A dock that reads flash cards may be just your edge (December 23rd, 2005)
Product Manufacturer: Edge Tech Corp
Price: MSRP $49.95 ($5.00 rebate on site)
- Handles most popular Flash Memory cards White like your iPod. Weighty, so won't slip around.
- Requires redundant cables. Some iPods may fit poorly. iPod does not recognize flash card. No Apple Remote function.
The EDGE Dock & Multi Flash Card Reader for iPod doesn't leave much mystery in its title as to its function. The mystery, I suppose, is in why you would need the device. Don't get me wrong, it is a fine iPod dock, and it is a fine flash card reader. As a convergence all-in-one device, it fails to prove itself as useful as other products.
The EDGE in ActionAs an iPod dock, the EDGE device, by Edge Tech, does almost everything an Apple iPod Dock, but it's a better price, if you need the card reader too. It charges the iPod, syncs the iPod with iTunes, and provides video output with an S-Video port. For syncing, you need to supply your own dock connection USB or FireWire cable. The package includes a USB 2.0 A to mini-B cable, a spacer to accommodate different iPod models; in addition, there is a built in Line-out to connect to external speakers. No external power supply is needed.
The space for fitting the iPod into the dock is tenuous at best. My 40GB 3G iPod fit perfectly into the slot, but my nano was not supported at all by the enclosure. My 30GB video iPod had a little too much wiggle room for my taste, and any wiggle room is too much on such a delicate piece. Even with the attached spacer clicked into place, the video iPod had ample room to sway back and forth. The dock connector is important, and because accidental damage is not covered by my AppleCare warranty, I can't ever see myself using the video iPod in this dock, which is too bad, since that is the only iPod I have that can actually use the S-Video output. iPod photo models can take advantage of the S-Video too. The positive aspect of the extra room is that you might be able to install the iPod while it is housed in a thick silicon case.
A few glitchesThere are a number of problems with the EDGE Dock though. First, if my video iPod uses USB 2.0, and so does the Flash Card reader, why do I need two separate cables? If you want to read a card and update your iPod, you need the mini-USB cable, and the Dock Connector cable. What is the point of a convergence device that doesn't fully converge? They should have included a built-in mini-dock type device to internally convert the dock connector to standard USB so you only need to use one cable. Second, the iPod cannot get pictures off of the flash card EDGE reader, but only Belkin made a Media Reader to transfer pictures for storage on an iPod. Effectively, the iPod dock and flash reader act as two separate devices. In this way, the EDGE is only slightly more effective, aesthetically speaking, than duct-taping a flash card reader to an iPod dock. Third, modern iPod docks include Apple remote functionality, but the EDGE does not, so it's more like duct-taping last year's iPod dock to a flash card reader.
To its credit, the EDGE handles all sorts of flash cards, including the newer xD cards and even Sony Memory Stick Duo and Pro cards. You have to supply your own dock connector and an S-Video cable. . The product is best used by those that have no dock or want to keep a dock permanently housed by your computer, stereo, or TV.
Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor