Gadling Gear Review: Eye-Fi Mobile X2 Wireless Memory Card

The Eye-Fi SD memory card adds wifi features to any cameraOne of the features that has been appearing on new camera models with increased frequency is built-in Wi-Fi functionality. Wireless capabilities on the camera allows users to sync with their computer and upload images to Flickr, Facebook or other photo sharing services without ever using a cable. It is incredibly convenient and fun, particularly for travelers who may want to share photos from their adventures while on the road. But did you know that you could add Wi-Fi capabilities to any camera? The Eye-Fi series of memory cards can actually turn even your old digital shooter into a high-tech, wireless wonder, giving you the same capabilities as newer cameras without forking out a lot of money for a new device.

We first took a look at the Eye-Fi two years ago when the cards were still relatively new. Much has changed since then as technology has continued to evolve, but a lot has also stayed the same. At the time we were impressed with how easy the Eye-Fi was to set up and use, and once configured it worked as advertised, automatically uploading photos, geotagging locations and sharing images on Facebook and other sites. I’m happy to say all of that has remained the same and the memory card is still a breeze to get working. The included Eye-Fi Center software takes all of the guesswork out of configuring the card and you’ll have Wi-Fi working on your camera in a matter of minutes. It’s so easy in fact that you’ll probably be surprised at how simple it is.

Since that initial review, the Eye-Fi memory card has learned a few new tricks that make it an even better travel companion. For example, new apps for both iOS and Android devices makes it possible for your camera to wirelessly transfer images to your iPhone, iPad or other tablet. This is great for photographers in the field as it allows them to back up their images to another device or clear space off the card by transferring the files. By utilizing the Eye-Fi in this way, a relatively small 4 or 8GB memory card can be used to take a lot more photos than its size would imply.Transferring the files is quick and easy, and it is great to review your shots from throughout the day on a much larger screen. The images are added to your device’s main photo app, which means they are available system wide. That makes it a breeze to share them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or just about any other social network. It also means that if you use an app like iPhoto or Photoshop Express you’ll be able to edit your shots on the go. That is something professional photographers will absolutely love and amateur shutterbugs will appreciate too.

The Eye-Fi memory cardSyncing with other devices isn’t the only new feature for the Eye-Fi. Since we first took a look at the tiny device a few years back, it has also gained the ability to sync to the cloud. That means that when connected to a wireless network the images are also automatically backed up to the Eye-Fi website and can be accessed there for up to seven days. An Eye-Fi premium account, which costs $50 per year, gives users unlimited access beyond that initial week, but even if you simply use the free account, it’s good to know that you have a “just in case” backup, even if it is for a limited time.

The Eye-Fi card line-up has been simplified and made more affordable over the past two years as well. There are now just three options to choose from with the entry-level “Connect X2” model offering 4GB of storage while the “Mobile X2” has 8GB. Those cards cost $39.99 and $79.99 respectively. The “Pro X2” model also has 8GB of memory but includes the ability to geotag images and upload professional level RAW files, a format that most amateur photographers don’t use. It carries a price tag of $99.99.

If you find you love your current camera but wish it had the ability to share images more easily, then the Eye-Fi is definitely a great option. Not only do each of the models provide plenty of storage, but they also add Wi-Fi capabilities to any device. Considering how much we enjoy sharing our photos these days, I think that is functionality that a lot of travelers will be interested in. The Eye-Fi was already simple to configure and worked great; Android and iOS compatibility is simply icing on the cake – icing that gadget-loving travelers will certainly benefit from.


10 products for your JetBlue “All You Can Jet” high-tech survival kit

So, you just booked yourself a JetBlue All You Can Jet ticket? 30 days of non stop jetting around the country (and beyond).

You are either extremely smart, or up for a month of hell in the skies. Either way, on your trip, you are bound to run into all kinds of challenges. Getting a good seat is going to be the least of your worries. For the next 30 days you’ll need to worry about packing light, keeping gadgets charged, and what to do if you find yourself stuck at the airport overnight without a hotel reservation.

