As I am always getting asked for recommendations from dads, I have decided I will start doing reviews as part of the blog. The blog was launched as a way of giving helpful tips and advice for expectant and new fathers, so these reviews will be in keeping with this aim. Every couple of weeks I will be doing reviews in different categories and we are starting with gadgets, (not my fault… I explained to some PRs what I wanted to do and got offered some great ones to review!) The products have been supplied to review, some purely for the review and some I have been allowed to keep. Irrespective of this my reviews will always be honest and truthful, the reviews will be conducted always from a male perspective (surprise, surprise). Lets be clear, I am no technical whizz, so these reviews will not be about the technical ins and outs, they will be purely about, do they work? Could I work out how to use it? Do they make life easier? Im sure you’re getting the picture!
So up first is the Hitachi Lifestudio Mobile Plus and I have to say, I love this product. As someone who struggles with the chronology of events, this gadget is a godsend!
OK, so what is it? Basically, the version I was sent is a 500gb external hard drive that connects to a 4gb usb key. So, why do I love it? Simple, it comes with great software that is easy to use, it’s functional and fun.
In a nutshell, it copies from your computer and stores all your pictures, video, music and other files. It also sorts them into date order, then making them easy and fun to access.
On first instal, admittedly the transfer speeds are not the quickest (although I do have a lot of pictures on the computer) but once the initial sort was done, the speed was fine. I found that the LifeStudio software did a great job of sorting my photos and videos. Once they are sorted, they are then displayed on a fun interactive 3D wall, dubbed ‘MyLife’. All the files are sorted by type and then into dates, first they are broken down into year and then into month. This feature alone I think is a must for new parents, our babies grow so quickly and looking back on some of photos, I couldn’t be sure how old our children were in them (as I said earlier, I am useless when it comes to the chronology of events). LifeStudio solves this problem for me, as the software has sorted and stored my pics into chronological order.
The LifeStudio does a great job of make the navigation of files simple, instead of sifting through multiple files, everything is right there at your fingertips. You can also link it with your Facebook, Flickr and Picasa (yep, you can even upload photos or comments directly from the application).
LifeStudio is more than just about pictures though, it will also sort and store your documents, your music, in fact just about everything you have on your hard drive. You have access to TV, films and news.
LifeStudio also has some great and easy to use backup software, (how I wish we had this when our laptop suddenly died a year ago, taking pictures of our son with it, it cost us a fortune to have our hard drive recovered). In addition to this you get 3gb of cloud online backup storage free. This can be increased but carries an additional cost.
In summary, I would recommend this product without hesitation. I was shocked to find the unit I tested was being sold at just £79.99. Even if I hadn’t been allowed to keep the one I tested I would certainly have bought one. It is simple to instal, easy to use and genuinely makes life easier.
So with out a shadow of a doubt this gets Five out of Five Stars
Next up, and closely related is the Eye-Fi Geo X2 another gadget I really enjoyed reviewing. This one also solves the problem of my bad memory and stops me getting shot. Take your pictures and when in range let the card automatically upload them to your computer!! No more will you suffer the problem of going to take pictures, only to find memory card full because you have forgotten to download older images, so then having to decide which ones to delete so you can take some more! Or, alternatively having to go to nearest store to buy new memory card, because we cant possibly delete any old photos, as they are all important memories! Trust me when I say this will happen constantly when your child is born.
So what is the Eye-Fi Geo X2? It is SD memory card with Wi Fi and geo tagging (get me, sounds impressive doesnt it?!) Basically, you put it in your camera, take your pictures, when you are near your computer and its on, it will automatically download your pictures. Brilliant. In addition, it is intended that it will apply the location at which the picture was taken, using the geo tagging feature.
Just plug in the card in its USB card reader supplied and software is simply and quickly installed. Software has very simple and easy to follow instructions to follow as you set up your preferences, I was concerned about how easy this was going to be, trust me it was simplicity itself and something anyone can do (well, if I can anyone can).
You can decide on the wireless networks that the card can use to upload your pictures, and apparently it can store up to 32 of them. I didn’t test this so will take their word for it, as Im sure for most of us 2 or 3 will be plenty.
There are settings to suit everyone, you can have it upload all photos or just selective ones, you select the folder you want you photos to be stored in, you can also select to share pictures online through your facebook account, as well as Flickr and Picasa. The facebook account facility is great, as it will share without the need to be logged in.
To be honest, I couldn’t really seem to get a grip of the geo tagging facility. I’m sure for some it is a great option to have and once set up could have benefits, I just didn’t feel it was crucial so gave up on setting it up. Not having geo tagging did not in my opinion detract from what is a great product.
In summary, I would again recommend this product without hesitation. Although as the card I reviewed with Geo tagging sells for around £75, I would be tempted to suggest you get the standard version which retails at around £50. I will be sorry to return this card, but will probably be buying the standard version in the not too distant future. Another product which is simple to instal, easy to use and genuinely makes life easier.
Great product but loses a star due to geo tagging so gets Four out of Five Stars