PDA

View Full Version : Review: TheMiniDrive.com microSD card adapter




oneMadRssn
Apr 16, 2013, 07:04 PM
Hi Folks. I thought I would also contribute my own review of The Mini Drive.

It's available on ebay.com and amazon.com, for $30.

My test machine was a 2011 13" Macbook Air i7

The packaging:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37220/mr/tmd1.png
It's worth mentioning that their packaging is actually pretty nice. No ripping, tearing, or cutting required, it just opens and there's the product. Nice. My weak and fragile nerd fingers thank them.

The Mini Drive itself:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37220/mr/tmd2.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37220/mr/tmd3.png
What you see is what you get. It seems to be a pin-to-pin adapter, so basically it's a simple shell that allows a microSD card to fit inside, and offers a nice looking flush fit into the MBA (their site claims it fits equally nice into other apple laptops). It comes with a bendy red wire for extracting, but it seems anything from a paperclip to a ballpoint pen would work as well at taking it out. I put it in and took it our numerous times, and it worked the right the first time every time. The manual claims sometimes you might need to reinsert if something doesn't work, but this did not happen once to me yet.

Appearance:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37220/mr/tmd4.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37220/mr/tmd5.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37220/mr/tmd6.png
It fits easily into the MBA, and sits nice and flush as promised. No amount of shaking got it loose, it sat in there snug. The color is not a perfect match to the aluminum, but it's close enough. As promised, it is exactly flush with the MBA, does not protrude a single mm. Despite the color, I think it actually looks quite nice. It's certainly very elegant.

Performance:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37220/mr/tmd7.png https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37220/mr/tmd8.png
It is recognized as a USB drive just as any SD card would be, and is therefore probably limited to USB speeds. Otherwise, as it's a pin-to-pin connection, the speed will depend on what microSD card you choose. My MBA was able to sleep with it in there; it's worth noting that I have hibernate disabled on purpose so I did not test that. Thus, I will not report speed tests because the particular microSD card I am using is not particularly fast to begin with. I am using it for storing my iTunes library, nothing that needs thrillingly fast speeds. I did not personally notice a hit on my battery life at all. Of all upgrades, this one is probably the easiest to use / implement.

Conclusion:
This is great solution for users who (1) want to expand their storage in the MBA, (2) want to do so in the most cost-effective way possible, (3) do not want to carry bulky external drives, and (4) want the solution to be visually pleasing. It does have a few draw backs that come with putting a lot of faith in a microSD card. Considering that for a total of ~$50, you could add a whole 32GB for storage of large stuff like music is a pretty good value. I would recommend this to a friend.

In the future, I plan on getting the fastest microSD card I can and seeing if I can install a bootcamp Windows 7 onto it.



ColdCase
Apr 16, 2013, 09:41 PM
Even the fastest SD cards are relatively slow (but are usually fast enough). They are great for storage and are near indestructible, however. My high performance SanDisk Ultra 64 GB MicroSDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Card in a MacbookPro does 10MBps writes, 44.4.MBps reads (blackmagic benchmark). For reference, a decent internal SSD provides over 400MBps writes and reads. A decent SSD un a USB3 enclosure provides over 200MBps writes and reads. A typical USB2 rotational drive is around 30MBps writes and reads.

ratboy90
Apr 17, 2013, 03:46 AM
This is a great review! Thanks a lot. I just bought one myself yesterday and your review reassures me quite a bit.

rdunlap
Apr 17, 2013, 10:14 AM
I am going to pull the trigger on one of these soon, but still waiting for a 128GB microSD as that would be perfect for my iTunes library and such.

ColdCase
Apr 17, 2013, 11:15 AM
Just a note that if you want to include the SD drive in your time machine backup, the SD needs to be reformatted to MAC OS extended and journaled, which is the typical MAC drive format.

RedTomato
Apr 17, 2013, 02:09 PM
Looks nice for extending storage.

I know it's only USB speeds but in daily use it could be a hell of a lot faster than a spinning HD. HDDs go down to as little as 0.12 MB/s for random small files, especially when thrashing. This isn't ever going to thrash if you keep a GB or 2 free, and it'll never slow down on random access.

zipur
Jul 13, 2013, 10:18 AM
I loved this at first. it fits perfect and with a 32 G micro connected you almost have a spare hard drive.

