Singing Praises of the Dlink DSM-210 Internet Photo Frame

Overall Score

Should this be at the top of your Mothers Day gift list?

In a word?  Yes!!

[timg]IMG_7839.JPG[/timg]

Very seldom do I get to write such a glowing review.  Nearly always there is some little quirk or nuance that affects performance or usability of a product.  Now, happily, I can write a review that is filled with nothing but GOOD things to say.

That is a huge lead in but stick with me to find out why the Dlink DSM-210 10" Internet Photo Frame should be listed on many "Best Of" consumer electronics sites.

We received this frame just before (really just before) Christmas,  we had hopes of getting a review up quickly to help folks navigate the enormous number of frames out there and maybe give a couple suggestions. 

While shopping for frames, we quickly learned that frames these days are not as simple as they were just a year or two ago.  This market segment has become quite complex in a short amount of time.  In the case of the DSM-210 this is a good thing. 

Reviewing these kinds of devices was made much more difficult by the introduction of feature rich frames such as the WiFi frames provided by eStarling and Dlink.  In fact some of the newer frames on the market are so feature rich we had to revisit our testing methodologies and preconceived notions to include many new capabilities.

Many frames before the DSM-210 have been robust with beautiful displays and great connectivity capabilites, however none offered the robust networking options and usability of the Dlink.

So read on to find our new testing and rating systems modified to support these new offerings.

We spent a long time figuring out a rating criteria system that would allow the best, worst and somewhere in between devices in this category to reveal themselves as such.

We decided that there are quite a few easy to discern things that will make or break a Digital Picture Frames capabilites.  To make sure these items were judged correctly we added a higher weighted value to these essentials and divided the rest of the points among the rest of the lesser categories.

The standardized rating criteria is as follows:

  • Display (20%) – This is of course the most critical item of all Digital Frames.  How do my pictures look when I get them to the display?
  • Setup (15%) – If the device is difficult to setup will it get used?
  • Esthetics (15%) – This category is often referred to as the WAF or (Wife Acceptance Factor).  Does the frame itself look good?  Would I put it on MY desk?
  • Ease of Use (15%) – This is truly different than Setup.  How you might ask?  During setup we are worried about things like reading memory cards, arranging email, getting RSS feeds…  With ease of use we are reviewing how difficult it is to get new media to the frame.  Again, will it be used if it’s difficult to get new pictures to display?  I would dare to say that this is of equal or maybe even greater weight than Setup since that new Birthday picture would be great to see wouldn’t it?
  • Hardware Supported Memory/Flash Cards (10%) – Can I only use certain cards?  Will my friends card work easily with my frame?
  • Connectivity Options (10%) – Can I connect easily to a machine to get new media or options enabled (WiFi, USB, Ethernet, Firewire, …)?  Can I update my firmware easily?
  • Mounting Options (5%) – Where can I use the frame.  Can I hang it on my wall?  Is it easy to install?
  • All Else (10%) – This category is where our subjectivity and innovative/quirky but not too significant features and capabilities fall.

 

[img]DSM-210_specs.jpg[/img]

Package Contents   

  • Internet Photo Frame
  • Remote Control with Battery
  • Power Adapter
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Quick Setup Guide
  • Stand
  • Black and White Faceplates
  • CD-ROM disk with:
    • Widget Software
    • Product Documentation

Setup for the DSM-210 device was really quite pleasant given the slight troubles we had with the eStarling offerings. Simply attach the stand (portrait or Landscape positions are available) plug in the included power adapter, power it on and you are off to the races.  I followed the easy to read instructions provided in the large (nearly poster size) Quick Setup Guide which were easy to read and provided very nice full color grahics. 

I chose to do the wired setup first and things went quite smooth.  I used the provided RJ45 Ethernet cable to connect the Frame directly to my router.
The Frame received a DHCP address immediately after I set it to wired mode.  In this mode I was able to easily view images on the internal memory (stock pictures are added of course) and you can also select the location of the available pictures on your network. 

One of the key features (sadly lacking on competitors frames) is the inclusion of the UPnP capability.  Something so simple but it really makes this product shine above the rest.  In fact I can not figure out why other vendors are leaving this capability out.  UPnP is a service you can run on your (NAS) Network Attached Storage or a Media capable PC. (must be running Windows Media Player version 11).

In essence this gives your frame a nearly endless supply of picture media served up on your home network.  Other frames can display a large number of images too, but they often require you to upload them to an internet enabled social media account such as FaceBook or Picasa. In my case I served up my entire image collection hosted on one of my PCs to the frame.  Now all my memories display without the need to keep additional copies on the web.  This option was sorely missed in the eStarling products.

Wireless setup was equally as reliable and seamless.  Simply remove the wired connection and turn the device over from wired to Wireless and follow instructions to connect to your SSID.

