By October 19, 2007

i-rocks IR-8100-BK Card Reader review

I have all sorts of flash memory cards and drives that I use on a regular basis. I have a compact flash for my Canon Digital Rebel, a SD card for my Minolta Ximage camera, a microSD card for my Samsung u740 mobile phone, a Memory Stick for my PSP, and a thumbdrive running Keepass. I had an internal multi-format card reader in my previous workstation. It didn’t always recognize my cards when I inserted them, and I was too lazy to disassemble the older computer to put the reader into my newer workstation. I started looking for an external reader that I could take with me when I traveled, or migrate easily from machine to machine if need be.

I looked to NewEgg, my favorite e-tailer, for a solution. I decided on the i-rocks IR-8100-BK card reader.

I chose the i-rocks IR-8100 for a few reasons. The most obvious and important was that it was black. I liked that the IR-8100 had an external power supply. This would allow me to run high-powered USB accessories should I choose to. Different card formats are on different sides of the IR-8100, with three USB 2.0 ports along one of the sides. I wasn’t sure if I liked this setup at first, but it wound up making things very user-friendly. My previous readers had reader slots all jammed up on top of each other, which meant that if I plugged in my USB thumbdrive I wouldn’t be able to plug in a memory stick.

The downside to this multi-sided approach is that the IR-8100 has a pretty big foot print. It measures 3 1/4″ x 3 1/4″, which isn’t too bad in and of itself — until you start plugging shit into it. The IR-8100 looks like one of those asymmetrical “for demo purpose only” shuriken one might find at a mall cutlery store that also sells replicas of Excalibur and Sting.The actual footprint of the device when I have my thumbdrive and SD card plugged on opposing sides with my CF card on another in is about 6 1/2″ x 4″. All of a sudden the IR-8100 takes up a fair amount of precious real estate on my cluttered desk.

However, the IR-8100 performs flawlessly and quickly — it recognizes, reads, and writes to flash memory a lot faster and more reliably than either internal card reader I have now. It is also very well made. The previous external reader I owned would “eat” Compact Flash cards if you inserted them even slightly askew. Despite the larger footprint, the IR-8100 does everything I needed it to.

i-rocks IR-8100-BK Card Reader and powered USB hub, I connect:
Four out of five STFU mugs!

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