Price $35 US
The Cardette is a new card reader from Moshi. You could say, “So what?” there are lots of other card readers out in the marketplace, but this one is a just little different. Most card readers are simply that, card readers and nothing more, but Moshi has designed a few nice little extras with this one, like designing the cards it can accept with the future in mind.
However, let’s start with the basics. First and foremost, this is a card reader and as such can read just about any card out there, with the exeption of Smart Media, which I happen to need for my older Olympus camera. Currently the Cardette supports the following cards:
CompactFlash Types I & II(CF)
Memory Stick (MS)
MemoryStick Duo* (MS Duo)
Memory Stick PRO Duo* (MS PRO Duo)
Memory Stick Pro*
Reduced Size MultiMediaCard *(RS-MMC)
SecureDigital (SD, miniSD*,microSD*
The cards with an * require an adapter. I have an SD micro card I use in my cell phone and it came with a standard SD card “shell” that you pop the smaller card in so it can be inserted into a standard SD card slot. While I don’t own all of the cards mentioned here, I’m sure the SD set up is the same for the other “micro” type cards.
Moshi’s design goes a bit farther as they have also designed the cardette for the “future” by providing access for the emerging Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) standard, as well as Type M, and Type H xD memory cards.
Plug a card into one of the two slots and it quickly mounts on your desktop. The cardette is a USB 2.0 device, backward compatible with USB 1.1, and it draws power directly from the computer so no external power source is needed.
So, what’s it like to use the Cardette?
It has a short USB cable connected to it that neatly folds underneath the unit, which I thought was great…no need to carry yet another cable around. It also comes with an extension USB cable if you need a little more length. However, with my MacBook, the short little cable was enough to plug directly into a side port. You’ll have to press the unit down the first few times you use it so it will lay flat. The cable underneath tends to push it up. Another one of those nice little extras that make the Moshe product a little different is the addition of two “extra” USB ports on the end of the unit. Once you plug it in to your Mac, you don’t lose that USB port, in fact, you gain one.
I did try to hook up an external USB 2.5” HD to the extra Cardette ports and even with two cables plugged in, one for power, one for data, the Cardette did not push enough juice through to power the drive. However, mice, and USB pocket drives worked just fine, even when both were plugged into the ports at the same time. When the unit is plugged in the words “Moshi” glow lightly, so you know you’re getting power. It’s designed with a hook in the front and comes with a detachable strap that folds around the hook using Velcro tabs with a clip on the end so you can attach it to a computer or camera bag.
The Cardette comes in two colors, white and black to match a MacBook. I evaluated a black unit and it looks like it was painted at the same time as my MacBook. It matches perfectly, and I think it looks rather stylish.
Small and lightweight, it measures 3.75” x 2” x 3/4” thick and only weighs in at 2.4 oz. I like the Cardette, I wish it worked with SM cards and the two added ports could power my external drive, but otherwise I think it’s a great Card Reader.