As Gordon reported earlier this month, it’s a USB based card reader that can accept all forms of SD cards, with the cool feature being that it has 2GB of flash memory embedded inside it.
The complete list of formats supported are SD, SDHC, MMC, and MMCplus and if you use an adaptor, you can insert miniSD, microSD, RS-MMC, MMCmobile and MMCmicro. Sony’s MemoryStick formats and Olympus/FujiFilm's xD are not invited to the party. Support for SDHC though is quite a big deal, as many existing SD card readers won’t recognise the new high capacity format.
When I heard how clever Kingston had been in including 2GB of memory into a card reader I was impressed, but when I actually got my hands on the product I have to say that I was a little disappointed. The device is inevitably wider than a regular USB key as it has to accommodate a full size SD card. However, the build quality isn’t quite as good as it could be. It’s made of plastic that both looks and feels a bit cheap – though one could hardly expect more at the price.
An external card is inserted by lifting up a flap, and a plastic strip is used to slide the card out. This has ridges on it so your fingers can get a purchase. The problem with the lid that that is just feels flimsy and I would have preferred a slot loading device.
I wasn’t that keen on the other end either. The USB port has a simple plastic lid that doesn’t do anything clever such as slide back or fold – you just pop it off, which is just asking to be mislaid. The way to avoid this though, is to attach the supplied lanyard using a small hole in the side of the cap and a hook that’s located in the corner next to the USB connector.
When you plug in the DataTaveller a small yellow light illuminates and it flashes when data is transferring across. The Kingston naturally doesn’t need drivers for XP, Vista or MacOS and is simply recognised as a Mass Storage Device. It takes a bit longer than you would expect to pop up as a drive letter the first time you insert it as Windows/MacOS has to recognise it both as a USB memory key and as a card reader and as such, two separate drive letters appear. Therefore, if you have a card in, its completely separate to the internal memory – so you have say, 4GB + 2GB, rather than 6GB in total.