Thursday, June 12, 2014

Toshiba FlashAir 8GB SD Card Review


Just got this card for my Olympus OMD-EM5 (about RM70 for an 8GB card, they used to cost so much!). It’s a wifi-enabled SD card which enables easy photo transfers from camera to mobile devices such as phones, tablets and laptops. I can also use it to quickly slowly but conveniently transfer one or two files to my desktop if I need to.

How it works
To use the card, all I had to do was insert it into my EM5, turn on the camera and then on my tablet’s browser, enter the URL “”http:/flashair/” which then brought me to the initial setup screen. On this screen, I had to enter a new SSID name and a password.

Once that was done, each time I wanted to transfer or browse photos on the card, I just had to switch on the camera and connect to the card (the card automatically creates a wifi network) and go to the above URL. However, this method is slow and not practical for transferring multiple files.

For easier browsing and transfers, I use an app by Olympus called Olympus Image Share (OI Share). Toshiba also has an app called FlashAir but it has fewer features compared to Olympus’ app. Both can be downloaded from the Android  Play Store.

OI Share app features include:
1. Transfer multiple files
2. Setting file sizes (instead of full sizes, we can select smaller sizes for quicker transfers)
3. Transfering movie files (.mov on the EM5)

I find the Toshiba’s FlashAir app is sometimes rather problematic and often takes a while to connect.

Useful for older cameras without built-in wifi. For example, I can now easily browse photos on my EM5 with my tablet and then select any which I’d like to share with friends either by email or social apps.

The card is always turned on. Toshiba says that by locking an included image on the card on the camera (by using the lock or protect feature used for protecting files from being deleted), this turns off the wifi. However, in practice, I have found this to be hit and miss. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t.

Also, write speeds are slow, much slower than what I would expect from a Class 6 card. Transfer speeds over wifi are also very slow. To transfer an 8 megabyte jpeg, for example, takes roughly a minute and a half on my tablet and desktop PC. View the video demo I created below, showing just how slow the file loading is:

Slow transfer speed (video demo)

This card has given my EM5 a much needed feature and although I do wish it was faster (write/transfer), I have no regrets. I am pleased that I am now able to browse photos on my EM5 with my tablet and I can recommend this card to others using compatible cameras, as long as you do not mind the slow write/transfer speeds.

I rate it 65/100

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