Pix-Star FotoConnect XD PXT51WR02
Wireless Digital Frame Review

Pix-Star FotoConnect XD wireless digital frame

A True Wireless Digital Frame

The Pix-Star FotoConnect XD is a true wireless digital frame. Unlike some of the other wireless frames which had been dependent upon the now defunct FrameChannel and FrameIt for Internet content (please see wireless digital frames), this frame delivers web-based content from a website maintained by Pix-Star Digital for its registered frame owners.

Completely Free Online Photo Sharing and Storage

The web service is completely free and provides frame owners access to over 20 online photo-sharing sites (including Facebook), as well as access to web-based radio stations and weather forecasts from cities around the world. In addition, it offers unlimited and free photo storage and free email address hosting for easy photo sharing.

A Photo Email Frame

Free email address hosting on the Pix-Star website allows for the emailing of photos directly to and from the Pix-Star frames. Each registered frame can have its own email address assigned to it and email addresses of friends and family can also be registered on the website. Thus, photos can be sent from one frame to another or from email addresses to the frame as well as from the frame to email addresses. In addition, Pix-Star frames are the only Wi-Fi frames with a built-in spam blocker as protection against unsolicited photos.

(Pandigital, another digital frame manufacturer, also offers a photo email frame. Photos can also be emailed to CEIVA frames around the world from the CEIVA website. A number of web-based "channels" can also be received by registered CEIVA frames. The CEIVA service is not free.)

UPnP(Universal Plug and Play)/DLNA Functionality

The Pix-Star FotoConnect XD supports the UPnP/DLNA protocol. (The DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a non-profit collaborative trade organization established by Sony to make it easy for home digital devices to communicate with each other).

With this Feature, pictures stored on a local network inside a UPnP/DLNA compatible device (Windows 7, NAS servers, etc.) can be accessed directly from the frame without having to transfer them into the Pix-Star. They are then streamed into a slideshow.

SAMBA Support

In addition, the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD also has a feature called "SAMBA" which makes it possible to transfer photos wirelessly from computers on a home network to the frame's internal memory.

A Unique Gift for the Non Tech-Savvy

All functions of the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD (and Pix-Star frames in general) can be configured remotely on the website making these frames unique gifts for non tech-savvy friends and family. There is no need for any software to be installed on a computer either, since all transactions take place online.

STYLE

Frame Appearance:

The PIX-STAR FOTOCONNECT XD comes with a non-intrusive, plain black plastic frame. No matting is included. The frame can be wall-mounted in either a horizontal (landscape) or vertical (portrait) position.

The 10.4” (diagonal) frame measures 10.6x1.1x7.8 and weighs 2.9 pounds.

Buttons and Ports:

Pix-Star FotoConnect XD wireless digital frame

Navigation buttons, which include top and bottom arrows, left and right arrows, back arrow, menu and OK (select) are located on one side of the back of the frame.



Pix-Star FotoConnect XD wireless digital frame

The memory card slot, audio jack, USB, Power and the On/Off button are located in a recessed area at the bottom of the frame body. Even though this frame does have an on/off button, it also has an automatic on/off schedule feature which would be especially helpful should the frame be wall-mounted. The frame can also be turned on and off by the included remote control.

DISPLAY OPTIONS for the PIX-STAR FOTOCONNECT XD

Stand:

Pix-Star FotoConnect XD wireless digital frame

The stand is a metal bar which swings out from the body and then swings back in if the frame is wall-mounted.

Screen Resolution:

The screen resolution is 800x600.

Aspect Ratio:

The aspect ratio is 4:3. Photos are automatically resized to best fit the frame. Sometimes, photos emailed to a frame from some online photo-sharing sites may seem to be too small. An example is Picasa, an online photo-sharing site that automatically resizes emailed pictures to about 480x360 which would not fit well into an 800x600 resolution. If this should happen, it is suggested that the photos be accessed and transferred directly from Picasa (or other sites which may have similar resizing problems) through the Pix-Star website interface rather than by email.

Brightness, Contrast:

Brightness is 300:1. Contrast is 500:1.

Viewing Angle:

The viewing angle on this frame is more than adequate.

Screen Backlighting Display:

The screen is a 10.4" (diagonal) LED backlit LCD frame.

