Hardware

Two weeks with the Eye-Fi wireless SD card

Eye-Fi cardI love taking digital photos; however, I hate the process of transferring them to my PC. I am constantly searching for the cable to connect the camera to my PC. And with more than one person in our house using the camera, it is very easy for photos to get deleted before they are ever transferred.

The Eye-Fi wireless SD card is designed to eliminate the headache of transferring photos. It uses your home WiFi network to get the photos from your camera to your PC. If that wasn't cool enough, the Eye-Fi card will also upload your photos to one of twenty online photo sharing sites including Flickr, Facebook, Picasa and Photobucket.

The Good

Packaging

I love it when a company makes the unboxing experience fun. Drobo does it. Slingbox does it. And the Eye-Fi does it.

To open the Eye-Fi packaging, you pull a tab on the right side of the box and the card and USB dongle slide out the left side of the box. It's very cool effect. I showed it to half a dozen people and everyone wanted to play with the box.

Obviously, the packaging isn't the most important feature; however, it provides a great first impression.

Eye-Fi packaging

Pull the orange tab on the right and the Eye-Fi card slides out on the left.

Setup

Setting up the Eye-Fi card is very simple. You put the card into the USB dongle, then plug the USB dongle into your PC. The dongle has all of the necessary software stored on it, so all you have to do is run an .exe file.

After the software is installed, you open up the Eye-Fi Manager app and configure your WiFi settings. You can also configure which online photo sharing site you want to use. The whole process takes about 2 minutes. Once you're finished, you don't really need to mess with the app again.

Eye-Fi Manager application

The Eye-Fi Manager app shows you which photos have been transferred to your PC and which ones have been uploaded to the web.

Ease of use

Once your settings are configured in the Eye-Fi Manager app, you don't have to think about your Eye-Fi card again. After you take photos with your camera, the Eye-Fi card will automatically offload them to your PC and upload them to the web. There are no buttons to push to initiate the transfer. Very simple.

Price

The 2GB Eye-Fi card retails for $99. I consider that very reasonable for the convenience it provides. Plus, 2GB is a pretty generous storage capacity for most people's needs. You can store over 1,000 5 megapixel photos on a 2GB card.

The Bad

There wasn't really anything "bad" that I found while testing the Eye-Fi card; however, there were a couple of minor issues worth mentioning.

Camera needs to be on

The one thing you'll need to get used to is the need to leave your camera on during the transfer. I always switch my camera off after I use it, so it took a couple of days for me to remember to leave it on for a minute or two after I was finished shooting. Otherwise, your photos won't get transferred.

Some camera have an auto-off feature if the camera is idle for too long. You may need to disable that feature to make sure it does automatically power off during the transfer.

Video files don't get transferred

If you use your camera to shoot video clips, the Eye-Fi won't transfer those files from your camera to your PC. I almost accidentally deleted over a dozen clips of our kids from the card because I assumed all files would get moved over.

The Bottom Line

If you hate transferring photos from your camera to your PC or, more importantly, if you have relatives who always call you when they screw it up, the Eye-Fi card is perfect for you. Throw in the integration with online photo sites and it's well worth $99. I've already got it on the Christmas lists of a couple of people for next year.

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