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The Net Takeaway: Original Sandisk Cruzer...

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Original Sandisk Cruzer... · 01/10/2005 03:19 PM, Tech

(Even More Updated: Sandisk changes the game with this clever approach.)
(Updated: Users have pointed me to a few other options:)

What a great gadget. I bought it mostly because I needed to buy a 256mb Secure Digital card, and it was only $10 more to get it with the Cruzer reader than without. Recently, needing to bring a bunch of presentations and other material to an off-site meeting, I realized this was the perfect solution, and pulled it out of the desk. Its been back in my bag ever since.

The Cruzer, model SDCZ1, is a USB mountable memory drive which lets you swap out SD cards. So, its either unfillable, or its a card reader, see it as you will. After seeing this, buying “hard-locked” or non-expandable USB drives seems silly, because whatever you buy, it’s going to fill up, and it’s non-upgradable.

This original Cruzer came with a little carry case and a short 3 inch USB extender. The plug slides out when the thumb notch moves forward, middle is “neutral”, and when slid to the other end, ejects the SD card.

Original Sandisk Cruzer

But there are some bad sides. It is about twice as wide, 1.5X as thick, and a bit longer than the modern USB drive, though not heavier. Also, its USB 1.1 only. Third, it’s discontinued.

The Cruzer name has gone on to become the name of the entire non-expandable line.

Good news is that Sandisk has made a revised version which is not as portable and not as clever, but close in size.

The ImageMate® USB 2.0 Reader/Writer doesn’t have the thumb switch for the slide-out plug, and it doesn’t have a case or a cute little cable. But the basic idea is there: you insert a card, it mounts, and its like a portable drive.

“Buy” the way, if you want to purchase this new one, as usual, Buy.com appears to have the best price, though NewEgg, when they have them, is usually not far behind.

But I think Sandisk really missed the boat on this one. The Cruzer was about as clever a USB drive as I could want (do I need yet another mp3 player? How about a glow in the dark case? Please…) and I am really sorry that they were discontinued. The combination of clever design and pocket size made it easy to throw in a bag and never fear of obsolescence; this new one is large enough to become “yet another thing with a cable to carry around”… and so I won’t. Too bad; yet another product ahead of its time and now gone.

Since original publication, users have pointed me to other options:

Oh, and why, why are the USB ports right next to a bezel edge on so many machines? Who designs this junk?

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