SanDisk Memory Stick PRO Duo

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Designed for games, works in cameras

Jul 20, 2006 (Updated Jul 20, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Cheap and fast, works in cameras just fine,

Cons:no length adaptor to fit standard Pro format

The Bottom Line: Memory stick is memory stick, go for the lowest price you can find. Don't believe the marketing hype of special design for gaming. The price is right.


This review covers SanDisk Memory Stick Pro Duo for gaming or PSP with supposedly 1 GB (SDMSG-1024) with Magicgate.

It is advertised for games, but will it work in a camera? I bought it for 29 USD after rebate to find out. (Buy.com and Ecost have them).

Deep breath, YES it works !

This memory stick is fully compatible to the 1GB Sony Memory Stick PRO and also features Magicgate copyright protection (who needs that ???, your digital cameras don't as they don't utilize this feature and I haven't seen it used in PSP either, other then on preloaded sticks). As the stick takes some memory away for the Magicgate,the actual available memory is only around 950 MB! You pay for a feature that you don't want and then you give up 50 MB = 60 - 100 pictures of storage space to support it !

So when you think Memory Stick versus other flash media think: Price(Memorystick)=Price(other media)/0.9.
Currently if you find a cheap deal you have more of a relationship of 2-3 x for Sony memory sticks versus compact cards and MagicGate is a hidden 10% premium on top. Magicgate is Sony's attempt of hardware prevention of copying music. So the memory you 'donate' is mostly benefitting the music industry. Most memory sticks are used for cameras though, as Sony hasn't until recently offered music players that can play anything but their proprietary format. They also practically exited the PDA market. Plenty of 'wasted' memory that Sony sells, both for the consumer, who can't use it and Sony, who doesn't reap any benefit from it. (That is unless consumers fall for the hidden price increase).

Sony has developed it's proprietary memory card format, called memory stick. All Sony digital devices use it, so if you have a Sony you will be familiar with it, if you don't better become familiar ( also with the price differences and the standard and magicgate formats).
Sandisk produces their sticks under license from Sony.

Note: Both sticks come with a slider to secure the memory content against accidental writing.

SanDisk is a nice yellow.

The PRO duo is a little over half the length of a standard memory stick and comes with and adaptor it completely inserts itself into to fit standard memory slots. It is backward compatible to memory PRO sticks and card readers (NOT standard memory sticks and also NOT standard duo , which were earlier slower versions that hat a flip switch to provide alternate access to two internal chips to get the first format up to 256 MB. Using the 'duo' for two completely different concepts is ultraconfusing.

Units. the Pro Duo will work in all units that can take advantage of the Memory Stick Pro format, as well as units that will ONLY take the Pro Duo format. The size is now about equal and a bit slimmer to an SD card and still larger then the Olympus XD card. Frankly size should be no consideration for buying.

What you should consider though is buying the Pro Duo even if your current camera is only a Pro version, as you buy 'forward' compatibility. What do I mean by that ?

Let's say you decide you want to buy a current Sony camera. Unless it is a high end Sony it will utilize Pro Sticks like eg. the Sony P92, midrange snap and shoot or the Sony V1 for the more ambitious amateur.

You go for the Sony T1 or T3, their nifty little one you will have to buy the Pro Duo.
Looking at Sony's licensing politics, they license only a few players in the market, namely Sandisk and Lexmar and only delayed. So competition within the category is small and Sony keeps refreshing it's memory stick format, ensuring that over time the newer gadgets can not utilize older sticks. Cool strategy. So you bought a Sony P92 in XMAS 2003 for 299 USD, shelled out a whopping 99 USD for a 128 MB memory Pro Stick that over time has come down to 29.99 USD and when you decide you buy the next generation cameras you will end up discarding BOTH your camera and your sticks. Contrast that with a CF card. From first to last generation of write speeds all devices will still read and write it, though you might not actually like the speed of first generation card with large MP cameras.


The Sandisk is offered with a 5 year limited warranty,whereas the Sony just comes with 1. Now that is gracious and I would take that extra insurance any time. Practically there shouldn't be any difference and at the rate this market is going 5 years takes you beyond end of life and two generations of product development. According to ZDNET the current Lexar and Sandisk Memory sticks are actually PRODUCED by Sony. ( I tend to rather believe they are licensed and produced by either one of them or only one of them.) So if it is a memory stick, it is a Sony is a Sony is a Sony.or whatever else...(and you might as well take the lowest price and highest warranty out in the market).

The pro sticks are much faster then the 'non' pro sticks.
Pro sticks write with 20 MB/sec , whereas the normal sticks write at 350KB/sec.

If your camera can handle PRO, then the storage of the image after you have taken it goes much faster and then the camera takes only half the time to get ready for the next shot. The difference is quite noticeable.
Also note that Sony always puts their standard sticks into the package at some ridiculous low storage such as 32 MB or 64 MB. These will be totally inadequate for anything. Makes me mad, so I go and buy alternate memory stick brands.

This stick I bought for my Sony T1. Works outright fine. Didn't expect anything else.
Here is the camera review in contrast to the newer (but in my opinion not better T3)

http://www.epinions.com/content_166914657924

The verdict for the T3:

http://www.epinions.com/content_166914657924

And how about the latest of the pocket huggers,now in more bodycolors as the T33, did it excel::

http://www.epinions.com/content_174292110980


Read abot the slimmest camera for this tiniest of memory sticks, the Sony T7 here:

http://www.epinions.com/content_185297636996

Or dive into the Sony T9 review, that gives you a tiny package with a higher resolution sensor and optical compensation here:
http://www.epinions.com/content_222870474372

I also put it with it's adapter on my Sony-DSCP-92. Again, no issues.
If you are interested in this review on the 'Queen of speed and resolution' Click here:
http://www.epinions.com/content_122227887748

The other camera benefitting from the PRO version is the Sony DSC-V1, which is even faster then the P92. For a review on this camera click here:

http://www.epinions.com/content_125044756100

If you are generally trying to get an update on digital cameras and it's most common misconceptions, particularly around what resolution you need and how many memory sticks you need read this Digital Camera Buyers Guide:

http://www.epinions.com/content_3650658436

My final recommendation. If you are out for a new camera, take a look also at memory pricing. I recently bought a Dane Elec 512 MB Compact Flash card for my Nikon Cool Pix 5400 for 9 USD after rebate !!! That is about a 30% savings for an average consumer camera by using something other then a memory stick based camera. Admittedly that card is first generation, takes about 8x the volume of the memory stick pro duo and most naggingly it is noticeably slow on my 5 MP cam. But it will keep me going until the price of memory has halfed again.

So for fair comparison I recommend following procedure.

Camera Price plus 1GB memory media vs Sony Camera Price 'adjusted' memory media price (remember you 'dedicate' 10% memory to magic gate).

You might just find that you can afford another 100 USD on the camera and still be in the same budget then the Sony.

What do I own ? Two Sony's and 1 Nikon. I wanted the cam, so I bit the bullet on the Memory stick's (but I refused to buy a Sony stick).

With prices coming down I actually do now recommend to go for 1 GB. See the Sandisk standard equivalent here:

http://www.epinions.com/content_175091125892


Recommend this product? Yes


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