WIRELESS INTERNET FRAME REVIEW
The Intouch IT1750 is a wireless, touch-screen driven digital photo frame that promises to display not only photos, videos and play audio but also to download RSS 2.0 feeds directly from the Internet, either through a free FrameChannel account or from any RSS 2.0 feed of your choice.
The Intouch IT1750 also has full clock and calendar functionality. But wait, there’s more…It can access Internet radio and can also access Web TV, as well as podcasts! And if all that is not enough, this product possesses a rechargeable battery (lasts approximately 1.5 hours), making it portable as well.
I purchased the Intouch IT1750 Wireless Internet Frame for my husband for Fathers’ Day. I loaded up an SD card with photos I knew he would love. I then sat down with the frame to figure out how to access its multitude of features. The following is my report:
The Intouch IT1750 sports a shiny black surface (and thankfully comes with a microfiber cleaning cloth for smudges). The speakers are enclosed in a tubular shaped grill at the bottom of the frame. I found the sound to be a bit “tinny” when listening to music with the Internet radio feature. I wasn’t terribly disappointed, though. The sound was adequate enough, and at this point in its evolution, I don’t really expect a digital frame to match an FM radio’s audio reproduction.
The Intouch IT1750 moves away from the usual by not “pretending” to look too much like a traditional picture frame. My own personal impression is that the wide array of features offered by the Intouch IT1750 might make it more useful in an office setting or perhaps as an information center in the kitchen, rather than relating it to a table in the living room.
The back of the Intouch IT1750 contains the power jack, a USB port, a battery door and a Mode button. When the Mode button is pressed, the on-screen buttons, which include Home Screen, Menu, Video, Lock and Unlock Screen, Brightness and Volume, will be displayed.
These buttons can be accessed from the touch screen but can be easier for some to use when adjustments need to be made. Beware that each time the Home and Menu on-screen buttons are pressed, it will be necessary to press the Mode button again to make the on-screen buttons re-appear.
The right side (when facing the screen) of the Intouch IT1750 unit contains the memory card slot which will accept SD/MMC/MS and xD memory cards. Also on the right side is a CF (Compact flash) card slot for inserting a compact flash card with stored pictures, music or video.
The left side (when facing the screen) of the Intouch IT1750 unit contains the power On/Off switch, an audio output jack to connect to earphones, headphones, speakers, etc., a Reset button to return the frame to factory settings and a mini-USB port to connect to a PC to transfer data to the frame with the provided USB cable.
On the right of the front of the Intouch IT1750 screen is the WiFi status indicator. When the Wi-Fi icon is tapped, the screen will jump to the Wi-Fi settings, making it easy to fix any connection problems that may occur.
The battery indicator is also located on the right side of the front of the screen under the Wi-Fi icon. A green color bar indicates the battery status.
The Menu button is located on the lower left of the Intouch IT1750's screen.
The News Bar on the Intouch IT1750 (for RSS feeds when connected to the Internet) is located in the lower center of the screen. Tapping on a button expands the news headline. The News Bar only works when the frame is connected to the Internet. News feeds on the Home Screen are pulled from the News Feeds listed in the RSS News Feeds Screen.
The photo on the News Feed pictured to the right happened to be a large one. I found it peculiar that only pictures (and usually very small ones) are displayed with the RSS News Feed. For some reason, video and sound are deactivated when viewing the news.
The frame stand of the Intouch IT1750 is attached very securely to the back of the frame. It is pulled down from the top and locks into place and can be adjusted to view the frame at many different angles. Pressing on both sides at the same time releases the locking mechanism of the handle. The frame stand will lock level with the back of the frame so it is completely out of the way if the unit is using battery power and being transported.
The portability of the Intouch IT1750 frame is one of the features that sets it apart from others in its class. The battery lasts approximately 1.5 hours depending on the sizes and properties of what is being displayed. The AC power cord is quite long, giving more options for placement of the frame when it is plugged in.
The Intouch IT1750 is not wall-mountable. When plugged in and sitting on a flat surface, the unit cannot be rotated for either landscape or portrait mode. Individual pictures can be rotated directly from the touch screen menu though.
IMAGE DISPLAY QUALITY
Photos displayed well on the 800x480, 16:9 touch screen. The photo images were sharp and clear.
The 16:9 aspect ratio of this frame is not my usual choice. I personally prefer the 4:3 ratio. However, images displayed quite well as long as the mode was set to Original form. Any of the other options, such as Autofit, Fit to Screen and Fit to Width produced unacceptable pixelated images. I found that the degree of pixelization was very annoying when viewing images for most of the RSS news feeds also.
