I do not bash products lightly, and I feel I have been extraordinarily patient with the eStarling digital photo frame. However, there is a limit. It is now mid-May, five months after the eStarling debacle started, and my parents’ main Christmas present is still not working as promised. Actually, it’s not working at all.
After running the netconfig utility at least half a dozen times, the newly shipped version of the eStarling frame still will not connect to the Internet and therefore will not operate. The folks over at Gizmodo apparently got their unit to work (though they still didn’t like it), but we tried connecting ours to two different wireless networks (in two different states!) with no luck at all. That’s it. I’m done.
While I’m still yearning for the advertised eStarling feature set, I have in the meantime taken a Westinghouse digital photo frame for a spin and found it very satisfying. My mom was on hand when I took the Westinghouse frame out of the box and her first reaction was that she couldn’t imagine hanging such a thing in her house. Then she saw the photo resolution.
I have the 14.1″ Westinghouse model for review and the picture quality is beautiful. (My lame photography doesn’t do it justice.) If you have a half-way decent digital camera, the photos fill the frame in slideshow mode. You can also choose mosaic mode for four photos at once, set photo transitions, save favorite photos and watch MPEG videos.
Best of all, the product is dead simple to use. There are three steps on the box: Plug in frame. Insert memory card. Turn on frame. And it’s literally that easy. The frame comes with 128MB of internal Flash memory and has ports for several card types (specs after the jump) as well as USB connections. I successfully tested file transfers from a PC and connection with a Flash drive. For general use, I’d suggest stocking a large Flash drive with gazillions of photos and keeping it plugged in. It’s easy enough to update a Flash drive with new photos when needed.
I’m definitely planning on writing in for a refund on the eStarling frame, and I just may put the proceeds towards a purchase of the Westinghouse 14.1″ digital frame model. The only thing possibly holding me back is the Westinghouse price: $349. Ouch. If you’re interested, Westinghouse does offer frames in different sizes. And the Live Digitally blog likes the 8″ version. But I have to admit, the large screen is delicious.
Want specs and more photos? Keep reading.