If you've bought a new laptop in the last year, chances are you've got one of the new express card slots on the side of it. Half the size of a PC card the idea, for those not in the know, is to be able to offer you a chance to expand your offering,



In the past the PC card has been used for everything from a slot for your 3G datacard to housing your multimedia remote. But chances are for the most time it's just a dead empty space waiting to collect dust and dirt.

In steps the Griffin Express Card 34 Card Reader, that utilises the dead space by filling it with a 5 in one 1 card reader.

There are no drivers or software required, all you need is the space, and a memory card. Those five memory card types are Sony's Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro, as well as SD, MMC and Olympus and Fujifilm's xD-Picture Card.

Of course, the clever ones reading this, will also cotton on that that means the card, with the right adapter, can read Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Micro, miniSD, RS-MMC, MMCplus, MMCmobile, MMCmicro and MMCmini covering just about all current digital cameras and mobile phones out there.

The only omission and one that is likely to be disappointing for professional photographers looking to transfer files quickly to their computer is the lack of a CompactFlash slot, but we think this is more to space constraints (the slot and card are very small) rather than Griffin not wanting to support the format.

Once slotted in, all that is left is choose your memory card of de jour and away you go. The card as if you were connecting it via your camera appears on your desktop (for mac) or the drive listing (for PC) and transfer to and from the drive is at USB2 speeds.

Verdict

Small and light (it's 34 x 75 x 5mm and 15g) the Griffin Express Card 34 Card Reader, which gets its power via your laptop, will save you having to take yet another cable in your bag.



Those short of cash will argue that this is just another way of doing what is perfectly fine with the cable shipped in the box of your digital camera, and they would be right, however if you find yourself transferring files from a number of sources, be it your camera or your phone and want to do it faster than Bluetooth or having to sit there with your camera on the desk this is a great solution.