Worry not – we’ve collected ten brilliant products designed to make your life easier during your 30 days of All You Can Jet.

[Photo credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig]

Suite Arrival deliveries

The idea behind Suite Arrivals is brilliant – pre-order toiletries, snacks and other items, and have them delivered to your hotel or other address. Now, before you leave on your All You Can Jet adventure, order up whatever you think you’ll need, and it’ll be ready waiting for you when you arrive. Prices start as low as a dollar, up to around $20 for a well stocked snack and toiletries set. Keeping toiletries out of your bags means less time messing around at the security checkpoint.

Price: $1 & up
Product page: Suitearrival.com

Boingo Subscription

When you travel, The Internet can quickly become your best distraction from the otherwise boring hotel or airport. Instead of paying $10 for each online session, sign up for a monthly pass to Boingo, and use a single monthly fee to get online as often as you want. With thousands of locations, you’ll quickly find that Boingo is almost everywhere you are.

Price: $9.95/month for unlimited domestic usage
Product page: Boingo.com

Eye-Fi card

During your All You Can Jet adventure, you’ll (hopefully) be making as many photos as you can – which means your memory card will be filling up at an insane rate. For active photographers, not much beats the convenience of the Eye-Fi memory cards. These 4GB and 8GB memory cards can upload your photos any time your camera is in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Best of all, when you combine your Eye-Fi card with Devicescape and a Boingo subscription, you can turn your camera on as soon as you land at a Boingo airport, and instantly upload your photos. All without having to press a single button. Photos that have been successfully uploaded can be wiped from your card, means you’ll almost never run out of storage space.

Price: from $49.99
Product page: Eye.fi

ZAGGsparq 2.0

During your 30 days of flying, you’ll probably only have a couple of days of access to a power outlet. For the days your phone is away from AC, the ZAGGsparq 2.0 can be your new best friend. Inside this compact USB charger is a massive 6000mAh battery pack, with enough juice to keep your iPhone or other phone going for almost a full week.

Its own AC charger is built in, so as soon as your are near an outlet, plug it in, and get it back to 100% in a few hours. With its two USB ports, you can charge two devices at the same, as long as your remember to bring the right USB device cables!

Price: $99.99
Product page: www.zagg.com

HotelPal, FlightTrack Pro, TripIt

This trio of smartphone software provides the ultimate in travel support. With TripIt, you can gather all your flight plans, FlightTrack Pro keeps track of your flight status, and HotelPal lets you search and book local hotels. Seriously, load these three on your phone, and you’ll have everything you need to prevent, avert and resolve flight delays and cancellations.

To use the apps, simply forward all your confirmation emails to TripIt. TripIt will then translate all the information in the emails, and load your itineraries into its system. FlightTrack Pro then syncs with TripIt and constantly monitors for delays, cancellations, gate changes and more. FlightTrack Pro and HotelPal are available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Pro-users can even setup shared TripIt calendars, so friends and family always have easy access to their itineraries.

Price: TripIt (Free), FlightTrack Pro ($9.99) and HotelPal (Free)
Product page: Tripit.com / Mobiata.com

Briggs & Riley BRX luggage – 22″ Upright

If you are a smart planner, you’ll try to minimize your time in hotels, along with the weight of your luggage. The new Briggs & Riley BRX line of luggage takes the luxury side of Briggs & Riley, and turns it into a super-lightweight adventure style line of bags. The 22″ BRW Upright weighs just 7.5lbs, features wide all-terrain wheels, a sturdy handle and four compression straps. Its front zippered compartment holds a 16″ laptop, and thanks to its outer handle assembly, the inside is nice and flat, perfect for keeping shirts wrinkle free.