Social Sites:

The DSM-210 frame has easy connect options for many of the social networking sites such as (Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, Twitter and YouTube).

Being marketed as a social device we decided to first install the PhotoBucket connectivity and link them to mulitple albums which have nice high resolution photograghs of family, landscapes, and difficult low light images.  The setup for this was smooth as we followed the website instructions and signed into one of our photobucket.com accounts.  The setup then asked if we would like to share the photos with the Digital Frame account, to which we said yes.  We wanted to see how long it took for pictures to start arriving to the frame if we said to add ALL of the albums and pictures in our account.  Pictures started to arrive within the next few minutes as advertised.
    

RSS PHOTO FEEDS:
  
Setting up the RSS photo feeds was a remarkably simple task when compared to the setup of photobucket.com (this is a good thing).  The National Geographic photo feed is quite nice and the pictures are beautiful.

    ***As a side note*** during the review of this frame and the Estarling I determined that I would love to set up a personal RSS Photo Feed and this is probably my next project.  The idea will be to set up an RSS photo feed strictly using freeware in a Windows based environment.  I will keep you informed on how the pet project goes.  Of course right after I get this set up I will have to direct the frame to it. 🙂
 

Next we take a look at the vendor provided feature list.  Then we will run through those features to find out how the DSM-210 performs.
 

First we will give you the vendor marketed features and will further cover them within our review of the product:

Product Description:

From the Dlink Web Site fetures:  http://dlink.com/products/?sec=0&pid=654

UNLEASH YOUR PHOTOS
With the Internet Photo Frame you can finally display all of those digital photos you have sitting untouched in your PC. Don’t let all those wonderful memories collect dust on your hard drive where no one will ever see them again. Display the DSM-210 in your living room and let guests see photos from your latest vacation, holiday, or other family outing.

THE INTERNET IN A FRAME
Send the DSM-210 as a gift to your family and loved ones. Then share your latest photos with them through popular photo sharing sites such as Flickr™, Picasa®, Facebook®, FrameChannel™, and more. You can also use the Internet Photo Frame to subscribe to your favorite RSS feeds. Get the latest news, stock updates, sports scores, clock, calendar, weather conditions, and more directly on your frame.


Personalize your Internet Photo Frame with FrameChannel now!
ABOUT FRAMECHANNEL

In order to enable our users to remotely manage their frames over the Internet, D-Link has partnered with FrameChannel to provide easy access to a library of interesting content to include in their photo frame. Users can combine their personal photos with over 400 channels of dynamic content in the FrameChannel library.

Creating a FrameChannel account at http://www.internetphotoframe.com allows you to personalize your wireless picture frame experience. Once you set up your DSM-210 and subscribe to channels of your choice, your frame will automatically update when changes to these feeds are made.

WIRED OR WIRELESS
With the Internet Photo Frame you won’t be tied to simply using a memory card to upload new photos. Use the convenience of your home network to get new photos using a wired Ethernet connection or the DSM-210’s built-in wireless connection. Wireless setup is made even easier using WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup™). Simply push the WPS button on the frame and then on your compatible router to connect.

MORE THAN MEMORY CARDS

The Internet Photo Frame can also handle many of your standard flash memory formats such as USB thumb drive, SD, MMC, and Memory Stick*. Or you can choose to get pictures from a local UPnP™ AV server such as a PC or Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. Additionally, you can save pictures to the 1GB of internal memory.

IN THE HALL OR ON THE WALL
Use the DSM-210 just as you would any standard photo frame. The frame can be wall mounted to hang in your living room or proudly displayed next to all your other photo frames on a shelf in the hall.

BEING GREEN IS GOOD
Power savings isn’t just for large appliances anymore. The Internet Photo Frame has motion detection so it can automatically turn on when you enter the room or off if nobody is in the room.

The D-Link 10" Wireless Internet Photo Frame (DSM-210) combines the benefits of a digital photo frame with the convenience of the Internet to give you a whole new digital photo frame experience.

WHAT THIS PRODUCT DOES
The D-Link® 10" Wireless Internet Photo Frame (DSM-210) combines the benefits of a digital photo frame with the convenience of the Internet**. Now you can display and share family, vacation, and holiday photos with friends and loved ones around the world. The frame can also access the Internet to view new photos from multiple websites and get RSS feeds of the latest news, weather, sports, and more.
 

The menu system for the DSM-210 is quite intuitive, and the supplied manual covers all available menu items very well.

Navigation is done in one of two ways:

Touch sensitive frame border –  This is a well lit and easy to understand menu navigation system. The lighted keys allow you to easily navigate pictures.  The directional lighted icons for Left and Right (these are self explanatory).
 
