If you've been looking for a small, inexpensive backup reader for your laptop kit, the Microtech ZiO CompactFlash Card Reader/Writer may be the answer. The CompactFlash model's tiny footprint and light weight means the ZiO will store nicely in a secluded pocket of a laptop bag until needed.
As with all USB-connected card readers, the ZiO is not expected to be as speedy as the card slot in recent Powerbooks or PC laptops, so it will work best as a backup or secondary reader in the field. In essence, the ZiO brings to all brands of Compactflash cards what Lexar Media has offered for some time in its USB Jumpshot cable: a solid backup method for transferring photos from card to computer that doesn't weigh a pro photographer down.
ZiO features include:
- Compatibility with a wide variety of CompactFlash Type I and Type II cards, including the IBM microdrive.
- Works with Mac OS 8.5 or higher, as well as Windows 98 and Windows 2000. The computer must have an available USB port.
- The ZiO can plug directly into the USB port, no cable required. Of course, this will not be practical in many cases. Fortunately, Microtech is including a 1 metre USB extension cable so that the ZiO may be placed in a convenient location.
The Zio CompactFlash model is expected to sell for US$30-35, and will ship in the latter half of July. Microtech also intends to bundle the Zio reader with the IBM microdrive in the IBM Microdrive Roadwarrior Kit. The company has also announced SmartMedia and Multimedia Card versions of the ZiO reader.