Picture viewers/editors for the Pocket PC platform

Author: Werner 'Menneisyys' Ruotsalainen, member of the Pocket PC magazine Board of Experts 2005, owner of WinMobileTech.com, tech writer, PPCMag forum moderator, frequent contributor to, say, PPCMag/FirstLoox/PPCT/Brighthand/PDAMania.hu etc. forums

Last edited: 23.06.2005 16:56.

 

Please note that I've completely redesigned the benchmarks - now, my results are much more reproducable and easier to understand. I haven't had the time to completely update the 'Testing methologies' chapter to reflect the changes yet. However, the first section describing individual programs and the trailing table has been thoroughly updated. I'll continue updating them, though, particularly now that I'll write a lot on batch modes.

 

This version has a lot of new benchmark and EXIF compatibility info; also info on the latest Resco, XnView etc. versions.

 

Picture viewers/editors for the Pocket PC platform.. 1

PDA's as Digital Photo Wallets and In-the-field editor / uploader tools. 2

The Pictures application in WM2003+. 3

ACDSee Mobile 1.0. 4

Fujitsu-Siemens Album.. 5

(Westtek) iPAQ Viewer 2.12. 6

Resco Picture Viewer 5.32. 6

PDAMill Viewer 7

XnView 1.31. 7

CEPicture 2.7. 8

Spb Imageer 1.2. 9

Aidem Pocket Painter 2.11. 10

Aidem Photo Explorer 2.01. 10

Conduits Pocket Artist 3.0. 11

PHM Slideshow.. 12

Mobile Pencil 2.20. 12

Mobile Atelier 12

RPhoto 2.0. 13

PQV 3.0.10. 13

Dava 2.0.5. 16

iView 1.0.0.1603. 17

Avantgarde Digital Digivue 1.1. 17

Picture Perfect 5.14s. 17

PictPocket Cinema 4.0. 19

Glass Lantern's PocketLoupe 1.71b. 20

Photogenics 1.0 Release 139. 20

Pocket Phojo V3.0 release 256. 21

SplashPhoto 4.32. 22

Testing methologies. 23

In-the-field digicam users. 24

Image Wallet/slideshow- users. 29

Some other benchmarks. 31

Additional system tools/utilities. 32

Conclusion. 33

Small, but otherwise good picture viewers without editing features. 33

Advanced slideshow capabilities, excellent speed & picture quality - Resco and Spb Imageer 33

Advanced adjusting capabilities; on-the-field digicam support 33

Standardized EXIF reading and compatibility test results. 34

Main feature & non-EXIF-benchmark table. 35

 

PDA's as Digital Photo Wallets and In-the-field editor / uploader tools

 

PDA's are extremely good Digital Photo Wallets, especially now that VGA devices have hit the market and flash memory prices have plummeted. A PDA with an 1+ Gbyte memory card can hold even tens of thousands of VGA-sized JPEG pictures of acceptable (40-50% JPEG quality) quality. Think of it: the depth of some 20-30 standard photos stacked together can even be bigger than the depth of a VGA PDA, the latter holding tens of thousands of photos.

 

Another good usability area of PDA's is image quick post-processing/uploading/sharing, just after taking the photos, still on-the-field, without using any desktop computer. No, or, very few digital camera offer for example image cropping, image adjusting (not even the simplest brightness / contrast adjustments), red-eye removal (except for some automatic red-eye removal algorithms in, for example, the latest HP PhotoSmart R series) and the like. Advanced features are completely missing like applying filters to photos, drawing on them or adding IPTC caption information and/or EXIF UserComment and/or ImageDescription. And, a digicam won't have a 3.5+" touch screen :)

 

What's the point in all this "in the field" picture editing, you may ask. Why not wait for a desktop computer, or lugging around a notebook? The answer is simple: today's connected (!), powerful, preferably VGA PDA's are very good alternatives to desktop/laptop computers, especially at quick editing / cropping and sending/sharing images. The reader is referred to the "Benefits of Pocket Phojo Compared to a Laptop" section at http://www.idruna.com/pocketphojo.html to get a picture of the advantages and possible usage areas of the "in-the-field" pic editing (and, incidentally, uploading). (Please note that I'm in no way associated with Idruna. It's just that I've found their ads the "best fit" for what I wanted to say.)

 

I've planned the test to simulate both uses of a PDA. I didn't really pay attention to the third use, the painting programs - the only exceptions I've made are two freeware applications. I've only included them so that readers know whether a given image editing app is worth buying alone for its image editing, filtering etc. capabilities.

