Date: May 4th, 2009
Article by: Jackie Mueller (Hardware Reviewer)
Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Spire
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH
The card reader is constructed of plastic and is quite small and light for easy portability. If you have a Mac, the white color with contrasting red Spire logo on top will compliment other Apple products nicely. The specifications on Spire's website indicate that a black version is available also.
There are five different slots for using various types of memory cards. Each slot is labeled for the types of cards it will accept. According to Spire, all the latest memory cards are supported. Some cards (like micro SD for example) will require an adapter in order to fit inside the slot, and those adapters are usually included with the card itself and not the reader.
Since you can never have too many USB ports, two of them are located on the side of the unit. Plug in a digital camera, cell phone, or a second keyboard or mouse – there are a myriad of possibilities here. There's also the added convenience factor by having these USB ports located right near the front of the PC.
On the other side is a USB port that connects the unit to a PC as well as a port for an external power adapter. Spire did not include one, but any 5V power adapter with the right size connector should work. You will only need a separate power adapter if the USB devices plugged into the unit draw more power than the USB bus provides on its own.
PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
If you're using Windows 2000 or later, all you have to do is attach one end of the USB cable to your PC and the other end into the card reader. It will be detected by Windows and the drivers will be installed automatically. A cool blue LED will light up the Spire logo to indicate power, and will turn red when a memory card is inserted.
I took the 2GB SD card out of my digital camera and inserted it into the card reader. Almost immediately, Windows presented me with the typical “what do you want to do” options for the files such as viewing, playing, printing, etc. Transferring pictures and small videos to my PC was very quick and I didn't notice any symptoms of file corruption or other issues.
Next up for testing was a memory stick pro duo from a Sony PSP system. There are several different types of files on this card including mp3, picture, and video files. Again, the card was detected immediately and transferring files between the card and PC worked flawlessly.
I plugged in a few different devices to the USB ports such as a keyboard, mouse, and flash drive. All of them were detected and worked great. Most devices you plug into these ports will have enough power to operate properly, but things like USB printers or external DVD burners probably won't be able to use a USB port on the CombiPod without an external power adapter.