Picture Snob

May 28, 2008

Smartparts SP8PRT: Is it a Digital Picture Frame or a Printer?

smartparts_SP8PRT.jpgWelp, you guessed it -- it's both. And it's got the clunky body to prove it. In theory, the SP8PRT sounds like a plausible product. In actuality, we are sorry to report that this offering feels a bit premature with undeveloped features making this a questionable investment at $250.

To be frank, this is a picture frame with a thermal-dye printer mounted on its backside. From the front it looks like a frame, and acts like a frame, but at an angle you'll see the hulking girth -- obviously you can't mount this puppy on a wall and you'll want to choose placement carefully to draw attention away from the printer growth.

Frame supports USB keys and camera memory cards, plays movies and sound. There is no way to connect a computer to this frame -- all file transfers, displaying of images and printing is done through the USB keys and memory cards. (Great.) There are no editing capabilities aside from the ability to rotate photos. Remote control included.

Printer uses a continuous roll of paper and a single "ink cartridge" (technically called a "dye pack"). The roll paper means it will be thinner than your average photo paper and tend to curl. (Great.) Prints are limited to 4x6. On the bright side, color is good and photos are water-resistant and scratch-resistant. Smartparts has no data that guarantees the color-fastness of the prints, so it remains a mystery how long a print will last. (Great.) In addition, when compared to printing from a dedicated photo printer, which costs about 25-30 cents per photo, the SP8PRT is practically double at about 55.5 cents per photo.

All this kind of leaves us scratching our heads. For now, keep your digital picture frames and photo printers separate. We're grading it an Incomplete. (via PCMAG)

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Posted by Susan Moriarty at May 28, 2008 6:01 AM
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