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iSmart Digital Picture Frame
Portable Audio/Video Players | First Looks
Mon 01 Aug 2005

One Frame, Countless Memories


"... the iSmart Digital Picture Frame is reasonably priced and is actually a good deal for its multimedia versatility ..."



The perfect way to utilize that bit of space occupied by a conventional photo frame is to replace it with a high-tech version and one such alternative you can have is the iSmart Digital Picture Frame. The reason is simple; with one such gadget in your possession, the days of having a team of photo frames to display just a handful of photos are a thing of the past. Tucked away at the back of the 5.6-inch TFT active matrix LCD is a 6-in-1 card reader that supports all the popular solid state memory cards used by the current crop of digital cameras. That means when paired with a 6GB Microdrive, the iSmart Digital Picture Frame can potentially display more than 5,000 high resolution still pictures. In fact, the company behind the iSmart Digital Picture Frame has even claimed support for still pictures of up to 12 Megapixels. The only catch is that you'll have to leave the memory card seated in the iSmart Digital Picture Frame for it to function because it does not contain any storage built-in to transfer your images.

Apart from the obvious benefit of not having to put up with the monotony of appreciating just one photo as you would with a regular paper photo frame, the iSmart Digital Picture Frame is also a pleasing desktop MP3 player. Audio is taken care of by a pair of tweeters located at the back of the 5.6-inch TFT active matrix LCD, which is sufficiently loud to drive melodies across a medium sized room comfortably. Tracks stored on memory cards can either be played back in "Music" mode akin to a regular MP3 player or be used as background music when a slideshow is invoked under the "Picture" mode. In this viewing mode however, playback of tracks is severely restricted, as the unit would only play audio files that are stored in the same memory card that is used to store pictures for your slideshows. Interval time between pictures can be adjusted to take effect either every three seconds, 10 seconds, one minute or five minutes, and twelve transition effects are packed in to help liven up the whole viewing experience. 

Interestingly, the iSmart Digital Picture Frame is also a video player that is capable of decoding AVI, MPEG1 and MPEG2 video files. Playback quality was smooth and together with the onboard earphone/line-out jack and supplied S-Video cable, downloaded video content can be output directly to your big screen TV with the absolute of ease. Hence, it also doubles up as a simple digital video player to be used occasionally with your home entertainment setup. However, because simultaneous display is not supported, the native LCD would be switched off instantly when an external visual unit is connected to the unit. Last but not least, it helps that unwired control of music, slideshows and videos are all possible with the provision of a slim remote control.

The user interface of the iSmart Digital Picture Frame is remarkably easy to understand and navigate. Although the presentation is admittedly dull, its clean, orderly and logical arrangement means flipping through the user manual is not a mandatory exercise for owners to quick start their first slideshow with soothing music in the backdrop. For the functions it incorporates within its small frame (and if you can forgive its need for a memory card to be paired at all times), the iSmart Digital Picture Frame’s price tag of US$239 is quite reasonable and is actually a good deal for its multimedia versatility in digital audio, still pictures and videos. Oh, it even comes with an anti-slip mat for you to firmly sit the iSmart Digital Picture Frame on various surfaces.

  • 5.6-inch TFT Active Matrix LCD
  • 1MB  Core Flash
  • Supports CF / SD / MMC / SmartMedia / Memory Stick / Memory Stick Pro / Microdrive Memory Cards
  • Supports Up to 12-Megapixel Digital Still Images
  • MP3 Playback
  • MPEG1 and MPEG2 Video Playback
  • Earphone Jack
  • Stereo Speakers
  • S-Video TV-out
  • Bundled Remote Control, 3.5mm-S-Video Cable and Anti-slip Mat
  • Dimension: 210 x 150 45 mm (L x W x H)
  • Weight: 600g