Eye-Fi Review

A Hardware Review for Macintosh

By Daniel Luck 

Greetings fellow Mac users! 

I was fortunate to get my hands on an exciting new product, the Eye-Fi Digital SD-Card.  I bought my Mom the device for Mother's Day, and she was kind enough to let me borrow for few days to write this review.

What is Eye-Fi?

Eye-Fi is a new hardware product in the form of (what looks like) an ordinary 2GB SD Card that used in most digital cameras.  This SD Card contains a built-in Wi-Fi transmitter and software that automatically your uploads to your computer and/or website of your choice.

This product is perfect for people who are non-technical and would like an easy way to transfer pictures to their computer or website to share with friends.

Unpacking the Eye-Fi

The first thing I noticed the Eye-Fi was the simple, compact and attractive packaging.  Pull the orange tab, and the box “folds out” to reveal the Eye-Fi hardware on the left and instructions on the right. 

 Fig. 1 – Eye-Fi Box

Fig 2 – Eye-Fi Box Unfolded

Fig 3 – Eye-Fi with Instructions

Installing the Eye-Fi

Installing the software for Eye-Fi was just like most Mac OS X installs except the software is provided on the SD-Card itself.  I placed the Eye-Fi Reader and Card into one available USB slot on my Mac.  An “EYE-FI” volume was mounted on my desktop.  I dragged “Eye-Fi Manager” to my Applications folder.

Fig 4 – Eye-Fi Installation
 

Configuring the Eye-Fi Manager

I opened the “Eye-Fi Manager” application and the software automically detected and configured my firewall.  When this completes, I saw a new “Eye-Fi Manager” icon in my taskbar.

Fig 5 – Eye-Fi on the Taskbar

I clicked on “Open Eye-Fi Manager” and a web page opened up using my default web browser (Firefox).   I created a new Eye-Fi account using my e-mail address and password.

After creating my account, I went to “Settings” to make some changes.  I renamed the Card, connected to my open Wireless Network and selected Upload to Computer.

Fig 6 – Configuring the Eye-Fi

Using the Eye-Fi

I removed the SD-Card from the Reader and placed into my Digital Camera (HP Photosmart R742).  I took my first picture and I was amazed how quickly the picture was uploaded to the computer (within one minute!)  This picture was stored in my Home directory under Pictures and sorted by Date.

Figure 7 – My First Picture

 

For my second picture, I configured Eye-Fi to save to iPhoto instead of my Home Directory.

Figure 8 – My Second Picture

 

Here's a screenshot of the second picture as it was being uploaded to my computer.

Figure 9 – Second Picture Uploading
 

Again, I was astonished how the Eye-Fi automatically uploaded the picture (this time to iPhoto '06).

Figure 10 – Second Picture in iPhoto

 The Eye-Fi also  has an option to upload to several photo sharing websites.  I use Flickr (http://www.flickr.com) to share some of my photos.  For my third picture, I configured Eye-Fi to upload to my Flickr website.  I logged into my Flickr account to allow Eye-Fi access.

Figure 11 – Allow Access to Eye-Fi 


Once I took the picture, I noticed my picture showed up in iPhoto again. 

Figure 12 – Third Picture in iPhoto


I went to Firefox and noticed my picture uploaded to my Flickr website as well (!)

Figure 13 – My Flickr Page

 Observerations and Conclusions

Overall, I am very happy with the Eye-Fi product as an easy way to upload computer automatically to your Mac or website. The product peformed flawlessly (at least with my Mac and Wireless G Router) and it works as advertised.  Pictures were uploaded from 30 seconds to one minute.  

I had to some simple configuration to get the Eye-Fi to upload to the computer (folder or iPhoto) and/or favorite website (such as Flickr).  For the end-user, someone like my Mom, all she has to do is take pictures and make sure the computer is turned on.  Pictures will be automatically uploaded.

At $99, the Eye-Fi would be a bit pricey for 2GB an ordinary SD-Card, but this is no ordinary SD-Card (!)  The Eye-Fi won Best of Show for MacWorld 2008.  Once you factor in the ease-of-use and innovative technology, the Eye-Fi is well worth the money. 

Date of Testing:  May 15th, 2008

Hardware Used:
Mac Mini Core Solo (1.5 gHz)
Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router
HP Photosmart R742 Digital Camera

Software Used:
Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.6
Eye-Fi Manager
Mozilla Firefox 2
iPhoto 6 (from iLife '06)

Websites Used:
Eye-Fi (http://www.eye.fi)
Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/)

NOTE FOR WINDOWS USERS:  On my Mom's setup (Dell Inspiron 530S with Windows XP SP2 and Belkin Wireless B Router) worked almost flawlessly as well.  When I first installed the Eye-Fi Manager Software, the pictures would take 1-2 minutes to upload.  When I came back from this review, pictures are being uploaded the usual 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Your performance may vary.