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on January 17, 2013

Viewing angle, picture detail, and color are great for the size and resolution.
Price ($45 at time of review)
Features abound (alarm, calendar, clock, motion sensor activation)
Will accommodate up to 32GB memory card.


Controls are tiny and difficult to see, though they are fairly intuitive.
AC power required to view photos, time, etc. The battery is solely for saving settings.
No internal memory. You must have a micro SD card (not included, but they are cheap)
The VFM 820 will shrink some photos to fit the screen, but other larger images are not and will only show up as a red circle with a line through it until you re-size them yourself. Furthermore,the manual does not indicate what size that threshold is nor does it list this particular issue in its trouble shooting section.

Over all though my mother loves seeing her grand-kids on it, and other than having to edit a bunch of photos to display correctly its a good digital frame.
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on August 23, 2015
This product broke within 2 months of purchase. There is some sort of software glitch and it just started displaying everything, including the menus, inverted. Attempts to reset the unit to factory settings failed to fix it so I contacted ViewSonic's warranty department who offered to replace it with a refurbished product if I shipped them the defective product at my expense, which I did. I never received a notice from ViewSonic that the replacement had been shipped and by the time I inquired on the status of my replacement, they claim that it was delivered by UPS a month earlier and now refuse to replace it. I'm out of pocket the cost of the digital picture frame plus shipping and am so heartbroken because I bought this item to help me as part of my grief process when our beloved dog passed away. I've since replaced this with the Nix brand album available here on Amazon and I would recommend you buy that instead. The set-up and interface is WAY better plus you get a remote and a motion sensor.
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on March 21, 2014
After reading a majority of good reviews, I went ahead and ordered this product. Overall, I am pleased with the purchase. BUT.....I have over 2,700 pictures (set to 30 seconds per photo). I have the frame right in front of me every day at my desk in my office. So I see it 8 hours a day, everyday. I have to programmed to shut off at 6pm and turn on at 6am. The problem I have is that I want it to randomly shuffle through the pictures so I don't have to see 30 pictures in a row of the same event. So I set it on random. But each and every day, I see approximately 20 - 25 of the SAME photos. Now, if it were a quality random number generator picking the photos, there is no way possible that within an 8 hour period, every single day, that I'd see that many of the same photos. So they should not call it a random selection. They should call it "our best shot at a random selection, but it doesn't work very well".
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on March 31, 2015
Does a good job but the user manual is awful. Figuring out how to turn off the calendar was a pain. I loaded a little over 3 dozen B&W family photos taken during the 1930's and 1940's by photographing them with my Samsung Galaxy S4 (for better resolution than scanning them), plugging the phone into my laptop, copying the photo files to my laptop's hard drive, and then copying them over to an SD card (didn't have a SD card adapter for my phone's mini SD card). I had renamed each photo file on the laptop starting with a number in order to sort them so they would display in chronological order. I had already oriented the photos (portrait vs. landscape) on my phone before I transferred the files to the laptop. The frame sits landscape-style. When I put the SD card in, it displayed the portrait photos sideways. Fixing it was maddening. I called Viewsonic customer service. They said there was nothing wrong with the frame and nothing I could do to fix the problem (!). I discovered that if I erased the files off the SD card, went into the laptop, saved the portrait photos sideways and then went back & re-saved them upright, then re-copied the files over to the SD card, that the frame would display them properly.

So, long story short, was disappointed with the user manual & customer service and hope my orientation solution can help others with this problem. My complaints about the frame are that (1) didn't know it didn't come with an SD card; (2) it is only set up to sit landscape style; (3) the SD card slot is in the support such that the weight of the frame is leaning on the SD card end protruding from the slot; and (4) the power cord plug-in is too close to the SD card slot. It also seems like it would be a simple and smart modification to install or provide an attachable stub support for one of the short sides so that you can get the benefit of a full-screen display for portrait photos.
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on February 10, 2014
The frame looks great and I think the picture quality is good. A few of my photos seem stretched a little, but most of them look very good. There are some problems, I presume with the software. I returned the first one and got another, but had the same problems I describe below, so it clearly was not just an issue with my original frame.

1. Some photos do not show, but instead there is a big red circle. I wrote to the Viewsonic tech support and they responded promptly, which was nice. The guy said all pictures must be jpg’s (mine are) and that they should be 800x600 or smaller. I tried to resize some and they still didn’t show. In fact, many of the photo that show just fine are much larger than 800x600 so clearly that is not the issue. I removed all those photos from the memory card so that I don’t have to look at the big red circles.

2. Some photos are not shown in the proper orientation. Some of my photos had been rotated on the computer and of those, some show up fine on the frame and others are sideways, although on my computer they are all oriented properly. There is a way to rotate photos on the frame, but no way to save that setting as far as I can tell. It is fine to rotate on the frame if you are going to leave just the one photo there, but if you have a slide show of the photos, the next time around the photo will be oriented sideways again.

3. I also discovered that some photos that are on the memory card do not show up at all, either as the photo or as a red circle. It is as if the photo file is not on the memory card, but when I look on my computer the file is there. This happens even with two photos that were taken moment apart with my camera, same setting, same size of files, etc. One photos show and the other doesn’t, even though both photos are on the memory card according to my computer.

