Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader (17-in-1)

Reviewed by: Jack Reikel, November 2006
Published by: IntegralMemory
Available at: Proporta
Requires: D ROM drive (for Windows 98SE Drivers only), USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port (compatible with USB 1.1 at low speed only), Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP or Vista; Mac OS 9 through X or higher

MSRP: US$26.95

The point of Kickstartnews reviews is to give products a workout in real situations (as opposed to simulated ones) in order to determine how well they'll stand up during day-to-day use. So my little Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader is now officially a world traveler. I brought it with me on two separate trips outside of North America. The device is designed to be plugged into a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port which provides both data transfer and power. The 17-in-1 designation refers to the various kinds of data storage cards which can be read by the device.

Depending on the destination(s), I travel with either a two year old Apple PowerBook or a newer Dell Precision M65. In either situation, I also carry a number of additional portable devices including a digital camera, iPod, a PDA/Smartphone and so on. Being able to read memory cards from the camera and the smartphone is very handy (although I can certainly do that easily enough by simply connect the camera or PDA directly to the laptop). However, when I have to read data from cards that are given to me, a card reader is essential. My card reading preference at home is the multicard reader built into my Dell 2405 monitor, but it doesn't offer as much card compatibility as the Integral. The office is another matter because we receive data in all sorts of formats, on a wide range of media, from a wide array of devices. A 17-in-1 multicard reader is absolutely essential.


The Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader is compatible with 17 types of memory cards:

  • SD Card and New SDHC
  • MiniSDMicroSD (TransFlash)
  • MultiMediaCard
  • MMCplus
  • MMCmobile
  • MMCmicro (with adapter)
  • CompactFlash
  • SmartMedia
  • MicroDrive
  • Magicstor Drive
  • MemoryStick
  • MemoryStick Pro (4bit data transfer)
  • Memory Stick Duo
  • MemoryStick PRO Duo
  • XD card

USB 2.0 Hi-Speed data transfer rates run around 480Mbps, give or take a few bits here and there. Results may be slower when there's too much happening on a computer during the transfer process. On a quiet computer however, you can move a lot of data, real fast across a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed connection. The Integral appears to operate at top speed and I didn't notice any unusual slowdowns except for the file access time differences for different cards. For example, a 4GB FujiFilm 40x CompactFlash (CF) card took almost ten seconds to access before the initial file copy could begin. By contrast, both the SanDisk Extreme III and Extreme 4, CF, 4GB cards were accessed almost instantly. Sony MemoryStick data transfer rates were abysmally slow, but MemoryStick Pro and MemoryStick Pro Duo rates were excellent, just slightly behind the SanDisk Extreme and Kingston SD Elite Pro. The point is that the Integral reader is as fast or faster than the cards you use.

Installing and using the Integral in Windows Vista, XP and Mac OS X is just a matter of plugging it in. The firmware in the Integral seems to work comparatively quickly, providing each operating system with the data it needs to make the device available to the system. A Windows 98 driver is supplied on CD for those of you who haven't yet seen the light. Be warned though that you cannot get USB 2.0 Hi-Speed data rates out of a USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 Full Speed port. Those last two operate at 12Mbps only, with the USB 2.0 Full Speed port providing compatibility with some newer devices that require a power lead.

Cons: Lightweight plastics such as polystyrene used to form or mold cases for the little PC boards and card slots, really don't offer much weight. That means you need two hands to use these multicard readers: one to hold the device in place, the other to insert a memory card. It would be nice to find a multicard reader which accepted and mounted cards inserted with one hand. The device is not supplied with any cork or rubber feet which means it rests flat on a desk or surface, the resulting problem being that you have to tilt the Integral upward with one hand to gain enough clearance above the desk surface in order to cleanly insert a CF card.

Pros: Lightweight and strong, you can safely toss the Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader in a desk drawer, pocket, briefcase or suitcase. We tried a dozen different cards without any problems. Installing the Integral in Windows Vista, XP and Mac OS X is just a matter of plugging it in and waiting a few seconds for the operating systems to recognize it. The LED activity light seems to work with all card access attempts, a visible reference which should prevent you from removing a card in the middle of a copy procedure. If you have the need, the Integral USB 2.0 Hi-Speed MultiCard Reader (17-in-1) is a good choice. Available from Proporta. Recommended.

KSN Product Rating:

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