We're big fans of digital picture frames. The ability to sit down on a sofa with your friends and family and flick through an entire albums worth of photos on an elegant, simple to use device beats rummaging around for a laptop or passing round your digital camera, any day. Moreover, rather than having two dozen photo frames bunched up in the corner of your living room or adorning the walls along your staircase, just a couple of strategically positioned digital frames will provide you with all your family favourites - or in some cases embarrassments! So, digital picture frames are the way forward, but what of this particular model from the relatively unknown Momento?
Well, the i-mate's big selling point is inbuilt WiFi, which can be used to receive photos either directly from your PC or, using the MomentoLive service, via email, MMS, or from RSS and Flickr feeds. You can even invite other people to access your frame and send pictures to it. Just imagine coming home to find brand new pictures, of your friend's holiday or your grandchildren taking their first steps, already loaded onto your picture frame ready for you to look at. So long as you trust who you give access to the facility, it makes for quite a fun feature.
Unfortunately, you only get a three month free subscription to these online services, after which you'll have to pay £19.99 a year. Obviously this isn't a huge amount but, as you'll see later, when the functionality of the frame takes a dive without these services, the value of the frame itself comes into question.
First impressions are very good with a simple matt white inner frame nestled in a clear Plexiglass outer frame making for a suitably sleek yet unobtrusive look. Given it's nearly identical to the Philips frame we looked at back in February, the design can't exactly be called original but it is certainly a classic that should look good in almost any setting.
Build quality isn't quite so impressive and the frame lets off the odd squeak and rattle as you manhandle it. It won't fall apart anytime soon, I'm sure, but for a device that's meant to be held and passed around, it's these little tactile elements that make all the difference. Also, the stand is attached by a screw, which requires undoing if you want to flip the frame from vertical to horizontal. This is a cumbersome solution and I don't see any reason why a single corner stand, like that on the Philips frame, couldn't have been used instead. There's also no options for wall mounting but, considering you'd need to have an unsightly power cable hanging from the bottom, this isn't a major oversight.