It wasn't too long ago that we reviewed the eStarling from PF Digital.
I made a remark in that write-up about this being one of the few DPFs that had a wireless capability.
Well, today we are looking at another one and it seems that the ability to upload photos to digital picture frames wirelessly from your computer or directly from the Web is a hot feature these days.
Let's have a look at the Momento 100 from i-mate.
It is interesting that you won't find any information on this digital picture frame on their normal website, imate.com. You have to go to momentolive.com.
There are two models in the Momento line-up: the 70 and 100, the model number reflecting the display size. Personally, I can't see why anyone would bother with a small sized picture display like the 7 inch. Sure, price can be a factor as this technology, mainstream as it is already at the moment, carries a hefty price tag. The 7 inch model retails at USD 199 and a 10 inch unit will set you back just a buck shy of $300 although both models are on special now with a $20 discount.
The Momento 100 looks like a reasonably sturdy built unit, all white with a half inch transparent rim around the 1 inch wide bezel. That transparent rim seems to be replaceable as you can clip it on quite easily. It comes with a stand already mounted at the back to give the unit a landscape positioning but this stand can be unscrewed and repositioned so that the unit can be viewed in portrait mode. It would have been handy to have a corner mounted one that could switch either way without unscrewing. Having said that, most people will just leave it in one position all the time. The Momento 100 comes with a remote control and the beauty of this unit is that it will slot into a space for it at the back, minimising the chances of losing it. There is a slot on top for a SD/MMC/xD/SmartMedia/Memory Stick type of card but, strangely enough, not for a CF card which is more common among professional photographers. It's no big deal as the unit has plenty of other options to source its photos. They is an internal memory of 32 MB and room for a USB stick which, most likely, will stick out beyond the frame unless you get one of these really tiny USB flash drives. And then there is wireless of course..
Rounding out the features on the back: there is an on/off switch, an audio out port, a mini USB port and a "square" a hole for a round power plug. Let's talk about the power plug.
The Momento comes with a power plug onto which you can slide the variety of country specific prongs. So it has the euro and UK plug as well as the US one. Even though this particular model is sold in my home country, Australia, no proper plug was supplied. We have slanted prongs here, probably unique in the rest of the world... so it's not really a big deal for us reviewers as we are used to this sort of situation. It will be different for normal customers will have to hustle up an adapter plug.
We find the same lack of localisation when it comes to set up the unit: there are only a few countries mentioned on the display setup screen.
Setup is an easy affair, particularly with the handy remote. If you plan to use this unit without bothering with the WiFi functionality, you are done in a few minutes, even though there are many settings to personalise the display. The widescreen display itself has a fairly low resolution of 800x480 but is very bright which makes it very suitable in most situations, even when there is a lot of daylight about. Most of the time you would want to use the unit in a slideshow situation and you can choose from a number of transitions before the next slide is presented. I find that most transitions take too long even if you put it on fast. And I noticed another, more frustrating, aspect in the slideshow presentation: you can set the timer on a certain number of seconds but the actual length of time that the photo is displayed varies all over the place! I put the timer on one second and some images were displayed up to 50 seconds! There was no consistency here and I tried it with other settings with similar results.
Talking about timers: you can program the units to switch on or off at certain times of the day which can be quite handy and a power saving means. Not that the unit takes a lot power to run: the most it will use is 11 W. This is at its brightest setting. It is 7 W at the lowest brightness setting and four in standby mode. So you don't have to feel guilty for keeping it switched on all the time... Maybe just as well as the boot up time is fairly long.
The Why in Wi-Fi...
Sometimes I question the need to include all sort of functionality in our gadgets. WiFi in digital picture frames might be one of the question marks I have. Unless you have a specific need for being able to wirelessly transmit photographs I would advise against buying such a frame -- particularly if it is for someone else such as for your parents or grandparents. It brings a complexity and extra cost with it that you can well do without. We tested it out on our secure WiFi network and met with some resistance...
We fared better with other, open networks and if you know what you're doing it could be a good way to get your photos straight from your PC or via email, MMS, RSS and Flickr feeds.
Other people can also send pictures to the frame using the free MomentoLive service. If you trust the people that you give access to your picture frame it can be quite nice to find some new family photos on the display for your enjoyment but at the same time some joker can misuse this privilege...
The Momento 100 Digital Picture Frame from i-mate is a very capable device that should give years of enjoyment.
The picture quality is brilliant despite the lower resolution and there are plenty of ways to source your pictures and get them to display on your Momento.
The WiFi feature is one of these extra ways but comes at the cost of complexity and extra expense. Not the cheapest DPF on the market but certainly one of the more capable.
Recommended viewing for those who have need for WiFi capability.
Technical Details and Features
* Certified for Windows Vista™, Windows® XP compatible
* 10.2" High resolution TFT 800x480 display
* Wireless 802.11 b/g
* SD/MMC/xD/SmartMedia/Memory Stick®, USB support
* WMA, MP3, Audio Out
* Displays pictures in landscape or portrait orientation
* Built-in storage for favorite pictures
* Built in clock & calendar display mode
* Landscape or portrait
* Customizable slideshow
* Customizable mattes and frames
* RF Remote included
* Support for Windows® SideShow
* MomentoLive capable
* Tags- add tags and keywords to your pictures to help you search and organize files
* Folders- organize folders on your computer, then browse your pictures by folder
* Ratings- rate your pictures from 1 to 5 stars
* Date Taken- browse pictures by the date they were taken
* Playlists- create a list of photos you want to view on your frame
* Free membership to Momento™ Live
* 1 year manufacturers limited warranty