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.


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.

Eye-Fi wireless memory card adds support for Youtube video uploads

To me, the best travel gadgets are those that continue to get better, the longer you use them. The Eye-Fi wireless SD memory card is such a device.

Eye-Fi was recently featured as one of our top 25 travel technology products of 2008 thanks to its ability to upload photos directly from your camera to a large number of photo hosting sites (or your home PC), any time you are in range of a wireless network. In 2008 Eye-Fi added options for wireless hotspot access (through the Wayport network), as well as photo Geotagging.

The newest feature for 2009 enables the card to directly upload video clips from your camera to Youtube.

No word yet on when the new feature will actually be available, but Eye-Fi VP of business development Ziv Gillat let us know that the card would even support uploads of HD video like that made with the new Nikon D90 (and the Kodak Zi6 we recently reviewed).

Being able to shoot some video on your next vacation, and have the clips appear automatically on Youtube without any interaction is a brilliant solution, and a fantastic addition to the card. Just remember to swap out the Eye-Fi card for a normal card if you plan to shoot some steamy video in the boudoir…

Eye-Fi celebrates their anniversary with a new 4GB card

The Eye-Fi wireless SD memory card has been a personal favorite of mine for quite some time. The only thing that could improve it in my opinion, would have been more storage space. And that wish has now come true with the Eye-Fi Anniversary Edition 4GB card.

The special edition card features the same fantastic wireless upload capability of their award winning 2GB cards, but with twice the storage space.

The Eye-Fi Explore card was recently selected as one of Gadling’s top 25 travel products of 2008, so yes – it is that good.

Eye-Fi has a great overview of how the card works on their site.

The Anniversary Edition Eye-Fi card retails for $129 on the Eye-Fi site, or just $99 from Costco.com. If you plan to purchase the Eye-Fi anniversary edition card, please be sure to check your camera for SDHC compatibility. Most recent camera models won’t have a problem with SDHC, but it pays to be sure.