Review: Cardette Multi-Card Reader & Hub

Card reader and USB Hub that goes where you go. (April 20th, 2007)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Aevoe Corp., Moshi Division

Price: 35.00 US

The Good

  • Light weight. Handles multiple cards at the same time. 2-port USB hub. Built-in cable. USB extension cable included.

The Bad

  • Poor strap. Weak clip on removable strap. No carry bag or port protection.

Aevoe has a series of products that they market under the Moshi logo, as fashion electronics for Apple's line of portables. The products range from MacBook and iPod cases, to keyboard covers, and the very useful Cardette.

Versatile Card Reader

The Cardette is a slick looking portable flash card reader that simply plugs into your USB port. It works best in USB 2, but drops back to 1.1 when needed. What makes the Cardette stand out in this crowded product field is its robust, yet compact design that is enhanced with two extra-powered USB ports. It is smaller and weighs less than a deck of cards, which means it is easy to tote around. When plugged in, the Moshi logo glows a nice turquoise color to let you know its powered up.

The built-in USB cord means you have no worries of leaving home without your USB cable. It stores neatly into a slot on the bottom of the reader. The cord is very short, so an USB extension cord also ships with the Cardette. The two extra powered ports include up to 300mA, so that you can plug other small devices right into them, although everything is powered through your Mac's USB port, which is less than 500mA. Although, I did not have a USB drive, nor a keyboard to test, but I did gather up a variety of USB devices, all of which worked and mounted just fine when plugged into one of the Cardette's extra ports. The devices were 128MB to 1GB flash drives and other USB card readers.

supports slot-to-slot

The Cardette design allows you to load two different kinds of memory cards at the same time, assuming they don't use the same ports. While one port holds most of the cards listed below, a second port holds the larger CompactFlash cards. I was able to use an SD and CompactFlash card at the same time and transfer files back and forth. This is convenient for the many photographers that carry multiple format cameras. In addition, files can be moved across any other USB devices you plug into the extra ports.

Questionable Carry Strap

One element of the Cardette I did not like is the detachable strap. It is a Velcro-enabled piece of leather that fits through the curved end flap, which folds over to form a tab with a clip. I assume as the leather softens, the Velcro will hold securely, but it certainly didn't at first. Also, the attached clip did not seem secure because the opening prong has nothing to protect it from accidental pressure, so it may open when you least expect it. It attaches to a leather loop, which will wear out over long-term use. A plastic coated carabiner clip on a D-ring would have been a better choice.

When I clip accessories to my bags, I want them to have some kind of port protection. While the Cardette is made to clip and go, there is nothing to prevent dust, dirt, wayward soda drops, or anything else from gucking up the ports. Some kind of protective felt bag, or even a small zip-lock bag for budget-minded consumers is needed to protect the ports. This is not a device I want to clip to a briefcase, as shown in pictures on the site. You can give me a clip, but I won't use it unless the innards of the products are protected first.

Most Cards Supported

The Cardette multi-card reader supports a variety of present and future cards. Their site lists compatibility with CompactFlash Types I & II(CF), MicroDrive, Memory Stick (MS), MultiMediaCard (MMC), SecureDigital (SD), and eXtremeDigital (xD-Picture). While it is also compatible with these cards, an external memory card adaptor is required: MemoryStick Duo (MS Duo), Memory Stick PRO Duo (MS PRO Duo), Memory Stick Pro, Reduced Size MultiMediaCard (RS-MMC), miniSD, and microSD. No information as to how to purchase the adaptor was available on the site as of this writing. Aevoe/Moshi also claims that it complies with the "the emerging SecureDigital High Capacity (SDHC) standard as well as the specialty Type M and high speed Type H xD memory cards." The only cards it cannot handle are the older SmartMedia cards.

When you consider that most flash card readers cost about the same and do not provide any extra ports, the Cardette is a good buy. It comes in matte black or white and works in Mac OSX 10.1.2 or later.

Related Product Reviews:
Aegis Mini Ultra USB Portable Hard Disk Drive
http://www.macnn.com/reviews/review.php?id=281

Lexar 2GB prof. 133x SD Card
http://www.macnn.com/reviews/review.php?id=247

Imation USB 2.0 Clip Flash Drive
http://www.macnn.com/reviews/review.php?id=208

Imation Micro HardDrive
http://www.macnn.com/reviews/review.php?id=203

Edge Dock & Multi Flash Card Reader for iPod
http://www.macnn.com/reviews/review.php?id=156

by ilene hoffman, Reviews Editor


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