|Digital Spectrum U-40101 10.4" MemoryFrame MF-8104 Premium Wireless Digital Picture Frame
|List Price: $349.95
Our Price: $268.17
You Save: $81.78 (23%)
Digital Frames are quickly becoming a standard part of the home, displaying digital photos and other content as an "electronic scrapbook." The MemoryFrame MF-8104 Premium can use the features of Microsoft? Windows Vista to further integrate digital picture frames into the home experience.
The frame is IP addressable, and connects wirelessly to an internal home network and/or through a wireless router for internet to photo sharing sites.Patented changeable standard 8x10" frame to suit your decorGenerous internal memoryBuilt-in multi format card readerEmbedded 802.11b/g wireless connectivityShare pictures with Windows Vista or XPWeb enabled for photo sharingPlays MP3, WMA audio filesPlays WMV video filesAutomatic slideshowAudio slideshowBuilt-in stereo speakersUSB to PCUSB to thumb drive, camera, etc.Onscreen menu system; customize to your styleRemote control for convenient useLandscape or portrait orientationDesk top or wall mountRemovable desktop stand
- Image resolution up to 800 x 600 pixels with JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, MP3, WMA, WAV and WMV file support
- 10" W x 11 11/16" H x 2" D
- Supports CompactFlash, SD , MMC Memory Stick/PRO and xD-Picture Card
- Embedded 802.11b/g wireless connectivity and web enabled for photo sharing
- Includes 256MB built-in memory, remote control, interchangeable frame, AC/DC power adapter and USB Cable
- I Like It So Far
This is my first Amazon review. I just received the MF-8104 and like it very much. The picture looks great and I set up the wireless connection with WPA2 security in about 10 minutes. Although the manual is not very informative, the setup is pretty intuitive. I have 2 problems. First, I can't seem to figure out how to make slideshows loop and the instructions do not offer any info on this. Second, the [...] that allows you to remotely upload photos to the frame does not seem to work. I have contacted customer support but have not heard back yet. Overall, the frame does what it says and has a nice picture. It is great being able to have the frame connect wirelessly to my computer to play photos that are in my Pictures folder. ...more info
- I should have heeded the other reviews. Serious interface and design issues ruin what could have been a great product.
As an amateur photographer armed with a Nikon D80 I have taken over 7000 pictures in the last year. A good portion are throwaways but I still have 6300 images spanning 23 or so gigabytes on various computers in my house. I subscribe to Flickr and generally upload the"best" of the lot or pictures that my family might enjoy seeing. Digital image management has turned into something of a chore and since we rarely print our pictures anymore, my wife wanted an easy way to display pictures of family events. We thought that a digital picture frame might fit the bill. I wanted one with wireless capabilities that I could literally "set and forget". Point it to my Flickr account and have it pull images automatically for a slideshow. Frames with wireless capability are still somewhat rare and expensive and after doing all my web research, I decided to try the Digital Spectrum MF-8104. I read plenty of negative reviews but chalked them up to inexperience or unwillingness to intimately learn the intricacies of a complicated device. Well, I purchased one for our 24th anniversary and as it turns out, all the negative reviews were right on the money.