Then I took it out a few times to copy files over to another PC. TheMiniDrive has now broken open. The thing split it two!

Don't waste your money on this product.

falconeight
Jul 13, 2013, 10:41 AM
Would like to add that this doesn't fit a macbook pro retina 13. It sticks out.

thelookingglass
Jul 13, 2013, 11:07 AM
$30 is a lot to pay for a tiny piece of plastic.

tehsprayer
Jul 13, 2013, 05:05 PM
If I were to get 128gb ssd, I would most likely get this but I decided on the 256.


Eventually, I may install parallels on a microsd and I am interested in this but it seems to be very expensive (post above me) what happened if the plastic end fell off and you wont be able to disconnect the sd card, then you're in trouble.

TheRealDamager
Jul 13, 2013, 09:43 PM
$30 is a lot to pay for a tiny piece of plastic.

You aren't just paying for a piece of plastic. You are paying someone who invested their time and money to design, engineer, and then manufacture this product for sale. If you can make your own for $30, feel free. But you are almost never paying for just the raw materials when you buy something.

falconeight
Jul 13, 2013, 10:46 PM
You aren't just paying for a piece of plastic. You are paying someone who invested their time and money to design, engineer, and then manufacture this product for sale. If you can make your own for $30, feel free. But you are almost never paying for just the raw materials when you buy something.

Very true, and right now some scumbag is paying someone in China money to copy it and produce it for cheaper. Then this company will have all their customers and money taken.

zipur
Jul 14, 2013, 07:05 AM
This is a No Buy. I've only had the mini a few weeks, it should not have split in half for the price i payed. Look to other options.
I'll let ya know what the MFG says, I'm having a bit of trouble finding my receipt.

xproc
Jul 14, 2013, 08:03 AM
Hi Folks. I thought I would also contribute my own review of The Mini Drive.

It's available on ebay.com and amazon.com, for $30.



Does it look like this? Is it worth $30?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Micro-SD-TF-to-SD-USB-Flash-U-Disk-Adapter-1GB-2GB-4G-8G-16GB-Card-Adapter-/140912429964

http://i.ebayimg.com/t/New-Micro-SD-TF-to-SD-USB-Flash-U-Disk-Adapter-1GB-2GB-4G-8G-16GB-Card-Adapter-/00/s/NTUwWDU1MA==/z/D1gAAMXQxVZRDO~P/$(KGrHqJ,!rIFD1fVbTeeBRDO+PK6I!~~60_12.JPG

http://forum.lowyat.net/uploads/attach-87/post-127287-1365151483.jpg

enisala
Jul 14, 2013, 08:36 AM
Is it possible to install on it Windows through Parallels or game like Diablo 3 or Civ 5?
I mean it will be in good usability?

Mlrollin91
Jul 14, 2013, 11:07 AM
Is it possible to install on it Windows through Parallels or game like Diablo 3 or Civ 5?
I mean it will be in good usability?

You cannot install parallels or windows on an external drive, but you should be able to install a game. But the read and write speed are considerably slower than the internal drive, so their may be lags, glitches and other problems running large programs.

For those that have an 11" Air like myself, because we don't have an SD slot, I recommend this:

http://www.amazon.com/Patriot-Autobahn-Flash-Drive-PSF32GLSABUSB/dp/B00AEGIPD4/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1373817967&sr=8-5&keywords=patriot+32gb

I leave it plugged in 24/7, it barely sticks out and I have yet to have a problem with it. (Been using it for about 6 months now). Not the fastest drive in the world, but definitely fast enough to store my iPhoto and iTunes library, in addition to some basic applications.

hakr100
Jul 14, 2013, 11:27 AM
I'm running a Sandisk 64GB SDXC in my new MBA 13, in the freebie adapter that came with the card. I bought it so I would have something other than the SSD in the MBA on which to load movies and music. The SDXC works just fine as a media storage device and plays back the videos without problems. The adapter sticks out of the side of the MBA a little, so I might buy one of the minidrives, but I'd sure like something better than cheapo plastic that splits or cracks.

