Dragon Touch was founded in 2011 as a manufacturer of affordable Tablet PC products. The Chinese (Shenzen) company also has a subsidiary in the US and claims to be the most popular budget tablet brand on Amazon today.
As tablets are often used as digital picture frames, the company decided to launch a line of digital frames under their brand name.
So I send them an email and asked for a review unit to take a closer look. The Dragon Touch Digital Photo Frame Classic 10 landed on my doorsteps a few days later and I took it for a test drive. Here is my review.
My tests are unbiased. There are no financial or material donations to be disclosed. Dragon Touch has supplied me with a review unit for this test.
The Dragon Touch Digital Photo Frame Classic 10 comes with the frame, a screw-on white stand, a power supply, and a manual.
I read through the “Getting Started” page on the frame, looked at the enclosed manual and went to work.
This is the first digital picture frame that I have tested that comes with a touch screen. I guess with a heritage in tablet PC products, this is an obvious choice and allows Dragon Touch to benefit from the scale effects of the supposedly much larger tablet sales.
Setting it up
The first agenda item is the connection to your local WiFi network. As it is a touchscreen, there is no need to use a remote control with up and down buttons but you just type your password.
Next, you enter your language, time zone and location. Then, you’ll get to a page with the FRAME ID.
Download the iOS or Android app searching for “ourphoto”. The iOS app at the time of writing had a one-star rating despite having been updated recently (the Android app was last updated in May 2020 but also has a poor rating of 2.7 out of 5), but I summoned my courage and went ahead.
In the phone app, tap on “Devices” and on “+” in “My Devices”.
Fill in the information, under Email by using your Frame ID as the name of your frame and use the same for the email prefix.
Click on “Bind” and go back to your frame under Settings and accept the pending user request.
Add friends and family
To allow friends & family to send images to your frame, they also need to download the “ourphoto” app on their iOS or Android phone and create an account.
Give them your Frame ID which they enter under “Bound Devices” under both Frame Name and Frame ID.
Take your frame, click on “Settings – User Management” and accept the user request. This process can also be done via email, but since you need the app anyway to upload images, I don’t see the advantage of using the email option.
You can also add photos via your desktop by connecting to the server via FTP. However, I guess this is beyond what the typical digital picture frame user will be able to do. And although I was able to connect to the FTP server, I could not upload any images. A browser app would have been a more useful solution.
You can also just add photos via an SD card and USB slot. You can playback the photos either by storage medium or altogether.
Mobile App woes
Next, I wanted to upload images from my iPhone camera roll. This was quite a complicated process, and it didn’t work very well. The app was often non-responsive, and the thumbnail preview of the images didn’t work. Maybe this is due to the recent update to iOS 14. When I hear back from Dragon Touch’s support, I will update this section.
So I chose a few random images, unsure which ones, as I saw just an empty square placeholder. Only after uploading, the thumbnails appeared. You pick your frame under “Connected Devices” and send them off.
You will now see the photos on the home screen. Tap once, to get to the photo subsection, and tap again on one of the images which will start the slideshow.
By the way, you can get rid of the button in the upper left corner which takes you back to the home screen and allows for the setting of the speaker volume for videos. It took me a while to figure that out. It’s called “suspended ball” in the Display Settings.
I have to admit that I was a bit frustrated with the mobile app because the user interface was so un-intuitive and buggy. I started to understand why the app was rated rather poorly by other users. Hopefully, there is a major update in the works.
On the positive side, you can choose from a number of image transitions, and set the slideshow interval.
Videos will play with sound and you can even set an alarm. The display quality is ok but there is quite a bit of reflection.
You can either put it on a desk or mount it on a wall.
I must admit, I am a bit torn. It would have been good if Dragon Touch had put more effort into designing and maintaining a proper software ecosystem.
Having poorly designed software used in a digital picture frame is exactly the reason why people stopped using them ten years ago and gave them such a bad reputation. A buggy app with poor reviews just kills the user experience.
It confirms my experience that besides design (and not everybody needs an exclusive design like e.g. Aura) it’s the ease of use that will win the hearts and minds of the often more mature user base of digital photo frames.
The Dragon Touch is sometimes confusing to set up. Unfortunately, it isn’t even priced so cheaply that you can disregard the mobile app and just use the SD card slot. Nixplay’s Non-Wifi models are more affordable and have very usable software.
Dear Dragon Touch product managers: The hardware specs are alright but please get the software fixed in a future release!