The Atech Flash PROGear-G5 28-in-1 Card Reader Review

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The Atech Flash PROGear-G5 28-in-1 Card Reader Review Listen to this article

One of the downsides of trying almost every type gadget known to man is that they all seem to take different memory cards. Why is that? (A rhetorical question if there ever was one, I don’t really expect an answer. ;-))

As each new memory card format comes out, all I can do anymore is?be grateful that they come with SD adapters so that I can at least access the card’s contents from my laptop’s built-in reader. However there are plenty of cards that won’t play nicely with SD, either because they are too big or because they are too proprietary, and that is when an external card reader becomes necessary.

Today I am going to take a look at one of the largest card readers I have ever reviewed. Largest as in its physical size – not so much number of cards it will read, although the list is impressive. I’m talking about the Atech Flash PROGear-G5, a 28 in 1 card reader that boasts the ability to read MS Duo, miniSD and RS-MMC cards without an adapter, as well as many of the other common and not-so-common memory card formats.

Let’s get the unboxing out of the way first…

The list of the 28 types of media cards the G5 will read is on the box’s back and will be mentioned later in this review. As can be seen by the picture on the front of the G5, all formats are read in one of the four slots -which tells us, without even reading the memory card list, that there will likely be similar cards that have been listed and counted as separate memory formats. This is common practice among card readers, so I won’t hold it against this one.

Inside the printed outer box is a very heavy black presentation box. I didn’t know the price of the reader before opening the package, and I’ll admit that the addition of this box made me think the?G5 might cost twice what I eventally learned was its cost. It’s not every day that something costs half of what I expected, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Under the lid, a heavy foam layer…

And under that foam cover, a heavy foam padded compartment holding the reader.

Pretty impressive, huh?! So what were the multiple layers of boxes and padding protecting? The PROGear-G5 28 in 1 Professional Card Reader, a USB cable, and a user’s guide.

The G5 measures a quite large (as card readers?go)?5.27″ wide x 4.92″ deep x 2.52″ thick, and it weighs a substantial 1 pound 6 ounces. Its exterior is composed of matte silver metal. As might be guessed by the name, the G5 is styled to compliment the Mac G5, but no one will know if you pair it with a Windows box. 😉

Power Requirements: 5V DC +/- 5% (USB powered)
USB: 2.0
Transfer rate: Up to 480 Mb/sec via USB 2.0, Up to 12 Mb/sec via USB 1.1
System Requirement: Mac OS X and later, Windows 2000/XP, USB 2.0 port

The entire design is quite simple…four slots on the front, nothing on the top, bottom or sides, and a USB connection in the back. Unfortunately, it is almost too simple.?It is a wasted opportunity?for an?item this large to not include at least four extra USB ports somewhere.

Alas, the G5 is a card reader only. So let’s take a look at how well it performs in that capacity…

This is the diagram from the Atech Flash website showing the various card formats accepted without adapters by the reader. The only card that I regularly use that isn’t accepted without an adapter?is the diminutive microSD, and that is completely understandable and acceptable.

Including various adapters, the G5 will accept the following:
1. CompactFlash? Type-I
2. CompactFlash? Type-II
3. CompactFlash Ultra Speed (133x)?
4. Microdrive?
5. SmartMedia?
6. Magicstor?
7. MultiMediaCard?
8. MultiMediaCard? Mobile
9. MultiMediaCard? High Speed v4.0
10. xD-Picture Card?*
11. xD-Picture Card?* Type M
12. xD-Picture Card?* Type H
13. Secure Digital? (true 4-bit)
14. miniSecure Digital?
15. MicroSD (*SD Adapter Required)
16. Secure Digital? v1.1 (133x)
17. RS-MultiMediaCard?
18. RS-MultiMediaCard? High Speed v4.0
19. Memory Stick?
20. Memory Stick PRO? Duo
21. Memory Stick? Duo
22. Memory Stick? Select
23. Memory Stick Rom?
24. Memory Stick PRO? (true 4-bit)
25. Memory Stick ? MagicGate
26. Memory Stick Duo? MagicGate
27. Memory Stick PRO? MagicGate
28. Memory Stick? High Speed (133x)

As can be seen, many of the types of cards listed are a bit redundant, and they can be broken down into four major groups: Those that fit in the SD / MMC slot, those that fit in the Compact Flash / Microdrive slot, those that fit in the Memory Stick slot, and?those that fit in the Smart Media / xD-Picture Card slot.

When the PROGear-G5 is plugged in, these icons are supposed to show for the various memory cards.

But?this is what showed on my computer…

I was feeling pretty left out, until I found the drivers on the Atech site, downloaded them, and then I too had pretty graphics. 😉

Much better!

When the PROGear-G5 is plugged in, a green LED will glow on the front – with or without an inserted memory card, showing that the reader is powered. The LED will flicker red when an inserted card is being accessed.

The speed test I conducted was done by moving a 438MB movie file from my laptop to a Memory Stick Duo. From the computer to the card it took 4 minutes 8 seconds, and from the reader to the computer it took 42 seconds.

Overall, I like the style and convenience of the PROGear-G5 reader enough that I don’t mind having another item on my desk, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that extra USB ports weren’t included. It just seems like a natural thing to have included,?especially since?I never seem to have enough USB ports available.

If you are looking for a compact or portable media card reader, then you’ll want to keep looking. But those that like the industrial style of the Mac G5 will appreciate the PROGear-G5. If the USB ports are added in a future version, then I think?this would be a nearly?perfect desktop media card reader.

The Atech Flash PRO-Gear G5 is available directly from authorized retailers.
MSRP: $48.99
What I Like: Great style, reads just about every card format available, rock solid construction, no extra adapter needed for Duo & miniSD cards
What Needs Improvement: Overly large reader with no added functionality?-such as extra USB ports


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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.