 

First, the in-the-field use of a PDA to browse unedited, uncompressed (and, therefore, big) JPEG files on a memory card, straight taken out of a digicam. I've paid special attention to the ability to read (and correctly display) EXIF thumbnails, the speed of accessing pictures, the various editing/image touching capabilities of the apps. Also, I've scrutinized their online capabilities: do they support easy distibution of the images over a Wi-Fi, or, worse, a GPRS/EDGE/3G connection?

 

One of the most important questions is compatibility and EXIF thumbnail reading speed. I've tested the apps with images from 41 different camera brands to test their compatibility; 36 of these cameras have hit the shelves in the last 12 months.

 

Another, very important question is whether the application is able to save high-resolution (say, 16 Mpixel) images at all, or it downscales (generally to 2 Mpixel) during saving. Unfortunately, very few image editor applications are capable of this.

 

Second, the "classic" usage of a photo wallet: several hundred pictures converted into VGA size (I used 40% quality; therefore, the average sizes of the files were between 6k and 63k; converted mostly with the freeware PictureTray ( http://picturetray.com/ )) and put all of them in a directory, of which I've watched a slideshow. It's probably the most common usage of PDA's when used as digital photo wallets.

 

Several hundred? - you may ask. Yeah, it was one of my "torture tests". Very few people would do the same. Actually, neither would I (I keep my images on my PDA's in a strict directory structure, with no more than 200-300 pictures in one directory). It was still good to see that most of the applications still didn't crash upon stepping into directories and/or reading the thumbnails. Furthermore, this was the only test, in addition to the 14 Mpixel Kodak test where I didn't use images with (standard) EXIF thumbnails. This is why most pic viewer applications spent even 8-10 minutes to create the thumbnail images of them.

 

Because most applications can be used as both in the field editing tools AND (semi-)automated picture viewers, I didn't create two separate categories for them. However, upon introducing a given application, I've emphasized its capabilities and whether it's usable as either an editing tool or a slideshow'er or both.

 

Now, I introduce the applications and then, I elaborate more on the actual tests I've done.

 

(Please note that I haven't reviewed IA Album because it is no longer sold.)

The Pictures application in WM2003+

 

The operating system of new(er) Pocket PC PDA's, WM2003(SE) already comes (except for some, including WM2003 Professional - as opposed to Premium - devices - e.g., the iPAQ 1930/1940, where they have to be separately installed into RAM) with a built-in picture viewer, Pictures, which can be a handy tool in some cases. A sample image of the app is here. Its greatest advantage that it is always available, even after a (maybe unwanted, spontaneous) hard reset, because it's a ROM-based program. It's also free. It, however, isn't the fastest image viewer and offers very few adjustment / image editing capabilities. For example, it is only able to export JPG files in one quality setting; its adjustment capabilities are restricted to manual brightness / contrast adjustments and the only two other functions it has are cropping and rotating. It, however, supports saving even 14-16 Mpixel images (on a decent, 128M RAM device; on my 2210 with 64M RAM, I wasn't able to save images of that size), in which it is clearly better than most of the other image viewer/editor apps.

 

Its real strength lies in being the best free WM2003SE application to set a Today wallpaper that is immune to the problems plaguing other wallpaper setters resulting from the VGA mode and the two orientations (tiling problems, wrong DPI etc.).

 

Because of the overall sluggishness and the lack of real painting/ drawing/ adjustment capabilities of Pictures, I have always been interested in 3rd party solutions for the PPC. Fortunately, there're quite a few such Pocket PC applications out there, with greatly varying capabilities. My goal was to give you a comprehensible and, most importantly, comparative review of them, so that you know what to expect from a given application and how it fares against the competition.

 

ACDSee Mobile 1.0 http://www.acdsystems.com/English/Products/WinCE/index?LAN=englishX10

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test (forced VGA mode; taken of a downscaled, 800*600, 70% JPG quality image because of ACDSee's incompatibilities.)

 

(Please note that I've used this picture to give a shot of all the programs because it clearly shows whether the givem app uses dithering even in 16-bit screen mode (the default for all current PDA's) - check out the subtle color grades of the sky! Also, it shows whether there is some kind of an advanced shrinking algorithm, which can be very important in Image Wallet-type functionality to avoid jagged lines. Compare, for example, Resco's, Aidem's or Spb Imageer's rendition of the same image to this and you'll see the difference. The original was taken with a Nikon Coolpix 2000 by me in middle-Finland, July 2004 and can be downloaded from here. Also note that I've also mentioned in what mode the image in question has been captured. If I had to "force" the given application in plain SE mode to display the image in with VGA resolution, I've said so. The same stands for the "true" VGA mode with PQV. In other cases, when the given application is VGA compliant even in SE, I haven't mentioned anything additional.)

