Consumer Review: eStarling ImpactV Clip Frame, Wifi Frame That Plays Video Clips!!!
You May Want To Think Twice About This One...
I ordered the eStarling ImpactV, because I came across a few gadget blogs, where nothing but praise was given on the eStarling ImpactV. The features all seemed too good to be true.
Mostly though, the ImpactV is the first wifi digital photo frame that will play video clips. That alone sold me. I have a lot of video clips just sitting on Photobucket, and I thought it would be awesome to be able to finally put them to use in my home, instead of hidden on photobucket, where no one ever views them.
I also loved the promised features of being able to upload my photobucket photos directly to the frame with just a click of a button.
Besides that though, the eStarling ImapactV also will grab photos from RSS Feeds, social networks like Facebook, and will also grab your photos from other sites you may have your photos sitting at. Picassa, Flickr, Photobucket, etc.
After I got my eStarling ImpactV Clip Frame in the mail from Amazon.com for a decent price of $199.99, I went ahead and ripped open the box. I was excited to see just how well this wifi frame would work for me.
The first thing I noticed about the eStarling ImpactV was that it came with only a manual on how to hook the frame up to my home wifi network. I didn't need a manual for this though, it's all pretty basic and easy. What I did need though was an instruction book on how to make the frame work after setting it up to the network. Unfortunately there is no such instructions in the box.
In the box though, I had the gorgeous 8 inch frame, a remote, and a wall plug to turn the digital photo frame on.
I figured that it would be easy to set up, I mean hell, they didn't add a manual, so likely it would all be easy breezy from here right?
After setting the frame up to my wifi network, on the frames screen it gave me a code. I had to plug this code in at seeframe.com, or eStarling.com (it does not matter which you use, both sites are basically the same) in order to activate the ImpactV.
After plugging my activation code in, another screen popped up where I had to add in my information, and assign my ImpactV an email address of its own. This email address can be given to friends and family so they too can send you photos directly to the ImpactV.
Once that was all set up, a screen pops up on the ImpactV saying that my frame is ready to go, and to send it some photos.
I went back to the seeframe.com website to try and find help on going about sending photos to the frame. I found nothing but a brief answer that made no sense, nor was of any help.
I pecked around the site, till I figured out on my own how to upload pictures from my computer to the seeframe site. These photos I figured would show right up on the frame just a few minutes after I uploaded them. Only it never happened.
Next I decided to try out the photobucket way of sending photos. I clicked on the photobucket tab, and had to sync my seeframe account with my photobucket account in order for my photos to show up on the seeframe website.
After my photos arrived into my seeframe account, I noticed they also were not being sent to the ImpactV.
It annoyed me, so I went seeking answers in the help section. Unfortunately nothing was written out to help me figure the frame out. In fact the only thing they have written out has to do with older models of the eStarling Wifi frames. Seeing that the ImpactV is their newest model, there is nothing updated on it in the help section.
I found that to be pretty ridiculous, so I contacted customer service for help, and still, days later they have yet to reply. Yay!!!!
After pulling my hair out for hours and hours, I went onto the seeframe main page where a list of tabs are. All of the tabs I had set to start, so I figured I may as well try and set them all to stop, and only set photobucket to start.
Finally photos began to send to the wifi frame.
It was an annoying ordeal, and frustrating, especially seeing that eStarling or Seeframe didn't bother to add in that this step was needed. Pretty lazy of them if you ask me.
This was not the last frustration I had with the eStarling ImpactV though.
1. The ImpactV will not send photos in order. Instead they are shuffled around and play in any old order they feel like playing. It's pretty stupid when you took your time on the seeframe sight to upload photos in a particular order, and then they show up all out of whack.
2. The ImpactV does not play video automatically!!!! Yes, this was by far the most ridiculous thing about the frame!
In order to have video clips play on this frame you have to hit the enter button on the remote, or you have to hit the enter button on the frames right side border touchscreen.
I found it to be extremely stupid and senseless that the 'Clip Frame' needed prompting in order to play video clips!
3. The wifi frame also will delete and display photos randomly without any rhyme or reason.
Just last night I had it set up to send photobucket photos. When I turned it on, it all worked fine, and then about an hour into going through the slide show, it decided to only show 4 photos, the other photos vanished.
4. I have around 1,700 photos on photobucket. The Seeframe/eStarling site only recognizes 198 of them for some odd reason.
5. The ImpactV comes with an auto timer that you can set. I have mine set up to turn on at 3pm, and to turn off at 11pm. Now the off feature works great, and the wifi frame shuts down at exactly 11pm. Unfortunalty though, it never bothers to turn itself on at 3pm.
All in all, the eStarling ImpactV seems to have a mind of its own. I however was led to believe that I'd be the one controlling its mind, but really it's the other way around.
The ImpactV dispalys photos in no particular order, it deletes photos without a reason, it needs prompting in order to play video, it has issues taking orders. I say show photobucket photos, and it shows only 200 of them, than an hour later deletes all of them, but 4?
Without any help instructions, I am left in the dark till seeframe, or eStarling creates a help manual, or better yet, leaves a frigging contact phone number for customers who are having similar issues to call.
It is just so unfortunate too, because the ImpactV is gorgeous when it actually feels like working. The frame dispays photos on it's beautiful flat screen; 800x600 resoultion.
The sleek shiny design is also very beautiful. Unfortunatley though the wifi frame has issues, and for the price tagged on to this frame, I don't think it is worth it at this time. For me, it feels like the ImpactV is in its beta stages, and it still needs a lot of work.