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

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.

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