If you’ve ever wanted your photos from your digital camera to be automatically uploaded to your computer right after you’ve taken them, Eye-Fi’s line of products aim to do just that. I was able to get a hold of the Eye-Fi Mobile X2 model, which advertises the ability to not only upload photos directly to your computer, but also directly to your mobile devices.
Let’s take a look!
The installation process (at least on a Mac) was pretty time consuming. From the time I plugged in the reader until the time I could actually use it was about ten minutes. That’s borderline unacceptable for such a simple piece of hardware.
On top of that, the interface was a little sluggish. After I took a photo, it took about 10 seconds for it to notify me on my computer that it was uploading. Then it took another 10 or so seconds for it to show up in the Eye-Fi software. A 20-second lag time is pretty disappointing, especially if you’re using an Eye-Fi for time-sensitive purposes.
Overall, the user interface isn’t as intuitive as it should be. I know that Eye-Fi wants its users to use their software to manage the photos that you take with it, but honestly, it would make the entire process a lot easier if you could just simply take a photo and the folder just pops up on your desktop with your photo in it. They could even create a setting where the photo pops up full screen on the monitor right after the photo is taken. This would be great for photographers working in a studio (although, they would most likely be working with way better equipment and software anyway).
The Mobile X2 model comes standard with a feature called Direct Mode, which allows you to automatically upload photos from your camera to your mobile devices. I found this to be a lot better than the computer software as far as simplicity and intuitiveness, and photos upload a lot quicker. You’ll have to download the free Eye-Fi app, but from there it’s pretty much smooth sailing. Direct Mode is perfect for when you want to share a photo over Facebook or Twitter while you’re out and about, but are wanting a little more quality out of your photos than what your smartphone’s camera offers.
There’s a small caveat you should know, though: Your camera’s battery life takes a hit when you use the Eye-Fi card. It isn’t terrible, but I definitely noticed the battery draining faster than it would normally. Also, the card reader’s physical size is really wide and won’t fit into a USB port that has something plugged in next to it.
The concept of the Eye-Fi series is a great one and I think after a little bit of improvement to the software, they’ll nail it. However, at $80, one will have to think long and hard about whether automatically uploading photos to your computer is worth the extra money, even if the functionality was solid.