METHODS OF CONNECTIVITY for TRANSFERRING PHOTOS for the PIX-STAR FOTOCONNECT XD

USB:

This frame excels in the number of ways photos can be transferred to it. The usual way of transferring photos from a computer to a frame's internal memory is by USB. This frame does not have a mini-USB port for this purpose. However, a flash drive with copied photos can be inserted into the USB port on the frame and the pictures can then be copied to the frame through the File Manager.

UPnP/(Universal Plug and Play):

As mentioned above, the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD also supports UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and SAMBA, (methods of sharing media content between devices) so photos can be transferred wirelessly from a computer on a home network to the internal memory of the frame.

Email:

Also as mentioned above, photos can be sent to any registered Pix-Star frame via email. Gmail, Yahoo mail, smart phones and regular cell phones can all connect to these frames by email. It is also possible to send photos to any email address directly from the frame. Incoming emails can be programmed to automatically open on the frame or wait for the user to open.

Android App:

An Android App is now available from the Android Market. With this App, the user can send photos to a frame from an Android phone or tablet and can also set up a slideshow on the phone or tablet of the frame albums.

Online Photo-Sharing Sites:

The following are the major online photo-sharing sites that can be accessed:

  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Lifeshow
  • MobileMe
  • Don't Forget It
  • Picasa
  • Shutterfly
  • Goojet
  • Windows Live
  • Padeleon
  • Phanfare
  • SmugMug
  • KoffeePhoto
  • Photo RSS
  • Ezubi
  • Dropbox
  • Photobucket
  • Arcor
  • Ictoo
  • Xiaonei

Please Note...

  • Pictures can be transferred from personal and friends' profiles on Facebook. Photos cannot be deleted within the Facebook album but individual pictures in a Facebook album can be deleted once they appear on the frame.
  • Pictures deleted from with the pix-star.com website will be deleted within a few minutes on the frame. Pictures deleted inside an RSS account such as Facebook, Picasa, etc., may take several hours to be deleted on the frame since they are only refreshed 4 times per day.

  • Originally, the keyboard used to send photos to an online email account was only available in alphabetical mode. The latest software update now includes an AZERTY and a QWERTY, as well as an alphabetical keyboard. Email addresses can be saved in a contact list on the Pix-Star website so it is only necessary to type each one in once.

SUPPORTED FILE TYPES for the PIX-STAR FOTOCONNECT XD

Memory Cards:

The following memory cards and media sources are supported:

  • Secure Digital (SD) card up to 32GB
  • Multi-Media Card (MMC)
  • Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC)
  • Flash Drives up to 32GB

Picture Formats:

JPEG, PNG, BMP and GIF are supported.

Audio Files:

MP3 and WAV are supported.

Video Files:

None.

Wireless:

WiFi b/g (WEP/WPA/WPA2). UPnP compliant.

PICTURE FUNCTIONS and ADVANCED FEATURES of the PIX-STAR FOTOCONNECT XD

Automatic Slideshow:

The default slideshow is from the internal memory and will be displayed as soon as the frame is turned on. With over 1GB, this frame could potentially hold 12000 photos in its internal memory.

If another source is desired, it will have to be chosen from the Menu. More than one media source can be inserted at one time but each will have to be selected separately in order to view its contents.

The Pix-Star FotoConnect XD memorizes the last slideshow played by the user and it will always attempt to display the previous slide show, either automatically from the menu or when you switch on the device.

The frame also memorizes the last photo played before a slideshow is exited and will start from that photo the next time the slideshow is started. No longer do we have to wait through the first 1000 photos to get to the last one we were viewing!

Emailing Photos:

The frame will receive emails even if it is turned off.

Each time a picture is received by email, the default mode displays a small icon of an envelope at the top of the screen. There is an open mailbox button on the remote control. When that button is pressed, the frame will display the sender, date & time and subject of each photomail received. The user will than have the option to keep the picture or delete it.

Two other modes for photomail can be found in the System sub-menu of the Settings Menu. These options make it very simple for those who do not or will not want to touch anything on the frame once it is set up. They are as follows:

  • Automatically and Notify:

    In this mode, the frame will automatically add all the incoming photomails to the default slideshow without the need to use the remote to open the mail. A sound will play when a picture arrives.

  • Automatically:

    In this mode, the frame will automatically add all the incoming photomails to the default slideshow without the need to use the remote to open the mail but without any sound or message on the frame.

Rotate and Zoom:

The frame can be rotated to landscape and portrait modes and photos will be automatically rotated to their proper orientation. Permanent rotation can only be applied to photos in the internal memory.

Neither Zooming nor Panning is available with this frame.

