In the old days, we carried around pictures of our kids and pets in our wallets or small photo albums. But now that the photos have gone digital, so should you; it makes a lot more sense to tote them on a compact photo-viewing device. Many people have Treos, Palms, and other PDAs to use for photo display, but for those who don't, the Kodak EasyShare Picture Viewer makes for a slick, cheap alternative.
The Picture Viewer essentially looks like a small, very thin digital camera with a 2.5-inch LCD and a scant 2.4-ounce weight. It comes with 32MB of built-in storage (good for about 150 pictures) and a slot for SD/MMC memory cards, so you can literally carry around thousands of photos. An attractive beige case ships with the product to help protect it.
The 201,000-pixel screen is fairly small for a display on a stand-alone viewer; 2.5-inch LCDs are fairly common on today's ultracompact snapshot cameras and might even make the viewer seem redundant. Pictures look sharp, but the screen doesn't have superhigh resolution, so you'll do just fine with 640x480-resolution thumbnails. Of course, that means you can cram lots more photos onto the device.
Kodak designed the Picture Viewer to work with the EasyShare Series 3 Camera and Printer Dock, and it comes with the required adapter. Those with older docks, such as the Camera Dock 6000, must purchase the optional Kodak Dock adapter D-22. The EasyShare Picture Viewer is simply not compatible with the Printer Dock 4000, the Camera Dock II, or the camera docks for the LS420 and LS443.
It's easiest to load and transfer photos onto the Picture Viewer with a Kodak dock and the bundled EasyShare image-management software, which is available for both Macs and PCs. You simply tag your photos as Favorites within the software, and it automatically transfers them to the EasyShare Picture Viewer the next time you dock or connect it via the USB cable. That said, if you have a card reader, you can simply drag images to an SD/MMC card and insert it in the Picture Viewer. The Picture Viewer will display the images, though you won't have as much control over the order it displays them (they seem to be organized by filename, in alphabetical order). The Picture Viewer will also display pictures on SD/MMC cards that contain snaps from non-Kodak cameras.
We did have some trouble connecting the Picture Viewer to a computer without using the Kodak EasyShare software. Photos we loaded onto an SD card via a card reader simply didn't appear, even though the Picture Viewer showed up as a drive on our computer. We're not sure why this happened.
As you might expect, the Kodak EasyShare Picture Viewer includes a slide-show mode, with three interval options. You can also navigate through your images in the moderately sluggish multiup mode, which provides a nine-thumbnail display. The EasyShare Picture Viewer supports PictBridge, so you can attach it directly to a PictBridge-enabled printer via the included USB cable and print photos without your PC's participation. Lastly, you can tag your pictures for print or e-mail; when you connect to your computer, the EasyShare software pops up the appropriate applications to work on the tagged photos.
For power, the Picture Viewer uses a nonremovable lithium-ion battery that charges slowly--it takes around 3.5 hours for a complete charge--when it's connected to your computer either via the dock or the cable. You get about 3 hours of viewing from a full battery charge.
All in all, while the Kodak EasyShare Picture Viewer has a few minor drawbacks, it still works as a slick little brag book that becomes more appealing as its price drops. At prices as low as $50, it's almost a no-brainer, particularly if you already own the a Kodak camera and dock.