As we continue down this path toward ultimate geekdom, we will get buried deeper and deeper in our gadgetry. It seems that every portable device that I have needs a different charger and a different memory card, so it helps when someone comes up with something a little more convenient. Marrying the functionality of a USB flash drive with a memory card reader is the DataTraveler Micro Reader from Kingston Technology. Convenience is great, but are you sacrificing something as a result? This review aims to answer this oh-so-pressing question.
Included in the Package
To the untrained eye, the Micro Reader looks like any other budget-minded USB flash drive, but that little flap reveals a memory card reader. Aside from the somewhat nifty design, you really get nothing else in the package but a small lanyard-like string. Well, I shouldn't say lanyard. It's the same string that comes with the DataTraveler 150. Nothing too exciting here.
Convergence in a Different Kind of Way
For those of you not hip to the terminology, a convergence device is one that combines the functionality of two separate products. For example, a camera phone is a cell phone that happens to have a digital camera too. That's convergence. The Kingston DataTraveler Micro Reader carries on this kind of philosophy, but it's not nearly as exciting as the world's first MP3-playing mobile phone. That's not to say that it should be ignored though, because its dual functionality can come in very handy.
Despite having the same size as a regular Kingston DataTraveler USB flash drive, the Micro Reader is also capable of reading microSD, microSDHC, and Memory Stick Micro (M2) memory cards. If you're going to carry around a flash drive anyway, you may as well have one that can read the memory card inside your smartphone too.
That's Some Mighty Cheap Plastic
I'm not all that impressed with the overall build quality of the DataTraveler Micro Reader. I do prefer metal (aluminum) over plastic for flash drives and the same applies here. There is a certain ruggedness that you get with metal over plastic. There are some USB flash drives on the market that use some very nice plastic though, so I can forgive them, however the plastic used here feels quite thin. I do appreciate that the "hinge" part for the memory card reader isn't remarkably loose and there's enough stiffness there for you to hold the "door" at nearly any angle.
A Dynamic Duo?
For the purposes of this review, the Micro Reader was paired with an 8GB microSDHC kit, also from Kingston. The kit comes with the microSDHC card itself, as well as adapters so that it can be used as a miniSD card and standard SD card. The small USB adapter works as a card reader too, somewhat negating the usefulness of the subject of our review. The Kingston microSDHC card is rated as a Class 4 product, guaranteeing a minimum data transfer rate of 4MB/sec.