Digital cameras have gone through a real growth spurt in a relatively short time span. In 2003, 4 megapixel sensors were still relatively high-end, and 10 years later the standard is almost 20 megapixels. In terms of connectivity the development has not been as rapid, however. WiFi is included on some cameras these days, but it's still the exception to the rule. That's surprising, as the usefulness definitely outweighs the relatively low cost of adding the feature. Transcend has come up with a solution in the shape of the Wi-Fi SD Card, and we tried it out.
The Wi-Fi SD Card isn't the first memory card with built-in WiFi. The Eye-Fi, nowadays part of the Sandisk portfolio, has been out for a few years. We haven't tested that one recently, but last time we did it was a bit laborious. A decent solution for the (semi-)professional photographer, but for incidental use not the most user-friendly solution since you each time have to save the wireless settings on the card beforehand.
The Transcend Wi-Fi SD Card works with iOS and Android apps so you can adjust settings while using the camera. In theory, at least as it took us quite a bit of effort. We received the first sample at the end of 2012, but it had some issues so we asked for a second sample. The firmware has also been updated since, and for this test we used version 1.6 released in March of this year.
The card comes in two versions, one with 16 GB of storage and one with 32 GB. They cost $52 and $70, respectively. That's less than the Eye-Fi from Sandisk.
The Wi-Fi Card has some very interesting features on paper. It can run in peer-to-peer mode, where it serves as access point. It's then possible to connect with your smartphone via the app, or with a laptop via the browser and a web interface. The camera can also connect to a personal personal hotspot, if your smartphone has that feature, in order to share photos online via mobile internet. You can also connect to a wireless router. The app also lets you remotely access the photos on the memory card in the camera. So basically every way WiFi could be applied to a camera has been implemented, aside from the technically challenging task of remotely taking photos. Let's find out how it pans out in practice.