It arrived yesterday and was well packed and individual pieces were all wrapped and protected. The wood frame however was damaged, scratched right through the finish in three places and also dented and dinged at the bottom and sides. Strike one. I plugged the frame in turned it on and after a short boot-up period it came up to the main menu. I pulled the protective tab from the remote battery and attempted to use the IR remote to continue the setup. No response. Checked battery polarity, ok. Pulled the battery and checked it with a volt meter and it was very close to the rated 3VDC. So, dead remote. Strike two. I used the menu controls on top of the frame to continue with the setup and although clumsy, I got fairly adept at using them. Within 5 minutes I had the frame connected to my WAP, had done an automatic software update and input my Flickr user account name(password is not required). The frame dutifully began pulling down my images. Image quality was acceptable but resolution is only 800X600 @256K colors(18 bit). Color dithering is pretty bad when viewing images closely. Back to Flickr. I noticed that the slideshow started repeating fairly quickly. For some reason, if you select "all" images in the Flickr account setup, it was only pulling the first 30 or so out of 556. I don't understand why but I think it only displayed images without a tag or in a set. You would think that it would include everything in my account, but apparently not. Besides "all", you can also set it to only display pictures with tags or in a set and so I moved all 556 images into a new set called "frame" and was able to select and display them. It is supposed to auto update the image list when new pictures are added to my account. We'll see. A few more words on the interface. It's fairly horrible. There is no "back" or "up" button to navigate back one level in the menu. You have to hit "menu" again and start over from scratch. Also, you can set time and date, which I did. I then found a "sync clock" setting which I used and then noticed that the clock was an hour slow. I checked the time zones and had set it to Eastern Standard Time (US). There was no Eastern Daylight Time setting, so clock sync via network will only work correctly when not using daylight savings time. I searched, read the user manual and could not find a "daylight savings time" setting anywhere. An onerous omission.
Another serious problem is that the frame won't read pictures that are anywhere but the root directory on your flash media. My wife asked if she could view her pictures from a recent trip. It's a Sony camera that uses Memory Sticks and like most cameras, it puts its pictures into a folder on the MS. Even though the box states Memory Sticks are supported, there is no built-in reader for them. Ok, no problem, I took the reader from my computer and plugged it into the USB port on the frame. It scanned the MS and then stated that it couldn't find any pictures. That's a serious Strike Three and an unbelievable omission. Didn't they think that people would pull their flash media from their cameras and stick it into the frame for immediate viewing? Do they seriously expect that you would want to move all of your pictures around on your flash media first?
Another minor issue is that the power connector end of the power cord (which looks exactly like a laptop power supply)has a 90 degree bend. If you hang the frame on the wall in the "landscape" position, all the weight of the cords and brick (depending on how high you hang it) will be pulling on that bend and I can guarantee that the cord will break eventually. Bad design.
I was on the fence about RMAing this back to my e-tailer (and eating shipping both ways) but the more I think about the serious flaws coupled with the premium price the more I am resolved to sending it back.
On a plus note their tech support answered the phone within minutes and agreed to send a new remote and wood frame...
**Update**- Still have not gotten my replacement remote control or wood frame. They just released a firmware update V.184.108.40.206 on 5/19/08 that fixes 2 of the major flaws. There is now a Daylight Savings Time setting and the frame now reads pictures directly from subdirectories on flash media. Still on the fence about RMAing it. My e-tailer wants a 15% restocking fee. ...more info
- The fundermentals are good
I bought this for my mother after very careful research into all the frames on the market. When you boil it down you need
1. A good looking picture - has that
2. Wireless - so she can see the pictures without having to download, get emails etc. I found it easy to set up. The frame updated itself afterwards which improved the interface.
3. Good integration with picture sharing sites - let's face it Flickr is the the best and so having that built in is essential.
4. It carries on where it left off - other frames don't do this. Why the should the user have to tell the frame to pictures from the internet every time you turn it on - that's madness. So if your set it to use Flickr then it will do that even after you turn it on and off again. Plus you can set it to goto sleep at night and wake up in the morning, saving power and the screen.
I found the remote worked well, it's no different than my Bose remote that's 10 years old and still working fine.
- nice digital frame
I can't answer why previous reviewers had technical problems but after receiving the frame I had my wep configured and had the digital frame connected to my wireless network within 20 minutes. I haven't used any of the websites like flickr for picture slideshows but I did configure Windows Media Player 11 and have been streaming jpg's from my computer to the frame for the last couple of hours. Image quality is as I expected: superb.
I performed an online upgrade via the wireless network and it worked flawlessly.
I haven't gotten around to test the video or mp3 capabilities yet but I did put in a sd card and the frame does read and display jpg's within folders from the sd card.
I can't compare the digital spectrum u-40101 to its competition because this is the first digital picture frame I have ever toyed with. So far, this device has done exactly what it advertised, and relatively easily.
Cons - It would be nice if the frame had a html interface that one could access via a web browser for configuration purposes....more info
- Thumbs up from this reviewer!
I have to admit I was reluctant to buy this frame with all the negative reviews, but it was the only frame that included the features I wanted including wireless, RSS feeds, uploads with out restarting and nice picture. This frame has all of the above and contrary to many of the other reviews I have read it was easy to set-up. I think I had it up and running, connected to my network, and downloading pics from framchannel.com under 20 minutes....more info
First of all to be fair, this is a beautiful looking frame and photos looked nice on it.
I purchased this frame for its networking capabilities but was disappointed in how difficult it was to set up. I understand my experience may not be indicative of others but for me the benefits of having a wireless frame outweighed the high cost. It was not convenient.
Set up was tenuous and after several hours of trying to get the frame to recognize my home network I gave up. It just has to be easier.
Before buying I did read a review where I think a more tech savy person than me said it took him a while to get the frame online if he did at all.
I sent the item back and tried estarlings wireless frame version which I set up in about 10 minutes and love!!
This frame again is beautiful and the display is very nice but there are other cheaper frames that do the same thing. I paid a price for wireless technology and without that technology working for me, it was not worth the price premium.
Amazon was great with delivery and return so at least that part of the purchase experience was good....more info
- Promising but falls short of what you should get for the cost
After a many hours of research on a frame that I could give to parents/in-laws for Christmas, I thought that the ML-8104 was the panacea of the market: WiFi, RSS, and good screen size. All we want to do is point the frame to one of our SmugMug albums so the folks can see the latest photos without needing to sneakernet anything.
Unfortunately, it's good for me (but not for Digital Spectrum) that I chose to buy locally at a place with a good return policy. The device just doesn't live up to expectations.
- Secure wireless support dubious at best: I use WPA2 (personal) on my network, and the frame just wouldn't associate. To troubleshoot, I disabled WPA altogether, and it joined perfect. I'd hoped the problem was fixed via a software update, but to no avail. A fully updated frame claims to work with WPA2, but it does not. (I even tried the included circa-2000 setup software, but no luck.) I use a Linksys 801.11G WAP, which isn't exactly esoteric hardware.
- Keyboard entry is atrocious: There is no "repeat" available, whether using the hard keys or the remote. Every move/change/anything on the frame requires a press-and-release button sequence. This is not fun when entering in your WPA2 passphrase (see above) 10 or more times while trying to figure out what's wrong. It's also detrimental to any possible RSS capability (see below). Certainly a touchscreen is out of the question at this price point, but something less frustrating would have been nice.
- RSS is a no-go. As mentioned above, I use SmugMug, which provides RSS feeds of each of your albums in a standard photostream format that I've never seen NOT recognized. However, after spending 5 minutes (yes, I timed it) entering the RSS URL via the onscreen keyboard, it failed. I tried again, this time running a packet sniffer to see if it was actually attempting to retrieve the URL - it was, but with no results.
- Desktop configuration is kludgy. The software creates a text file that you need to copy onto an SD card, then boot the frame with the card inserted. Not a bad method, but how hard would it be to use the upstream USB cable to directly connect the frame and do live configuration changes or, better yet, entering in the long and painful RSS URLs? Cut-and-paste is soooo 1990s, but it works like a charm. Let's not overlook the simple stuff.
- Nonstandard frame. It wasn't clear from any of the writeups or other literature, but the box comes with 3 different frames (good thing). However, it's not compatible with any standard frame. The included frames are plastic-feeling, but not bad.
- Overall sluggish in response. If not for the other stuff, this point would have fallen squarely in the "admittedly chronic early adopter" category. Nobody's expecting a speedy computer-in-a-frame, but putting this device through its paces took a LONG time due to the combination of button-per-action behavior and the sluggish response overall. It can take 0.25-0.5 sec per keypress, and longer if you're going to a menu from a slideshow.
I did not try this with Windows Vista or XP (don't use them at all), so maybe that experience is different. Again, all we wanted was a WiFi frame that would display new pictures for the family when we uploaded new content. The advertised RSS ability was a major selling point, and we're not about to move all of our content to a new provider that may be better-supported by what turned out to be a mediocre photo frame.
