Toshiba FlashAir W-04 vs Eyefi Mobi Pro


Life has many existential questions and then some simple annoyances: why is the built-in WiFi in so many cameras so terrible? My Sony a6300 requires QR codes, wireless connections, and clunky built-in applications (as well has having the even more kludgy Sony PlayMemories application on the receiving device). Sometimes the simplest solution is not proprietary, and that is where we come to wireless SD (actually SDXC) cards.


Eyefi was a Finnish company that pioneered the idea of the wifi-enabled SD card. The idea was to make a small card that had a short-range 802.11 connection that could interface to a computer. Before long, the focus became transmitting to handheld devices.

In theory, all wireless cards count on the tolerance of a camera for staying powered up until disk operations are finished. In practical terms, this means that the wifi component in the card is activated by reading or writing a certain amount of data to the card, and the camera does not go to sleep until the transmission is complete (or some number of minutes passes, and the camera says “enough is enough!”).

Eyefi was not a tremendously easy system to set up on a handheld because it installs a WiFi profile (ID and password). This required you to enter a code on the back of the box into the handheld application, have your phone install the profile, go to WiFi settings, connect to the Eyefi card (assuming it is powered on) and then activate the Eyefi Mobi application.

From there, and assuming you were out in the wild, and your handheld could not see any other networks to which it could auto-connect, it would automatically connect to the Eyefi card. You would have to launch the Eyefi app to get transfers to start.

In general, the Eyefi setup worked (and works), except for a few caveats:

  • It is difficult to reconfigure the cards for a new device if you lose the activation code, and it is not straightforward to recover them (you used to have to email Eyefi customer service).
  • The configuration on the pro cards (transmit raw files and video or neither) required work with the hellishly ungainly Eyefi desktop application, which was a solution looking for a problem (if you are at your computer, why would you need to wirelessly transmit data to it?)
  • Eyefi cards were (and are) pretty hard on camera batteries.
  • Eyefi cards never got fast enough for intolerant cameras like Leica Digital Ms, especially the Typ 240 and its siblings, which really don’t like cards that can’t do at least 60mb/sec write speed (which generally means a 90mb/sec read speed – what they show on the box as the “speed”).

The Eyefi Mobi and Mobi Pro cards were a bit easier. The orange Mobi only transmits JPGs (you need to plug it into an SD reader to get RAW), and the black Mobi Pro would transmit both. But the speed still maxed out at Class 10, still not fast enough for a Leica, where sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, and when they don’t, they lock up the camera until you remove the battery.

Eyefi’s reorg, Toshiba, and Keenai

The Eyefi situation, oddly, changed for the better with the reorganization of the company. The technology end (the patents) went to Toshiba. Keenai took over the software end and designed a (free) mobile application that far more reliably connected to the card and downloaded pictures far faster. While on paper, the deal between the companies was cross-licensing, the reality is that Eyefi cards are out of print.


Toshiba took over with its FlashAir series where Eyefi left off. True to Japanese corporate form, it put out its own clunky (and frankly indecipherable) handheld application. FlashAir. To its credit, the application allows you to see thumbnails (JPG and pink boxes for RAW) that allow you to selectively pull (as opposed to having the card push) files. This avoids the usual wait for the good shots while the card pushes all of your bloopers to your handheld.

The FlashAir W-04 (the current model, for some reason only available in Asia – in the U.S., you get the W-03 – but you can buy the W-04 all day on Ebay…) is in many ways better than the Eyefi Mobi Pro.

First, it skips the activation codes and profiles and lets you just punch in an 8-digit password (which you can change via the handheld app) when you connect to its wireless signal. I would not recommend changing this password because the risk of someone in your immediate proximity stealing your images is far smaller than the risk of forgetting the password and bricking the card.

Second, on Keenai, it is zero-configuration. It sees the phone is connected to a FlashAir card, and then it goes to town downloading everything (JPG and RAW). I think the assumption is that your phone will only be connected to one card at a time.

Third, the Toshiba cards seem to eat batteries less, although the effective range seems shorter. I am still testing this, but that kind of tradeoff would not at all be surprising.


Finally, the W-04 transfers about twice as fast as the Eyefi over WiFi, and its card write speed (UHS-3, which I measure at 63.3Mb/sec write speed) is high enough even to be reliable with the finicky Leica Ms. This actually makes them useful even when you don’t need WiFi connectivity. Speeds (as tested by me through the iMac 5K’s built-in card reader)

  • Flashair W-04 (64mb/sec write, 88mb/sec read)
  • Eyefi Mobi Pro 32 (17mb/sec write, 19 mb/sec read)
  • Eyefi Mobi 32 (18mb/sec write, 19mb/sec read)
  • For reference, a Samsung Pro non wireless card (rated 80/90) runs at 64/88.

