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ViewSonic 8-Inch 512 MB SwifTouch Multimedia Digital Photo Frame review: ViewSonic 8-Inch 512 MB SwifTouch Multimedia Digital Photo Frame

ViewSonic 8-Inch 512 MB SwifTouch Multimedia Digital Photo Frame

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks and Nook e-books, as well as audiobooks.

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Viewsonic is known for making LCD computer monitors, so it's no surprise that the company should offer LCD photo frames as well. The model reviewed here, the DPG807, is attractively priced at less than $80 given its 8-inch 4:3 (read: non-wide-screen) display with 256MB internal memory.

OVR
6.8

ViewSonic 8-Inch 512 MB SwifTouch Multimedia Digital Photo Frame

The Good

Affordable; attractive design; decent image quality; support for video and MP3 playback; 512MB of built-in memory; accepts all popular memory card formats and USB connections; built-in clock with calendar and alarm.

The Bad

Could be more user-friendly; frame attracts fingerprints; screen is too reflective; no bundled remote.

The Bottom Line

Viewsonic's 8-inch DPG807 has a lot of positives, including decent image quality, an attractive design, and a couple of nice extras--but some quirks hold it back from a higher rating.

Overall, the DPG807 is an attractive, high-tech-looking frame with a sleek piano-black finish. It's all plastic, as opposed to having a wood or metal border, but it doesn't look cheap as do some plastic frames. The kickstand on the back swivels, giving you the option of locking the frame into landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) orientation. On the back of the frame are keyhole slots for mounting the frame to a wall with screws, but there's no threaded tripod mount.

The one issue with the shiny black finish is that it's a fingerprint magnet. This is a bit of a problem because the touch-sensitive controls for the frame--Viewsonic calls them SwifTouch buttons--are located on the bottom bezel so you're likely to leave fingerprints there. That said, the buttons illuminate blue when you touch the frame but turn off and disappear after a few moments. It's a nice touch. (Pardon the pun.)

A couple of other gripes: We didn't find the buttons as responsive as necessary and while the user interface isn't intimidating or complex, it can get confusing. Of course, after some tinkering around and a glance or two at the user manual, you can figure things out just fine. But it never inspired a "Wow, that's an elegant user interface."

Except for Olympus/Fujifilm xD-Picture cards, the frame accepts most types of memory card (SD, MMC, and Memory Stick), as well as USB thumbdrives and other mass storage devices, including a direct connection with your camera via USB.

Its 512MB onboard memory is fairly decent for a frame in this price class. You can transfer images from an external source (memory card/camera/USB thumbdrive) to the frame and it will automatically resize the images to the frame's 800x600 resolution. However, the process for copying over images to the frame is more complex than it should be.

In other respects the DPG807 is a step up from the basic package found in entry-level models. These include support for video and MP3 playback and a calendar feature with a built-in alarm. You can play music in the background of slideshows, but again, it's probably clunkier to set up than it should be (you have to manually turn on the music, then hit play on the slideshow to restart it with music). There are two small speakers built into the back of the frame. More standard features such as slideshow transitions and the aforementioned automatic image resizing are present, and this model plays back most videos (MOV, AVI, MPEG-1, and MPEG-4) shot with popular digital still cameras. However, like most, the frame will not display video from Flip Video cameras. Movies play back smoothly without any performance issues.

This Viewsonic isn't terribly zippy, but its overall performance was comparable to products in its price range. As for image quality, it's quite decent; the image is sharp, and the colors look natural. Blacks aren't terribly deep, but there is enough dynamic range in the midtones to render sufficient detail in shadows. The problem we had--and it's pretty significant--is that the screen exhibits some glare when you have it propped up at certain angles. This is due to the reflective layer covering the screen. Most frames we review have a matte display

. Like most frames with speakers, the music doesn't get very loud and sounds a bit tinny. There's no onscreen volume display, and there's no tactile feedback on the controls, so you can't even tell if you've cranked it up all the way.

In the final analysis, the Viewsonic DPG807 has some nice things working in its favor: an affordable price tag including a one-year parts-and-labor warranty, decent features, and good image quality. But a few quirks and nagging issues (glare) keep it from rating higher. As such, it's not a bad frame; we just didn't like as much as we wanted.

OVR
6.8

ViewSonic 8-Inch 512 MB SwifTouch Multimedia Digital Photo Frame

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 8Performance 6Support 7