FreakinEurekan
Jul 14, 2013, 11:49 AM
For those that have an 11" Air like myself, because we don't have an SD slot, I recommend this:

http://www.amazon.com/Patriot-Autobahn-Flash-Drive-PSF32GLSABUSB/dp/B00AEGIPD4/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1373817967&sr=8-5&keywords=patriot+32gb

Here's a similar option that uses SDXC cards: http://amzn.com/B002HGFKR8

----------

You cannot install parallels or windows on an external drive, but you should be able to install a game. But the read and write speed are considerably slower than the internal drive, so their may be lags, glitches and other problems running large programs.

I'm not familiar with Parallels but you could certainly put a VMWare bundle on an external drive. The VMWare program itself would be installed on the Mac's internal drive, but the virtual machine bundle could run this way.

I agree it would be slower, not sure how much though. Gut feeling is it would be usable. I'll try it out when I have some time to spare.

thelookingglass
Jul 14, 2013, 12:25 PM
You aren't just paying for a piece of plastic. You are paying someone who invested their time and money to design, engineer, and then manufacture this product for sale. If you can make your own for $30, feel free. But you are almost never paying for just the raw materials when you buy something.

Yes, I'm aware that the cost of a good is more than just the cost of the raw materials used to make it. But in this particular instance, you're paying $30 for what could be sold, more reasonably, for $3. Manufacturing in volume probably costs no more than $0.50-$0.75 per piece.

SteveJobs2.0
Jul 14, 2013, 12:32 PM
Yes, I'm aware that the cost of a good is more than just the cost of the raw materials used to make it. But in this particular instance, you're paying $30 for what could be sold, more reasonably, for $3. Manufacturing in volume probably costs no more than $0.50-$0.75 per piece.

This is not a high volume product. You are also paying for R&D, design etc. having said all that, $20 would be much more reasonable.

filmbuff
Jul 14, 2013, 12:39 PM
You aren't just paying for a piece of plastic. You are paying someone who invested their time and money to design, engineer, and then manufacture this product for sale. If you can make your own for $30, feel free. But you are almost never paying for just the raw materials when you buy something.

It isn't about how much it cost to make, it's about how much the product is worth to the consumer. I know that for me, it is not worth $30 to have a tiny plastic adapter to flush-mount an SD card. If a lot of people make the same decision not to buy it, profits will be even less than they would if the adapter was priced more reasonably. In other words, if your cost of production is so high that you have to price it above market value, your product isn't profitable.

TheRealDamager
Jul 14, 2013, 03:55 PM
It isn't about how much it cost to make, it's about how much the product is worth to the consumer. I know that for me, it is not worth $30 to have a tiny plastic adapter to flush-mount an SD card. If a lot of people make the same decision not to buy it, profits will be even less than they would if the adapter was priced more reasonably. In other words, if your cost of production is so high that you have to price it above market value, your product isn't profitable.

Apparently people are buying it. If it's not worth it to you, you won't. Enough said.

zipur
Jul 14, 2013, 04:58 PM
Does it look like this? Is it worth $30?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Micro-SD-TF-to-SD-USB-Flash-U-Disk-Adapter-1GB-2GB-4G-8G-16GB-Card-Adapter-/140912429964

Image (http://i.ebayimg.com/t/New-Micro-SD-TF-to-SD-USB-Flash-U-Disk-Adapter-1GB-2GB-4G-8G-16GB-Card-Adapter-/00/s/NTUwWDU1MA==/z/D1gAAMXQxVZRDO~P/$(KGrHqJ,!rIFD1fVbTeeBRDO+PK6I!~~60_12.JPG)

Image (http://forum.lowyat.net/uploads/attach-87/post-127287-1365151483.jpg)

This is exactly what happened to me, I was an early adopter and did not buy it on eBay

hakr100
Jul 14, 2013, 05:31 PM
This is exactly what happened to me, I was an early adopter and did not buy it on eBay

Well, that's certainly worth $20 or $30...a crappy piece of cheap plastic that splits. :D

Fattytail
Jul 14, 2013, 07:09 PM
There's actually something similar on newegg.com for a fraction of the price. Can't remember the name of it, but I saw it on these forums.

oneMadRssn
Jul 15, 2013, 12:46 PM
Does it look like this? Is it worth $30?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Micro-SD-TF-to-SD-USB-Flash-U-Disk-Adapter-1GB-2GB-4G-8G-16GB-Card-Adapter-/140912429964

Image (http://i.ebayimg.com/t/New-Micro-SD-TF-to-SD-USB-Flash-U-Disk-Adapter-1GB-2GB-4G-8G-16GB-Card-Adapter-/00/s/NTUwWDU1MA==/z/D1gAAMXQxVZRDO~P/$(KGrHqJ,!rIFD1fVbTeeBRDO+PK6I!~~60_12.JPG)

Image (http://forum.lowyat.net/uploads/attach-87/post-127287-1365151483.jpg)

I think it looks much better than hacking that SD card in half with a saw or something.


