Top critical review
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Upscale photo frame with both major selling points flawed
on January 2, 2012
This is a photo frame that compares favorably to most others: it has touch controls that light up on the side of the screen, it has 2GB internal memory and a battery, it plays video with stereo sound, it senses orientation like a smartphone, and it even comes with a small remote. Pretty sweet for an unsubsidized picture frame at this price!
It also has a motion sensor and a SD card slot, but more on these below.
The touch controls on the side are an improvement to the unusable back buttons on lesser photo frames, but in this age of tablets, they're still not 100% intuitive. It's much easier using the remote to control the device: there is an extra button for "slideshow" (so no need to navigate the menu) and cursor keys. I found the picture quality beyond reproach, certainly it's not high- end IPS such as the newest tablets, but it is quite good.
I purchased this frame because of two major selling points that it has over cheap tablets: the SD card slot and the motion sensor. The card slot, so I thought, would be great to view pictures from a digital camera without the need of a PC, and the motion sensor would show photos only if people are present. Unfortunately, both of these features were botched; here's how:
1) The card slot is of such low quality that I had trouble getting a card in. Every Walmart camera has a spring-loaded card slot now, but here I don't even see which way it goes in and it takes uncomfortable force to insert one. That's a problem, as I've damaged multiple SD cards just by rather gently moving them from camera to card reader. The slot on my unit also appears slightly crooked - perhaps it's a QA problem and you'll be luckier.
2) The motion sensor technically works, but I bet none of the engineers tried it at home. It functions as follows: when a presence is detected, the frame turns on and remains active for a specified amount of time, then turns off again. That's a superb idea; not that it saves a lot of energy, but it somehow feels right to not leave things running when no one is around. But the problem is this: when the frame gets activated by motion, it basically has to boot up. First, it flashes the blue touch buttons, then after a few seconds, it shows the NIX logo, and then it starts with the very first picture. This of course is completely useless. If you mount the frame in place where people walk by occasionally, all they'll ever see is a full screen "NIX" and possibly the first of your pictures.
As it is, I think this is an "ok" frame, but I do expect it to be fixed with a firmware update, such that the unit comes on quicker after sensing motion, does not display the company logo, and just continues with the active slideshow. If that happens, I'll consider it a 4- star gadget. For now, it's "ok", meaning three stars.
I know, reviews should not include price, but there are some funky things going on right now. After submitting my review, this frame was listed at almost twice the MSRP, which is one-twenty-nine. Don't buy above that! Also, there is a version at almost half the price, but it has no internal battery or memory.