Eye-Fi Pro X2 review
Eye-Fi’s SD cards with built in Wi-Fi are an intriguing idea, providing automatic, wireless uploads to PCs and online hosting sites, but the first incarnation was too expensive and unwieldy.
The second-generation X2 range provides a welcome SDHC performance boost: testing using a fast SLR in continuous mode, it managed a 11.3MB/s write speed, up from 4.3MB/s for the original model in the same camera. Wi-Fi performance is also improved, thanks to 802.11n support.
The excellent software makes it easy to configure uploads directly to a PC over a home network, or via a remote server when direct-to-PC transfers aren’t possible. A new Endless Memory mode, available on all X2 models, deletes images and videos after they’ve been safely uploaded, making card management entirely automatic.
This mode is also useful during long trips when used in conjunction with the Pro X2 and Explore X2 models’ support for public, unencrypted Wi-Fi hotspots. It can’t navigate past networks’ splash screens, though. Another option is to use a commercial Wi-Fi hotspot service such as BT Openzone, but this requires a laptop for initial configuration with the network, and there’s a $30 (around £20) annual fee on top of the hotspot subscription.
Another problem is that there’s no immediate feedback when uploads are complete. It’s possible to set up email notifications and a few cameras provide on-screen feedback for Eye-Fi cards, but none that we’ve seen report when uploads are complete.
The entry-level Connect X2 costs less than before at £50, but that’s still expensive. A normal 4GB card costs just £10 and a USB card reader is that hard to use. Until the price comes down further and cheap hotspot access is included on all models, we’d recommend most people bide their time. However, the Pro X2’s support for RAW formats and Ad Hoc networks, giving direct connection to laptops, make it extremely attractive for serious photographers. As before, though, check the camera compatibility chart on the website before buying.
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