The Eye-Fi concept tries to make transferring photos from a camera an easier and more convenient process by using Wi-Fi to take them from the SD card to your device. We’ve been testing the EyeFi Mobi SD card for a few weeks now and we've got many nice things to say about it, but there are also some annoyances we've found that shouldn't be ignored either. The card comes in three sizes 8GB, 16GB or 32GB, which are priced starting at $49.99/£33.33 with the 8GB and $99.99/£59.99 for the 32GB.
Setup & Battery Life Impact
The SD card has an ARM CPU, flash memory and a Wi-Fi chip all located within standard SD card dimensions. The company claim that nearly any digital camera is compatible with the Mobi Wi-Fi SD card, and from our testing the Wi-Fi functionality had no issues working with any of our DSLR or compact cameras, but as expected battery life took a bit of knock of 30%-40% from having to broadcast the Wi-Fi signal. Setting up the Eye-Fi Mobi SD card is very straightforward; download the App for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS X, enter the SD card's activation code found on the back of the card's plastic case. Now the SD card and device are paired and you can begin to take photos and see them pop up within the App in a snap on smartphones and tablets. But on Mac OS X and Windows, photos will not automatically appear within the App, instead the user manually has to select the photos they want to import, we're not sure why this is though.
We tested the Eye-Fi Mobi App on iOS, which is very clean and minimal in features. Like magic, seconds after a photo (JPEG format only) is captured onto the Eye-Fi Mobi SD card, it pops up on our device's screen. We had no issues with the performance of the SDHC high class 10 SD card or the Wi-Fi connection, it managed to keep up with fast shoots. Photos are organised within the App via the date and time by default, but manual titles can be inputted to create albums. However, we didn't use the App to organise photos, we simply used it as a portal to get to a photo we had taken on our DSLR cameras, obtaining the images on the inbuilt iOS photo App mainly for sharing on Instagram and to edit within other Apps. The App also allows the selection of multiple photos to be shared via the new Eye-Fi cloud service (photos can be accessed from anywhere on any device), Twitter, email, messaging or via AirDrop. There's no doubting that a DSLR camera like the Canon EOS 600D is still better for taking photos than the one found on the iPhone 5s, but sharing the very best photos you take with your family and friends may have seemed too much of an effort without a product like the Eye-Fi and you would have settled with photos taken with your iPhone. Now, with the Eye-Fi in use, we don't feel like we have to do anything out of our way to get our DSLR photos onto our iPhone then instantly share and organise. It's a major evolution for photography lovers who want to spend more time taking photos and less time fiddling around transferring and sharing them.
Once the card has established a connection with an Eye-Fi App, it will always reconnect when the App is launched and the card is in range initially. However, when our Canon 600D goes into auto-sleep mode, the card can stop broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal and loses its pairing, and if we were using, say, an iPad within an environment which had a wireless internet network previously connected to the device, it will flip back to that when the SD card's Wi-Fi disconnects. So we have to manually select the card in any said device's wireless settings list, which is a big inconvenience. With any accessory that uses direct Wi-Fi to connect to a device, you're unable to access the internet via a Wi-Fi router simultaneously too. This may sound like a small inconvenience, but it's truly a big obstacle when editing photos for something like one of our reviews and being unable to also stream music via the likes of Spotify or respond quickly to an email. If you want to use an Eye-Fi wirelessly this is just unavoidable, but on the plus side the range of the Wi-Fi signal is not too shabby, at a stated range, that we've found to be accurate, of 90 feet (27.4m) outdoors and 45 feet (13.7m) indoors.
The Eye-Fi Mobi aims to make taking photos via a camera an integrated swift experience with a smartphone or tablet. The niggles we've run into are mainly down to hurdles the Eye-Fi cannot control, but if Eye-Fi can find methods to work around them in the future we'd have an almost perfectly polished product here for photographers.