…so as you can see, “Class 10” covers a lot of territory (basically 10mb/sec and up)

Unsolved problems

There are two last annoyances.

One is that iOS devices are hostile to the idea of strict priority lists for wireless. At home or work – where your handheld would be connected to a permanent network, you would want EyeFi or FlashAir cards to trump the local Wifi when they are active (since they are only active for shooting or file transfer). This is not a problem inherent to the cards themselves, but it makes using them less fun.

Second, wireless host programs like to store downloaded images in their own purgatory rather than dumping them all directly into your iOS photos storage. This means that you end up storing two copies of some (or all) pictures, eating into onboard storage. This actually is within the province of Keenai to fix.


With the maturation of wirelsss SD card card technology and of editing programs like Lightroom CC mobile, you can now actually get more done in more places. And yes, they even work with Sony cameras.



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10 responses to “Toshiba FlashAir W-04 vs Eyefi Mobi Pro”

  1. Anthony Craig (@ToniWonKanobi) says :

    This seems like a cool pairing with an M/M-P 240. I have a Q now, and miss WiFi on the M. I’m wondering though: compared to a contemporary non-WiFI SD card, are there slowdowns to be expected while using the camera? For example, will there be an increased time for Live Viewing or reviewing images, or will there a general slow down in the I/O performance because the WiFi card is doing a bunch of processing that a non-WiFi card wouldn’t have to do?

  2. Anthony Craig (@ToniWonKanobi) says :

    In other words, is there a “cost” to using a WiFi card when it comes to the snappiness of the camera?

  3. The Machine Planet says :

    The FlashAir seems is a much faster card than the Eyefi; it does not visibly hang things up, though the new M240 firmware finally resolves the glitch where overrunning the buffer causes a hangup. The FlashAir seems to be pretty light in terms of power consumption; it seems to lower its transmission speed when the camera is not being shot (i.e., it is on but not being actively used).

  4. Keith Watson says :

    For my dental office, I bought the Mobipro 32GB recently, set it up with Keenai software on my server to wirelessly upload photos taken on my SLR to the server and make them accessible via the PCs in treatment rooms. Took a little tinkering, but Keenai allowed me to connect to this card via existing wifi. Works pretty slick, photos appear in seconds on the server. It was recommended by another techy-nerdy dentist at a class I went to, and the cost was $250ish. I read a bunch of stuff about the FlashAir W-03 card, and mistakenly got the impression that it could do the same thing for about $35, so I bought one (for my other office), and it doesn’t seem to be able to do anything of the sort, either with Keenai or the FlashAir software. I see the W-04 is $46 on ebay, but I’m not clear from your description above if this card will allow connection to existing wifi. The card’s internal SSID is of no use to me, I just want it to reach out to my network so I can get photos to transfer to the server. Know if the W-04 can do that? thanks in advance!

    • The Machine Planet says :

      Keith, you already have the capability with the W03. In the Flash Air configuration application (on your desktop), there is a function called “FlashAir Drive.” When that is active, Keenai sees the card and starts downloading. You also need to use the same utility to enter your login info for your wireless LAN.

      • Keith Watson says :

        Huh. Thanks for that info – I was wondering if that was the key, and it’s the one part of the software that I can’t get to work. When I click on the drive button, I get this message: Unexpected error occurred. {Exception Message : Unable to load DLL ‘wlanapi.dll’: The specified module could not be found. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007007E)} . . . and it goes on.
        Initially I wasn’t even able to get the software to open on my server. It would give me the same error and then only option was to close it. I tried running a repair from the installer and no change. I installed it on a workstation and I guess got the card activated, then I could open the software when I plugged it in to the server again. Now it seems to work with the exception of the Drive functionality. Hopefully Toshiba’s got decent tech support. I think this might be beyond my IT guys realm.

      • Keith Watson says :

        My IT guy was helpful – seems that the DLL that’s missing – wlanapi.dll – is something that would be likely be present if the server had a wireless card. The hardware requirements listed on the Toshiba site include a wifi capable PC. consistent with what I’ve read on Toshiba’s site about the W-03. Can you say for sure that the FlashAir software will run on a machine without a wireless card? He said to try installing and configuring it on a wifi capable machine, but it would sure be nice to know if I’m beating my head against a wall ahead of time.

    • Izzy says :

      Hey Keith,
      I am tryin to set up using keenai, it wont allow me. Any tips?

  5. sumit says :

    i have 2 mobi pro cards and really like them, though i’ve had an issue of occasional single files getting corrupted, and now one of the cards isn’t transmitting a wifi signal so that card appears dead.

    the one thing i see with my newly purchased W-03 cards is that theres no option for selective file transfer? this was a nice feature to have to push only desired images to the client live.

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