Identity crisis notwithstanding, there's plenty to commend here. The DF-EM2 is relatively slim--measuring 8.6 inches long by 6.2 inches high and just over 1 inch thick, and weighing 2.1 pounds with the battery attached. The wide-screen LCD measures 7 inches diagonally. With a resolution of just 480x234, it's hardly the sharpest screen of its size we've seen, but it's decent enough, and--after a few adjustments--we were satisfied with the picture quality of the test DVDs we watched. For still photos, we felt the higher-resolution Philips Digital Photo Display 7FF1 did a better job. Yet the DF-EM2's image quality was still higher than some of the "off-brand" photo frames we've reviewed (the Westinghouse DPF-0701 and the Royal PF80, for instance) and audio played sufficiently loud from the player's small speaker.
Media Street has done a good job designing the DF-EM2 to look like a photo frame yet act like a portable DVD player. To prop up the frame, you simply attach the rechargeable battery pack to the back of the unit and--since the pack has rubber feet on both its bottom and side--you can easily shift the frame from standing horizontally to standing vertically. One questionable design decision was the placement of the power adapter inputs: Media Street opted for two inputs on alternating sides of the device, one for when it's horizontal, and one for when it's vertical. While the flexibility is nice, a single input on the back of the device would have seemed a better solution.
Compared to other portable DVD players, the DF-EM2 is fairly loaded, but there are several players in this price range that offer larger screens and similar features. We've reviewed players from Audiovox and Mustek that comes with a memory card slot, USB connectivity, and DivX playback support. The DF-EM2 also comes with a cigarette lighter adapter for charging in a vehicle; if you buy the optional eMotion carrying case kit, you can strap the unit to the back of a car headrest for backseat viewing.
We liked that the DF-EM2 has plenty of picture adjustment options, such as brightness, contrast, sharpness, color, and tint. You can also swap the frame's faceplate for a new one. The device comes with two frames--one, matte silver and the second, mirrored--yet more are available for purchase. (It's worth mentioning that we had to change faceplates when watching movies as the mirrored frame was distracting.) There is also a small remote that offers a decent amount of wireless control. The device's battery life is rated at 2.5 hours (yet we managed get closer to 3 hours during testing) for DVD watching.
Overall, the DF-EM2 performs well as a DVD player but leaves something to be desired as a photo frame. Similar to other multimedia-capable portable DVD players (we consider the Audiovox and Mustek players in this group), the photo display capabilities of the DF-EM2 are more a well-meaning afterthought than main attraction. For example, you can playback photos sequentially in a slide-show format, but you can't set intervals or transitions between images--and the slide show can't loop. To make up for this deficiency, Media Street includes ArcSoft's DVD Slide Show software, which allows you to create your own slide shows on a Windows PC and then burn them to DVD. That's all well and good, but we'd prefer if the player itself had real slide-show functionality.
The DF-EM2 eMotion Multimedia Digital Picture Frame DVD Player is a decent device that doesn't quite measure up to its even-better concept. But that concept is definitely an appealing one, and we expect to see more combination photo frames/video players as the category evolves. If you're interested in a portable DVD player that you can stick on your desk and turn into a photo frame when it's not playing DVDs, the DF-EM2 is a good option. But if you're looking for a quality digital photo frame too, you should probably keep searching--or wait until Media Street (or some other manufacturer) creates a more perfect union.