 

Who does not know ACDSee on the desktop? Few people. Unfortunately, this doesn't apply to the PPC version, which is almost useless. It's very hard to find any image that doesn't cause this program to crash. For its price, this app is definitely a no-go.

 

Pros:

-         some additional basic image editing functionality (resize/crop/ adjust, but no drawing)

-         the only program, in addition to Pocket Artist 3.0, that uses the standard EXIF ImageDescription, without recompression, to add textual notes. All the other programs either add nonstandard headers and/or put the notes into separate files and/or recompress the file after adding the header. Now if only it could read ANY real-world camera file...

Cons:

-         can only be used to check out small (generally under 100 kbytes) images. It immediately exists upon loading larger size (>100k) files. Reads 640*480 small (!) test pics w/o probs. Should, therefore, only be used with pre-converted small pics, NOT to check your freshly-taken digicam memory cards.

-         price

-         likes to otherwise crash too (e.g. at reverting to saved images)

-         quite bad thumbnail algorithm: it is not only slow at loading, but also caches quite bad. After some minutes of loading thumbnails, only the first 60-70 image thumbnails can be instantly browsed; consequent thumbnails have to be waited for with increasing waiting time. For example, if you move to the first page of the thumbnails (which are always rendered at once), and then back to the last (say, the 840th thumbnail), it takes some 5-10 seconds for the program to render the thumbnails this area. Most of the other apps cache thumbnails in memory much better.

-         unlike most other apps, can't display pictures in full screen landscape mode

Verdict: there is no point in buying this one, mostly because of the lack of the full screen landscape mode in slideshow mode if you plan to use it strictly as a slideshower app. Useless for a digicam photo browser - again, it can only be used to show heavily pre-compressed files.

Fujitsu-Siemens Album

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

This slideshower/ pic viewer (it has no image editing capabilties at all!) app is free for Fujitsu-Siemens Pocket Loox 720 users. Really nothing to say - you get what you pay for. It's OK if you don't have anything else, but, in most cases, there're much better applications for both tasks. It has a big disadvantage when used as a slideshow viewer: it displays the wait symbol when loading the next image. Unless you don't do anything to completely hide the system-level wait symbol by using a one pixel-tall/wide wait symbol like the one at http://discussion.brighthand.com/attachment.php?s=&postid=635554 as described at http://www.masellis.com/wait/create.htm, it will really be annoying.

 

Pros:

-         free for PL720 users

-         one of the very few programs that DO dithering even in 16-bit-mode, making e.g. the sky's graded colors much prettier. It introduces little noise during this, unlike some other dithering applications.

-         the maximal memory consumption of the program is some 22 Mbytes, which accumulates during thumbnail generating. (Accumulation this means if you go to another picture directory without exiting Album, the previous directory you've just left is still cached in memory). When the program fills all these 22 Mbytes, it swaps out the generated thumbnails that are the farest away from the currently watched one. Otherwise, there are no problems relating to the memory (no memory leaks). The caching/thumbnail algorithm is clearly better than that of some other, sometimes even hi-end programs, which, at times, don't even display thumbnails of pictures when their memory gets full.

Cons:

-         not as fast as commercial-grade apps

-         waiting symbol

-         no image editing capabilities at all

-         switching to the new picture in album mode is pretty ugly (albeit more tolerable than that of XnView, which is maybe the worst)

-         as with most PPC image viewers/editors, can't load even moderately large (>3-4 Mpixel) images at their original size, so zooming into them will be pixelizated

-         much worse at playing MP4 videos than the free (!) BetaPlayer

-         much as it has a 'Set as Today Wallpaper' functionality, Album's implementation is pretty bad, compared to that of built-in Pictures.

-         doesn't like the EXIF thumbnails of (several?) Fujifilm and HP models - owners of those cameras, use some else app if you don't like waiting

 

Verdict: you get what you pay for - a basic image viewer/slideshower without bells and whistles.

 

(Westtek) iPAQ Viewer 2.12

(Pre-installed on iPAQ devices)

 

Please note that it is no longer pre-installed on current HP devices. New-generation iPAQ's (for example, the iPAQ hx4700) come with HP Image Zone, which is a snappy and very good image viewer with native VGA support and fast EXIF thumbnail loading. I've tested this version because it came pre-installed on my iPAQ 2210. It's an extremely bare-bone app: in slideshow mode, almost nothing can be configured, only how the images advance further (manual/automatic/ automatic loop). Contains no editing capabilities at all. While it's reading the thumbnails, nothing can be done, not even scrolling on the thumbnail screen. In this regard, it's clearly inferior to any decent image viewer.

