Review: Microtech ZiO! SmartMedia card reader
Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally Posted: Saturday, March 3, 2001
Last Updated: Saturday, March 3, 2001
in the days before digital cameras had USB connections, a card reader
was a must. Transfer rates with serial cables were terrible, and
those floppy adapters weren't much better. A USB card reader made
waiting for your photos a thing of the past.
that most cameras have USB support, I admit that card readers aren't
as relevant as they used to be. But if your camera lacks USB, or
you don't want to get the USB cable out every time, then you may
still want a card reader (heck, I still use one).
ZiO! line of card readers are available in three different flavors:
SmartMedia, CompactFlash (Type I/II, including Microdrive support),
and MultiMediaCard. All three are priced at $39.95. I chose to test
out the SmartMedia version.
ZiO card readers are about as small as possible. As you can see
in the photo at the top, it's only a little larger than the SmartMedia
ZiO gets its power from the USB bus, so there are no power cords
to plug in. In fact, if your USB ports are in a accessible place
(which they're usually not), you can plug the ZiO right in without
for the rest of us, there's a 1-meter extension cable (shown above).
the ZiO, you'll find a slot for the card, and a yellow light to
show that it's on. My only two complaints about the ZiO are that
(1) there's no indication on the unit as to what side of the SmartMedia
card faces up or down. Of course that's what the manual is for.
Also, (2) there's no access light -- just the power light.
you can start using the ZiO, you must install the software. On both
Mac and Windows systems, this is a snap - just install and restart
and you're ready. By the way, the ZiO is compatible with Windows
98, ME, and 2000.
rebooting, you can insert a SmartMedia card (3.3v only, up to 128MB)
and it appears on the desktop (on the Mac at least) as an "Untitled"
disk. From there the rest is pretty self-explanatory - you can copy
or open files to your heart's content.
Windows, it's pretty much the same as on the Mac.
isn't much else to say (it is a card reader after all). The ZiO
is light, easy to use, and inexpensive. If you're in the market
for a card reader, I'd definitely give the ZiO line a look.
always appreciates your comments