Steve's Digicams
Hardware Reviews

Last Updated 1/24/01

SanDisk ImageMateTM

USB CF Card Read/Write Drive

SanDisk ImageMate USB

Is it a mouse or a card reader ?

At first glance you may ask the same question but rest assured that it is indeed a flash memory card reader. This is the SanDisk ImageMate USB CompactFlash card reader -- it only resembles a mouse ...

Most modern computers are now fully capable of supporting the new, high-speed USB (Universal Serial Bus) peripherals and SanDisk has updated their popular ImageMate CF card reader to work on the USB port.

Installation was a breeze on my AMD-powered PC running Windows 98. All that was required was to unpack the ImageMate and plug it in to the USB port. Windows 98 "saw" the new device and prompted me to insert the driver CD disc. A few seconds later it identified the ImageMate and loaded the appropriate drivers and I now had a new drive icon showing up in the My Computer window.

I took a 80MB SanDisk CF card full of images from my Nikon 950 and popped it into the drive. Using Windows Explorer I logged in to the new "E" drive and clicked down until I found the folder with my images in it. I dragged and dropped the folder over on my hard drive and watched the files zip across at nearly the same speed as copying files from one folder to another on the hard drive. You can access your files using any program as the flash card becomes just another drive resource.

Data transfer is about 30 times faster with the USB port that with the serial port. Using a card reader also saves draining your camera batteries during the download. Even with the newer digicams that have USB built-in it is still nice to use a card reader to save those batteries.

The ImageMate USB reader directly accepts *any* CompactFlash Type I card without need for the PCMCIA adapter. You just take the card right out of the camera and pop it into the ImageMate and away you go!


  • Connects to any Windows 98 USB-enabled PC
  • Connects to Apple Macintosh / iMac OS 8.1+
  • Fast transfer speeds
  • Small footprint
  • Easy installation
  • No AC power or batteries required
  • Performance up to 600KB/sec (up to 12mbs)
  • Installation software - 1 installation CD
  • Dimensions - 90x85x45mm

gradient line

New ImageMate USB for CF Type I and II

Posted 5/01/00

SanDisk ImageMate USB

This is the new (May 2000) USB ImageMate CompactFlash card reader, it now reads both CF Type I and II flash cards.

(SanDisk does not approve its use with the Microdrive.)

Steve's Digi-Rating

Digi rating Digi rating Digi rating Digi rating Digi rating

I give the SanDisk ImageMate USB a rating of 5 digicams, it operates as expected, installation is easy, and it is priced below $40 which makes it very inexpensive for those of us that need to read CF cards and have a USB-enabled computer.

The only problems seem to be with Windows 95 OSR 2 users, even after the USB support has been added there is no guarantees that it will work. My advice, upgrade to Windows 98.

Return to the
Accessories Reviews Index

FRCN Review: SanDisk ImageMate USB


Content copyright © 2000 Steve's Digicam Online, Inc.