 

It is fairly fast at reading EXIF thumbnails, however. Had only problems with two Canon digicam types (see the first conclusion table). In addition, it was able to read the 6 Mbytes test image in 8 seconds, which isn't particularly bad either.

 

It didn't fare well in the 14 Mpixel 'torture' test, however. While it only took Resco 5.2 2:25 mins:seconds on my 2210 to calculate and display all the thumbnails, iPAQ Viewer spent 6:32 at it. If you even take into account the speed difference between the 400 MHz PXA-255 iPAQ and the 520 MHz PXA-272, the difference is even bigger.

 

Verdict: can be quite handy as an in-the-field image viewer if you don't really need fast zooming and a reponsive GUI (and you have a supported digicam - see the EXIF compatibility matrix). As a generic image slideshow app, however, it's not the best.

Resco Picture Viewer 5.32

http://www.resco-net.com/picview_dwn.asp

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test, using default ("Use best quality shrink") settings

Dithering- and shrink quality-test, NOT using the default settings

 

One of the best image viewers. It's really fast and, as with better image viewers, caches the thumbnails to storage memory before exiting. It has no EXIF compatibility problems at all, unlike with F-S Album or Spb Imageer. It is one of the fastest apps in both EXIF thumbnail display (XnView is still a bit faster) and JPEG rendering (PQV is still faster in that).

 

Pros:

-         along with Spb and the two apps from Aidem, this app has by far the best shrinking quality

-         speed

-         compatibility - was able to read everything, even the 14 Mpixel 'torture' images that made Spb crash. Had no compatibility / speed problems with EXIF thumbnail images either.

-         SH3/MIPS PPC2k versions

-         desktop-based converter/optimizer/uploader tool, as with Spb Imageer/SplashPhoto; it is even capable of converting PowerPoint presentations

-         MPEG1/2 video playing capabilties (though, limited - wasn't able to play the sound of the HP850 video)

Cons:

-         isn't able to zoom into even moderately large (>3-4 Mpixel) images at their original size, so zooming into them will be pixelizated

-         it also lacks the ability to export >2 Mpixel images without resizing them. Compared to its most important generic "jack-of-all-trades" alternative, Spb Imageer, this is a serious drawback.

-         "only" limited editing capabilities (mostly add drawing & text/notes/ crop/resize/brightness setting).

-         it has the 'Set as Today Wallpaper' functionality, but it is inferior to that of the free, built-in WM2003(SE) Pictures because of landscape tiling problems, just like the case with F-S Album. (The Start Menu background bug has been fixed in version 5.3x.)

 

As far as memory consumption is concerned, it puts a 287kbyte RFileShell.dll in \Windows; it can be directly copied to the home directory of the application on the card. Please note that this DLL is also shared by Resco File Explorer, so, if you move them it out of \Windows, Resco File Explorer will no longer be able to start. Therefore, you may want to opt for including a File Store directory in the system path (I've described this at, say, http://www.firstloox.org//forums/showthread.php?t=3752 ) or, copy another copy of this DLL to the home of Resco File Explorer too.

 

Verdict: highly recommended as a generic image viewer for all kinds of tasks. Only has few drawbacks (zoom etc.) For image editig on-the-go, on the other hand, is useless over 2 Mpixel images.Use for example XnView, Pocket Phojo, Pocket Artist or Imageer for that.

 

PDAMill Viewer

 

http://www.pdamill.com/prod_vi.shtml

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test (forced VGA)

 

For a free application with so small a memory footprint, this app delivers much. It has a quite quick JPG decoder algorithm (PQV is still considerably faster). Unfortunately, it doesn't even try to render thumbnails of large images (let alone native support). This is a severe problem, which renders it almost useless for in-the-field use. For simple pre-made images, it may be OK, though.

Pro:

-         free

-         very small memory footprint

-         ideal for a lightweight pic viewer

-         for images not having the 2:3 size ratio

Cons:

-         can't display thumbnails of large, unmodified camera JPG's

-         can "only" step into a directory with around 500 files; with more files, it just crashes

-         disables all the app buttons when the program is run; no task switching etc. is possible

-         "only" a picture viewer, nothing else, not even zooming / dedicated slideshow, unlike most other apps in the test

 

Verdict: A good alternative if you "only" need a free lightvewight pic viewer that is still much better than PIE.

