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Connected World Issue June/July 2014
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CEIVA Pro 80

CEIVA Pro 80
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Price: $179.99
Manufacturer: CEIVA
Average Rating: Not Rated

Photo Sharing Made Simple

Okay I’ll admit it; I’m that girl. You know, that girl who doesn’t go anywhere without her camera? In fact on a day with a particularly good chance of memories being made, I could have up to three cameras with which to snap that perfect shot—my Nikon DSLR (usually lovingly towed by my husband); my Casio point-and-shoot, perfect for my purse; and of course, my cellphone camera for instant share-ability.

Considering what I’ve just admitted, you may find it hard to believe that when my husband and I announced we were moving across the country from Phoenix to Chicago, the No. 1 request from our family and friends was to “take lots of pictures.”

Since our move, I’ve been happy to oblige. In fact, taking pictures is hardly the problem; it’s sharing them that can get cumbersome. Sometimes I feel as if I spend more time downloading and uploading photos to PicasaWeb, Blogger, Facebook, Snapfish, etc., than I spend making the memories themselves.

It wasn’t until my AZ family and I were given the chance to demo a couple of CEIVA Pro 80 digital photo frames that I realized how much easier and faster photo sharing could be—all thanks to M2M technology.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, after several instances of trying to swap pictures by exchanging memory cards and even mailing USB sticks full of files, I’d say a picture is sometimes worth a few curse words as well. Therefore, my top concerns going into the CEIVA demo were time commitment and level of simplicity, or ease of use. Let’s face it, if it’s complicated, it ain’t gonna happen—no matter how great the frame’s ‘display quality’ is. (It’s quite good, by the way.)

The first order of business, and possibly the frame’s most crucial test, was ease of set up. Here’s how it went using my wireless network: 1. Register frame on; 2. Plug power cord and wireless adapter into frame; 3. Connect device to wireless network (it automatically finds those in range); 4: Type in email addresses of family and friends you want to receive photos from, then dispatch ready-made invitations with instructions.

My assessment on set up? Not so bad. You could probably do all of this in the time it takes your spaghetti noodles to boil. You will, however, need to know the name of your wireless network (ours is unmistakable … “Hogwarts”) and your wireless passcode if, like me, you’re paranoid about Wi-Fi piggybackers.

The CEIVA Pro 80 only needs to be set up once. After that, the built-in connectivity enables instant photo streaming and unlimited photo storage in the cloud. Physical connections through a phone line or a broadband adapter are also possible. CEIVA can also stream news, sports scores, and local weather to the frame.

Most importantly, CEIVA frame owners are able to send and receive photos from anywhere in the world—in my case, the Arizona desert to the Windy City and back. Unlike traditional digital photo frames, this connected device seamlessly automates the upload process, making it more simple, and more fun.

Next on my agenda was to wirelessly load some pictures to my frame. I tested a number of methods: I downloaded the plugin for iPhoto and exported photos from my laptop, I emailed a photo to the frame using a CEIVA-generated address, and I sent one from my camera phone.

I then bribed friends and family members to send some photos to our frame, and they arrived almost instantly. Default settings tell the frame to automatically connect and download new photos once per day. I changed mine to twice per day. You can also manually refresh using the onscreen menu. Sixty photos are allowed per download.

If I had to make a “wish list” for my new CEIVA frame, I’d enjoy a touchscreen. At least a half-dozen times so far I have tried to select menu options with my finger. Perhaps the display quality would suffer, but with all the gadgets that let me navigate with my digits, I just can’t help but occasionally poke the screen out of habit.

With three nephews and a niece 1,500 miles away, all under the age of 10, you can imagine how great it is to receive updated pictures with very little effort on anyone’s part. And in a few months when our next nephew is born, you can bet my husband and I will be waiting for those first baby pics to stream from someone’s camera phone across the country to our frame.

So will this gadget solve the issue of uploading photos to multiple places? No; not in my use-case. But consider how this technology takes photo sharing to a whole new level for say, people who don’t interact via the Internet? For instance, if CEIVA wanted to send me a couple more devices, I could set up my 96-year-old Great Grandma Betty and a few other techno-recluse relatives with frames and I am confident they would love the experience.

Anyone who has looked into buying a digital photo frame knows they are not cheap. The CEIVA Pro 80 goes for around $180. This includes a One-Year PicturePlan, which gives you unlimited storage and photo streaming. After the first year, PicturePlan services start at $6.95 per month.

If you’re considering a digital frame, this one has lots of fun functionalities and is truly easy to use. If your goal is to share your photos, and have photos shared with you, a connected frame is definitely the way to go.

The “instant gratification” factor is a huge motivation to actually use the device, instead of letting it collect dust on your shelf. I also enjoy the element of surprise when I get home and see new photos waiting for me. Soon after unpacking my CEIVA frame, it became less of a mantelpiece and more of a centerpiece. For picture-lovers like me, this is M2M technology at its best. —Bethanie Hestermann

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CEIVA Pro 80
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CEIVA Pro 80
Click to enlarge
CEIVA Pro 80
Click to enlarge