Top critical review
51 people found this helpful
Great product, appalling software & user interface
on 4 May 2012
This is in principle a great system but ruined by the very confusing and unnecessarily complicated set-up and UI. Even one of the more enthusiastic reviewers (Phil UK) said he got it all up and running "in a couple of hours"!! What low expectations we sometimes have!! It should take a few minutes, not hours!!! And why is it necessary to connect the card to the internet every time you want to change some settings, when you don't want any pics uploaded beyond your local network? The confusing and sometimes contradictory user instructions are scattered around a variety of web pages and help screens, treating the user as an idiot one moment and as an IT expert the next. The iOS App instructions show screens that don't exist!
The main function of transferring pics from camera to a desktop computer via a local wireless network is fairly easy to set up, and works fairly well (most of the time), but is of limited usefulness (IMHO). Modern multi-megapixel cameras producing 5MB JPGs will generate a lot of data very quickly (and for HD video, at a ridiculous rate!), and it is much faster and simpler to pop an ordinary SD card out of the camera and into a card reader on the desktop. Since you can't do anything useful with the pics on your desktop computer unless you are sitting at it, there seems little benefit in uploading them over the network. Transfer speeds are very erratic - sometimes pics transfer in a few seconds, sometimes it takes forever. It seems to need to be close to the wireless access point - and it rather defeats the object of the exercise to have to take the camera over to near the router and leave it there to transfer the pics.....
Far, far more useful is the ability to send pics to an iPad, to be used for instant gratification on a decent-sized display. Here, the picture (!) is very confusing. Eye-Fi's "Direct Mode" works very well, but ONLY if no other "known" networks are around, as it has the lowest priority when Eye-Fi tries to find a network connection. So, if you are out and about, away from known networks, it is great; but you do have to tell the iPad to connect to the EyeFi card every time, which it will only do while the Eye-Fi is transmitting, which it will only do AFTER you've taken a picture, and only for a short time before the camera goes to sleep again. It all works ok if you remember all this, and set the iPad app to not go to sleep, and perhaps extend your camera's sleep time too (both risking flat batteries). But trying to get pics to transfer to the iPad when at home where there are "known" networks can be very erratic. It is also difficult if, eg, visiting family where your iPad (but not your Eye-Fi card) "knows" their network; every time the Eye-Fi stops transmitting, your iPad will reconnect to your family's network (unless you tell the iPad to "forget this network"; a pain if you then want to Google something 5 minutes later and have to re-enter a password everyone has long forgotten...). Or you could tell the Eye-Fi card to recognise your family's local wireless network - except you can ONLY do this by plugging the card into a card reader in a computer with internet access!!! A further anomaly with the iOS App is that it is not at all clear how to delete pics (apparently, you have to change Apps to Apple's "Photos" App and delete them there - why??). And I still haven't worked out how to get the pics to transfer from my iPad to my desktop over my local network.... there is an option called "Relay Transfer" but I think this involves sending them via Eye-Fi's servers - the documentation is vague on this point and I haven't managed to get it to work. Easier to take the card out of the camera and.....
By far the least useful "use" IMHO is the ability (in theory) to upload your pics directly from your camera to various Cloud services. Uploading 5MB pics to Facebook or whatever is just plain daft. With my broadband upload speed of 250kbit/s, it takes 3 minutes per picture. Most people don't realise that their "10Mb" internet service is (a) Megabits, not MegaBytes and (b) the download speed, not the upload speed. Most UK consumers have a nominal upload speed of only 250 or 500 Mb/s.
All in all, a good device if you think the limited benefits are worth potentially hours of hassle. It could be so much better with (a) a completely re-written user interface and (b) a stronger WiFi signal.
******UPDATE a few days later******
With thanks to a Mrs Y who commented on my review:
I think a large part of my problem was due to weak WiFi signals from the Eye-Fi card, combined with generally poor WiFi coverage in my large old house, despite several access points. Deleting all the other networks from the Eye-Fi card forces it to work in Direct Mode to the iPad, which by definition is close to the camera when I'm using it thus. I still need to manually select the Eye-Fi network on the iPad, AFTER taking the first pic; and I've increased the sleep time on the camera as otherwise the iPad reconnects to the home network again when the camera sleeps - a pain if taking a number of pics with significant pauses in between.
And then, as you say, setting up the iPad to transfer the pics to my desktop works well; I just need to relaunch the Eye-Fi App on the iPad when I'm finished and the iPad has reconnected to my home network (tho' for the reasons mentioned in my original review, it's still just as easy to pop the card into a reader if there are a lot of pics). And my comments re sending large pics via the internet are obviously misinformed; as I don't want to do this anyway, I hadn't delved into the options to send smaller files.
So, many thanks for your help. I'd give the product another star now; but I still think the set-up is unnecessarily difficult and confusing.
One other minor issue is the slowness of the iPad App in "processing" pics - when you browse pics within the App, there is a delay of 2 or 3 secs before each pic transforms from a very-low-res thumbnail into a sharp pic. This delay is much greater than when doing the same thing within the Photos app, and the buffer seems smaller too (only 2 or 3 pics "remembered" at full res in the App, cf lots more in Photos). Perhaps I need a "New" iPad (have only the original one!)