 

XnView 1.31

http://www.xnview.com/

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test (forced VGA)

 

This is a free, constantly-updated application. Version 1.3x delivered real EXIF thumbnail and IPCT support, which is indeed welcome - before that, the lack of EXIF thumbnail support rendered this application almost useless for digicam users. It's a great all-in-one image viewer/converter tool with great batch capabilities. However, the lack of 8+ Mpixel capabilities make it pretty useless for users using high(er)-end cameras.

 

Pros:

-         free!

-         great conversion (also in batch mode) capabilities

-         has some other, unique functionalities; for example, creating EXE files off slideshows or JPEG lossless rotate - not even the most expensive apps can do that!

-         working VGA screen capturer capability

-         can be used to edit/resave even 4-5 Mpixel images without resizing, while most other apps can only read up to 2 Mpixel. Larger (8+ Mpixel) images, however, are not saved at all, not even resized, which is a serious drawback!

-         was the fastest in the EXIF test (mostly because it loads EXIF files in one thread, unlike most of the other commercial apps)

-         one of the fastest JPEG decoding algorithms (PQV is still better)

-         its batch (All <transformation name> button in the transformations/adjustments available in the Tools menu; it will be visible if you choose all files in a subdirectory with File/Selection/All) mode is much more advanced than that of, say, Pocket Artist (PA): it supports JPEG quality setting, saving as not only JPEG but also GIF/BMP/PNG, defining filename pre-and postfixes. Has some of other functionality over PA too: Sharpen/Smooth/Reduce noise/Adjust (B/C/G), lossless rotate (PA doesn't support losless rotate), etc. It doesn't work on 7+ MP images, though, in this mode.

-         resaves EXIF info; even EXIF thumbnails

Cons:

-         as has already been mentioned, can't save 7-8+ Mpixel images at all, not even (automatically) resized. This is a big minus nowadays that most, even lower-end consumer digicams are between 5 and 7 Mpixels and 8 Mpixel devices will emerge quick even in the low-end comsumer category

-         in slideshow mode, pics are swapped far uglier and slower than in the other viewers - the scroll from the side is pretty ugly and certainly visible.

-         zooming into large images, unlike with other programs, results in an error message and a gray screen - other programs are better in that they at least show a(n in most cases pixelizated) image.

 

Verdict: Highly recommended for under-8-megapixel digicam freaks that want something like an ImageMagick on their PDA - for free. Has an unmatchedly great batch mode. For watching slideshows, though, there may be visually more pleasing applications.

CEPicture 2.7

http://www.limelink.com/en/cepicture/

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

(picture taken in forced VGA; this is why the icons are so small)

 

An old, no longer developed application.

 

Pros:

-         small memory footprint

-         even has SH3/MIPS support

Cons:

-         old and not really feature-ridden

-         really slow

-         no EXIF thumbnail support

 

Verdict: I can't really recommend this application. It, however, has some merits (animated GIF support or adding textual annotations in a standard file format.)

 

Spb Imageer 1.2

http://www.spbsoftwarehouse.com/products/imageer/?en

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

A tolerably fast and capable program with clearly lower EXIF thumbnail loading speeds and compatibility than with Resco, Loupe, Pocket Artist or Pocket Phojo. At the 14 Mpixel 'torture' test, it was able to read the thumbnails of two different digicam models; it crashed, however, at reading both the thumbnails and the full images of the Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n. The crash may result in some in-machine memory card-messup, but fortunately it's not physical because it really doesn't destroy the file system of the memory card. It's just that the PPC isn't able to read the card any more until reinserting it (this was enough on the iPAQ 2210) or resetting the PPC (this had to be done on the PL 720). As it seems, this bug only affects one digicam model, though - it didn't crash with the other 50+ tested cameras.

 

Pros:

-         even resaves 16 Mpixel images at their original size, unlike Resco / most other apps

-         quick JPEG decoding engine, only two times slower than that of PQV

-         quite a lot image-editing/conversion functionality (XnView, Pocket Artist and the two Idruna apps are still better in this respect)

-         has an ActiveSync plug-in for image uploading to the PPC, which helps in pre-rotating and resizing of pictures upon uploading, to avoid using a desktop-based (batch) resizing tool before uploading.

-         Storage Card Notification - upon inserting a memory card with pictures, a notification 'bubble' is displayed to even more speed up the process of e.g. sharing the pictures on the Web

Cons:

-         major memory leaks in slideshow mode. It likes just stopping before the ending picture when the memory fills in. Neither of my test slideshows did get to the last image because of this. The problem is acknowledged by Spb Software House and they're working on the fix. Until then, I don't think this app should be used as a slideshow viewer.

