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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
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>> Hey, I'm Donald Bell, and today I'm going to give you a first look at the HP Dream Screen. Like the Sony Dash or the [inaudible] is an internet connected device made for the home that tries to do a little bit of everything, but mostly functions as a digital photo frame. It comes in 2 different models, one with a 13 inch screen that retails for $299, and the version here with a 10-inch screen, which goes for $249 list, but has been seen for as low as $149. The design is attractive and pulls off a deceptively thin profile by pulling in some of the bulk around the back. You get ports for full and mini USB, headphones, and Ethernet, as well as card memory readers that accept 9 formats ranging from SD to compact flash. There are two holes on the back for mounting this on the wall. But considering the necessary power adapter cords sticking out of the bottom, most people will probably just attached the included metal kickstand and prop this up on a table. A remote control is also included, which tucks in to the little cubby hole on the top when you don't need it. The remote offers buttons for menu navigation, power, volume, and even a dedicated button for slideshow mode. And it's extremely handy, because the Dream Screen is surprisingly not a touch screen device. You're either using the remote or these controls on the bottom of the screen that light up only when needed. The up shot is that you're less likely to get fingerprints on the screen this way, since you're never actually touching it. The bummer is that anytime you have to enter a name or password you have to use arrow and enter keys to get things done. Now there's a lot going on on the HP Dream Screen. On the main menu you have options for photos, video, weather, clock, calendar, set up, HP smart radio, Pandora, Snap Fish, Facebook, and music. It's an Internet connected device that can work over WiFi or wire connections. But like the Sony Dash, it doesn't have a proper browser. There's also no way to perform typical web tasks, such as checking your email, streaming YouTube videos or reading the news. The Pandora radio app is pretty slick and it's cool that you can stream pictures and music from any PC's on your local network. But when you boil it down, the Dream Screen is a photo frame at its core. There's 2 gigabytes of internal memory, which you can add to with USB sticks or memory cards. And the screen offers vivid colors with acceptable view angles. I was also happy to see that the built in speakers offer decent sound quality that can get about as loud as a good clock radio. So that's the HP Dream Scream. Internet Connected Digital Photo frame with plenty of extras. If you can grab one at a good price I think you'll be happy with the Pandora radio and the photo features, especially on a relatively large screen. But the rest of the features we could pretty much take or leave. For CNET.com I'm Donald Bell.
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