I strongly recommend passing on this one, or at least buying it where you can return it later in the day after you're disappointed....more info
- Best of a ragtag collection
At this point in time, there are limited options for internet-enabled, wireless picture frames. I'm aware of the Digital Spectrum 8104, Kodak EX811/1011, eStarling 2.0, and the i-Mate Momento frames. I dismissed the eStarling frame due to a reportedly low-quality display, not to mention the truly disastrous debut of its predecessor. I dismissed the otherwise promising i-Mate Momento due to its requirement of a subscription to its web service, which in turn connected to various RSS feeds from photo sharing websites. Let's face it, there's a pretty decent chance that i-Mate will be a memory sometime soon, then what would happen to the web service? And of course, the ongoing expense is an obvious downside. That left Kodak and Digital Spectrum. I have had both the EX1011 and 8104 in my possession. Both had limitations, crummy remotes, and idiosyncracies, but in the end, both looked good and did pretty much what they claimed to do. Here's a summary of their relative pluses and minuses:
+ Less bulky in back. Looks more like a conventional picture frame.
+ Has a brightness control. Can get very, very bright. In a bright setting, this frame would have a clear advantage over the 8104.
+ Kodak Gallery integration. Not the best photo sharing site, in my opinion, but it's one not supported by the 8104.
+ Plays videos from Media Player 11. On my network, though, videos were choppy. This might not be the fault of the frame.
-- Slideshow playlists from Kodak Gallery are set at the time you select an album and are not refreshed until you exit that slideshow and reselect Kodak Gallery. This means that newly added photos are not automatically displayed. This was a showstopper for me. My 80-year-old mom would be very frustrated trying to restart the slideshow.
-- After restarting, the frame will display only photos on the internal memory card. To reselect Kodak Gallery requires several steps. Again, not good for Mom.
- AC Adapter in the plug itself. Ugly if the outlet is in a visible location.
- 16:9 format. Not the best for photos, but works better than I expected, except for portrait mode photos.
- Frame itself looks plasticy
+- Slightly cool color temperature with high contrast.
Digital Spectrum 8401 Premium
+ Richer-looking frame
+ 4:3 format
++ Free integration with three good photo sharing websites -- Flickr, Webshots, and Windows Live.
+ Restarts with last-selected slideshow, including web-based.
+ Slideshow playlists are, by default, set to refresh every time through the playlist, so newly added photos are quickly displayed.
+ Has both black and wood-grain frames
- Warm color temperature.
- Bulky piece on back makes the frame less elegant-looking.
- While the remote is a big larger (good), the buttons are relatively hard to press.
- Seemed a bit buggier than the Kodak. I have had to turn it off sometimes during setup operations.
- Cord seems a bit short
Both units had some difficulty with my WEP wireless encryption, but I do have a very wacky setup in my home due to my wireless broadband. I'll be setting this up at my mother's home, which will a more conventional wireless setup using an 802.11g DSL router. Hopefully, WPA won't be a problem.
In the end, I chose the 8104, primarily due to the fact that it will be easier for my mother to use and because the photos added to the websites are added automatically. I'm relatively satisfied.
- A technology, not a product
I gave this picture frame two stars because, in the end, it has nice screen and it shows pictures. It's a nice technology.
But, this company clearly doesn't know the difference between a technology and a product. A technology is a wireless picture frame. A product is a wireless picture frame with a helpful owners manual, a clean interface, high quality, and working company website. This frame had none of these.
My first experience with the frame was taking it out of the box and reading the instructions. These were printed on a large sheet in a step by step fashion. The steps did not exactly match what I saw on the screen, but they were close.
The instructions said that the frame should be controlled from the remote. But my remote was broken. So I couldn't use the frame.
I went to the website and found out that the support links gave 404 errors . They were missing pages. The only contact information was for two PR guys.
When I finally found an email address and let them know what I needed they sent me a new remote. Or tried to. First they accidentally sent me the stand that holds up the back of the frame. Then they sent me a new remote.