-         while it can edit and resave even 14 Mpixel images, it can't zoom into them - sometimes it even has problems with zooming into 2 Mpixel images.

-         not as sophisticated as, for example, Conduits Pocket Artist 3.0 when it comes to Photoshop-like usage (e.g. only has two filters, Sharpen and Blur, while Pocket Artist has several of them etc.). Still, has e.g. Red-eye correction, contrast/hue, red/green/blue channel adjusting - these are all missing from Resco.

-           in the "torture test", it had problems (even without displaying thumbnails, that is, in List mode): for example, reading a directory list of 844 files takes exactly 2 minutes. During this, the PPC is useless and nothing happens. The same is true of starting the program: as it reads the last current directory, it can easily grind the PPC to halt during startup. This test also found out that the cache algorithm, as opposed to that of, e.g., Album, is not as bullet-proof as it could be: it wouldn't swap out currently unvisible thumbnails to make room for new, visible ones when the pre-defined 22 MByte of RAM is totally occupied. Of course, this is not a minus because noone will put 200+ files in one directory; still worth mentioning.

 

Verdict: a very good (and definitely cheaper), albeit, EXIF thumbnail-reading speed-wise, slower alternative to Resco, with additional image editing capabilities. The slideshow memory leakage, however, is a real show-stopper.

Aidem Pocket Painter 2.11

http://www.aidem.com.tw/English/en_pocketpainter.htm

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

Not really meant for photo viewing (it's the job of another app of the same developer) - it has, for example, no dedicated slideshow mode, but great as an image editor for small(er) images.

 

Pros:

-         has no problems opening large images (downscales them)

-         is able to create new images; max. size around 3-4 Mpixel.

-         dithering, unlike most programs

-         send via E-mail and IrDA

-         tons of filters (Blur / Sharpen / Average / Despeckle / Diffuse / Emboss / Find Edge / Mosaic / Trace Countour / Cool Color / Warm Color)

-         good adjustments (Brightness / Contrast / Hue / Saturation / Gamma)

-         basic, common generic functions (flip / rotate, even with any degree, not just multipliers of 90), Rescale, Invert, Gray, Color Level.

-         tons of editing capabilities (e.g., Gradient Tool; Water / Oil / Wax/ Carbon / Mick / Color Pen, Chalk etc.)

Cons:

-         only saves large images downscaled with the factor of 3.5

-         BMP / GIF (no support for animated GIF's) / JPG support only

Aidem Photo Explorer 2.01

http://www.aidem.com.tw/English/en_photoexplorer.htm

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

Pros:

-         excellent shrinking quality, unlike with most other apps

-         good speed (PQV is better though)

-         annotations are stored in the original image directory in the standardized format, unlike with most other apps

-         18 transition effects

-         slideshow is able to synchronize with sound files, to wait for their end, unlike with most other apps

-         integration with Aidem Pocket Painter to do the non-viewing (that is, editing) stuff. Editing done in Aidem Pocket Painter, however, don't see at once in Photo Explorer - the image must be saved from Pocket Painter and reloaded into Photo Explorer.

-         settable global display gamma; for color channels too! (see http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=38123 on this.)

Cons:

-         no EXIF thumbnail support!

-         problems in GIF slideshow with some (e.g., the Zoom) transition effects: only displays them in the left upper quarter screen; the other screen areas are filled with static. This is not a serious problem - you'll hardly display any GIF slideshows. JPG slideshows aren't affected by this bug.

-         even a bit of zooming results in pixelizated images (a tradeoff for the very fast JPG decoding / loading)

-         while rendering the thumbnails, it's totally unable to open any images. Fortunately, it only renders a page of thumbnails: after rendering them, the device becomes responsive again.

-         doesn't save EXIF info

 

Verdict: not bad, especially if you use it together with Aidem Pocket Painter. Then, it becomes a very good, albeit a bit expensive (almost as expensive as Pocket Artist, which is still better!) tool. The real showstopper may be the lack of EXIF thumbnail support, though.

Conduits Pocket Artist 3.0

http://www.conduits.com/products/artist/download.asp

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

A really full-fledged "Photoshop-on-a-PDA" application. Has no dedicated slideshow mode - but it's not meant to be a (lightweight, cheap) slideshower app either. Starting from version 3.0 beta 2, the very slow EXIF reading algorithm has been fixed - now, it has no problems at reading and rendering them fast. Note that up until this version, it had a very slow thumbnbail generating algorithm - do not get old versions if you plan to use it as an on-the-field digicam companion!