Brightness, Color and Contrast:
Only the brightness can be controlled from the frame. I found the colors to be cooler and the contrast a bit higher than my original photos.
The viewing angle from both sides is quite wide and totally acceptable. Viewing from above is fine. Viewing from below the frame is not.
Screen Backlighting Display:
The TFT LCD display produces a very good quality photo that is sharp and clear. As noted above, any photos not in their original form (not made to fit the screen) become pixelated and this is especially annoying when viewing the majority of news photos as well.
The touch screen must be calibrated (very simple to do as per the instructions) and a language selected before the frame can be used for the first time.
Though I recalibrated the screen several times, I still found it was necessary to either press a little harder or press twice quickly to go from one menu to another. When I called the Support center, it was suggested that I put everything back to Factory Reset (found under System Settings). Doing that did result in a marked improvement (for the most part).
Though the matte touch screen helps to reduce glare, fingerprint smudges tend to collect on its surface as well as on the shiny black frame surface of the frame. The included microfiber cloth does a very good job of removing them.
The 7” diagonal screen translates to a viewing are of 6” by a little more than 3 ¾”. With the amount of options for types of images and media, I would have preferred at least an 8” screen.
When a keyboard is needed, it is based on the standard QWERTY layout. This feature is the easiest function to operate on this frame. It is very responsive and intuitive.
METHODS OF CONNECTIVITY
A standard USB (full speed) port as well as a mini USB port can be found on the frame.
Photos can be added directly from a computer to the internal memory of the Intouch IT1750 (approximately 128 MB) through the included USB cable. Unfortunately, a good portion of the internal memory is used by the unit to enable its many different features.
The Intouch IT1750 will read most SD cards and has a port for CompactFlash also. I found that the loading time for pictures was a little slow for my taste.
Because this frame is wireless, photos can also be added from a home network using Windows Media and directly from the Internet from photo-sharing sites such as Picasa or social media-sharing sites such as Windows Live. All of these and others such as Flickr and Facebook can also be accessed and controlled by registering and using the free FrameChannel application on the Internet.
The Intouch IT1750 can access RSS feeds and Internet Radio from the Internet and the frame is also capable of accessing WebTV stations and Podcasts. ( There is another model, IT1700, which cannot access Web TV and does not come with a rechargeable battery).
As mentioned above, pixelization was a problem for me with most of the pictures displayed with the RSS feeds and the Web TV stations and Podcasts. The scroll bar was not as responsive as I thought it should be. This was annoying but I saw some improvement after I set everything back to Factory Reset. I knew right away the Intouch IT1750 would not be an acceptable gift for my husband, who has no patience with electronic items that do not respond quickly.
SUPPORTED FILE TYPES
Secure Digital (SD) Card, Compact Flash (CF) Card, Memory Stick (MS), Memory Stick Duo, MultiMedia (MMC) Card, XD-Picture card are all supported on the Intouch IT1750. The manual suggests 2MB or smaller capacity for these memory cards.
JPEG, Bitmap and Gif image formats are supported.
Audio must be in .wma format in order to work on the Intouch IT1750 frame.
This frame accepts .wmv and MPEG1 formats at resolutions of 320x240 and 25fps. I could not get the videos from my camera (.mov) to perform satisfactorily. The amount of buffering and stopping during the videos was not acceptable. I attempted to convert some of the videos to .avi and MPEG formats and neither worked well.
Video malfunction on the Intouch IT1750 was a major disappointment for me. I called the Intouch Support Center and spoke to 3 different individuals. The first tech suggested that I only view videos that I can stream directly from Windows Media. I tried this and nothing changed. The second had no answer whatsoever. The third admitted that the Intouch IT1750 unit really can’t handle videos!!??
Wi-Fi connectivity is an embedded Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g standard, 2.4 GHhz and 54 Mbps. Supported network encryption is Non, WEP, WPA and WPA2. The Internet Protocol is DHCP / Fixed IP. Please note: The frame does not support Hotspot login or web browser Internet login.
Setting up the Wi-Fi on the Intouch IT1750 was a little confusing for me so I contacted customer service. The rep was very helpful and the wait time was negligible. I haven’t had any trouble re-connecting to my Wi-Fi network for the few times that the connection didn’t work. I also found that if I had the patience to wait for a few minutes, even if the Wi-Fi indicator was showing no connection, it would reconnect automatically.
