If you’ve used Eye-Fi cards before, you’re familiar with the concept behind the Mobi ($49.99 direct). Aside from its bright orange design, it’s a normal looking SD memory card, and it works like one. But in addition to storing your photos, it has built-in Wi-Fi. This lets you transfer photos from your camera to your iOS or Android device via a free app. That’s all it does, but that’s all that it needs to do. Other Eye-Fi cards, like the Pro X2, do a lot more, but they require you to spend time setting them up and, if you ever want to change the functionality, it’s back to the computer to reconfigure the card. We liked its ease of use enough to award it our Editors’ Choice award; it makes it truly simple to transfer photos from your digital camera to your phone.
There’s an elegant simplicity in the Mobi. It just works. To get started you just need to download the free Eye-Fi app from the iOS or Android app store. Entering the printed code that is included with the card adds a network profile for it to your phone, so you won’t have to type in a password for use. If you’re away from a known network your phone will automatically connect to the Eye-Fi card when you launch the app, but if you’re connected to your normal network you’ll have to go into settings and switch to the Eye-Fi network in order to start downloading photos. Downloads are automatic, and pretty quick.
The Mobi can only transfer JPG files—not Raw—but if you shoot Raw+JPG it will have no trouble transferring the JPGs and ignoring the Raw images. Photos are transferred at full resolution. Videos can also be transferred, but you’ll get an error message if the video format isn’t supported by your phone. My iPhone 5 can’t handle the AVCHD format that Sony D-SLRs use, but an MP4 file transferred without issue.
The only real sticking point with the Mobi is its performance. If you love the burst mode on your D-SLR, you’re likely to be disappointed by its write speeds. We tested it with the Sony Alpha 77, which approaches 12 frames per second, to see how long it took to write full bursts to the card. The Mobi took 26.6 seconds to record an 11-shot Raw+JPG burst, 22.3 seconds for an 12-shot Raw burst, and 16 seconds for a 13-shot JPG burst. A SanDisk 95MBps memory card, which we use as the baseline for testing all of the cameras that come through our labs, did much better: 10.4 seconds for Raw+JPG, 7.5 seconds for Raw, and 9.5 seconds for JPG.
There’s a lot to like about the Eye-Fi Mobi. It’s an SD card, and it does the one thing that an SD card is expected to, but it also adds Wi-Fi to nearly every camera on the market. (Eye-Fi maintains a list of compatible cameras.) If 8GB isn’t enough storage, there’s also a 16GB version available. It’s simple to set up, and it actually benefits from not offering the plethora of unnecessary options that made the Pro X2 such a hassle to configure. You just need the card and a smartphone; there’s no need to install anything on your computer. It’s not the fastest card in the world, so it’s not for you if you’re rattling off shots with a fast-shooting D-SLR. But if you want to share photos on social networks, aren’t satisfied with the image quality that your phone camera provides, and aren’t ready to buy a newer camera with built-in Wi-Fi, then the Mobi is for you. It takes all headaches out of setup and makes it quite simple to transfer photos from your digital camera to your phone. It’s one of the best Wi-Fi camera add-ons we’ve used, and as such earns an Editors’ Choice award.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc