Viewsonic Digital Photo Frame (DP701W4)
- Vibrant colours, good brightness and contrast, has a built-in battery, viewable from wide angles, pictures aren't squished or stretched to fit the screen
- Portrait shots aren't rendered properly, no remote control, confusing interface, SD cards can be hard to remove, can't be hung on a wall
This is a neat device on which to display 'happy snaps'. It lacks a few key features, such as a remote control and wall mounts, and it can be a little hard to use, but its picture quality is very good and it can be viewed adequately from wide angles.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
With this 7in digital photo frame, Viewsonic is offering a product that is close to the top of its class. The screen's picture quality is exceptional, and it's a good-sized and well-built screen. However, it can be hard to use and it's let down by a couple of omissions - it lacks remote control functionality and it can't be hung on a wall.
Unlike most picture frames on the market, this one can't play video or music files. And it's perhaps a good thing that it's exclusively a picture-displaying device, because as far as picture quality is concerned, it's one of the best frames we've seen. The colour and luminance values of the screen made it look rich and vibrant for the most part, but skin tones looked a little too pale. We only noticed slight colour banding in areas with subtle gradations; details in dark photos weren't drowned out and its black level was nice and dark, not grey. Overall, photos didn't look noticeably blotchy or pixelated, even from close range, and most details were visible.
Its viewable angles are wide and only minimal contrast changes were noticeable when viewing from an angle above the screen. As for speed, it'll move from one photo to the next very swiftly; our 10-megapixel shots (loaded from a 2GB Kingston SD card) were displayed without any problems in this regard.
Unfortunately, the screen can't render portrait shots properly - the top of the shot will be cut off and there's no way to change this in the settings menu. The screen's 15:9 aspect ratio (800x480 resolution) displays most landscape photos with minimal clipping, depending on their aspect ratio, and unlike many other widescreen frames, photos on this one won't look squished or stretched; photos with a 4:3 aspect ratio will have black bars to the left and right, for example, and photos with a 16:9 ratio will have black bars at the top and bottom.
Physically, the frame has an acrylic border and its memory slots are located on the bottom-rear. There are two slots: one for Compact Flash cards, the other for SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/xD cards. But the SD slot can be hard to use. A spring-loaded mechanism would make SD card removal much easier.
Another sore point is the design of the interface. It has confusing buttons: there is a combination of circular and rectangular buttons at the top-rear of the frame, which need to be used to navigate the on-screen menu system. They are unintuitive; the long rectangular buttons only perform one function, but their long nature led us to believe that each end had opposing functions. For example, we thought one end could be pressed to go down, while the other end would go up. This isn't the case. Confusingly, to navigate the menu system, the circular button will go left, while the rectangular button will go right, the next circular button will go down, while the next rectangular button will go up. A remote control with arrow buttons would make things so much easier.
What we love about this frame is its built-in rechargeable battery. Unplug the frame's power pack, and it'll continue to display photos continuously for up to two hours (according to our tests when looping a slideshow off an SD memory card). This means that the power cord can be removed when you want to use the frame as a showpiece for guests.
All up, this is one of the best small-sized digital photo frames on the market. Its picture quality is exceptional and it can run on its built-in battery. Unfortunately, it's let down by a poor interface, it can't be hung on a wall and it doesn't have a remote control.
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