Steve's Digicams

6 in 1 Reader

Review posted 01/28/02
updated 07/02/02

Dazzle 6 in 1

SCM Microsystems, Inc. Dazzle 6 in 1 is the industry's smallest (same size as a mouse) Windows XP-ready, USB device to transfer digital content from a variety of media. This universal reader is the first to accept six different types of digital media in one compact dual-slot design, eliminating the need for a consumer to purchase multiple readers for their varying digital devices such as MP3 players, digital cameras, camcorders, cell phones, and PDAs.

The Dazzle 6 in 1 can read any flash media from any digital device and is upgradeable for future formats. The dual-slot design accepts all types of media including CompactFlash (CF) Type I and II, IBM Microdrive, SmartMedia (SM), SD Card (SD), MultiMediaCard (MMC) and Sony Memory Stick (MS) - note that there is a problem reading Lexar Media 128MB Memory Stick modules. The upper slot accomodates the CF Type I and II devices, the lower slot handles SM, SD, MMC and MS cards.

The Dazzle 6 in 1 reader is available now with a suggested retail price of $49.99.   It works with Windows or Mac PC (see exact OS specs below) but the bundled software is for Windows only. The Dazzle OnDVD software utility allows consumers to quickly and easily transfer photos from a digital camera to a PC, create a photo slideshow and then burn it on a CD for playback on a DVD player. Dazzle products can be purchased from CompUSA, Best Buy, Fry's Electronics, Micro Center, Office Depot, Staples and Sears and are also available online at

07/02/02 update from the Dazzle web site:

    "The firmware v5.03 used with the original Dazzle 6 In 1 Reader contains a bug, which may cause some of the files stored on MemoryStick™ cards to become inaccessible. To overcome this problem the SCM FlashIt.exe utility for Microsoft® Windows can be used to upgrade to the latest firmware v5.07 available for the Dazzle 6 In 1 Readers. Please make sure to refer to the Readme.txt file included with the file that you download for full instructions on how to use this FlashIt software utility in Windows Operating Systems."

    Download Firmware update here

Dazzle 6 in 1

The multi-purpose card slots on the Dazzle 6 in 1 appear as two removable drives so you can move data between the SM, SD, MMC or MS cards and any type of CF I or II device. Shown above is how they look when viewed in Windows "My Computer," the removable disks F and G are the Dazzle 6 in 1 drives.

The installation was quick and easy on my Pentium III 1000MHz machine running Windows 98 Second Edition. You load the software drivers first and then plug in the card reader and after the usual "detecting new hardware" routine it is ready to be used. The Dazzle 6 in 1 reader can be used as a removable disk drive, with USB true plug-and-play capability. For newer operating systems including Windows Me and Windows XP, the Dazzle 6 in 1 is mass storage compliant and requires no additional software drivers to be installed.

PC System Requirements - Operating System Windows® 98SE, Windows® 2000, Windows® ME, and Windows® XP CPU: 200 MHz or higher processor Available Disk Space: 1 MB free disk space Additional Requirements: Available USB port

Macintosh System Requirements - Operating System Mac OS 9.x CPU: G3 Processor or better Available Disk Space: 1MB


Dazzle OnDVD 1.5

Take your digital pictures and turn them into photo albums that can be played on your home DVD player! Digital cameras allow you to take an unlimited number of photographs that quickly pile up on your computer and become difficult to manage. Where can you keep them all, and how do you keep from losing them? You can save the plain old files on a CD, but then you can just view them on your computer. With OnDVD, you can create digital family photo albums that can be played right on your TV's DVD player.

And what if you want reprints? Just like saving the original negatives of your photographic prints, OnDVD keeps a copy of each original, high quality digital photograph on the CD itself. Favorite photos can easily be turned into photographic prints ready to be framed for years of display. You can even share your photo albums over the Internet through the Dazzle Webcast Theater. OnDVD makes it simple to turn your thousands of digital pictures into digital photo albums that can be enjoyed and shared for a lifetime!

System Requirements

Operating System: Windows® 98, Windows® 2000, Windows® ME, and Windows® XP CPU: Pentium® II 300 MHz or higher; AMD K6® III 400 MHz or higher RAM: 32 MB required, 64 MB recommended Available Disk Space: 32 MB for Application Installation, Up to 1 GB available for workspace

Many people ask why they should use an external card reader rather than using the USB that's built in to their camera. The main reason is that you don't run your camera batteries down transferring all that data and you don't have to tie up your camera while downloading images. And external card readers are usually faster than the camera's USB port which makes a difference when you're downloading a large CF card or a one-gigabyte Microdrive.

The bottom line - it's reasonably priced at less than $50, it's small and very portable and allows you to download image data no matter what brand or model of digicam you'll own. I had no problems unplugging and plugging it back in with the computer running so it is a real "hot swappable" device. I saw no card compatibility problems, it worked flawlessly with CF cards from 8MB to 512MB, the 1GB Microdrive, 8MB to 128MB Memory Sticks, 64MB Secure Digital and 8MB to 128MB SmartMedia cards -- did I forget anybody?

If you need the ability to transfer data between any type of media to any other type of media you might want to look at the BUSlink 6in1 card reader with four seperate card slots.

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