Wow. When they say plug-and-play, they mean it. From box to streaming in under 10 minutes.

No swearing. No frantic calls to the neighbor’s dorky teenager. No software to load. No written-in-every-language-but-one-you-can-understand instruction manual.

Even had my hometown weather forecast broadcasting sunny skies by entering my zip code with a quick tap, tap, tap on the screen.

Easy. Fast. Wi-Fi. Fun!

This is my kinda gadget.

I thought the older 8-inch eStarling frame was cool with its wireless connectivity and  dedicated email address. We gave one to my parents a few years back and it’s still a huge hit.

After all, there it sits on their coffee table, when suddenly a picture of my sister and me hiking in the south of France, for example, flashes onto the screen.  E-mailed from my global BlackBerry straight to the frame. Or, a photo of my brother, who lives in Salt Lake City, pops up as he swishes down the slopes of Park City. How cool is THAT? The enjoyment and connection the picture frame provides is amazing. No wonder it was one of the most popular items in my 2009 Holiday Gift Guide for Traveling Photographers.

But eStarling couldn’t leave well enough alone. They ratcheted-up the fun by adding a 10.2-inch touchscreen, twitter™, Flickr™, RSS feed and Gmail™connectivity to their new TouchConnect digital frame. So now, not only can you enjoy photos AND VIDEO emailed to the WiFi frame, you can follow friends and family on the social networks you already enjoy. Nice!

Favorite feature: If you’ve already uploaded tens of thousands of private photos to sites like Flickr™, facebook™ and Picasa™, the eStarling TouchConnect can be enabled to access photos already on these photo-sharing sites. Now, everytime my friend Ute Hagen in Mexico uploads another masterpiece to her Flickr photostream, it pops up on my screen and makes me miss her just a little bit less.

Not-so-favorite feature: The price. At $199.00, it’s a little pricier than my budget would like. But it’s already dropped in price (released at $249.00) and eStarling is currently offering free shipping on orders placed on their website:

Bottom Line: It’s the next best thing to being there.

Send me a photo! I’d love it. You can find me on Twitter and Facebook.


- Touchscreen interface for easy navigation
- Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n (WEP64, WEP128, WPA1, WPA2) connectivity
- RJ45 wired connectivity
- 10.2” 16:9 800x480 digital LCD
- 2GB on-board flash memory
- SD media card support
- Over-the-air automatic firmware updates with application expansion
- Remote photo album via Gmail™
- Sync with social photo applications like Picasa™, Facebook™, and Flickr™
- Update your status and follow interesting people with the Twitter™ client
- Check the day’s events with Google Calendar™
- Current weather conditions by zip code (USA) or WOEID
- Plays emailed videos of up to 20MB in size.
- RTC-powered automatic shutdown feature for reliability and saving energy
- External AC Adapter (Input AC100-240V 50/60Hz, Output: 12V 2A)
- Wall mount capability
- Sturdy 4” metal stand
- Weight: 2.4 lbs.
- Dimensions: ~ 7.6” H x 11.1” W x 1.4” D


 Available for purchase at and The Travel Store at powered by Amazon.


About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel expert Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of and Learn more here and connect on Twitter at,FacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.


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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".