comments

Sounds like downloading a 2 GB card would exceed the Ipod's battery capacity.

Posted by pipiens on October 30, 2003 at 2:23 PM (PDT) Comment 1

Hasn't this thing been getting ripped beasue it is ungodly slow? Something like 22 minutes to download 256 megs? of images/etc...?

Posted by Just An Observer on October 31, 2003 at 6:12 AM (PDT) Comment 2

So how do you get the pictures off the iPod to your computer? Is it Windows compatable?

Posted by Art Vandelay on October 31, 2003 at 4:40 PM (PDT) Comment 3

How can I retrieve photos from the iPod?

On the Mac, photos can be retrieved either automatically through iPhoto, or by manually accessing the folders on your iPod using the Finder.

On the PC, the iPod must be accessed as a removable hard drive through My Computer or Windows Explorer.

http://web.belkin.com/support/kb/kb.asp?a=2832

Posted by Dennis Lloyd on November 1, 2003 at 8:17 AM (PDT) Comment 4

DON'T FALL FOR THIS REVIEW......THERE IS TOO MANY COMPLAINS REGARDINGS THIS PRODUCT. TRANSFER SPEED IS EXTREMELY SLOW AND IT DRAINS THE IPODS BATTERY. IT SUCKS!!!!

Posted by Roan Pastor on November 2, 2003 at 8:42 AM (PDT) Comment 5

How can 300Kbps be acceptable? It's very slow.
And you have to change the whole set of battery for every 3GB of data transfer? C'mon.

I was really excited when I first heard about this product. But it's useless how it is.

Posted by hendra on November 2, 2003 at 6:10 PM (PDT) Comment 6

the speed is a bug, people from a Digital photography board I visit have contacted belkin and they say they are looking for the reason of the slowness and will give users a free upgrade of the new device if needed.

Or if it just needs a software patch from Apple.

Posted by Mark on November 3, 2003 at 11:29 AM (PDT) Comment 7

> the speed is a bug

Even if they up the speed to a more reasonable 1-2MB (depending on native speed of Flash), they are still faced with the problem of disk access.

The iPod optimizes its underpowered battery using buffering so that it spins up and down the hard drive rarely.

But streaming Flash data means constant use of the hard drive. As many posters have noticed, you can *visibly* see your battery draining with every few seconds of disk activity.

This does not bode well for large CF cards or for extended trips. How come the new Dell can get 20 hours of play and my iPod is lucky if it manages 6?!?

Apple should sell larger iPod batteries as an option. I wouldn't mind an extra 1-2 8ths of an inch thickness if it meant double the battery life.

Posted by Shutterbug on November 3, 2003 at 11:43 AM (PDT) Comment 8

Fairly slow but once it is on the drive it rips just like it should too your computer. I would not recomend using larger cards over 256 cards. It is just to slow. Also if you download and the ipod shuts off because the battery dies you may increase your frustration. I did this and had to use a recovery program to put everything back together on my card to get the images off. Would recommend ample battery power when transferring.
MM

Posted by Mulveyphoto on November 3, 2003 at 12:02 PM (PDT) Comment 9

Just as a brief response to some of the comments here - and to reiterate what the review explicitly says, for the type of use that casual users will put it to, the Media Reader does its job well. These transfer speed "problems" are not unique to the Media Reader; try (as we did) the same tests on other $300-500 hard drive based media reading devices and see whether you're happier with the speeds and battery drain. Multi-minute transfer times are unfortunately common in these devices. If Belkin does "fix" this, we'll be impressed.

Put in perspective that you can purchase this device for under $100, and it makes a lot more sense than going out and buying either more large media cards or a dedicated device for the same purpose.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on November 4, 2003 at 3:49 AM (PDT) Comment 10

Jeremy, since you asked for readers to compare this with other devices, here's mine.

Using a partially full Lexar 512MB 40x "Professional" comact flash card with 401 photos using a total of 371MB (out of 488 'real' MB)...

Belkin Media Reader w/ 40GB iPod:
Transfer time: 19 minutes, 35 seconds

Sima ImageBank:
6 minutes, 6 seconds.

Okay, the ImageBank is more expensive since it's a hard drive device in itself. It also uses an external battery source but using a very small 6v battery generally sold for digital cameras, I can do copy jobs like this one MANY times a day. I've never found out exactly how far I can push it because I've never shot more than about 2000 images in a day (while using 192MB cards).

The Belkin is nice looking, works okay, but is surprisingly slow. They shouldn't even be allowed to say "uses Firewire technology" on their promotional material without further explaination that it's limited to 300kbps copying from the media.