Infrared Remote – The remote carries all the same functions as the frame border and then some.  The remote adds the capability to enter the menu, back out of a selection, navigate up, down. left, right, rotate images and select of course.  The Remote is smallish and tucks away behind the frame in a cradle-like location on the rear stand.

Note:  Internet Connected Play vs SD/MMC card play or the combination of the two are well implemented here using the favorites feature.
 
Connectivity options/capabilities:

Obviously, this being an internet capable frame with wireless support as well, it can connect directly to your home network via a wireless 802.11 g interface.  WEP and WPS are all supported.

There is Ethernet cable connectivity for this frame.  I find this to be a huge plus since where I might use this frame at work I have no wireless capabilites as they are restricted use.  This frame having an RJ45 Ethernet Jack allows me to extend the full internet capabilities of this frame to my work place.  This is something to keep in mind when purchasing a wireless/wired possible frame.

[timg]IMG_7847.JPG[/timg]
 

Supported Hardware Flash Memory/Card types:

Contents:

SD/MS/MMC cards are all supported on the DSM-210.  Also included is the capability to connect to a USB Thumb drive.  The addition of the thumb drive access is a very unique feature (as far as this reviewer knows).  This matches most of the newer cameras and will allow playback of images captured in JPEG format easily.

[timg]IMG_7846.JPG[/timg]

 
Power features/usage

This frame, really stands out in this category.  The motion sensing technology added to this frame allows it to be used in an always on but always green configuration.  The frame will sleep until woken by the front mounted motion sensor.

 
Display Quality

Display quality is where the DSM-210 really shines (lets face it, this is one of the more important things in a digital frame, internet connected or not).  The 10" TFT LCD in 16:9 Format with a resolution of 800 x 480 is a thing of beauty.  Contrast and brightness levels out of the box are very appropriate.  Colors are rich, vibrant and accurate.  The DSM-210 does not carry a gloss coating over the screen which is both a plus and a minus in my book.  It is a plus since there are very little reflections on the display allowing it to be used in highly lit areas.  The reason for the minus/negaitve?  Simply the safety of the screen when coated.  This is one of the few Frames I have seen that could handle direct sunlight if need be.  The viewing angles of the frame start to diminish at about 45 degrees from center.

Auto Ambient Lighting Adjustment – This option is not available on the DSM-210.  Lack of auto controls for lighting is not too large of an issue.  However, in dark rooms the frame can be a bit bright.  This is fine if you want to use it as a night light but does not give optimal viewing in low/high or both lighting areas.

 
Frame Esthetics

We like to call this category the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor).  How pleasing is the device to look at.  Most telling is the esthetics when the device is in OFF mode.  The frame as shown by the pictures above is quite pleasing to look at.  The gloss black outer frame of the LCD panel adds good contrast to the pictures.  The addition of an interchangable white frame bezel gives this frame and its users options for placement where White or Black may not have been appropriate.  The DSM-210 gains points here as well in that the ports/switches available (USB, RJ-45, power cord, power button, WPS button and CARD slot) are all recessed from the edge of the frame.  This is quite a nice touch.  Also a nice touch is the ability to turn the frame in a portrait or landscape fashion.  The provided easel like stand pivots easily to allow this to happen.

With the Black Bezel installed:

[timg]IMG_7854.JPG[/timg] 

With the White Bezel Installed:

[timg]IMG_7860.JPG[/timg]

Mounting/Display options (if available):

Again the DSM-210 excels in this category when compared to other similar frames from other vendors.  The frame is wall mountable in both Portrait and Landscape modes.  It is also deksktop ready in both modes.

Here you see the DSM-210s stand in the Landscape Position:

[timg]IMG_7851.JPG[/timg]

and in the Portrait Position:

[timg]IMG_7865.JPG[/timg]
 

This frame, is exactly what you would think an "Internet Connected Digital Photo Frame" should be and maybe then some.  The feature set is extremely robust and well implemented.  This frame (IMHO) really outshines its competitors (are there any?).  The size of the screen, the connectivity options, uPnP ready, WPS support and 10 inches of beautiful display goodness.

Like I said at the begining of this review, I do not have a lot bad to say about this device.

I will say this.  With Mothers Day coming up and the ability to control this frame and its contents from the internet.  I would seriously contemplate getting this for Mothers and Grandmothers.

Yes I am recommending the DSM-210 that much.  It is not often I see consumer products implemented this well and I will tout its capabilities to all I meet.  Well done Dlink!!

So where did it score?

Overall we gave the Dlink DSM-210 a rating of 98 out of 100 possible points.  The only points lost here is the ability to attach the supplied remote directly to the framein some manner.
 

Please feel free to discuss this article or ask specific questions here

SHARE THIS POST

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati

Leave A Response