As for value, it's totaly up to the user. $30 does seem a bit steep for what is essentially a microSD adapter. I would put it like this:
- If you need extra low-speed storage in your MBA, and you can make something similar to this in less than an hour, then $30 is not worth it.
- If you don't need low-speed storage in your MBA, then $30 is not worth it.
- If you need extra low-speed storage in your MBA, don't feel like futzing around with breaking SD cards, and would rather just buy an off-the-shelf solution, then the $30 is well spent.

SteveJobs2.0
Jul 15, 2013, 01:21 PM
Does it look like this? Is it worth $30?
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-Micro-SD-TF-to-SD-USB-Flash-U-Disk-Adapter-1GB-2GB-4G-8G-16GB-Card-Adapter-/140912429964

Image (http://i.ebayimg.com/t/New-Micro-SD-TF-to-SD-USB-Flash-U-Disk-Adapter-1GB-2GB-4G-8G-16GB-Card-Adapter-/00/s/NTUwWDU1MA==/z/D1gAAMXQxVZRDO~P/$(KGrHqJ,!rIFD1fVbTeeBRDO+PK6I!~~60_12.JPG)

Image (http://forum.lowyat.net/uploads/attach-87/post-127287-1365151483.jpg)

That's a completely different product.

xproc
Jul 15, 2013, 09:56 PM
That's a completely different product.

the earlier prototypes had more similar looks, that time it is still $20, now is more like the nifty minidrive, but price is higher now($30),

previous nifty minidrive doesnt have very good reviews (built quality), now they are switching to Foxconn, lets hope this is going well...

anyway i more concern speed of the microsd to adapter to mac...

sandisk release extreme pro version of microsd to fight Toshiba and samsung microsd... but i not sure the speed limit of the SD of our macs can takes...

anyway its not relevant to me anymore... :)

onepoint
Jul 16, 2013, 09:50 AM
I purchased a minidrive as well. I've experienced repeated issues whereas coming out of sleep mode I'll find the microSD has been ejected. And it's not easy to remove/reinstall the minidrive in order for the card to be re-recognized.

emartins
Jul 16, 2013, 01:30 PM
I'll post the positive review. Ordered mine back in Feb and it still works great till today. Never broke or gave me any issues with the Mac. I do have the MiniDrive version. I still recommend it till today.

SteveJobs2.0
Jul 16, 2013, 01:57 PM
Another thing people fail to take into account is that that this is a "semi permanant" solution, meaning that it is not meant to be taken out multiple times per week. This is mainly a leave it inside and forget it solution except for a few special instances where you might need to use the SD slot for another purpose.

ZBoater
Jul 16, 2013, 06:45 PM
What would be the best format for a 64GB sd card?

ZBoater
Jul 18, 2013, 08:23 PM
I got mine today, and it doesn't look anything like the picture in the OP. Instead of a grey edge with a slot for a paperclip to pull it out, mine is black, and has no slot. It has a transparent tab that folds over when inserting the drive, and it pulls out (like a tongue) which you can grab and pull out the drive with.

The outside packaging is the same, the package says TheMiniDrive.com on the front, but they've changed the design and I'm not sure I like that clear plastic tongue.

thelookingglass
Jul 18, 2013, 09:28 PM
I got mine today, and it doesn't look anything like the picture in the OP. Instead of a grey edge with a slot for a paperclip to pull it out, mine is black, and has no slot. It has a transparent tab that folds over when inserting the drive, and it pulls out (like a tongue) which you can grab and pull out the drive with.

The outside packaging is the same, the package says TheMiniDrive.com on the front, but they've changed the design and I'm not sure I like that clear plastic tongue.

Try the Apotop on Newegg.com. There's a thread about it on here. A lot cheaper and seems to work better. Only thing is that it comes in sort of bright colors, but that may or may not matter to you.