There is no automatic slideshow functionality for this frame. Available slideshow settings can be accessed in the Photo section of the touch screen menu. This digital frame would not be a good choice for a non tech-savvy user.
Slideshow settings include intervals of 5, 15, 30 seconds and 1 minute only. Transitions include dissolve, slide, blind, wipe, random and none. Shuffle, repeat and play and background music are additional choices for slideshow enjoyment. During a slideshow, the user can opt to have clock, calendar or neither displayed at the same time. Images from only one source at a time can be displayed on the frame.
The Home Screen wallpaper can also be set up to run a slideshow or a still picture but the user must input information such as where the image is (the internal memory of the frame or from an inserted disk) and then follow instructions for the slideshow to begin. A slideshow on the Home Screen can only be played from the internal memory of the frame or from an inserted memory card. A web or home network selection cannot be enabled for the Home Screen.
If a slideshow is selected for the Home Screen, the user can opt for showing either the clock or the calendar or both. The News Bar will be disabled. The internal memory of the frame contains a small number of photos that can be displayed as wallpaper as a slideshow or a still picture. If a still picture is chosen as wallpaper, it will supposedly be copied to the internal memory. I did not find this to be true!
I was confused at first about how to access the home screen settings (for slideshow, etc.). I finally realized, after much frustration, that tapping the screen brings up the settings but instead of pressing the Menu button, I needed to press the back arrow button to access just the Home Screen settings.
On-Screen Menu System:
The on-screen menu system for the Intouch IT1750 is accessed by tapping the Menu button on the Home Screen. Though the instructions in the user manual are well-documented, I found I had to continually refer to the user manual in order to remember what to push and when. I think if the touch screen was more responsive, it would make accessing the many functions of this frame a much easier task.
Pressing the Mode button located on the back of the unit will enable the on-screen display bar to display on the Home Screen. From there you can access the Home Screen and the Settings menu and you can also adjust the Brightness and Volume, as well as Lock and Unlock the touch screen. Unfortunately, each time you want to access the on screen display bar, you have to push the Mode button again.
Delete and Copy Images:
Images can be copied or deleted from the internal memory of the Intouch IT1750 to a designated disk or to the internal memory from a designated disk. The Copy and Delete settings become available when a particular picture or pictures is highlighted.
These settings do not work for web or Internet photos. Deletion of photos using the FrameChannel application can be done from within that application, requiring the use of a computer to make any changes.
The Zoom function is available from the slideshow settings which will be displayed when the screen is tapped during a slideshow.
The functions of both of these features can be accessed from the Tools settings of the Intouch IT1750. I found setting up the clock and calendar to be a bit difficult. The buttons were not always responsive. Again, I found that as a general rule, if one tap doesn’t work as expected, 2 quick taps will usually do the job.
The calendar can be displayed as a month or day display.
The Select Internet Time Synchronization:
If the selection is On, the Intouch IT1750 system time will be synchronized with network GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). If turned OFF, this function will be disabled and the clock will use local settings.
To select a time zone, Internet Time Synchronization must be set to ON. At that point the Time Zone setting can be used to adjust the GMT time over the internet.
This procedure was not clear to me so I googled GMT and compared it to the time shown on my device. I then checked my watch and found that I needed to adjust GMT time back by 4 hours. I tapped the Time Zone and the arrow button for the Time Zone screen. I tapped on the up and down arrows to first select the “-“ button and then the number 0 and then the number 4. When I turned the device off and then on again, when the Internet connection was completed, the time was correct and synchronized.
A maximum of 4 different alarms can be set on the Intouch IT1750 as well as 5 different alarm tones. Alarms can be set for once, every day and weekdays. When the alarm time is reached, the alarm control buttons, Snooze and Stop, are available.
If no buttons are tapped, the alarm tone will beep for 5 minutes and then stop. After 5 minutes, it will beep again. This sequence will be repeated for 40 minutes and then will turn off automatically. The instructions were very detailed and easy to follow.
These must be in a standard 2.0 format to be displayed on the Intouch IT1750. There are various channels to choose from including news, sports, technology, etc. These can be deleted from the frame through the News setting. There is an option to add RSS feeds directly from the Internet, using the on screen keyboard. Feeds can also be added and deleted from within FrameChannel.
