There are some great tablets that have just one flaw: no microSD slot. Fortunately, there’s the Leef Access microSD Reader, a $12.99 add-on that enables mobile devices to work with these ubiquitous memory cards.
The accessory just requires a micro-USB slot and support for USB On-the-Go. It was designed for Android tablets and phones, but will also work with some Windows tablets.
Build & Design
The Leef Access is tiny, about 1.2 inches long. It can easily be clipped to a keyring with a small lanyard (not included).
On one end is the micro-USB plug, and on the other is a slot to plug a microSD card into; it’s as straightforward and simple as it could be.
Plus there is a bonus: there’s a second slot below the first one. This isn’t wired to anything, and serves as a place to hold an alternate microSD card, so you can make two lower-capacity cards be almost as effective as a high-capacity one.
A white LED shines to indicate that the reader is receiving power, and blinks when data is being read from or written to the card.
The Leef Access can be used with any Android device that supports USB On-the-Go, which is a technical way of saying the tablet or phone can be used to control USB peripherals. Some low-end models don’t support this, so their micro-USB ports can only be used to charge the device.
When we tested this microSD card reader with the Google Nexus 9, a tablet often criticized for its lack of a microSD slot, we were able to use this accessory, but there are complications.
A memory card in this add-on reader is not treated in the same way as one as it would be if it were inserted into a reader that’s built into this tablet. In semi-technical terms, the Android device doesn’t mount the accessory. An example of what is means is that Google’s Photos app doesn’t display the contents of a microSD card in the Leef Access, but it would display images stored on a card that’s in a tablet’s built-in card reader.
This means that an app to work with the contents of the microSD card is a necessity. We recommend ES File Explorer File Manager, which is available for free. This allows the user to see and work with the contents of cards in the Leef Access. Videos, images, and other types of files can be opened directly from a card, or files can be transferred to the Android device’s internal storage and accessed from there. Naturally, files can also be moved from the tablet to a card with this same software.
Having to work through a file manager is slightly cumbersome, but it’s better than not having any way to use microSD cards.
All Windows tablets already come with microSD slots, but this accessory can be useful for those who frequently work with multiple cards, as it makes copying between cards a snap. Of course, the same is true of Android devices that have card readers.
The Leef Access microSD Reader is only $12.99 (and available online for less) and makes such a welcome improvement for those who have a tablet without a built-in card reader that anyone who has such a device should seriously consider getting one today.
Admittedly, it’s not as nice as having a microSD slot integrated into your tablet, but as long as companies like Google and Amazon continue being opposed to removable memory cards, it’s great that Leef is here to help fill in the gap.