PhotoSpring Digital Photo Frame Gadget Review
This digital picture frame has potential with the right features, it just needs to deliver on them sooner rather than later.
Written by: Herman Exum October 2, 2017
People have since adopted digital picture frames as households embrace automated tech. It isn’t like your grandparents living room where decades worth of cherished family photos showcasing every cherished moment are on display to overwhelming effect. Combine this with the modern tendency of those who practically live on social media to share every selfie or visual reminder where they’ve been or what they’ve done. Keeping track of all your photos and videos when sharing them with the world can be a hassle, however. This is what the PhotoSpring Digital Photo Frame attempts to rectify for those of you with streamlined lifestyles and photos to share.
This is a digital picture frame (obviously) that can display both images and videos on a 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen. The dimensions of 11.2” x 7.9” x 0.8” is trim and sport an all-white appearance that unabashedly apes an longtime Apple-like styling. It’s familiar in style but practical, with a matte plastic body and a single button around back. No worries; it’ll look great in whatever space it shows up in.
Unlike most digital frames, the PhotoSpring can be portable for easy pass-alongs. There are recharge contacts that can supply power by use of a stationary dock in horizontal or vertical orientation, or directly by power cable. Beyond that, the PhotoSpring is supposed to last up to 4 hours from a full Li-Ion battery; we averaged 3.7 hours so that’s pretty close.
The setup is a wireless affair photo requires a WiFi connection to pair the PhotoSpring to an email account, or even link multiple frames within the house. This method is great for people looking a broad range of where and what albums you want to display for guests, want to show off your Barcelona vacation in the kitchen or keep the marriage photo next to the bedside? It is possible with access to a PC/Mac or the PhotoSpring app, which can automatically manage your library.
Because this is a touchscreen, there’s an interface to arrange your albums and playlists directly, although I wouldn’t call it stellar for regular use. Responsiveness between swiping pictures and gesture control for scrolling and magnify zoom via gesture controls is a bit choppy, and the slideshow feature always resets to “on” when flipping through pictures. These little nuisances make organization a bit of a chore after upload.
Fortunately, you do get a marvelous 1280×800 resolution that equates to ‘HD quality’ and depending on well (or how drunk) your photo-taking exploits were. Picture detail is great among picture frames as colors appear rich but lean towards warmer hues, and reduced shadow contrast for better presentation. The only option to adjust the look is screen brightness but we doubt few will care considering its purpose, many will just be happy that JPG/PNG/GIF files show up without a hitch.
Another cool feature is video playback through MOV/MP4/M4V/AVI formats. In fact, we think this is one the best features of the PhotoSpring. You can finally live your dreams of bringing “live” photos to your living room – or just subject guests to the latest funny viral video without having to head to the computer or swipe through a tablet. It’s obvious that clips and short videos are intended as uploading them involves a wireless connection, but you could put a full movie on a PhotoSpring if you’re willing to wait for everything to finish.
However, the decision to skimp out on connectivity and limited storage should be addressed. First off, if you are getting the PhotoSpring as a gift for grandma and/or grandpa then you might want to stick around and help add their pictures, because there are no USB or MicroSD ports for immediate transfer. Secondly, we got the 16GB model that is good for an estimated 15,000 worth of images, but nowadays people expect gratuitous capacity without scraping the $200 mark.
The last points of criticism is a lack of portrait orientation when rotating the frame and automatic uploading of photos from social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Google Photos) although it is supposed to be possible — these things were not available at the time of this review but I was promised that a firmware update is coming soon for these omissions.
The PhotoSpring Digital Photo Frame is a viable pick for modern people and their homes. It (mostly) works as advertised and it’s really great having video playback to our otherwise humdrum gadgets, along with the easy portability factor. However, issues like portrait orientation and connectivity dampens the versatility; these additions cannot come soon enough and could turn an otherwise decent product like this into a potentially great one. Fingers crossed on whether Facebook/Instagram integration and more functionality comes sooner rather than later.