John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

4G EYE-FI SD card

I’ve been watching these puppies since they originally hit the market. The idea behind them was good and only getting better as tethering has become common place on today’s smart phones. I was wandering through Blacks and asked if they had one and not only did they, they were clearing it out so it was uber cheap. $18 instead of $40. This is a standard size SD card that you put in your camera. It has three modes.

It is a standard SD card with (in this case) 4G of memory. There are also 8G and 16G cards as well. If this was all it had it would be a yawn. The card is advertised as a class 6 card. It tested out at 11MB/s write and 16MB/s read. Well above a class 6. More like class 10!

It has built in WIFI. It’s amazing what they can fit into this small form factor.

In it’s second mode it can connect to WIFI access points that you define to the card by plugging it into a PC or MAC and configure it. It even comes with a usb card reader. Of course you need to do this in advance or carry a PC or Mac with you. I had issues with the PC version of the program. The resolution of the program was something odd and it kept hiding things off screen. It doesn’t properly support maximize, window resize or have any page down on it. All in all a poorly written program. Good you only have to occasionally use this program.

Once connected to an access point you can configure it to upload the photos to an EYE-FI portal in hi-res. The photos will stay there 7 days unless you pay for their premium package which has annual charges. On the back end (the portal) you can then configure if you want these photos shared to sites like facebook, Flickr etc. You can also control who sees them. You can configure notifications so you get informed when photos are uploaded. There is no ability to send them to cloud storage providers like SugarSync Etc. Of course if your phone has tethering on it you can use your phone to provide an access point to you the card making it easy to upload them on the go. Of course, as always, watch your data plan! While interesting, for me it’s the next mode that is the most interesting.

If the card can not find an access point it goes into what it calls direct mode. Like most things today what makes them useful is … there’s an ap for that! There are Android and iOS apps that connect your smart phone to the card through WIFI at up to N Speeds. What the card does is provide an access point that the phone can then connect to. Now there are a couple of things that got in my way. First of all I had to turn off a power management ap I use on WIFI called Y5. Second I had to insure the WIFI on the phone was not already connected to another access point. I was testing this at home and this took me a bit to figure out. So I had to delete my home WIFI access point from my phone so the card and the phone would link up. Once they did the Ap then initiates a transfer off the card onto the phone. You can easily configure the location on the phone where the files are put. Transfers are pretty quick but power management on the camera can get in the way. I had to press play on the camera and keep it from going to sleep to have it smoothly transfer. Nothing EYE-FI could do about that. The app even allows you to automatically upload the pictures taken with the phone to the EYE-FI portal. From here you can use cloud storage apps like SugarSync to backup the photos taken that are now on your phone or you can choose to upload them to whatever social media you like. It is worth noting that while connected to the camera you will loose your connection to the internet (smart phones generally turn the 3G data connection off to save power when a wifi connection is present). The camera and card are good at turning this on and off so this is a brief window of time, but if you have a lot to transfer it is something you need to be aware of. The card is associated with one phone/tablet at a time. You can change which phone/tablet it is associated with the ap in the device settings screen. Once a photo has been uploaded it will not upload to another phone automatically. New photos will be sent after a change in association with a phone/tablet.

In two solid days of shooting on a recent holiday this card worked very well. The card itself did not have a noticeable effect on battery life of the camera. The android side on the other hand did. If it was set to upload the files right off it really smoked the battery on the phone. The effects of keeping the 3G radio on constantly. Having the camera immediately transfer files to the phone (but not upload them) worked well but it did also have effects on the battery life of the phone. It was uber handy having the files immediately available for posting and emailing.

On Android where you can take the card out of your camera and put it into your phone (assuming you have a uSD slot, and assuming your camera and phone use the same storage. By the way I converted my cameras to uSD a while back using an SD to uSD converter) there are other options. But on iPhones/iPads this device provides an excellent bridge to the interconnectivity issues plagued by Apple devices.

My Canon SD450 by the way is only compatible with cards up to 2G so unfortunately this card wouldn`t work. And there is no mode (that I could find) on the card to mimic a 2G card. Pooh.

I really like this card. It has cool written all over it. And for the price!


October 10, 2012 - Posted by | Android, Electronic gadget reviews, iPhone Stuff

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