Eye-Fi Refreshes Wireless SDHC Cards

Eye-Fi recently took the wraps off its Eye-Fi Pro X2 lineup of wireless SDHC cards that let you upload images directly from your camera via Wi-Fi to your computer or more than 25 photo sharing sites.

The new wireless photo storage cards include three different models starting at $50, with a 4GB or 8GB storage size, and all three use the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard for faster upload times. Eye-Fi has also increased the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots avaiable to Eye-Fi subscribers from more than 10,000 to over 21,000 locations across the U.S. including Starbucks and HarborLink Network hotspots. To use Eye-Fi's new wireless cards you'll need an SDHC-compatible camera.

Here's a breakdown of the latest SD cards from Eye-Fi:

Eye-Fi Connect X2: The most affordable X2 model is priced at $50, has 4GB of storage space, and will upload JPEG images and videos to more than 25 sites such as Flickr, Facebook, YouTube and Picasa. Photo Geotagging service and Wi-Fi hotspot access can be purchased for an extra fee.

Eye-Fi Explore Video: The Explore costs $100, has 8GB of storage, offers automatic lifetime geotagging and one year of free Wi-Fi hotspot access at any of the 21,000 locations across the U.S. Just like the Connect X2, the Explore uploads JPEG images and videos only. At the time of this writing, the Explore X2 was on back order, according to Eye-Fi's Website.

Eye-Fi Pro X2: Eye-Fi's premium X2 model costs $150, stores up to 8GB worth of material, and can upload JPEG or RAW images, as well as video. The Pro X2 can also create an ad hoc connection to your computer to load photos onto your hard drive (the Connect and Explore need to connect to your computer through a Wi-Fi router). The Pro X2 also comes with lifetime geotagging and a one year subscription to Wi-Fi hotspot access. At the time of this writing, the Pro X2 was also on back order, according to Eye-Fi's Website.

Endless Memory

While Eye-Fi's wireless cards are a great idea for those who are near a Wi-Fi hotspot and want to upload photos quickly, one problem the X2 lineup doesn't solve is Eye-Fi's small storage space. The storage size has increased from a maximum 4GB to 8GB with the X2 lineup, but that's still relatively tiny considering that SDHC cards can have maximum storage sizes of 32GB.

To get around this problem, Eye-Fi cards include an Endless Memory feature that automatically deletes older pictures that have been already been uploaded once the card nears its maximum storage capacity. Endless Memory doesn't need a Wi-Fi connection to work, and the new feature will not delete photos that haven't been uploaded.

While this sounds like a great idea, you may not want to enable the Endless Memory feature on your new card right away. Eye-Fi is not clear on what "uploaded photos" means. Does this mean only photos that are sent to your computer, or will Endless Memory delete photos uploaded to sharing sites as well? I can't help wondering, for example, if you upload some photos to Facebook -- where uploaded photos are usually unfit for printing -- is there any way to stop the Endless Memory feature from deleting those shots so you can make prints later on? Eye-Fi isn't clear about that.

Regardless, the new X2 cards and expanded Wi-Fi hotspot access will make it even easier to share and store photos without the hassle of tangled USB cords. What do you think? Do you plan on getting a new Eye-Fi X2 card or is wireless uploading directly from you camera not worth the price for you?

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).

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