Copy and Delete:

Both functions are available for individual photos displayed on the frame.

Frame Orientation of the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD:

The adjustable stand allows the frame to be placed in a horizontal (landscape) or vertical (portrait) mode and the frame will automatically rotate images to the orientation of the frame.

Remote Control:

Pix-Star FotoConnect XD wireless digital frame

The remote control is very user-friendly with buttons that are straight-forward and simple to understand. It has a good range and is very responsive. Because the buttons on the back of the frame are all the same size, it may be easier for most to access the frame's functions and features from the remote, especially if the frame is to be wall-mounted.


Slideshow Settings on the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD:

Time Interval Settings Between Photos

  • 2 seconds
  • 3 seconds
  • 5 seconds
  • 10 seconds
  • 15 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 1 minute
  • 5 minutes
  • 10 minutes
  • 1 hour
  • 12 hours
  • 24 hours

Transition Types Between Photos

There are 8 different transition types available. Each one can be chosen for all the photos in a slideshow or all can be chosen to play randomly.

A collage mode for the photo slideshows is available on the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD.

Recognition of Files and Folders on the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD:

The user has the option to choose what pictures to play (from folders) or to "Play All Pictures".

Clock and Calendar Modes of the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD:

There is a clock with the date as well as the time. There is neither a calendar nor an alarm clock function.

Auto Power On/OFF:

The Pix-Star FotoConnect XD frame can be programmed to turn on/off automatically. Please note that the sleep mode is based on a 24 hour clock.

Resizing Photos on the frame:

By default, photos will be resized automatically to fit the frame.

Languages Supported:

English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Dutch.

ACCESSORIES INCLUDED With the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD

Frame, power cord, remote, stand which attaches to the back of the frame and Getting Started Guide.

COMPATIBILITY

Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Mac

WARRANTY

1 year warranty and tech support.

KUDOS

  • The Pix-Star FotoConnect XD has a number of options for making it easy for people to connect with each other through photos. This wireless frame is not dependent upon online based web content providers such as the now defunct FrameChannel and FrameIt.
  • The company itself offers a completely free website that can pull photos from over 20 online photo-sharing sites (including Facebook) to its frames. This website also offers unlimited photo sharing and email address hosting. Photos can be also be emailed to a frame and to emails from a frame.
  • In addition, the frame is a UPnP/DNLA compliable device and SAMBA support so that photos can be streamed wirelessly from computers on a home network.
  • Internet radio stations as well as weather forecasts can also be accessed through the company website.
  • The photos are crisp and clear and the frame is able to resize photos to an optimal resolution as they are added to the internal memory of the frame. The internal memory of 1GB is actually 1.3GB and can hold up to 12000 photos. Resized photos are usually around 100k each.
  • Automatic on/off scheduling is included.
  • The frame can be used in either landscape or portrait mode and photos will be automatically rotated to the correct orientation. The frame is wall-mountable in either mode.
  • Customer support is excellent and prompt. Email support is particularly responsive. The website offers a blog, FAQs and video tutorials. I found the videos to be a bit outdated and a little hard to follow but everything else was very helpful.
  • Regular software updates are available.
  • 1 hour and 24-hour time intervals between photos are not usual options in most digital frames. For those who enjoy viewing fine art as well as photos on a digital frame, these are welcome options.
  • Wireless setup is easy. The blog on the website has very helpful tips for configuring the Wi-Fi connection.
  • I was particularly impressed that the frame can memorize the last photo played and will start with that photo the next time the slideshow is started (as long as the media source that contains the slideshow is still connected).

CAVEATS

  • There is no zoom or pan function. The company rep stated that they feel it is not a feature that is used much on digital frames and they decided not to include it.
  • Sleep mode is based on a 24-hour clock only.
  • No video is available.

Pix-Star FotoConnect XD
CONCLUSION

When you purchase this frame, you can be pretty certain that no matter where your photos or those of your friends and family reside, you will probably be able to access them. You will be able to listen to the radio and check the weather report as well.

This would be the perfect frame to give to friends and family who are not tech-savvy because all functions and features of the frame can be controlled remotely from the website with no subscription fee involved.

I highly recommend this frame. The many ways available to get photos to the frame gives it a versatility that many other digital frames do not possess.

The company has put a lot of thought into its design, features and functions and continues its support to make sure each frame owner is able to successfully experience the joy of sharing with friends and family through the photos displayed on their frames.


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