ZBoater
Jul 18, 2013, 09:33 PM
Try the Apotop on Newegg.com. There's a thread about it on here. A lot cheaper and seems to work better. Only thing is that it comes in sort of bright colors, but that may or may not matter to you.

I saw that one, but I already bought this one. It works fine, but it looks nothing like the pictures in the OP. They may have changed the design to be removable with this new strap rather than a paper clip to address the breakage issue. If they did, the solution looks cheap and tacky.

ZBoater
Jul 19, 2013, 03:57 PM
On a separate but related note, has anyone been able to change the SD Card drive icon to something more interesting? I've tried the copy paste trick that is posted all over the internet but for some reason the new icon refuses to take and all I get is a generic icon with the letters PNG on it.

hakr100
Jul 19, 2013, 04:35 PM
I bought one of the Apotop adapters from a poster here, and used it to insert my 64GB SDXC card. Once inserted, hardly any of the adapter protrudes. In fact, since I have my MBA in an STM case, the adapter protrudes a hair less than the case.

This is not a device I plan on inserting and removing. Unless something goes wrong, the card is in my MBA to stay.

SteveJobs2.0
Jul 19, 2013, 10:41 PM
I saw that one, but I already bought this one. It works fine, but it looks nothing like the pictures in the OP. They may have changed the design to be removable with this new strap rather than a paper clip to address the breakage issue. If they did, the solution looks cheap and tacky.

That is a different version I believe.

Virtual Steve
Jul 20, 2013, 09:46 AM
On a separate but related note, has anyone been able to change the SD Card drive icon to something more interesting? I've tried the copy paste trick that is posted all over the internet but for some reason the new icon refuses to take and all I get is a generic icon with the letters PNG on it.

ZBoater, not really sure what you're doing wrong, but the images that you're trying to use as replacement drive icons still need to be in the .icns format. I don't believe that copy & paste method you're talking about will work with just any image format. I've attached a zip file with 5 different Nifty MiniDrive icons that I created a while ago in the .icns format that you are free to use. Actually there are 4 Nifty MiniDrive icons and one SanDisk microSD card icon. I've verified that all of these do work as intended.

I was a backer of the Nifty MiniDrive early on (when they were funded on IndieGoGo, before they hit Kickstarter), so some of the drive images are from their original Mark I all metal prototype. I've actually had that model for over a year now, and have no complaints, although their current model (Mark II) has had quite a few problems with read-only issues and the drive separating from the faceplate. Hopefully, the Mark III version due out next month will resolve those issues. Anyway, hope this helps. Post back if you still don't have success replacing the drive icons.

ZBoater
Jul 20, 2013, 09:52 AM
That is a different version I believe.

Ahhh, yes. Mine is "the original". There are different versions for different laptops. Ratz.

----------

ZBoater, not really sure what you're doing wrong, but the images that you're trying to use as replacement drive icons still need to be in the .icns format. I don't believe that copy & paste method you're talking about will work with just any image format. I've attached a zip file with 5 different Nifty MiniDrive icons that I created a while ago in the .icns format that you are free to use. Actually there are 4 Nifty MiniDrive icons and one SanDisk microSD card icon. I've verified that all of these do work as intended.

I was a backer of the Nifty MiniDrive early on (when they were funded on IndieGoGo, before they hit Kickstarter), so some of the drive images are from their original Mark I all metal prototype. I've actually had that model for over a year now, and have no complaints, although their current model (Mark II) has had quite a few problems with read-only issues and the drive separating from the faceplate. Hopefully, the Mark III version due out next month will resolve those issues. Anyway, hope this helps. Post back if you still don't have success replacing the drive icons.

Thank you! This is very nice of you. I will try these and report back.

I was able to get the png files to work, but inconsistently. I reformatted the card in OS X format, and the copy and paste method worked. I then reformatted again in exfat and it worked once. After that it didn't seem to work, although after several tries I rebooted and then it took. :confused:

ZBoater
Jul 20, 2013, 10:36 AM
Ok, tried them, and had the same result. At first it didn't seem to take, but after rebooting the new icon showed up. The Sandisk card icon is very cool.

Not sure it if has something to do with 10.8.4 or what, but at least it works!