D-Link, a company known more for its routers, recently released its first digital photo frame, a 10-incher with built-in 802.11g connectivity for wirelessly sharing photos and downloading everything from weather forecasts to news and RSS feeds. Although we appreciate the 1GB memory and wealth of content to view on the frame, the high price and awkward design keep us from giving it a higher rating.
This frame has the potential to be handsome, but a few details make it look unfinished. The bezel is broken up into a glossy one on the outside, and a thicker, matte one on the inside. Because the DSM-210 is 1.3 inches thick, the 10-inch screen seems slightly recessed. Also, the bezel has a hole in each bottom corner for screwing in the included optional white face plate.
At the bottom of the bezel are touch-sensitive multimedia controls that glow blue when tapped. These come in handy when a slideshow is in progress. These controls are a nice touch, but unfortunately a tacky blue D-Link logo sits right next to them.
The DSM-210 comes with a detachable kickstand that can be inserted at two angles. In addition to a power switch on top, it has a USB and an Ethernet port on the side, as well as a 3-in-1 memory card reader, which supports SD, MMC, and MS. It has a massive 1GB of internal memory. The included remote wasn’t responsive when the frame was tilted backward at a more oblique angle; it had to have a straight-on shot. The layout, which consists of Back, Menu, and Rotate buttons and a five-way navigational pad, is simple to figure out, but we wish it had a Home button.
Setup and Ease of Use
Setting up the DSM-210 was easy, but we recommend going to the settings menu first and making sure it’s in Wireless (not wired) mode. We also recommend plugging into the wall with an Ethernet cable to download a firmware upgrade.
Once you add a network, you need to select the Internet icon on the main page. You’ll be given a code for your frame and be asked to create a free account at dlink.framechannel.com, which entails giving your name and location, checking off your favorite photo-sharing sites, and creating a username and password. This online setup took just a minute, and the information updated on our frame right away.
Once we finally got up and running, we were disappointed with the image quality. The 800 x 480 screen is bright, but our pictures looked lackluster in terms of color and sharpness. Many looked grainy, and colors that should have popped didn’t. We were also miffed to see that the frame does not support music or video. It supports only JPEG photo files, but that’s par for the course.
Integration with Photo-Sharing Sites
The frame itself displays large icons for weather and whichever sharing sites and channels you configured on FrameChannel.com (ours, for instance, shows icons for Facebook and Flickr photos). Because you input your city during the online setup, you can start getting weather updates right away. The DSM-210’s interface is intuitive and pleasant to look at.
In addition to Facebook, D-Link’s partner photo-sharing sites include Flickr, MSN, Photobucket, Picasa, and Webshots. That’s more choices than Kodak, eStarling, or the RealEase Shogo frames offer. You can add as many sharing sites as you like, and each will appear as its own icon on the frame. As with other wireless frames, linking up to these sites is easy, and if you save your password, doing so entails just a one-time login.
If you have a Facebook account, you can cherry-pick which of your friends’ photos you want to see along with your own. Unfortunately, FrameChannel did not give us the option of choosing which photos or albums we wanted to send to the frame; the DSM-210 displayed all of our pictures.
As mentioned above, D-Link has partnered with FrameChannel, which provides content to other photo frame vendors, including Kodak’s recently announced Wi-Fi models. After creating an account at FrameChannel, users can have RSS feeds, weather forecasts, news, sports scores, financial news, traffic reports, and photography feeds sent directly to their frame.
Searching for content on the DSM-210 is as easy as clicking the Find a Channel link on FrameChannel’s Web site. The channels are neatly broken down by categories, including photography, shopping, traffic, news, sports, and finance, among others. Although they’re neatly organized, some of these folders are a bit sparse. There’s only one traffic feed option, for instance. And news is divided into national, international, and regional; with the exception of Reuters UK, you can’t choose a specific news source, such as CNN or NYTimes.com. And again, because the frame doesn’t play music, you can’t enjoy Internet radio stations, as you can with the eStarling Wi-Fi Digital Picture Frame.
Among the wireless frames we’ve seen that serve up Internet content, D-Link’s DSM-210 10-inch Wireless Internet Photo Frame has one of the most intuitive interfaces. But the photos look dull, particularly compared with the Kodak EasyShare EX1011, which costs the same but showed vibrant colors. If we saw this frame a few months ago, we might have argued that D-Link allows you to do more with Wi-Fi than Kodak, but Kodak, too, recently partnered with FrameChannel, so its newest Wi-Fi frames will offer content similar to D-Link’s (and they already play music, to boot).
If D-Link’s frame made our photos look more vibrant, we might recommend it, but given the gap in image quality and features, we can’t find a strong reason to choose this over other wireless frames.