Displaying your vacation pictures, and videos, has never been easier! The NIX TS08C Cordless Picture Frame with its auto-rotating screen and touch controls makes it fun to share your pictures and videos with your friends and the whole family. And did I mention that you can drop the power cord because it has a rechargeable battery? Yeah, it’s that good!
From the unboxing I could tell that this was going to be a quality product. The quality of the packaging was a little better than other digital frames that I have purchased at my local retail store, complete with a velvet-type sleeve that contained the frame. When I pick up the frame it feels solid in my hands, and the front surface is beautifully smooth and a very deep black around the edges. It honestly reminds me of the surface of an iPhone or iPod touch. And just like those devices, it picks up fingerprints like nobody’s business. For now, the frame is only available in the U.S. from Amazon.com.
I have purchased a number of picture frames over the past several years, and this frame just feels and looks a little better. I realize that this digital frame is plastic like all the rest of them, but it doesn’t feel as cheap as some of those others. On the back of the frame there is the on/off switch, the power port, a standard headphone jack, and a round connector for attaching the included stand. There are a number of ports on the back of this frame that should meet anyone’s needs for getting pictures onto the frame. There is a mini USB port for connecting this to your computer via the included USB cable, there is a standard USB port for plugging in a jumpdrive, a compact flash slot, and an SD/MMC/MS slot.
The touch controls on the front are very responsive and have excellent sensitivity. I didn’t have to press very hard at all to activate the controls. It is also a nice touch that they glow blue when activated and when not in use the glow fades and they are slightly visible on the black surface . This is a pretty slick touch to me. I will also mention that the included remote has a ton of buttons that are very easy to use, and it allows you to use the frame if it is sitting across the room.
The screen menus are so easy to use, I honestly was able to navigate through the menus and set everything up in a couple of minutes without reading any instructions. I was also a little surprised to discover that I could pull up a listing of files on the device and delete them right there on the screen, as well as copy files from media disks (USB jumpdrive, SD, etc) to the internal storage. I wasn’t as fast at manipulating the files using this method as I was when I had the frame plugged up to my computer with the USB cable, but it is pretty neat being able to copy files from a media disk to the internal storage without a computer.
One outstanding feature with this product that I haven’t seen in any other digital frame is that you simply rotate the screen in your hand and it auto-rotates the image! And it works flawlessly. It also comes with 13 different picture transitions (fades, wipes, zooms, etc) which even include a black&white filter as one of the transitions.
Other features that I haven’t seen in other frames is a calendar with rotating pictures in the lower right corner of the calendar. It also has an alarm clock with 3 different alarms. The manufacturer claims 2 hours of battery life from the frame, and I experienced right at 2 hours of life when simply displaying the pictures. When playing music with the pictures, I got around 90 minutes of life.
I ran into a slight problem when I loaded some of my MPG videos onto the frame. I tried loading one of my videos that I originally created for my website which was 320×240. The video was stretched to fit the frame, and it looked really bad and pixelated. So I created a larger version of the video, 640×480, and loaded it on the frame. It only played the audio of the video and not the video portion. I contacted NIX and they told me the correct audio and video codecs, and I was able to create the video so that it played just fine on the frame. The video looked really good too.
Now for some more technical details that geeks love to read. In addition to everything I have mentioned so far, here are more details about the frame…
- Pictures must be in JPG format, with a maximum size of 4000 x 4000 pixels.
- Videos must be in mpeg4 or AVI format
- Music files must be in mp3 format
- Screen is 4:3 SVGA 800 x 600 resolution, LCD panel with LED back-lighting
- 1.5 watt stereo speakers
- 1 GB internal storage
- Remote control
- Adjustable stand
- Rechargeable battery is Lithium Ion
Now let me compare this frame to it’s main competitor, which is the Kodak Easyshare S370, which is also a cordless digital frame. Let me preface my comments by saying that I have not held the Kodak in my hand and used it. So I am going by the specs that Kodak lists, as well as comments posted by others that talk about the NIX and the Kodak. So some might say it is unfair to compare the 2 since I haven’t used both. But I am gonna do it anyway…
The Kodak uses a Ni-MH battery and the NIX uses a Lithium Ion. I don’t want to argue battery specs, but I personally prefer the LI type. The Kodak doesn’t have the auto-rotation feature. The NIX uses a 4:3 aspect ratio and the Kokak has a 16:9 ratio. Most of my digital pictures are in the 4:3 ratio, so in my case my pictures would look better on the NIX and not have the black bars on the sides like they would on the Kodak. NIX claims that there are 20% more pixels on their screen than the Kodak. I can’t confirm this, but the image quality on the NIX is far superior than any other frame I have seen. The Kodak (as well as many other frames) accepts more file formats (audio, video, and pictures) than the NIX. The NIX is actually pretty limited in this regard in my opinion, so I hope they add more options in the future.
The stand on the back of the NIX frame easily rotates to let you place it on the table in either landscape or portrait orientation, and it allows you to adjust the angle that it sits on the table.
Now let me talk about my gripes…
- There isn’t any power indicator that you can see to tell you when it is getting ready to die. If there is, I missed it. So I couldn’t tell when it was getting ready to turn off.
- The manual doesn’t have any information on the remote, and there are still some buttons on the remote that I have no idea what they are for.
- There wasn’t anything in the manual, on the box, or on the unit itself that told me how much storage was in the frame. I had to look in Windows Explorer to find out how much storage I had.
- The screen image is beautiful, it really is. But I wish I could have increased the brightness more. I maxed out the brightness and wanted it to be brighter. Yes, it would have used more battery, but I am willing to trade those things.
- When you stick a USB jumpdrive in the unit, the frame loads pictures from the jumpdrive first before files on the internal storage. That’s fine, but the only complaint I had was that the jumpdrive sticks out longer than the edge of the frame, so it looks bad to me. I wish the USB port was located differently so that it wouldn’t stick out like that.
The manual was a little lacking in my opinion, but hey, at least I got a manual. I can’t say that about alot of technology products these days. And the guys who wrote the manual actually included a little humor in there, and considering that these guys are Brits, it is even more impressive! Who said Brits are boring and stuffy??!!
A few final things I should mention is that the manual states rather strongly that if you connect this frame to your computer, that you must remove the USB cable properly, by ‘un-mounting’ it in the proper way. If you just unplug the cable without doing it properly, then they say you run the risk of voiding your warranty. I would dare to say that most people are used to just yanking USB cables out, so that might be an issue for some people. NIX says that it can cause you to lose all your pictures on the frame in addition to voiding your warranty. Also, if you use a USB jumpdrive plugged into the frame, any other files on the jumpdrive that are scattered among your pictures (Word docs, PPT files, etc), the picture slideshow on the frame will be messed up, with some pictures not showing up.
In closing I would say that my overall opinion of this product is that it is an outstanding choice for a digital frame. For this price, you won’t find any other frame that has this many features. The quality and workmanship is excellent, and the ease of use is outstanding. And it is just plain cool to watch people rotate the frame and see the expression on their face. Even with the gripes I had, I highly recommend this product.