UPDATE: Bevy is no longer active (read the news here). You have until August 31, 2016 to download your photos before the service (and your saved media) disappears.
It’s a common struggle — how to organize and safely store all those digital images. Our family has accumulated a ginormous amount of pictures, starting from around the time when Munchkin was born. That was about 15 years ago, just when digital cameras started to become mainstream. As the resolution of images increased, so did file sizes and the need for more storage. We have been on the hunt for a reliable digital photo storage solution for a long time but we may have found the answer.
Digital Photo Storage — The Challenges of Digital Photos
Usually, we would store our photos on two external hard drives (we always keep one for backup). Then we would put these in folders and organize them by year, month, and sometimes by an event such as “Walt Disney World.” The problem with organizing pictures this way is that, unless you keep a well-organized calendar or have a brilliant mind, it’s very hard to find one specific picture you might be looking for.
We have also tried online photo hosting. It’s great being able to access your photos from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. However, getting our pictures on the server takes forever due to slow upload speeds. It also throttles your download speed so surfing the web is painful, loading slower than a dial-up connection in the 90s.
Digital Photo Storage — Managing Photos w/ Bevy
I first learned about Bevy at a conference. This little box has all the latest technology onboard. It can be connected to your home network either through an ethernet cable or through Wi-Fi. Bevy was designed with your family photos and videos in mind.
Installing the Bevy was surprisingly simple. When the device and a smartphone are on the same network, the Bevy app finds the device and guides you through a few steps. So few, in fact, that practically works straight out of the box.
There’s an HDMI and VGA output so that you can view your pictures on a TV screen or computer monitor and an output to connect a backup from the Bevy to another external hard drive. I really like the option to make backups because, no matter what storage option you use, having a backup is always a good idea. This is especially true when priceless family photos are involved. Trust me, it is NOT fun to lose any of those photos due to drive failure or human error. It also has two audio outputs.
Digital Photo Storage — Transferring Photos
There are many options to store pictures. New photos are the easiest to take care of. Just plug a memory stick in any of the four fast USB ports (two in the front and two in the back) or insert your camera SD card to get started. There’s no need to first save it to a computer as photos can also be uploaded straight from your smartphone, tablet, or computer using the Bevy mobile app.
Getting older photos moved over is a different story. I first tried transferring our pictures via USB stick but that didn’t work out. With each USB stick only able to hold 1 to 8 GB, I wasn’t able to transfer very many photos at the same time. Plus, the flash drive would get very hot and slow down when time progressed. 70GB worth of pictures would take almost a whole day to complete. I also found that there is no way of knowing if the copying is completed.
Instead, I would recommend using the Bevy app on your computer. There is an app for both Windows and Mac. Transferring files seemed to go faster and you can see when all the files are done being copied.
Digital Photo Storage — Organize and Share
Once on the device, it’s also important that you can actually find your precious moments. Use the Bevy app on your phone or tablet, connect the Bevy to a TV, or view the pictures on your computer. Photos load really fast and are organized by year and month. You can also create your own albums. Photos must be organized in albums if you want to download them to your computer.
The Bevy is a very family oriented device. Each family member can have their own account, so it’s easier to find pictures based on whoever uploaded them. It’s also possible to have guests view photos and save them to their device, as long as they’re on the same home network. They can upload photos too, which is nice if they want to share their pictures. Don’t worry, they won’t have access to delete any pictures though.
Family members can have remote access as well. Maybe you’re visiting Grandma and want to share pictures of your latest vacation or if you want to make a backup while on a road trip. It’s so genius to have a physical device to upload to but still have instant access to your photos from wherever you might be. It’s the best of both worlds!
Digital Photo Storage — Bevy is Keeper
It has been a long road in finding the best digital photo storage solution. Bevy presents an easy way to organize photos and videos and provides the security and reliability I have been looking for. In future updates, I would like to see two things added — receiving a notification when the Bevy is done copying files from an SD card or USB stick and the ability to download individual photos from a computer instead of having to creat an album first. Other than that the Bevy is a keeper.
I received a product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.