Price: $290
Product page: Briggs-riley.com

Griffin Travel Stand for iPhone and iPod

Sure, JetBlue may offer live TV and radio, but at the end of the day, there is only so much you want to watch on TV. If you’d rather sit back and enjoy your own programming, consider the compact Griffin Travel Stand for iPhone and iPod. Don’t let the name fool you, this smart gadget works with almost any smartphone, and combines a device stand with a neat headphone case.

Price: $14.99
Product page: Griffintechnology.com

Monster Beats Tour High Definition headphones

I don’t care how much of an aviation buff you are – after a couple of days, the jet noise will get to anyone. Even pilots wear good headphones, but your lightweight packing procedure won’t have enough space for a pair of bulky headphones. So, unless you want to leave your clean underwear at home, consider a pair of good quality headphones.

The Monster Beats Tour headphones block out a good amount of outside noise, while providing fantastic audio and bass. Best of all, their connector is ultra low-profile, which means it won’t stab you in the side when plugged into the seat audio jack.

Price: $179.95
Product page: Monster Beats Tour

Smartphone, iPad, netbook or laptop

Picking the best device for your trip is a tough one – everyone has different needs, and not everyone will want to be connected all the time. If you just want an affordable media player, you could consider the affordable Archos 5 series or 7 series Android tablets. For a lightweight laptop without compromises, check out the Toshiba T135. For a lightweight media tablet with fantastic app support, you’ll obviously get a lot of love out of an iPad.

Price: from $199

Monsoon Multimedia Vulkano placeshifter/streamer

This is the only product in the list that doesn’t actually travel with you. The Monsoon Multimedia Vulkano stays home, connected to your TV and cable box. With it, you can remotely watch and record anything you receive at home.

Want to watch the latest episode of your favorite show when you wait at the airport? Watch it live over the Internet, or download it to watch on your device during your flight. Want to watch live TV in your hotel room? Connect your laptop to the hotel TV and forget the lousy channels the hotel provides. Landed at your destination, and want to setup a recording? Browse the electronic program guide, and tell the Vulkano to record what you want, when you want. On-the-road entertainment doesn’t get much better than this.

With the Vulkano, you’ll be able to stop spending money on movie rentals or streaming video purchases, and get to enjoy the content you want.

Price: From $259
Product page: myvulkano.com

[Wi-Fi sign photo from Flickr/Futureshape]

Eye-Fi wireless memory card review

This review is going to introduce you to one of my all-time favorite travel gadgets – the Eye-Fi wireless memory card. Eye-Fi cards look and feel like every other SD memory card on the market – they are available in capacities from 4GB to 8GB, and to your camera, they work exactly like a normal SD card.

What makes the Eye-Fi card so impressive is what is inside the card. In addition to memory, Eye-Fi cards also contain a full Wi-Fi adapter.

The combination of memory and wireless access means these cards can actually send your photos and video online as soon as you shoot something. Just think about that for a second – you can take a photo, and as long as there is Wi-Fi access, your photo will be sent to your photo hosting site or computer within seconds.
The system may sound complex – but in reality, it is one of the most reliable and impressive pieces of camera kit I own – it has made my life so much easier.

Photo sharing sites

The Eye-Fi card can send your photos to more than 25 different photo sharing sites – from the large ones like Flickr, Smugmug and Snapfish, to smaller ones like My Picturetown. The card also supports wireless transfers to Facebook, Evernote, Gallery (an open source photo sharing system), YouTube and Movable Type blogs.

Some of these sites also support video uploads – which means you can shoot video, and as long as you are in range of Wi-Fi, your video clips can be up on YouTube without any user interaction.

Eye-Fi card lineup

The Eye-Fi lineup consists of several different cards – each targeting a different user. The basic card is the Eye-Fi Connect X2. This 4GB card features class 6 memory and 802.11 b/g/n wireless capability.

The next card is the 4GB Geo X2 – this card adds automatic geotagging to your photos, embedding the location in them. I’ll mention the geotagging feature in a moment.

