Digimate 3 - my initial impressions

Started Mar 11, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Gene L.
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Digimate 3 - my initial impressions
Mar 11, 2006

I picked up a Digimate 3 from http://www.meritline.com/usb2-0-digi-mate3.html the other day and thought I would post my initial impressions here. FWIW, Meritline was exceptionally fast to deliver, good job. The price for the PSD without hard drive is $38 USD. I was going to wait for a review, but found a $10 discount code at http://www.dealmac.com and so went ahead and bought it. Here is what I've observed so far:

1) Physical - The unit is pleasant looking (sorry, no photos). It is quite small and weighs in at 8.3 oz. with a 40GB Hitachi Travelstar installed in it. The case is thin, but adequate if one takes care not to drop it. The color display is legible under normal light indoors. I can't say about outdoors as the sun hasn't been out for many days now.

The case assembles with 4 very small screws. They supplied 8 screws, so I have plenty of spares. The unit comes well packaged in a very nice display box that has a magnetic clasp. It nicely holds the unit and the supplied charger. It comes with a USB cable, charger, screws, small screwdriver, and manual.

One thing worth noting is that the battery compartment is accessed via a removeable door on the side. The battery simply slides out once the door is off. I have not confirmed this, but the battery appears to be the same as a Fuji NP60 though it is marked DM10. It has the same diminsions, looks the same (based on images from the Internet), and is a 3.7V lithium cell.

2) Electrical - Power is from the internal battery, external 5V source (supplied external adaptor), or via USB when connected to a computer. The battery charges any time there is external power applied. The unit handles CF I & II (microdrive), SD MMC, Mini SD, MS Pro, & MS Duo.

3) Display - A small LED at the bottom lights red when charging and green when fully charged. The main display is a simple LCD with multiple color. There are indicators for hard disk space remaining, active flash device (CF, MS, SD, etc.), flash data size, USB active, and battery. When transferring it shows an animation of source to dest and also has a circular graph showing percent transferred as well as a numerical percent transferred.

4) Transfer - Transfer is somewhere around 2MB/sec. I fully loaded a 1GB Kingston Elite Pro 50x CF card and timed the transfer rate. It delivered times from 7 min. 54 sec from to 8 min. 5 sec. I fully charged the battery and transferred the same data set multiple times to run the battery down. I got 9 full transfers and about half way through #10 before it died. Battery performance might improve with some deep discharge cycles, but my bet would be on having some spares if AC power will not be available. The battery weighs only 1.1 oz. and so it isn't much strain to carry extras. Especially nice is that you don't need a screwdriver to open the battery compartment.

Transfer between the device and PC are very fast. The USB interface is USB 2 high speed and it shows. The device also presents any memory devices to the PC so it can be used as a high speed card reader/writer.

5) Operation - Things could not be simpler. Hold the power button for two seconds to turn it on/off. When a flash device is installed, press the transfer button and it starts the transfer instantly. That's all there is to it.

Overall I am quite happy with the product. I think that for the money, one would be hard pressed to do better. It would be an ideal unit for a redundant backup scheme.

-Gene L.

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