Fed Up with eStarling; A Win for Westinghouse

Mari Silbey —  May 14, 2007 — 6 Comments

I do not bash products lightly, and I feel I have been extraordinarily patient with the eStarling digital photo frame. However, there is a limit. It is now mid-May, five months after the eStarling debacle started, and my parents’ main Christmas present is still not working as promised. Actually, it’s not working at all.

After running the netconfig utility at least half a dozen times, the newly shipped version of the eStarling frame still will not connect to the Internet and therefore will not operate. The folks over at Gizmodo apparently got their unit to work (though they still didn’t like it), but we tried connecting ours to two different wireless networks (in two different states!) with no luck at all. That’s it. I’m done.

While I’m still yearning for the advertised eStarling feature set, I have in the meantime taken a Westinghouse digital photo frame for a spin and found it very satisfying. My mom was on hand when I took the Westinghouse frame out of the box and her first reaction was that she couldn’t imagine hanging such a thing in her house. Then she saw the photo resolution.

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I have the 14.1″ Westinghouse model for review and the picture quality is beautiful. (My lame photography doesn’t do it justice.) If you have a half-way decent digital camera, the photos fill the frame in slideshow mode. You can also choose mosaic mode for four photos at once, set photo transitions, save favorite photos and watch MPEG videos.

Best of all, the product is dead simple to use. There are three steps on the box: Plug in frame. Insert memory card. Turn on frame. And it’s literally that easy. The frame comes with 128MB of internal Flash memory and has ports for several card types (specs after the jump) as well as USB connections. I successfully tested file transfers from a PC and connection with a Flash drive. For general use, I’d suggest stocking a large Flash drive with gazillions of photos and keeping it plugged in. It’s easy enough to update a Flash drive with new photos when needed.

I’m definitely planning on writing in for a refund on the eStarling frame, and I just may put the proceeds towards a purchase of the Westinghouse 14.1″ digital frame model. The only thing possibly holding me back is the Westinghouse price: $349. Ouch. If you’re interested, Westinghouse does offer frames in different sizes. And the Live Digitally blog likes the 8″ version. But I have to admit, the large screen is delicious.

Want specs and more photos? Keep reading.

Tech Specs:

  • 16×9 aspect ratio
  • 16.2″x11.5″x1.5″
  • Input Formats: Secure Digital, Multi Media Card, Compact Flash, Micro Drive, xD-Picture Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, USB, mini-USB
  • 128MB internal Flash memory

 

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Yes, that’s my Flash drive on my key chain on the left.

 

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westinghouse5.JPG

6 responses to Fed Up with eStarling; A Win for Westinghouse

  1. I’m still not sold on the usefulness of any of these digital frames that don’t have WiFi or some way to load photos without physical media. In this digital age, why has no one found a reliable way to share photos with grandma hundreds of miles away without having to schlep memory cards back and forth through snail mail?

  2. Several years ago, I bought my mom a Ceiva to share photos 1,000 miles away. I got tired of managing the device via the web interface, and she got tired of looking at the frame. Mari’s got a better usage case in showing off her daughter.

    eStarling just announced a new WiFi frame. Wonder if it’s any better? Maybe they’ll send one to Mari to replace her crappy one and/or as a review sample.

  3. Kodak was showing some Wifi frames at CES. Theses would be only only ‘other’ frames supporting remote sharing.

    If I remember correctly, it linked up with the kodak picture sharing website.

    Price point is about the same as e-starling.

  4. I actually tried to find out more, but the Kodak rep at CES dismissed me… so I wouldn’t know. ;)

  5. If not dismissed by Kodak, the title would have read “Fed Up With eStarling; A Win for Kodak”. Silly Rep.

  6. Hi,

    I am looking for a Philips 10FF2CMI digital photo frame but am currently struggling to find one anywhere, or to find anywhere that has a good review. Do you know anywhere you can point me to that will provide one of these please?

    Many thanks

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