FriendlyNET GiniII 6in1 Memory Reader/Writer

Asante GiniII 6-in-1 Reader/Writer

Asante's $39 FriendlyNET GiniII 6in1 memory reader/writer for USB 2.0 supports the 6 most popular types of digital media: Sony Memory Stick, CompactFlash, IBM Microdrive, SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard (MMC), and Secure Digital (SD). With 4 slots, the Gini II even allows users to copy between the different media cards. No additional adapters are required except for the new xD-Picture Cards -- just stick your card in the appropriate slot and go!

The FriendlyNET GiniII is a high speed USB 2.0 device and is capable of transfer rates as high as 480 Megabits per second. When used with older systems it's backwards compatible with the USB 1.1 standards but the transfer rate drops to a maximum of 12 Megabits per second.

This card reader / writer is also perfect for those with MP3 players, PDA's and mobile phones as well as digital cameras or camcorders. Anybody that transfers or stores data on flash memory cards or Microdrives will love it. It's true Plug and Play with USB Mass Storage Class (MSC) compliance when used with Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Mac OS X systems. Drivers are included for computers equipped with Windows 98SE, Windows 2000 or Mac OS 9.x operating systems. 

Asante GiniII 6-in-1 Reader/Writer

The four card slots appear as individual removable drives so you can move data between different flash memory devices as well as to and from your hard drive. Shown above is the My Computer display of my drives. The removable disks G, H, I, and J are the FriendlyNET GiniII's slots. It can get a little confusing as to which drive is which sometimes but in Windows XP you can set it to auto-launch Explorer whenever a card is inserted.

Asante GiniII 6-in-1 Reader/Writer

The installation was quick and easy on my Pentium 4/2000MHz machine running Windows XP Pro with a USB 2.0 add-in PCI card. I just plugged it in and after a minute Windows had finished detecting and installing the four new devices and it was ready for use. No drivers were required whatsoever.

The USB 2.0 data transfer is rated at up to 480Mbps but the actual transfer rate is dependant on your computer's processor speed, the USB port (and/or hub) and more importantly, the speed of the flash memory device being accessed. Suffice it to say that when used with a USB 2.0 port it's always faster than using the USB interface built into your camera. 

Storage MediaData SizeWrite TimeRead Time
256MB SanDisk Secure Digital100MB4:201:15
128MB Delkin MMC100MB1:580:57
256MB SanDisk CF100MB2:561:08
320MB Lexar 12x CF100MB1:400:33
1GB Transcend 30x CF100MB1:050:29
128MB Memory Stick100MB4:052:15
128MB SmartMedia100MB2:241:12
1GB Microdrive100MB1:050:31

As you can see, the transfer rates vary widely between different media types.

Asante GiniII 6-in-1 Reader/Writer

The FriendlyNET GiniII is powered directly from the USB port, no external power supply required. It comes with a 3-foot USB cable. There is one LED indicator on top of the unit that lights up when a card is inserted and blinks during data transfers. 

Asante GiniII 6-in-1 Reader/Writer

The FriendlyNET GiniII is smaller than the average mouse so it's great for going along with your laptop. 

The bottom line - at $39 it's one of the least inexpensive USB 2.0 multi-card readers on the market. It's also as fast as any of the card readers We've tested so far. It worked flawlessly when connected directly to my USB 2.0 port on my motherboard. It directly reads and writes to every type of flash media (and IBM Microdrives) used in digital cameras except for the new xD-Picture cards. Fear not, even the xD-Picture card is useable but requires an optional CF/xD-Picture Card adapter. Media limitations are Sony Memory Stick up to 128MB, it is not Memory Stick Pro compatible. Secure Digital up to 512MB, MMC to 128MB, SmartMedia to 128MB, CompactFlash to 1GB, Microdrive to 1GB.

Once you have used a USB 2.0 card reader you'll never want to go back to the slow USB 1.1 speeds again. You may not have noticed a lot of difference when you upgraded from a Pentium 1.2GHz to a Pentium 2.4GHz computer, but believe me, you'll immediately notice the difference in transfer speed between USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 card readers!

If you don't have USB 2.0 it can be added to existing PC/Windows systems with an open PCI card slot for as little as $20. Most all of the new desktop and notebook computers sold now and in the future will include USB 2.0 right out of the box. 

The FriendlyNET GiniII can be purchased from Asante dealers or you can order it for $39 online from Asante.