Review: 5 in 1 Card Reader for Apple iPad (vs iPad Camera Connection Kit)

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad
If you're looking for an iPad camera connector or card reader, this 5-in-1 card reader is a good camera accessory.

It is cheap, costing less than US$5.

It looks and feels cheap. Everything is made of plastic except for the connection head.

Don't lose the clear plastic cover that comes with the head because it's handy when transporting the card reader in the bag. You don't want to break the fragile connector head.

Despite its appearance, it works. It's marketed as being able to work on iPad 1 to 3. I'm using it on the Apple iPad 2.

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad
This 5-in-1 card reader actually has no brand printed on it. It is sold online under various brands.

It is available at Amazon (US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP)

The card reader is able to take the following formats of card:
  • SD(HC)
  • MS DUO
  • MMC
  • M2
  • T-FLASH (TF)

There's a USB port so it can also work with your camera cable. You can even attach a USB keyboard to it.

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad
Before putting the memory card in, first check that the little black switch is set to Card.

Then push in your card and you're set.

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad
It's quite a small package.

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad - Navigator
It takes a few seconds to read the card, and the navigator will pop up later. It's actually the default Photo app on the iPad.

The navigator shows all the content on the card, photos and videos. You can choose to import selected ones or all.

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad - Error Message
Here's the nasty message I encounter occasionally. The thing is, even with the error message, it is still reading the card. I usually dismiss the message and the navigator comes back on, showing what it has loaded so far.

The uploading speed to the iPad is quite fast. Maybe about USB2 speed.

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad - Progress
Here's a closer look at the progress.

There are several tabs on top of the Photo app.

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad - Loading done
Once all files are uploaded, this screen appears. I always choose to keep the files on the memory card. After making sure that everything is loaded properly, I will then format the card using the camera.

5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad - Last Import
After you're done uploading, you can just pull out the card reader.

To access previously uploaded photos and videos, just use those tabs on top that are shown earlier.

Photos: This tab will show all the photos in the iPad
Albums: This will show the Last Import folder, All Imported and Camera Roll (ipad screenshots). You can also created additional albums which is highly recommended. E.g., you will want to create NYC Day1, NYC Day2 to make it easier to locate photos.
Events: These folders will be automatically created for each upload session, ordered by date. If you have two upload sessions in a day, there will be two event folders created with all the photos taken during those sessions.

Loaded photo on iPad
The Photo app is pretty primitive with only basic photo editing functions.

The version of iOS will determine what kind of RAW files you can see. The photos you see above are shot with the X100 and the RAW files show up just fine.

If you're shooting both JPEG and RAW, both files will be imported.

For my case, I'm using the iPad as a storage device to backup the photos. There are some iPad apps that have the functionality to access the photos and upload it to the web. So if you're blogging while traveling, this card reader can be very helpful. More on that in other iPad app reviews.

Loaded video on iPad
You can also play any video just uploaded. There's only the play, pause and scrub functions.

Whether or not the video will play depends on the video format. Mine's a .mov file so it plays just fine.

Conclusion
It's a cheap accessory to upload photos to the iPad. The build quality is a bit inferior but not too much of an issue.

Even with the occasional This-Accessory-Is-Not-Supported-by-iPad error message, it still works.

Overall, I'll rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I will not recommend the original Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit. You can find reviews reporting that Apple used iOS updates to make their connector incompatible with future iPads. It's disrespect for customers who bought their product.

The 5 in 1 Card Reader for iPad is available at Amazon (US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP)

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