When I started using the remote I found buttons that control the frame hidden on the back. The instructions hadn't mentioned them.
I tried to get the frame working with Flikr. There were no instructions for this. There was no screen for entering a password. I read another review that said the frame only works with Webshots. I switched.
Interestingly, when I switched to Webshots I found testing data in the dialog box for Webshots. Apparently that interface had been tested. Had the Flikr interface? No idea.
The frame's features are poorly thought through. The frame cycles through pictures, but the durations are fixed. You get something like 5 sec, 10 sec, 1 min, 5 min, 30 min, 1 hr. I wanted 15 minutes but there is no way to set that. In addition, the 30 minutes doesn't actually hold the picture for 30 minutes.
In the end this company has obviously not thought through their product or the customer experience. They exhibited shoddy business practices, poorly thought through interfaces, and a broken website. DSI feels like 3 guys working out of a garage.
I thank my lucky stars I got the frame as a gift. If I had actually paid over $300 I would have been livid. I fully expect it will break within a year....more info
- Very Disappointing!
- Video: Digital artifacts & color gradient rendering flaws are readily apparent.
- User Interface: Awkward to navigate, unforgiving, and very, very time consuming.
- Set up software: Useless, lacks configurable options available to the frame forcing you to fumble through the frame's poor user interface.
- Flickr support poorly implemented.
- Remote control is a cheap piece of junk....more info
- Doesn't live up to big promises
I purchased this digital photo frame for my parents with the hope that they'd just hang it on their wall and then be see new photos each day that I'd uploaded to one of the free online photo sites (Flickr, Webshots, Windows Live Spaces) from wherever I was.
This frame definitely did not live up to my expectations and I ended up returning it. Here is why:
1. User Interface :: The user interface was difficult to use and often left me frustrated because it didn't act in ways that I expected it to. I wouldn't have thought that it'd be hard to design an interface that would work something like Windows Media Center where you can browse what media (pictures, videos, mp3s) you have on the frame's memory, online photo sites, or shared on the home computer, but apparently it is.
2. Wireless Connectivity :: It was difficult to setup with the wireless router and I often was left keying in the passcode for the router time after time. Extremely annoying when you have to do this via remote and a directional keypad. Once the wireless connection was established, I could only get the frame to connect to my photos on Webshots and not on Flickr or Windows Live Spaces. I don't know the reason for this, just know that was the problem that I had.
3. Video Playback :: It does play videos but only if they're resized to 320x240 despite the frame's resolution being much greater than this.
4. Photos on SD Card :: I expected to be able to take the SD card out of the back of my camera and put it into the card reader on the back of the frame and view the images on the card but here I ran into another problem. The frame would only recognize the photos on the card if they were not in any folder or subfolder on the SD card (most digital cameras place the image files into a folder or subfolder on the memory card and not straight onto the card's memory -- therefore making it impossible to just take the memory card straight from the camera and see the images on the frame).
5. Transitions :: All I really wanted was some kind of basic fade out/fade in or a crossfade would have been brilliant. Instead, the frame has cheesy wipes and slides that look terrible. The "no transition" choice was the only bearable on there -- and that says a lot.
6. Cost :: I really was hoping that the old adage "you get what you pay for" would apply here as the frame cost around 370 to my door, but in this case I found there to be no reason to pay that much for this frame unless they work out all of the problems and bugs that I listed above.
7. The Little Things :: Besides the more major problems that I listed above, there were a lot of lesser issues I had with the frame as well. For example, included in the box was a memory card reader that directly plugged into a USB port to accommodate different types of memory cards, but given the shape of this card reader, it couldn't even fit into the USB port on the back of the frame.
Overall :: I don't feel that I was expecting too much from this frame given the $350 price tag and promising product description. I think that it was a mistake to buy this product in it's first generation (the user manual was even just a few photocopied pieces of paper folded in half). The overall impression I got is that the company rushed to get this frame out (as it was supposed to be released months ago) and in doing so there were corners cut and problems that remain unresolved. ...more info