Original ideas are few and far between in gadget land. Just look at the current fisticuffs between Apple and Samsung. Even more rare are original ideas turned into great products. I’m glad to say that the Eye-Fi is one of those rare beasts.
The idea – like most great ones – is pretty simple. Why not give a digital camera a wireless connection so that it can transfer four photos straight to their destination – whether that be your local PC, shared home server, or one of the many online photo sharing services. Eye-Fi achieves this end with a Wi-Fi enabled SD card. In order for it to work with your camera it will need to support the SDHC standard – my older Nikon D50 DSLR didn’t but my more recent Canon Ixus 105 did.
The card needs to be told which Wi-Fi networks to connect to, which means plugging it into your PC or Mac with the supplied card reader. The software is well designed and straightforward and I had no problems making it work on two different networks.
Once configured you pop the card into your camera and off it goes. It can either be set to just sync all pictures back to your hard disk, or it can clear itself when they are uploaded giving you effectively endless storage. Hard disk is not the only upload option either – pics can be streamed straight to social networks and photo sharing sites like Flickr. Very cool.
Imagine being out on a walk/hike/charity do/ski-ing trip with this and a Wi-Fi dongle. Now I admit this is going to chew up your bandwidth allowance and cost a packet if you’re overseas. But I really like the idea of a constant stream of pics (or videos) coming back from your trip to the web/your blog/your social network.
Clearly some of this can be achieved with a smartphone but the Eye-Fi makes it a reality with any camera, and does so at a very sensible price – the basic Connect X2 model that I tested is available online for around £40.
In summary then I think this is a magnificent little piece of technology that adds cool features to almost any digital camera. It is simple to use, delivered in well designed packaging, with good software and fundamentally very useful. Five stars.