Sandisk ImageMate 6 in 1

If you deal with lots of different media formats and you're unwilling or unable to connect the source cameras into your PC then the best way forward is an all-in-one card reader. There are many on the market, all professing to offer the latest and greatest capablities to what ultimately is a drive reader.

SanDisk, the chaps who make their own media for most formats, have created a USB2.0 device that can read up to six media types all in one box. The notable missing format however is Olympus and Fujifilm's xD-Picture card, but if you're not worried about this then the offering of Compact Flash types I and II, Memory Stick, SmartMedia, SD and MultiMedia Card should facilitate your needs.

Working on the USB2.0 standard, transfer speeds are significantly faster than USB1.0 readers - 480Mbps in fact - and the need for power is negated as it is powered via the USB cable.

When at home the small device sits comfortably in a docking station that sits on your desk making access easy and the relevant LEDs on the reader light up when you slot in your relevant media format.

Away from home the device disconnects from the stand and becomes the size of a pack of card. Coming with a 25cm travelling USB cable is enough not get tangled with all your other wires, but might make access to the device hard if the only USB slot you can find is at the back of a tower machine stuck under a desk.

Software drivers come in the box and this will set your system up with four additional removable drives. While this makes for easy access to the files, locating the right drive to the right media format is a pain and a simple software configuration on SanDisk's behalf could have labelled these a lot better.

Verdict

If you have to deal with lots of different media on a regular basis this is a good device with fast transfer speeds, however it's marred by minor issues. It doesn't support the xD-Picture Card format. That's why we expect to be reviewing the 7 in 1 in future.