I have not had the pleasure of reviewing a digital picture frame on Geekasms until now with Isabella’s Vizit. In the past, I’ve had to shop for digital photo frames, and anyone that does can’t be blind that frames now go for their own niche in the market place, offering up their own twist on things to entice consumers to their product over others. While some have gone with the dazzle, flash, and frills on their frames, Isabella has gone with minimizing all the typical flashiness and has aimed their product right at the heart of the vastly growing world of photo-sharing enthusiast. Sporting a beautiful 10.4” touchscreen, 3G connectivity, and the ability to send and receive pictures from you or your friends and family, this frame sets the bar for the new standard of digital picture frames above and beyond the rest, however, it still has a few rough spots to smooth, but honestly, who doesn’t?
- 800×600 10.4″ LED-backlit LCD touchscreen display
- USB and microSD card slot
- GSM/GPRS quad-band connectivity
- $279.99 (Silver or Charcoal finish with $5.99 monthly or $79.99 yearly service subscription)
- bright display with comfortable viewing angles
- touch interface with carousel menu
- requires monthly or annual plan to use cellular connectivity
- the touchscreen is not quite sensitive enough and the menu is slow to respond
- aesthetically bland
After playing around with the Vizit frame, I could sum up my review by simply asking: How would you like to have your Facebook photos all available in a frame on your desk anytime you like without needing your phone or computer? Yes, this would be a poor review of the product and would undermine what it truly does, but in essence, that’s a way to put it. Vizit has combined the old fashioned desire of displaying pictures in a frame on a desk, with the oversharing of photos on sites such as Facebook from practically any device.
The people at Isabella have dived into a market with not many competitors and used standards most are already familiar with and put them into their frame for their “wow factor” and claim to fame. None of this is evident when you first see the product. It has an admittedly somewhat bland frame that comes in either silver or charcoal and sits on a beveled stand, allowing you to find just the perfect angle you wish your frame to sit at. The frame and build are thin and lightweight but feels sturdy and not too fragile. I had some issues with the power button but was assured by the reps from Isabella that the issue I had was already resolved with newer models, so I won’t mention it here. (An example of how Isabella listens to consumers, earlier reviews talked about a wood finish on the stand, something that was not on the model I received for review) .It comes with what is the standard now, a USB port, and a miniSD slot, allowing you to upload the desired pictures onto the frame a number of ways. The true magic doesn’t being until you power your frame up, register on the Vizitme.com website, and unlock the frame’s true power.
The basic concept can be laid out like this; with this frame, you have the ability to upload photos from virtually any device, from anywhere, anytime. In testing, I simply snapped a few photos on my iPhone and sent them MMS to the email address that had been set up for the frame. After a few minutes time (longer for me than others as I don’t live in a 3G area), my pictures were ready to be viewed on the frame, announced by a small notification on the frame itself.
The touchscreen itself isn’t as sensitive as say a user of an iPhone is used to. I found myself almost pressing on the screen harder then I wanted to or was comfortable with to get the screen to respond. I almost have a hard time deciding if it’s as much the screen sensitivity as it is the response time of the frame’s menu itself, but I’ll just say that the menu has some lag times in responding sometimes, and with it being a carousel menu, you may find yourself skipping over the menu selection you wanted if you are anywhere near as impatient as I am.
To unleash the frames photo sharing ability, you must register on Vizitme.com and select a service plan for your frame. Your choices are $5.99/month with a limit of 100 photos, or $79.99/year with an annual limit of 1,450 photos. Your plan gives you an account on www.vizitme.com which connects to your frame. You get an email address for your frame, and a basic address book, allowing you to add anyone you would like, to have the ability to send photos to your frame via email or MMS. The site also gives you access to all the photos your have on your frame, allowing you to upload photos from your computer, or to delete photos as you see fit, giving you control of your frame’s content from anywhere you’re able to get on the internet.
Given that other 10” frames are ranging in the sub $200 category, adding an additional $80 to the price tag is slightly steep considering, but if the cellular connectivity is what you’re looking for, the price is arguably worth it as it allows a new method for people to be able to close that geographic gap that more and more are facing. (Imagine being able to send new photos of the grandkids to Grandma and Grandpa without walking them through anything technical. You could set up the frame before mailing it to them, all they would have to do is plug in the power and away they go!)
I have to say I’m impressed with the frame itself. It was fairly simple to use and setup, and really I could see myself using this frame as a gift to someone and surprising them with new pictures and seeing how long it would take them to notice. Although somewhat out of my price range currently, not including the monthly or annual fee I can see some great uses for this frame and would definitely suggest people look at it and take it into consideration.
It’s not hard to argue that this cool gadget is Geek Dad Approved.
*This review was originally published at Geekasms in 2010