Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: Monoprice Wi-Fi microSD Adapter


Today I will be taking a look at Monoprice's WiFi SD card. For just $35, you get a SD card that acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot that you can connect to and download pictures. The great thing about this one is that unlike the eyefi, flashair, or Transcent Wi-Fi card, you supply your own microSD cards that you already own and can swap between multiple cards and still have the Wi-Fi feature for all of them.


Breaking it down, this is how it works. With either your phone, tablet, or computer, you find and connect to the Wi-Fi network the SD card creates. Then you go to a web page on your computer or mobile device to see and download the pictures you want. Unfortunately, you cannot delete any pictures from the web page. I assume this is a safety feature since up to 5 people can connect to the Wi-Fi at the same time to browse photos and you don't want anyone being able to delete the pictures. The web page to view your pictures isn't the prettiest or the most feature rich, but it is enough to get the job done.


One thing I noticed is that although the directions say you just type in any address in a web browser and it will automatically direct you to the web page, it only worked when I went to http://monoprice.adapter directly with Safari. Using chrome, the redirection works.

The bad thing about the Monoprice's Wi-Fi SD card compared to the others is that it does not provide any software for automatic downloading of pictures or any apps on iOS or Android. The good news is that the Monoprice card turns out to be a rebadged ez Share card, which DOES have it's own iOS app.

If you download the free ez Share app from the App store, you can use it to view the pictures from the Monoprice card just fine!


So what I like to do is take pictures with my camera and use my iPad to view the pictures and see if they came out well. Unfortunately, the system does not handle RAW well so you cannot see any thumbnails from the pictures you took. What I recommend is to shoot in JPEG+RAW and look at the JPEG pictures to see how they came out. You get the thumbnails and viewing the JPEG is much much faster than loading the RAW pictures.

The average download speed I got from the Wi-Fi card is about 1.4 megabytes/sec average. Not good! And this is with the Wi-Fi card attached to my iMac in the back, so the distance is as close as it gets. Speaking of attaching it to a computer, when you plug it in it looks like as if you plugged in the SD card by itself. You get your DCIM directory where you can browse through all the pictures and modify/delete/copy them as you wish.

But you do also lose some speed when transferring from the microSD card if it is going through the WiFi adapter to your computer. With my 32GB Samsung Pro microSD card I get about 70MB/s write and 90MB/s read directly. But through the WiFi adapter it seems to be capped at 17.8MB/s both ways.

Overall, I am happy with the card despite the slow speed. It provides the convenience of checking my pictures with my iPad before I finish shooting and transfer all the pictures to my computer by direct SD transfer. I have not tested how the WiFi card affects battery, but I can only assume based on what I have read that it kills it. That is why I plan to just use the WiFi card for taking pictures at home, and using a standard SD card when shooting outside.

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