eStarling Wifi Picture Frame (Verdict: Third Time's the Charm)

Illustration for article titled eStarling Wifi Picture Frame (Verdict: Third Time's the Charm)

You may recall that hapless eStarling picture frame we tested last year at this time, where version 1.0 had a Wi-Fi radio that didn't work for diddly squat. Version 2.0 didn't fare much better with its screen that was so bad it was barely tolerable. Well, we're here to tell you that eStarling has now busted out version 3.0, and this one works.

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Illustration for article titled eStarling Wifi Picture Frame (Verdict: Third Time's the Charm)
Illustration for article titled eStarling Wifi Picture Frame (Verdict: Third Time's the Charm)
Illustration for article titled eStarling Wifi Picture Frame (Verdict: Third Time's the Charm)

Setup is relatively simple, and requires a download of a configuration application. All went smoothly when Wi-Fi reception was possible.

Its Wi-Fi receiver still isn't strong enough. Even though it could pick up our powerful Wi-Fi network in some areas of our Midwest Test Facility, it couldn't in others, even when sitting in locations where other Wi-Fi devices were able to receive the signal with ease.

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It receives photos via an email address, which is a real kick. It works, too, and the pictures look especially good in the eStarling's 800x600 display. It claims to be the only picture frame to which you can directly email photos, no registration required. Go ahead, surprise us with your best photos—email them to tempamatica AT seeframe.com.

The eStarling also receives RSS feeds from Flickr, Picasa, AOL, Smugmug, Photobucket or any other RSS feed. That also works quite well.

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The 8" frame looks pretty swank. It has a shiny black finish, although there was an annoying piece of lint pressed between its clear plastic front and the LCD display on our demo unit.

We like the way the frame's display has a 4x3 aspect ratio, which fits most of the pictures we take around here. No black bars on the top or bottom, or on the sides, either. Nice.

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At $249.95, it's more expensive than most 8-inch picture frames, but with its Wi-Fi capabilities, email accessibility and sharp resolution, it's worth it. [eStarling]

DISCUSSION

Just bought one. $210. The plan was to get some for my relatives. WiFi setup wasn't too difficult, but I am a network engineer, even so not very hard to do. The software on the other hand needs a bunch of improvements. Customer service is not good. Online support is nonexistent.

I was told I could put pics on the frame directly via USB. I tried but it does not seem to work. I was able to put pics on memory cards and they would work, but with a memory card in it I don't see any of the Internet photos. If I pull out the memory card I get Internet Photos.

The group frame function is a kludge. No real documentation on how to make it work.

Fortunately email blocking is available, but is off by default.

I set up RSS feeds and they seem to function.

The frame just runs through all the pictures in order received, it seems. I would be nice if there was a randomization function so that some would be from each source. I would love to intersperse pictures of the moon with my family album.

It would be nice to set frame to portrait or landscape. It seems to be optimized for landscape.

I keep looking for an on/off button!!!

Before you buy this thing I would recommend getting their Virtual Frame software and see if the actual frame will do what you want.

If I were estarling I would consider a wired/wireless frame with POE and injector. Bigger screen. New Tech Support department. The should quit advertising the RSS feeds as built in. Add support for LAN files.

The frame costs 2 or 3 times what other frames cost, but potentially could be great

I still am on the fence as to whether I will be getting my kin this thing. Will keep testing for a few more days.

Oh yeah MAX memory card size is 2GB, I don't know if that is total for all cards or each possibility which might mean a totaly of 6.25GB total picture storage.