I attempted to add 2 channels from the Internet. Though I followed the directions carefully, I was unable to download them to the Intouch IT1750 frame. The error message suggested that perhaps the 2 feeds were not in standard 2.0 format even though the feeds themselves stated they were. The feeds I downloaded from FrameChannel did work without a hitch.
Please note: ATOM and KML formats for RSS feeds are not supported on this frame.
The News Bar will begin with the first news feed listed, display the news articles in that feed and then proceed to the next news feed to display all of its articles and so on. This sequence is continuously repeated. The selection of news feeds and their sequence cannot be changed.
Options for RSS feeds can be changed as follows: Auto Updates (off or on) Update Intervals (manually, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 12 hours and 24 hours) and How Long to Keep News (1 to 7 days).
Internet Radio and Web TV Stations and Podcasts:
The Intouch IT1750 comes equipped with a v-tuner to allow for access to Internet radio stations and Web TV stations and Podcasts. I didn’t have any problem accessing any of these features. There is an “Add to Favorites” feature that is helpful for keeping track of favorite stations and accessing them quickly. I did find that the pixelization was very annoying in the Web TV stations, though.
According to Intouch, over 19,000 Internet Radio Stations and over 800 Web TV stations are available.
Portability with Rechargeable Battery:
The Intouch IT1750 comes equipped with a rechargeable battery. The battery power level indicator is located on the bottom right of the screen just under the wireless icon.
When the battery is low, a pop-up screen will appear and the alarm will sound. When the battery is not full, the current battery status will be displayed as a green color bar.
System Language Settings:
Available languages on the Intouch IT1750 are English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch.
The Intouch IT1750 includes a sleep mode with interval options for power management. The sleep mode will turn the frame off to save power. When sleep mode is selected, the alarm will still be active. Time limits for the backlight can also be set. The rechargeable battery is also equipped with a power save feature.
Other System Settings Accessible from Touch Screen Menu:
Automatic and Manual options for Software Updates, System Details Listing and Factory Reset Option.
The Intouch IT1750 unit comes with a printed Quick state Guide and a CD-Rom that contains the User Manual and the Warranty.
Also included are the AC/DC power adaptor, the PC mini-USB cable, and a customer support contact sheet. Because the frame is touch-screen driven, there is no need for a remote.
Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2000 SP4 are supported operating systems for the Intouch IT1750.
1 year excluding battery and accessories. The warranty term for those items is 90 days from date of purchase.
The Intouch IT1750 is loaded with features which (when they work successfully), makes for a digital frame enhanced as an Internet information center. It is very well-made and sturdy. The inclusion of a rechargeable battery adds to its versatility. The stand is easy to operate and folds flat to the unit for portability. Photos are sharp and clear.
Just about anything that should be included with a digital frame is available with the Intouch IT1750, such as clock with alarms, calendar, power save features, software updates, etc. It will display photos and videos (see above) and can use audio .wma files or music from Internet radio as background for the slideshows as well. There is a wide variety of news feeds available for downloading with a good number of options available for viewing them.
Buffering on videos from any source made watching videos impossible on the Intouch IT1750. The videos from my camera were all in .mov format so I converted them to .avi and MPEG1, which were the supported formats as stated in the manual. They, too, were ruined by the buffering.
Buffering, in simple terms, means that when streaming audio and video media an extra amount of data is brought in to fill the buffer (or memory area) before the audio or video is actually played. When more audio data or video frames are in memory than are actually needed at each moment, any momentary delays in transmission from the source will be compensated for.
Constant buffering of videos on a digital frame suggests that the unit is not capable of storing the extra data to make a smooth transition between delays. With this frame, the buffering never stops and the videos cannot be viewed. This made the Intouch IT1750 frame unacceptable as a present for my husband. The capability to smoothly view videos of our children and grandchildren as well as those in Podcasts and WebTV was an important reason for my selection of this frame.
I also must add that I found it quite disturbing that a frame which promises so many excellent features and was also in the over $200 range, would not be able to successfully perform a major function such as video viewing. That a representative of the company would inform me that the unit was not capable of this feature and there was nothing further the company could do was totally unacceptable to me.
The Intouch IT1750 does require a relatively high degree of technological skill (and quite a bit of patience) in order to set up and operate most of its features. This could seriously limit its options for gift-giving.
Because I purchased the Intouch IT1750 a long time before I had a chance to try out all its features and functions, I could no longer return it for a refund. The unit is not “broken.” It just is not capable of doing everything it promises satisfactorily. For that reason, I honestly cannot recommend this digital frame.
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