As for battery life issues, since the latest iPod firmware (necessary to interface with the media reader) has battery display problems, it's difficult to judge how this thing really impacts battery life. My meter goes from full to about 1/8 when doing a 20 minute copy job like the one described above. But it's not REALLY empty... just the meter dropping farther than it should due to a pretty widely experienced bug. I'll have to test again and then see how long it will play MP3s afterwards. If Belkin and Apple can get the copy time reduced to something around 1/3 of the current speed, the iPod will run down its batteries much less too, so my fingers are crossed.

For anyone doing any sort of serious photography, the Belkin media reader is a disappointment. Other products are a far better choice at this point in time. If they can get the speed issue resolved, I'll buy one again. In the mean time, mine's going back to Apple. If you only use a couple cards, preferably small ones, and just need a way to shoot more images on vacation, this is a suitable replacement for dragging a laptop along. I don't believe it's a useful tool to have in the photo bag only because the copy job takes so long and due to battery concerns. But I suppose 20 minutes itsn't that long to some people, so YMMV.

- Jason

Posted by Jason on November 4, 2003 at 9:17 AM (PDT) Comment 11

This thing is just too cool. Instead of complaining and whining the pessimists should see the significantly good points: On my 2-month stay in Tanzania I was desperately looking for a computer where I could store my pictures on. I didn't find one, either it didn't have a CD writer or there was no CF card reader or any other unfortunate constellation.
Except that I am not sure if I would have brought my ipod with me if I would have had it then, it would have been a blessing to store my two cards on it from time to time (Once or twice), even if this means draining the battery.
You normally need extra power for the ipod on longer trips anyway (ones that fill up bigger CF cards), or don't you listen to music, too? And time was no problem...

Posted by Mat on November 4, 2003 at 9:53 AM (PDT) Comment 12

Jason - thanks for the numbers, seriously.

They do highlight a few points I've mentioned - namely, that power users like you will find the device less useful than casual users, that the price differential between comparable devices is substantial (ImageBanks are $349.99 and up), and that the feature set of the Media Reader (possessing a 6-in-1 card slot) does make the device at least an interesting alternative to things like the ImageBank, which has only CF and SM support.

It's highly important to consider your target audience when writing reviews like this one, and although I have often written reviews for narrow niche audiences and products in the past, I see the Media Reader as one of those "mainstream" sorts of products that isn't made for people who have professional 40X 512MB cards, take 2000 photos at a time, et cetera. Thus my caveat to that effect in the review. The average user is going to have a card 1/4 the size of yours -- perhaps a first-generation Sony Memory Stick, for example, that taps out at that 128MB size -- and thus transfer times will not be 20 minutes.

I've been using devices like this one for a while, as I take tons of photos and know all too well about running out of space on media cards. I was an early Nixvue adopter, and have found space concerns increasingly pressing with each generation of cameras I've owned, starting with early Nikons and moving up to the Sony F707, and now having played with the F818 I'm sure the problems will only get worse. The Media Reader is not the right permanent solution for people on the top end of the storage ladder, but it is certainly a convenient little tool for today's mainstream user - a person with a 2-4MP camera and 128MB of media storage -- in a tough vacation or travel jam.

Posted by JBHLion on November 4, 2003 at 6:48 PM (PDT) Comment 13

does anyone know if the media reader will _write_ images from the ipod?

I'm going on a trip and would like to transfer some images from a CF card to an SD card without having to use a computer. This would be ideal.

Posted by resonance on November 5, 2003 at 5:07 PM (PDT) Comment 14

No, it won't. At least, not at this point, with the 2.1 system software. There's no reason that it shouldn't be able to do this with a software upgrade.

Posted by JBHLion on November 5, 2003 at 11:40 PM (PDT) Comment 15

I believe it does a good job, for non-demanding photographers whose upload needs are in hundreds of megabytes, not tens of gigabytes. Personally, I'd rather use the iPod as backup, and have enough media to probably not need to actually erase any cards.

Since I'm a .mac member, mine was only US$79, which is an even better deal.

Clearly, prosumers and big-megapixel everything-is-raw users will be better off spending more money and getting a much larger, more capable device.

Incidentally, while it doesn't support xD cards directly, they work fine through an xD/CF adapter.

Doug

Posted by Doug Eldred on November 6, 2003 at 11:52 AM (PDT) Comment 16

Two quick clarifications:

(1) In the first sentence, I'm talking about uploads in one session. Obviously I might upload a 256 MB card a dozen times, adding up to many GB, but as long as I can recharge in between, neither battery life nor upload time is a big deal.

(2) The US$79 is based on using the US$20 credit for renewing my .mac account; as written it might have implied a more general discount.

It's a great device - for the target audience.

