Product Type: HDD Docking Station with Card Reader
Cost: ~ $50
Product Information: http://usb.brando.com.hk/prod_detail.php?prod_id=00549
Unitek’s SATA HDD Docking Station combo is an extremely versatile device. It not only accepts 2.5” or 3.5” SATA hard drives and mounts them for use on a client PC, it also offers a full-featured memory card reader, and even an integrated USB 2.0 hub with two ports. The uplink to your host PC is accomplished via USB 2.0, which makes clear that this isn’t a high-performance component, but the plethora of features, which also includes a one-touch backup function, helps make up for the performance bottleneck.
While there are many hard drive docking stations on the market, this one comes with a lot of additional value. The back (see photo below) holds the physical power switch, the power connector, and the USB port for the system uplink. The front is equipped with an array of interface options, plus four slots for all common memory cards. This includes SDHC (and all smaller derivates), the CompactFlash family, Sony’s MemoryStick products, and X-Memory. You can use the two USB 2.0 ports should you need to attach any other devices.
We liked that this is not just a plain hardware product—it comes with a backup program called PCClone EX Lite. This software allows you to select folders on your host PC to back up onto a hard drive installed into the SATA HDD Docking Station. It is not possible to create backups onto memory cards or other USB 2.0 storage devices, though. The backup is executed and written into a hidden folder; starting the process can also be accomplished by using the device’s backup button. Unitek also added a tool that allows formatting hard drives over 32 GB using FAT 32—Windows does not support this with its built-in tools, but FAT32 is still the most versatile file system.