 

Pros:

-         tons of image editing/filtering capabilities. Just to name a few:

o       Brushes: Default / Calligraphic/ Dotted / Natural

o       Pencil: Paintbrush / Pencil / Airbrush / Clone stamp / Pattern stamp/ Gradient / Paint Bucket

o       Tools: Eyedropper / Eraser / Dodge/Burn / Smudge / Red-Eye Brush / Cleaning Brush

o       Select tools: Select Rect / Select Ellipse / Select Row / Select Column / Magic Wand / Lasso / Select Polygon / Move / Deselect

o       Drawing: Draw Text / Text Outline / Draw Line / Rectangle / Ellipse / Polygon

-         by far the best color correction/histogram-wise (see 'Adjust' in table)!

-         animated GIF support, even for editing (the only full-fledged generic PPC image app to also support creating animated GIF's)

-         IPTC editing is non-destructive/non-recompressing and it really excels at batch-adding pre-made, file-based IPTC tags. In this respect, it's much better than Pocket Phojo.

-         resaves EXIF info; even EXIF thumbnails

Cons:

-         definitely an overkill for users that "only" need an image viewer app

-         some users (for example, Gerard here) reported memory leakage problems

-         has some restrictions in batch mode (Image/Tools), compared to, say, XnView. It's only capable of rotate, flip, transpose, add IPTC fields (this is, as has been pointed out, pretty intelligent!) and resize. The latter to given dimensions only (320*240 (QVGA), 640*480 (VGA).... 1600*1200). The biggest problem with this mode is that you can't change the saving JPEG quality (again, unlike in XnView) - batch processed JPEG images are all blocky unless you only crop them. In the latter case, PA will do a lossless transformation. However, as you can see in the summarizing table, crop can't be applied to more than one image automatically (this is why I haven't listed it in the list above). Furthermore, there is not any kind of adjustments in the batch mode either, unlike, for example, the automatic adjustments offered by Spb Imageer.

 

Verdict: This program may be well situated for people that need a mini-Photoshop on the go. Compared with the other high-quality tool capable of creating images, Photogenics 1.0, it has much more sophisticated tools and a higher maximal resolution when creating new images. I wish it had a much better batch mode.

PHM Slideshow

http://www.phm.lu/Products/PocketPC/Plus/#Slideshow

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test (forced VGA)

 

This small (20 kbytes) and free program is a very simple slideshow application. It's only QVGA in QVGA; works OK in forced VGA mode, however. It's pretty slow at reading large images and doesn't support any kind of rotation of them. It only has one transition effect. However, for free, it's still worth trying out if you only need a very simple slideshow application that is part of an otherwise great package.

 

 

The two following apps have no separate column in the summary table below because they're just drawing / image creator programs. They're only included here to show that you sometimes don't need to spend big bucks on applications like Pocket Artist or those of Idrune for even advanced drawing/filtering capabilities (e.g., Gradation Palette) on a PDA because there're free tools to do the same. (Please note that I haven't reviewed some other, painting-centric PPC programs. See, for example, http://www.mobiletechreview.com/software/ppc_paint.htm for more info.)

Mobile Pencil 2.20

http://www1.mahoroba.ne.jp/cgi-bin/user-cgi/~nefa/ecafe.cgi?=soft_ce_nfpencil2

Free; there's also a "Pro" version as well. Tested the free one.

Memory consumption: 545k

Supports VGA in native VGA.

Pen: size / color / erase. Only reads/saves BMP images.

Hardware keys mappable to specific functions like zooming.

Verdict: If you need a 'pencil simulator', this program is the way to go. You can draw on the screen as if you used a real lead pencil. You can also choose 4 different types of paper, which greatly affect how you draw. Pretty cool for what it does, but definitely not on par with the other apps in the test.

 

Mobile Atelier

http://www1.mahoroba.ne.jp/cgi-bin/user-cgi/~nefa/ecafe.cgi?=soft_ce_nfcanvas2

Memory consumption: 1.9M

It's also free and does know a lot for that. The Pro version, priced at US$ 19.95, knows even more; but, for "basic" stuff, the free version may suffice. For example, in the Gradient plug-in (Gradation Palette), you can only supply 2 end colors in the free, while 4 colors in the Pro version; furthermore, you can also save the current gradation palette to a "palette" subfolder. It also supports layers and has quite a few plug-ins: Water Pen 10x10/ 20x20; Move Layer; Layer Operation; the above-mentioned Gradation Palette; Color Selector; TV like effect; Various special effects (Brightness, Contrast, Blur, Inverse, Mono), Solids (Line/Rect/Ellipse); Texts; Random Maze Creator; File Manager; Effect Pen; Point Pen.