Doug

Posted by Doug Eldred on November 6, 2003 at 2:05 PM (PDT) Comment 17

For whatever it's worth, last night I did some experimentation. With 61 files totalling 138 MB on a 12X 256 MB CompactFlash card, I was about to complete 9 complete uploads and part of a 10th, on a completely/newly charged iPod. That's about 1300 MB. I got pretty close to the rated speed, 3.3 sec/MB (or 300 KB/sec).

For my money (US$79 after a US$20 credit), and my needs, it's a great device. Small, light, cheap, reliable, well-built, etc. For someone who needs faster transfers, larger drives, image viewing, longer battery life (than the iPod), etc. there are lots of other, better devices available which are larger, more expensive, and a better fit for their needs.

Doug

Posted by Doug Eldred on November 8, 2003 at 5:55 AM (PDT) Comment 18

I am about to take a 4 to 6 week trip to Europe with a 6 megapixel camera. I figured with Belkin's battery pack and reader I could transfer my photos from CF cards easily. Will the Belkin battery pack's power be drained before the ipod's? Or will I have to worry about recharging the ipod every few uploads. Can I use the battery pack and reader at the same time? I have not bought an ipod or the reader yet but palnned to before the trip.

Posted by thear fraley on November 11, 2003 at 5:45 PM (PDT) Comment 19

I am about to take a 4 to 6 week trip to Europe with a 6 megapixel camera. I figured with Belkin's battery pack and reader I could transfer my photos from CF cards easily. Will the Belkin battery pack's power be drained before the ipod's? Or will I have to worry about recharging the ipod every few uploads. Can I use the battery pack and reader at the same time? I have not bought an Ipod or the reader yet but palnned to before the trip.

Posted by thear fraley on November 11, 2003 at 5:47 PM (PDT) Comment 20

"I have not bought an Ipod or the reader yet"

The low-tek solution? Buy a few extra cards! More utility, and you'll save cash and provide redundancy.

The high-tek solution is to avoid outdated bad designs like the awful iPod-Belkin mismatch and get a more modern portable.

Get something with CompactFlash and photo/video viewing built-in! They generally cost less than the ipod+Belkin combo, and probably less than a single iPod, and offer on-device viewing and editing.

Lyra
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00008VFCU/

Archos AV
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00009XFVT/

Archos GMINI
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000UJH36/

FlashTrax
http://www.smartdisk.com/Products/DigitalMultimedia/FlashTrax.asp

Vosonic
http://www.vosonic.co.uk/vmp3h.html

Sony GigaPocket
http://www.i4u.com/article821.html

Avias MEC
http://www.iavias.com/eng/product-mec-deluxe.htm

MP3OK Jukebox ET970
http://www.mp3ok.com/et970.htm

GenSoc MJB-3100
http://www.gemsoc.com.tw/pro_mjb3100.asp

Top 10 Multimedia Players
http://www.i4u.com/article688.html

List of Personal Video Players
http://shanebrinkmandavis.com/homepage/JBMM/Competition/

Posted by options on November 11, 2003 at 7:16 PM (PDT) Comment 21

You cannot use both the battery pack and the media reader at the same time; there's only one dock connector, and they don't daisy-chain.

Whether it's "enough" depends mostly on how frequently and how much you expect to upload. If you need to upload several GB several times a day, you probably won't want the iPod/Belkin setup. If your needs are more modest, as mine are, it's a good fit.

Note that this mostly makes sense if you already have (or want) an iPod. To buy an iPod plus Belkin just for photos is probably the wrong approach!

Doug

Posted by Doug Eldred on November 14, 2003 at 3:01 PM (PDT) Comment 22

Has anyone else encountered this problem:

I've got a 512mb flash card with apx 120 4mb pixs on the card. I get about 48 pictures into the read (10 mins) and the iPod just shuts off. I had a full charge on the iPod and I can reboot it and the battery indicator says there is a half charge available. Charge the iPod to full strength again and try to dump the photos from the CF card. The reader gets 20 something photos dumped from the card and then the shutdown and reboot occurs. I have had this occur after pulling 2 photos off the card! It seems that the software encounters problems pulling the images off the card at random points and then the iPod reboots.

Any thoughts?

Posted by Matt MacDonald on November 17, 2003 at 10:54 AM (PDT) Comment 23

I believe I've seen similar reports, with the user usually saying that the device had been returned for exchange. I haven't seen this problem myself.

Posted by Doug Eldred on November 21, 2003 at 9:42 AM (PDT) Comment 24

I just want to say that all the posts here are very useful for me.
I have a want for iPod for so long, but I realized I need more than iPod+Belkin combo can offer. I might looking for Nixvue Vista and their firewire adaptor.
If I have extra money maybe I'll be iPod. But you know lots of cool gadget outthere, like PowerMac G5, Nikon D2H, Sony Vaio U101, etc.

Posted by Pinky Mirror on November 29, 2003 at 9:08 AM (PDT) Comment 25
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