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Tuesday, August 09, 2005
RIDATA Introduces QuattroDrive to Save You Time

Making life easier, taking the dullness out of mundane tasks and saving you time: that's what Ridata's QuattroDrive is about.

Sure you can take the CF, SD or Memory Stick out of your camera, put it in a card reader attached to your computer, load up your preferred CD or DVD burning software, tell it what to burn and wait while your PC or Mac does the job. But why spend the half hour doing this tedious task when you can put your flash memory card in the QuattroDrive, use the LCD panel menus to tell it to burn the photos and videos to a CD-R or CD-RW, then walk away. Ever so convenient, especially for avid photographers who come home with a few hundred pictures on a card and want to dump them quickly and go out for another shoot.

Ridata is well respected among digital photographers thanks to their very fast flash memory cards. They've branched out to offer "Information Appliances" such as the Quattro optical drive with card reader. Ridata describes the aptly named Quattro as a 4 in 1 device because it functions as a photo storage device, card reader, external USB CD-RW/DVD drive and as a multimedia player that can play DVDs, Audio CDs, MP3s, VCDs and JPGs when connected to a TV or PC .

The QuattroDrive is a compact unit that's not much larger than a CD . The top LCD and play, FF, RW and Stop buttons allow you to use the unit in a standalone fashion, or you can hook it up to a TV and use its on-screen menus to control the drive. In addition, the Quattro has a USB 2.0 port so you can use the drive with a computer to watch DVDs, read and write CDs and access storage cards. Very versatile! You can use the drive as a portable DVD player and burner with a desktop or notebook, use it to view photos on your TV and use it to quickly burn photos from a storage card to disc. Card reader drivers are supplied for Windows 98/2000/XP and no driver is needed for the CD portion nor does Mac OS X require drivers.

The Quattro has an integrated card reader that supports SD, MMC, CF, MicroDrive, Smart Media and Memory Stick (including Pro) cards. Thus you can burn media from any of these card formats to a CD. The drive can burn to CD-R and CD-RW media and can play but not burn DVDs. It can write multi-session CDs so you need not worry about wasting CD-R disks if you don't have enough photos on a card to fill the disc. Simply write the next batch of photos from a card to the CD-R when ready. In our tests, the drive wrote fifty 3.5 meg photos from our Pentax *ist DS digital SLR camera's high speed SD card in under 5 minutes. We got the same results using a fast CF card full of photos.

We tested the drive with our Sony Vaio S460 notebook and a Windows XP desktop and it worked flawlessly as an optical drive and card reader on both. We used the included RCA cables to hook the Quattro up to our TV and again, it worked well and made viewing photos using the slide show function a breeze. In addition to RCA outputs and audio out, the Quattro has a Component video port (cable not included). You can also use the drive as a portable discman and hook up a set of headphones or self-powered speakers to the audio out port.

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