Review: TheMiniDrive.com microSD card adapter

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by oneMadRssn, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68000

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #1
    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:
    [​IMG]
    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:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    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:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    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:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    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.
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    ratboy90

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    #3
    This is a great review! Thanks a lot. I just bought one myself yesterday and your review reassures me quite a bit.
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Location:
    The great state of Texas
    #7
    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.
     
  8. Guest

    falconeight

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    #8
    Would like to add that this doesn't fit a macbook pro retina 13. It sticks out.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    #9
    $30 is a lot to pay for a tiny piece of plastic.
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #11
    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.
     
  12. Guest

    falconeight

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    #12
    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.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Location:
    The great state of Texas
    #13
    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.
     
  14. xproc, Jul 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013

    macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    Location:
    Malaysia
    #14
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    #15
    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?
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura
    #16
    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-Autob...8&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.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast
    #17
    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.
     
  18. macrumors 68030

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #18
    Here's a similar option that uses SDXC cards: http://amzn.com/B002HGFKR8

    ----------

    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.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    #19
    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.
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    #20
    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.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #21
    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.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #22
    Apparently people are buying it. If it's not worth it to you, you won't. Enough said.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Location:
    The great state of Texas
    #23
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast
    #24
    Well, that's certainly worth $20 or $30...a crappy piece of cheap plastic that splits. :D
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    #25
    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.
     

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