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Review: Aleratec USB Copy Cruiser Plus

Aleratec USB Copy Cruiser Plus

The USB Copy Cruiser Plus is a USB copy device with the additional convenience of an 8-in-1 card reader. The unit will copy from one memory device to another or from one memory device to a USB flash drive without the need of a PC. This OTG (On-The-Go) USB technology is very useful and the USB Copy Cruiser Plus proves to be just that, useful. For the small foot-print and compact size, just bigger then your palm, the product performs well, is easy to use and provides clear and precise feedback.

When I received the USB Copy Cruiser Plus I was surprised at how small and light the unit was – add three AAA batteries and I was off playing and testing. The feel of the USB Copy Cruiser Plus is nice, fits well in your hand and custom push-button navigation setup is easy to use and has a nice tactile feel. The LCD is a 4×20 display which is easy to read in medium or low light, bright light might prove to be a little challenging, but expected for LCD without back lighting.

The memory card slots are on the top left of the unit which can be accessed via the top-side of the USB Copy Cruiser Plus. There are three USB ports on the bottom left side where by two ports are used to connect to standalone devices such as MP3 players, cameras, flash drives and other mass storage devices and a third USB port is used for PC connection.

The USB Copy Cruiser Plus is USB 2.0 High Speed compatible when connected to a PC/MAC and being used as a card reader. I noticed you cannot access USB devices through the USB Copy Cruiser Plus when connected to the PC, during this operation only the card reader is functioning and at 2.0 High Speed. Often times there are limited USB ports on laptops and it would be nice to use not only the card reader ports, but also access USB devices through the Copy Cruiser when connected to a host computer. The card reader supports Compact Flash Type I/II, MicroDrive, Smart Media, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Multi Media Card and Secure Digital cards. The USB Copy Cruiser Plus will support and recognize all FAT file systems (FAT12, FAT 16 and FAT32) but not NTFS, which makes sense since FAT files systems are universal and NTFS is only Windows compatible.

The USB Copy Cruiser Plus performed as expected. The menu screen is very easy to read and navigate. The display will immediately tell you when a memory card or USB device is connected via logos on the top of the screen. From this point, the arrow keys are used to navigate into a device and once there, the top logo turns solid color to indicate the device is selected. Next you arrow ‘right’ to enter the device, then easily select files or folders to copy via the center circle button, which is the enter key. I believe the user interface is very logical given all the requests and commands needed to perform a task. Once started, the USB Copy Cruiser Plus displays the exact file being copied and a time-bar indicating when that specific file will be complete, then moves on to next file to be copied. Upon completion the device will display “Finished.” To copy from memory card to memory card you must use the “duplicate” command rather then the “copy” command which is used when copying to a USB flash drive.

The data transfer speeds where again, acceptable and good for the right application and use. Since the USB Copy Cruiser Plus is not USB 2.0 High Speed when transferring from memory device to memory device I saw the following during our informal testing: Memory Stick to USB flash drive; 321Kb/sec, Compact Flash to USB flash drive; 296Kb/sec and when connected to a PC transfer rates where in the neighborhood of 2.2MB/sec. I did see a significant slow down when copying from memory card to memory card, for example from Memory Stick to Compact Flash, transfer rates dropped to 4.6Kb/sec. Although speed is not the first priority with this product, it is clear that convenience and ease-of-use is a priority and Aleratec has succeeded in that endeavor.

The USB Copy Cruiser Plus is a good product for someone on the go. It’s ability to copy from numerous USB devices to flash memory, or visa versa makes for a “must have” for professionals on the go. The copier simplifies the process for many tasks including photographers looking to off-load data from their digital camera, quickly share data between people without booting up a computer, or use as a one-to-one USB flash drive duplicator.

In conclusion, if you are going to invest money into a memory card reader you should spend a little extra money and purchase the USB Copy Cruiser Plus from Aleratec. Along with the fast USB 2.0 High Speed card reader, the USB Copy Cruiser Plus also provides a host of copy and duplicating features which you will quickly find to be a valuable tool. Ideal for the professional on the go and price right at around $65USD, this small USB and memory card copier and reader is a good investment to your office arsenal of digital products.

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