Recently 2 new digital frames with a built-in photo printing features were announced. One was the Sony DPP-700 the other is Mimo’s iMo Foto Frame. While both manufacturers hope “easy printing convenience” will be a desirable feature, consumers may ask some simple questions that ultimately determine if these frames a worth buying.
Sony’s new printing frame has a 7-inch 800 x 480 WVGA screen, include in it are 21 different time and date templates, 1GB of internal memory, a micro SD card slot and a USB interface. Its built-in printer produces 4 x 6-inch photos with a resolution of 300 x 300 dpi. The Sony DPP-F700, for sale in mid-November, has a suggested list price of $290. Compatible color print packs include SVM-F40P, F120P, F40L1, and F120L.
Mimo’s iMo, which at $229.99 is priced $60 lower than the Sony frame, features a 8-inch 800×600 LCD display and photo card slots for CD, SD, MS, MMC and xD cards, a remote control and a USB interface as well. Its built in printer is able to produce 4-inch x 6-inch photos with 300×300dpi resolution. The frame comes with paper cartridge for 36 prints. Mimo also offers a 24 print replacement cartridge.
Both of these 2 new “printing” frames enter the segment of the market that until now was only occupied by Smartparts. Smartparts just introduced their SP8PRT 8-Inch Digital Picture Frame into the market in the first quarter of this year. Surprisingly, while the SP8PRT originally had a list price of $299.99 it currently is selling for only $84.58 on Amazon! I gotta admit that at that price, which equates to a 72% discount, I can’t help but wonder why they already are so deeply discounted. Hmmmm…..
Anyway, before consumers buy any one of these frames they will surely have a few questions about digital printing frames such as:
- What is the actual single print cost compared to a traditional photo lab print?
- What is the quality of the photo print? Will the image last or fad?
- Will photos, that require a lot of one color, use up so much of that specific color that ultimately it reduces the cartridges print output so that it is less than 36 prints?
- How readily available locally will the replacement print cartridges be? Are replacement print cartridges only available on-line?
- Will the cartridges dry up if not used often enough?
- Would it be wiser to invest in a new home printer that also has photo printing capabilities?
- If a frame is discontinued will cartridges still be available?
I do know that currently the print cartridges w/paper for all 3 frames are available and each has a list prices of $19.99. That means a single print from a cartridge that prints 36, 4×6-inch prints cost will about 55¢ each. However, since I could not find a local store that carried any cartridges, I had to factor in an additional $7 to $10 for shipping. When you add shipping fees a single print will cost about 72¢ to 83¢ each. Will consumers perceive this “convenience” as an expensive luxury when compared to the typical 4×6 photo print at a local drug store that costs about 19¢?
So while instant printing might initially seem like a nice convenience, in these tough economic times when every penny counts, Sony and Mimo’s frames might not be worth it when the consumers realizes that they can easily upload/take a picture file and get an inexpensive print at a local drug, grocery or big box store conveniently located in their neighborhood for only 19¢. Plus, they won’t need to spend a great deal of time running around trying to find a replacement print cartridges or paying extra in shipping fees should the cartridge only be available on line.
Ultimately the consumer will decide if digital frames with the convenience of built in printers is an added expense that is really worth taking a chance on. But, what ever the consumer finally does decide, I bet right now Sony and Mimo would like to know what Smartparts knows.