• Moshi iLynx & Cardette Review

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    If you find yourself needing more USB ports than there are on your Mac, you might run out and grab a USB hub. If you are anything like me, you might attempt to hide it somewhere out of sight so that it does not spoil the look of your Mac set up (I stick mine on the underside of the desk with double-sided tape!). The iLynx by Moshi, however, is one USB hub that sits proudly in the centre of my desk. It is a 4 x USB 2.0 and 2 x Firewire 400 hub that is designed specially to match the look of the iMac, though it undoubtedly works with any computer with a USB port.

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    Although the top of the iLynx looks exactly like the aluminium finish of the iMac, it is actually made of plastic and lacks the cool feel of metal. The ‘moshi’ name on the top lights up when connected to the Mac (like the Apple logo on Mac laptops). However, the light does not go off when the iMac goes to sleep, only when it is completely shut off. This might be important for someone who has their Mac in a bedroom and who does not usually shut it down completely. It does look quite cool in the dark, though.

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    Functionally what sets this hub apart from others is the inclusion of what the manufacturer calls “Dynamic Power Sharing” technology that enables the hub to support high-power peripherals. I had no problems operating an external 2.5” HDD or my Canon scanner via the iLynx (the scanner does not work with other self-powered USB hubs I have). Note, however, that according to the info provided, the DPS function only works when the hub is connected to both a USB and Firewire port on the Mac, so Macs without Firewire will not be able to benefit from this feature. The hub comes with USB and Firewire extension cables and a Firewire 400 to 800 adapter.

    While the iLynx should work with any Mac, I probably would not recommend it as a portable device for several reasons. Having been styled to match an iMac, the iLynx is physically larger than a 4-port USB/2-port Firewire hub needs to be. There are much smaller and more portable devices available that can serve the same purposes. Also, I’m predicting that the plastic finish of the iLynx is fairly susceptible to scratches, which is perfectly fine for a device that sits tight in one spot, but it is just too much to have to worry about when using it out and about.

    Style does not come cheap but if you are willing to pay for a hub that looks cool and sleek and adds to the aesthetic of your Mac setup, the iLynx is the perfect choice at an RRP of $99.95.

    The Cardette is a multi-card reader by Moshi. Typical of Moshi products, it has a very sleek & clean design. It supports SD, MS, MMC, xD and CF cards and an adapter is included to accommodate microSD cards (it is the same microSD-to-SD thing you get when you purchase your card). The top of the reader has a rubberised coating and the ‘moshi’ lights up when the reader is connected to a USB port on your Mac. A bright white light next to the card slots indicates when data is being read or written.

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    In addition to card slots, the Cardette also has 2 USB ports, so it might be particularly useful to laptop users (Hello MacBook Air!). Like other multi-card readers, there is a built-in USB plug. It conveniently snaps into place in its receptacle for storage. A USB extension cable and a very elegant clip, which can be attached to the reader via velcro, are also provided.

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    As with the iLynx, style comes at a price, which in the case of the Cardette, is an RRP of $59.05.
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