Flash memory cards ensure super fast, simple, and secure data transfers between digital devices, PDAs, computers and peripherals. If you want to transfer any information between your memory card and your computer, you will need to have some way of reading your memory card. With a reader/writer attached to your computer via a USB 2.0 cable you can upload photos to your computer, transfer videos from your digital camcorder, and synch your PDA and computer. Still not convinced about buying a flash memory reader? Check out Crucial's 6 Signs That a Flash Card Reader Can Save You Time and Simplify Your Life.
* Some photo printers come pre-installed with a memory card reader and some cameras facilitate PictBridge or USB photo transfers without dealing with flash memory card readers.
* There are also external DVD burners that come complete with flash memory card readers. These two-in-one devices are handy if you need both devices since they are a convenient, cost-effective, space-saving way of transferring and saving the data from your memory cards to a DVD.
How to Choose
* '''Form Factor'''. There are two main form factors: internal and external. The internal card readers support various card types and need to be installed into a desktop computer's case. External card readers are portable and come in several types. Choose between a desktop model that plugs into your computer via a USB cable or a mini keychain model. A desktop is capable of multiple card support. However, a keychain model only supports one or two card types, and plugs into your computer direct via a male USB connector. There are also USB flash drives that support memory card readers.
* '''Connectivity and Compatibility'''. Like with any digital device, the first thing you should be concerned with is compatibility. That means software, operating system, system requirements, and cable connector compatibility all count. More important is the type of memory card that your reader/writer can support -- CompactFlash, Memory Stick, xD, or SD/MMC. It may sound obvious, but not all readers are capable of reading all flash memory cards, and not all cameras or camcorders take the same flash memory cards.
* '''Versatility'''. If you use multiple digital cameras and/or other digital devices you would probably want to buy something that has 8-in-1 or 4-in-1 card reader capability (some readers support up to 12 card types). If you only need something to read your digital camera's card, opt for a less expensive device that reads that type of card or even two card types, such as an SD/MMC reader.