The Eye Fi Pro X2 card is a wireless SDHC memory card for use in digital cameras and camcorders. It builds off the Eye Fi Video card with a host of new improvements.
The $149 Eye Fi Pro X2 is the top of the new "X2" family of Eye Fi cards (you can compare all the cards in the Eye Fi family here). It is a Class 6 SDHC card, meaning it has enough data speed to handle even the highest-end consumer camcorder. It packs 8GB of memory storage. While that's not enough to handle a long vacation shooting with an HD camcorder, there are a few features to help overcome a lack of capacity.
What Hasn't Changed
If you're not familiar with the Eye Fi concept, it's quite brilliant. Put simply, the Eye Fi card transforms any camera or camcorder that accepts SD memory cards into a wireless device. You use it as you would an ordinary memory card to store your digital photos and videos, except that it can connect to your wireless home network or public Hotspots operated by AT&T (a year's worth of service is included with the Pro X2, after that you'll have to pay a subscription fee). When the camcorder (or camera) is turned on and in range of a network, your photos and videos are automatically uploaded to a folder of your choice on your computer and to an online destination.
The card supports photo uploading to one of 25 online sites and six video sites: YouTube, Picasa Web Albums, Flickr, Facebook, Phanfare and Photobucket. You can see a complete list of supported sites here.
Earlier Eye Fi cards, such as the Video card we reviewed last year, could also add geo-graphical coordinates to your video and photo files by triangulating your location based on signals from public wireless Hotspots. This functionality (which can be disabled if you want privacy) continues in the Pro X2.
What's New, What's Improved
While the original Eye Fi Video card is an excellent solution (and remains, at least for now, on the market), the Pro X2 card moves to address some of its nagging short-comings. On the hardware side, as mentioned above, the Pro X2 is more robust. It packs more memory (8GB vs. 4GB) and faster data transfer speeds. If you own a flash memory-based camcorder, both are welcome improvements.
Beyond the hardware, the Eye Fi Pro X2 is considerably more versatile with respect to video and still photo transferring options. Among the biggest improvements is the ability to erase files once they've been transferred (previously you had to manually delete everything).
This feature - dubbed "Endless Memory" - will eliminate a certain percentage of files on your card (between 10 and 90 in 10 percent increments) after they've been successfully transferred. With the feature enabled, you could literally shoot on and on without fear of exceeding your memory card capacity.
There are other transfer options as well. You can opt for "Selective Share" which will load all of your files onto your computer but only select ones online (you select the ones you want to transfer by using the "protect" feature in your camcorder's playback menu). You can also choose "Selective Transfer" which prevents files from going to both your computer and online service (again, you can select what gets transferred by using the "protect" feature - which is a bit counter-intuitive but nonetheless how it works). In other words, Eye Fi is helping you hide the digital evidence. (Well, not you specifically. We all know that you have anything to hide.)
Finally, there is the new "ad hoc transfer" function. Using ad hoc transfer, you can send images and videos from your camera to your computer directly, without using an Internet connection. This is the one element of the Pro card that you'll have to configure outside of the included Eye Fi Manager program, which means it's a bit more cumbersome to establish. Personally, unless you're a pro on location who needs to stream images to a local computer, the ad hoc option isn't very necessary.
Another major improvement found in the Pro X2 is the number of file formats supported by the card: you can now transfer AVCHD videos as well as RAW still image files.
Better Management Software
The other significant improvement to the Pro X2 card is the Eye Fi Manager software that comes with it. The software is automatically loaded onto your computer during the initial set up of the card. It uses Adobe's Air - a cloud computing program - and lets you control all aspects of the card's performance: setting transfer options, configuring your home network, choosing an online service, and disabling functions such as geo-tagging and Endless Memory.
While the Manager is quite simple to use, it doesn't go the next logical step and incorporate more sophisticated photo/video organizing and even editing tools. You can view the photos and videos recorded on your card by a calendar view. You can also use the Manager to share your files with an online service of your choice, if you haven't already done so. But that's about it.
A Nice Accessory
At $149, the Eye Fi Pro X2 is considerably more expensive than your average 8GB SDHC card. But the wireless benefits it bestows make it worth the investment. With the addition of AVCHD support, faster data speeds and more sophisticated transfer options, it's a must-have memory card.