Review of Cables Unlimited Internal Flash Media Reader Image
Cables Unlimited Flash Reader Installed

I just got an internal flash media reader for my desktop computer. I have a Dell Dimension 4400 running Windows XP and up until last week it had an empty 3.5″ internal bay, which I have been wanting to fill with a flash media reader/writer for a long time. For reasons unimportant here, I finally decided to get one and purchased the Cables Unlimited 3.5″ Internal Flash Media Reader/Writer. A note to Windows Vista users, the package claims that the reader is compatible with Vista also.

What I Was Looking For
When looking at all the different internal readers, I found that most of the readers boasted very similar features, nearly identical actually. The greatest distinguishing feature was cost and ultimately I paid slightly more for a black reader, instead of a beige one. I mainly use Memory Sticks and Compact Flash Cards, but there is the odd SD card that I use, and I wanted to make sure the reader was compatible with those formats as well as a few other commonly used ones. What I found was that all of the readers sold as multi-card readers or all-in-one readers covered all the formats that I needed plus a lot more. I also wanted an additional USB port, LED indicator lights, and USB 2.0 speed; All these features happened to be nearly universal on the multi-format readers. That left only color and cost.

Cost
The flash reader was 14.99 USD at CompUSA.com and was shipped via UPS Ground for an additional 3.75 USD. Not the absolute best price for other similar devices, but I knew the price was at least competitive. Incidentally, at CompUSA.com in particular there was only one other internal reader that was cheaper and another that was the same price. Both of those are made by Sabrent, and I believe the only difference between the two is that the cheaper one (12.99 USD) was beige instead of black.

Listen To The Masses
Besides the fact that the cheaper one was beige and my computer is black, I chose the Cables Unlimited black one for 14.99 USD, because on the CompUSA.com site, the reviews for the Cables Unlimited reader were better than for the Sabrent. Another reason to get the Cables Unlimited reader is that it comes with both a black and a beige interchangeable faceplate, although not a consideration for me, black was all I needed.

Installation
Inside the packaging I found the extra beige faceplate, six mounting screws, and the flash reader with black faceplate attached. I didn’t need the extra faceplate or mounting screws, so I neatly put them back in the package.

First, I shut down my computer, unplugged it, opened it.
Second, I mounted the drive in the empty 3.5″ external bay, found the USB connector on my motherboard and plugged in the USB cable from the reader.
Third, I closed the computer case, plugged it in, booted up.
Fourth, I sat back and watched the system tray notify me that it was installing the reader.
Finally, there were a couple of odd errors, which made me worry a little, but I rebooted and there hasn’t been any sign of trouble since.

Testing and Operation
I tested the reader out with a Memory Stick and a Compact Flash Card with no issues, and I also tested the USB port without a hitch.

The drive shows up as another removable storage device in the My Computer folder and assigns itself the next available drive letter. To insert a card, merely insert the card, nothing difficult about that. To access the card, navigate to the drive in the My Computer folder and open up the removable drive icon. That’s all there is to it.

The red LED light is a power indicator, which should been on whenever your computer is on. The green LED light is the activity indicator. The activity LED should be off when there is nothing in any of the reader’s sockets. While a card remains inserted in a socket the activity indicator should remain green. Finally, when there is data transfer the indicator should blink.

Summing Up
The Cables Unlimited 3.5″ Internal Flash Media Reader/Writer was the cheapest, black reader that I could find. Installation was easy and quick. Thus far I have had no problems and no complaints with the reader and I should say that I am quite satisfied with the 14.99 USD purchase. If you need one, go buy it.