Product Review: Page (1) of 1 - 07/29/05 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

USB Copy Cruiser Plus

A universal media card reader that's portable By Frank Moldstad

Heres an interesting twist on the multiple format media card reader: Make it portable. And give it the ability to transfer files between various media with no computer attached

Aleratecs USB Copy Cruiser Plus (MSRP $89.99) is powered by three triple A batteries, and is about the size of a cell phone. The edges are ringed with ports for the different supported formats and the top features an LCD screen and a navigational keypad.

It will handle nearly any format you throw at it. This includes the ability to read eight media card types: Compact Flash Type I/II, MicroDrive, Smart Media, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Multi Media Card and Secure Digital. It also supports USB 1.1 and 2.0 devices, from USB Flash drives and digital cameras to USB hard drives and MP3 players.

Among other things, this versatility could be invaluable when youre taking digital photos miles from home and the cameras media card comes up full. The last time this happened to me, I was in the Sierra Nevada mountains and had to drive 40 miles roundtrip to buy a new Compact Flash card for $50. If Id had a USB Copy Cruiser Plus, I could have just removed the full card from the camera and transferred the contents to something else, such as a USB Flash drive. (Reminder to self: Bring USB Flash drive.)

I tested this functionality in several ways, first by transferring 80 MB of digital photos from a Canon cameras Compact Flash card to a Kingston USB Flash drive. When it is powered on, a menu on the USB Copy Cruiser Plus LCD screen lists four storage options to choose from: USB Storage I, USB Storage II, Memory Card I and Memory Card II. Using the arrow buttons on the keypad, I selected Memory Card I and then hit the Command button in the center of the keypad. Options include Copy All, Delete All and Duplicate (which overwrites everything on the target device). The transfer was smooth and about as fast as transferring photos to a computer.

The menu options are straightforward, allowing you to get right to the files or folders you want intuitively without a lot of hassle.

Each time files are transferred to another device or card, the USB Copy Cruiser Plus creates a folder on the target device, and these folders are sequentially named ?Backup01, ?Backup02, etc., to avoid overwriting previously saved material.

After transferring the images, I chose the Delete All function to erase everything from the Compact Flash card, The delete functions work just like the copy functions, except you choose Delete instead of Copy.

Then, I selected the USB Flash drive from the main menu and chose three individual image files on it to transfer back to the now empty Compact Flash card. I did this by highlighting the Flash drive in the main menu, and then pressing the right arrow button. This displays all folders, and with a folder highlighted, pushing the right arrow button again displays the files in a selected folder. Scrolling through the images, I chose three by pressing the right arrow button and hitting Enter, which marked each one with an asterisk. To select the destination device I hit enter again, and chose Copy to Card I.

The USB Copy Cruiser Plus has a matrix of routing options from various devices. When attached to a computer, it serves as an 8-in-one card reader. It can grab files from any of the compatible formats and put them on any of the others  Memory Stick to USB hard drive, digital camera to Micro Drive or whatever combination you need. (USB mass storage devices and digital cameras must support the PTP protocol.) It will be recognized out of the box by a Mac running OS X, while a USB 2.0 driver is provided on CD for use with PCs. A USB cable is also included.

But the portability considerably enhances its value. For those who live out of a briefcase, its small size and multitude of connectivity options could make the USB Copy Cruiser Plus a lifesaver. Imagine eating lunch with a client who casually mentions that he has a proposal on his USB Flash drive, but he cant give the drive to you. No problem. Or what if the computers go down and important photos, documents or other files cant be retrieved from removable USB media until the computers are back up?

Its a simple device with a multitude of uses, and the USB Copy Cruiser Plus proved quick and reliable in my tests. If it matches your needs, I would highly recommend it.


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Related Keywords:media card reader, portable, Compact Flash Type I/II, MicroDrive, Smart Media, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Multi Media Card, Secure Digital

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