Bottom line is that if you are going to be upset if some photos (it seems totally random to me) just won’t work on the frame, then this is not the frame for you. If you don’t mind that you will have some photos you can’t view, then this might be a good option for you. I think that it looks the best of all the frame options on Amazon, so it is a shame that there are these problems that I have described above. I see others have had some similar problems. I am sending this to ViewSonic, so maybe in the future they can fix the problems.
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on September 26, 2014
Works well, and is functioning as expected. The colors are clear, and the displayed picture can be seen even in normal office lighting. As long as you read the instructions and get a little information from previous reviews there will be no surprises in setup.

The only thing I wasn't aware of is the way the time and calendar is displayed. Although I didn't play with it much, there appeared to be two settings. The first is a standard and expected calendar layout with 7 days across (you can 'start' the week on any day you choose), but this is a more screen-centered calendar that is visible on top of most of any displayed picture. The second way you can display the calendar is across the bottom, thereby reducing the overlap with the picture. In this format, the calendar is a 14-day spread rather than a 7 day spread - there are two weeks for each 'line'. It's a little odd at first, but not really a problem. The date itself appears at the top (mine is in mm-dd-yyyy format, but this format can be changed), and the date is also highlighted in the calendar.

Finally, this comment is about Amazon itself: The unit I received has obviously been used and repackaged. The power cord was wrapped oddly and there was a sticker on the front of the device that should have been attached to a protective film but was not (the protective film was completely missing and the sticker left a mess of 'sticky' on the front of the device when I pulled it off that took some time to clean). One piece of protective film was still on the back, but it was off center and crooked. The battery was already installed and had no protective strip to prevent drainage, and the device itself was already 'set up' with the date, time, etc (which the battery apparently kept in place as it was installed).

So Amazon - Unless I see "used" or "refurbished" in the description I expect a completely *NEW* product, not something returned by someone else. (Yes, I verified that I received the device from ' LLC' and not some third party)

As the device itself seems to be working, I won't return it - but I am keeping the box for now in case I notice anything wrong with the device over the next week or so.
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on November 20, 2014
Bought this frame when my last one died. Some photos would not initially show up because of the image format details (properties, resolution, etc.) :-(. I tried several methods, even taking screenshots of photos and making new ones out of them in Photoshop, to no avail :-( :-(. After much experimentation, I found the solution.

If you are running a PC with Windows, open your images in MSPaint, and save out with a different filename as a JPG.

After doing that, everything shows up now.

Other then that, it is a good frame - not the best but you get what you pay for.
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on March 18, 2014
There must be a secret formula for deciding which pictures will show. I loaded my pictures on an 8gig card and plugged it in. After much cursing and frustration I was able to get the calendar off the screen (the printed directions leave something to be desired) and start the slide show. Only about half of the pictures showed, the rest displayed as a red circle with a line through it on a black screen. I made a note of a few of the photos that did and didn't show, all were jpg files. I looked in the directions again for jpg specs and the only thing it said was jpg/jpeg baseline coding (whatever that means) and a max resolution of 4000x4000 pixels. I then imported one from each group (showing and not showing) into gimp to see if I could determine what was causing the failure to show. Both have the same color profile, dpi resolution etc. The one that did show was sized at 2048 x 1536 the one that did not was 1024 x 768. Both are horizontal in orientation. The file names didn't have anything unusual about them. I even checked the sd card for errors, nothing there. There must be something different about the photos that won't show but darn if I can tell what it is. I have spent wayyyy more time than I should have to setting this thing up. I will invest a little more time into this one but at this point unless something jumps out at me I'll be sending this back.

Update: I found a way to make all of the pictures show. I opened each image that wasn't showing in Gimp. When I chose 'Export' from the menu I had to go into 'Advanced Options' and uncheck all of the boxes (Optimize, Progressive, Save EXIF data, Save thumbnail, Save XMP data and Use quality settings from original). Not sure which settings were causing the problem or if unchecking these forced an overwrite that took care of whatever the issue was. In either case all 65 photos are showing now.

Update 2: I've run this for a few days now and I must say it is growing on me. Now that I know what it takes to get the photos to show, adding photos is easy enough. The images are clear and I do like the timer function. I thought an 8" would be too small but it fits well on my desk. I have it set to come on at about the time I get to work and shut off right before I go home. For the price it does a good job. I do wish the directions had been more explicit about what types of photos the unit would and would not display.
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on December 10, 2013
While it worked it was great. Unit is DEAD after 9 months of use. Will update this posting after contacting Amazon to see if there is any way to remedy this issue.
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on February 10, 2016
Purchased this ViewSonic digital photo frame new in May 2015 (Fulfilled by Amazon). In September the unit died and would no longer power on. I contacted ViewSonic, went through all their troubleshooting procedures, and they acknowledged that the unit had failed and issued a return authorization. I had to pay for the return shipping. They sent me back a different unit (same model different serial number). I'm guessing a reconditioned unit. This unit lasted until January 2016, when it started white-washing the pictures and the backlight adjustment doesn't work. I contacted ViewSonic and they will not issue a refund, only a return authorization and I will have to pay return shipping again. Completely unacceptable.
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