The third card in the lineup is the 8GB Explore X2 – inside this 8GB card are the same features as the previous two, but with the added ability to access wireless hotspots. With this feature, you’ll be able to walk up to most McDonalds, Starbucks or Barnes & Noble locations, turn on your camera, and send your photos to the Internet.

The top of the line card is the 8GB PRO X2 – this card adds the ability to upload in RAW, and transfer directly from card to computer, without the need for a wireless router. This is of course perfect for on-the-go photo shoots.

Prices are very reasonable – $49.99 for the Connect X2, $69.99 for the Geo X2, $99.99 for the Explore X2 and $149.99 for the Pro X2. Yes – these prices are obviously a bit more than the regular price of a class 6 SDHC memory card, but you get so much more for your money.

Extra card features – geotagging

Photo geotagging is one of my favorite features on the card – without any interaction. The cards accomplish this without GPS – thanks to the network address transmitted by every wireless router. When you upload your photos, this address is cross-referenced against a massive database of wireless hotspots, and the photo location is embedded in your photos.

Best of all – the hotspot it picked up does not even have to be “open” – In the photo above (taken at Chicago’s Navy Pier), it picked up a random hotspot, and managed to determine that the photo was made in Chicago.

With geotag information in a photo, you can search your photos, display them on a map or figure out where you were when you took a shot.

Endless memory

Endless memory is a dream come true for people who always find themselves running out of space. When you enable endless memory, the Eye-Fi card deletes pictures it successfully transferred – you select the threshold, but when set correctly, you’ll never run out of space, as long as you let the card do its wireless transfers when you’ve taken photos.

Because the card knows which photos were safely transferred, you’ll never need to plug it into your PC again!

Hotspot access

Cards with hotspot access can upload your photos from thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots – once again, without any user interaction. Simply turn your camera on when you are in range of a hotspot, and it’ll go to work. There are tens of thousands of hotspots available, and chances are, you’ll always be no more than 10 minutes from a location.

The hotspot enabled cards come with one year of access, and additional years can be added for just $14.99/each.

Notifications

Because you don’t need to do anything to get uploads started (other than turning your camera on), Eye-Fi cards can send email, text message, Twitter or Facebook alerts when they start sending your photos. This allows you to stay within range of the wireless access point until the upload is done. You can also enable notifications for interrupted transfers and for when transfers are completed.

Eye-Fi Center

Eye-Fi Center is where you manage all your Eye-Fi cards and settings. Within the well designed app, you can name your cards, configure all their individual settings, configure upload settings and more. The app also takes care of firmware upgrades and makes it easy to find photo uploads.

Upload destinations

If you value your photos, you’ll be glad to know that Eye-Fi cards can send your photos to your photo sharing site and your computer at the same time. Best of all, the photos can be sorted by date, making it much easier to find photos when you need them.

Camera compatibility

Eye-Fi cards work in almost any SD(HC) compatible camera. If you own an older camera without SDHC support, you’ll want to find one of the older Classic Eye-Fi cards. These go up to 2GB and are regular SD format.

On the Eye-Fi site, you’ll find a list of all tested cameras and any known issues – there are several cameras that may have problems with a specific card, so be sure to check the list before you purchase.

If you are looking for a new camera and an Eye-Fi card, consider getting an Eye-Fi connected camera. We already took a look at one of these last week, in the Canon SX210 IS. With Eye-Fi Connected features, the camera is able to communicate with the card, and offers neat features like staying powered on until the upload is completed.

Showing Eye-Fi at work

I’ve long considered myself an Eye-Fi Evangelist – I’ve managed to convince a lot of my photo buddies to invest in an Eye-Fi card, and once they see for themselves how easy it is, they are hooked. But I also run into a lot of people who just don’t get why I’m so enthusiastic about the cards – most people don’t mind plugging their camera in, and many of them don’t want to invest in a card that costs 3-4 times as much as a regular memory card.

