ViewSonic 8-inch digital photo frame

Viewsonic 8-inch digital photo frameCool Yule rating: 4

Price: $135.99 (Buy.com); $124.52 at Provantage.com

Product Web site

Description: The ViewSonic digital photo frame is an easy to set up and use picture frame. With a shiny black face, it looks as smooth as a miniature flat panel TV. Setup was pretty quick. In fact, my 11-year old did not have any problems when he set it up. Fix the adjustable foot stand at the back of the frame, slide an SD memory card in and hook it up to the wall outlet and you're on your way.

I loved the futuristic, backlit touch-screen console below the picture window. Sliding your finger across the lower border activates the deep blue backlit buttons. The icon-driven touch-screen menu will take some time getting used to.

The slide show setup menu lets you select only a few pictures by moving through the palette. Doing so with a large number of pictures can be cumbersome. The slide show effect feature lets you set up different transition effects for the slide show. I liked the Fade effect best, as it is less distracting if you have the frame on your office desk. Another feature I loved is the slide show frequency. I set it up for six hours, and it was refreshing to see a new picture during different times of the day. The display quality is very good, giving you a sense of which pictures would look best when printed. Performance-wise, there were no problems, as the frame performed flawlessly with almost 750 pictures in my SD card. Video quality was crisp, but the audio is underpowered if you have the TV running in the same room. Switching to the video mode from the menu automatically plays all videos on the SD card. Just like slide shows, the palette feature lets you play selected videos.

The rotate feature lets you display the frame in the portrait or landscape position. Be careful though! Twisting it the wrong way can break it! You can detach the stand and put up the frame on a wall, but you'll have to get creative about hiding the power cord. Something else to keep in mind is that all pictures in your memory card must be oriented for the position you want to place the frame.

This is a great product if you plan to use it as a picture frame, it fell a little short as a mini video or music player. I would love to have one on my desk.

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