There is no easy way to convince you to make the purchase – but if you value your photos and your time, the Eye-Fi cards will make your life so much easier. No longer will you have to mess around with cables, and during most trips, all your photos will be on the Internet before you get back home. To me, these are the top five reasons I love the cards so much:

Safeguarding my photos – as long as I am in range of Wi-Fi at least once a day, all my photos are always online and safe. If I break my camera, or it gets stolen, my photos won’t be lost.

Automated uploads to sharing sites – I used to spend hours sorting through photos and uploading them – now I just do some basic moving around and renaming when I get back home. Best of all, I also have copies of all these photos on my PC, should anything ever happen to my sharing service.

Hotspot access – To upload my photos, all I need is a local Starbucks or McDonalds – there is no signup or login process – I simply turn my camera on and let it do its work.

Geotagging – No need for additional hardware or a GPS enabled camera – when I take photos in range of a known Wi-Fi hotspot, my photos are geotagged. This makes searching for photos much easier, and preserves the location for years to come.

Speed and size – My first Eye-Fi card was a 2GB card with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi – the newest generation Eye-Fi cards are much faster (I have 802.11n at home), the cards also have class 6 memory, making them suitable for recording HD movies.

Final thoughts + Eye-Fi giveaway

There isn’t much more I can do to convince you that you should invest your hard earned cash in one of these cards, but I am pretty sure you won’t regret it.

Still, if you’d rather save your money and try an Eye-Fi card at the same time, you are in luck – later this week, we’ll be giving away five 4GB Eye-Fi cards, so make sure you keep a close eye on the site for the contest.

New Eye-Fi cards offer twice the speed and twice the storage

The Eye-Fi wireless SD memory cards we love so much here at Gadling just got a whole lot better. Previous cards were limited to a fairly slow 4GB version, which didn’t work too well in all the nice new HD capable cameras.

The new Explore X2 card offers up to 8GB of storage in a class 6 memory card – with an upgrade to 802.11n Wi-Fi. The new storage and wireless speeds mean they’ll work nicely with large photo formats and (HD) video.

Better yet – hotspot enabled Eye-Fi cards can now also use AT&T Wi-Fi, which means connectivity at your local Starbucks and McDonalds.

The new lineup offers three different cards:

  • Eye-Fi Connect X2 – 4GB capacity – MSRP: $49.99.
  • Eye-Fi Explore X2 – 8GB of capacity, lifetime automatic geotagging and one year of hotspot access for uploading away from home at more 21,000 AT&T and Harborlink locations across the Unites States and through open hotspots. MSRP: $99.99.
  • Eye-Fi Pro X2 – 8GB Eye-Fi Pro X2 will automatically upload JPEG and RAW photos and videos to the home computer, and will send them to one of more than 25 online sharing sites. It also allows users to create an ad hoc connection directly to their computer to wirelessly upload photos and videos while away from a wireless router. Like Explore X2, Pro X2 offers lifetime geotagging and one-year of hotspot access to enable uploads away from home at more than 21,000 AT&T and Harborlink hotspots and open hotspots. MSRP: $149.99.

The new cards are available for (pre) order from Best Buy, Amazon.com, Adorama, B&H and J&R.

(Via: Engadget)

Hot holiday deal – free 4GB Eye-Fi card with Google photo storage purchase

Normally, we reserve our deals for the daily gear deal lineup, but an announcement from Google and Eye-Fi this evening is worth its own article. The two have teamed up to offer a free 4GB Eye-Fi Home Video card when you purchase 200GB or more from Picasa web albums.

The Eye-Fi card turns your camera into a Wi-Fi enabled photo device, automatically uploading your photos to a variety of online services (including Picasa of course). To top it off, the card even comes with a year of free Web Share and Geotagging features (worth $24.95).

The hot part of this deal? The 200GB of storage space costs just $50, and the card with additional services retails for $95. You do the math. To learn more about the deal, the Eye-Fi card and what Picasa web albums can do for you, check out the promotion page. Once you sign up, your card will ship within 2-4 weeks, and shipping is free.