It's by default VGA on a VGA device. Seems to have problems with actual drawing, however, on a VGA machine; haven't tested it on a QVGA one so coulndn't decide whether it's VGA that it has problems with.

 

RPhoto 2.0

http://rhxsoft.com/

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test (forced VGA)

 

Button-only control: not reconfigurable; previous/next only.

 

Free, works with forced VGA and only takes 123k memory. Pretty fast at generating thumbnails. It has neither landscape nor fullscreen view. There may be cases, however, when it's of great help: it's one the very few picture viewers that display today's middle-resolution (e.g., 5 Mpixel) images well, without downscaling. It can't read 14 Mpixel images, however.

 

Pros:

-         free

-         quick at rendering thumbnails: 32 thumbnails of 2 Mpixel images are rendered in about 1.5 seconds

-         one of the few programs to display 5 Mpixel pictures "as is", without downsampling

Cons:

-         lack of landscape view; you have to explicitly switch to landscape on the op. system level (and, preferably, switch to VGA so that the toolbars don't take much screen estate) to achieve almost the same result as all the other viewers

-         can't read 14 MPixel images

-         not really suited for slideshows

-         average shrinking quality

-         doesn't read GIF images

 

Verdict: only use it if you REALLY need to zoom into mid-sized (around 5 Mpixel) images and don't want to pay for commercial solutions.

 

PQV 3.0.10

http://www.bitbanksoftware.com/PQV.html

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test (native VGA)

 

 

I really wanted to know how this application fares against the competition, because according to http://www.bitbanksoftware.com/PQV_comparison.html, it used to be the fastest app. In heavy-duty tasks like the 14 Mpixel thumbnail / picture reading 'torture' test, it certainly excelled. It has file open/save problems with WM2003SE, but with a little bit of patience, it's usable. Unfortunately, the common plaque of the inability to export images more than 2 Mpixel at their original size also applies to PQV.

 

The real strength of this application lies in the speed it decodes and renders JPEG images. It's even faster than the second-fastest application, Resco.

 

Pros:

-         is by far the fastest at generating 14 Mpixel thumbnails; wasn't able to display two of them correctly, however.

-         It has a fine-tunable JPEG loading options, just like Resco, to shove off loading times. If you enable this (it's not enabled by defaut!), it has by far the fastest JPEG decoding engine. Resco, the second fastest, renders images about 1.5 times slower.

-         along with Spb Imageer, XnView, Pocket Artist and Pocket Phojo, the best batch mode (it's another question it can't save in more than 1.3 Mpixel mode so it's almost completely useless)

-         one of the very few players to play videos and Kodak digicam videos. It's not as good as BetaPlayer, however.

-         along with Resco, the only slideshower that waits for a voice note to end without stepping to the next image

 

Cons:

-         incompatible with original images taken by HP cameras. I've tested quite a few models (850, R707, 935, 812); none of them worked. This app is definitely not for HP camera users.

-         on my WM2003SE device (FS PL 720), the file chooser dialog is buggy and almost grinds the PDA to halt if there's any memory card in the PDA (without memory cards, it works fast, but the drop-down menus are still not visible). It' very hard to choose any file this way (it's the best to copy all of them into \My Documents before starting the program). On my iPAQ 2210 (WM2003), however, it's perfectly OK. It may be a generic WM2003SE issue. Some screenshots of the bug:

 

 

The same under WM2003:

 

 

-           torture test: crashes when reading the thumbnails of 300+ images in a directory

-         tied too much to QVGA mode (e.g., in any VGA mode useless screen snapshot; problems with dialogs in native VGA etc)

-         the biggest problem: unable to save larger (>2 Mpixel) images; always downscales them to 1280*960

-         very bad EXIF support; doesn't even keep them upon saving

-         much worse at playing videos than the free (!) BetaPlayer

 

Verdict: pretty good (with some special features), but the buggy file open/save screen on WM2003SE, the general QVGA-tiedness, the very bad EXIF support and the downscaling at save (compare this to XnView/Spb/Idruna!) are a big pain in the back. However, if you only want an image viewer application that has the fastest JPEG decoding algorithm, this app is for you.

Dava 2.0.5

 

http://www.freewareppc.com/graphics/davapictureviewer.shtml

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test (forced VGA)

 

It doesn't have its own column in the summarizing table because of its limited capabilities.

Memory consumption: 123k

 

Images read: BMP/GIF/JPG/PNG

Button-only control: not reconfigurable. D-pad: next/previous; no other buttons.

No VGA in QVGA, only in forced/native VGA.

Pros:

-         free

-         330k memory footprint

Cons:

-         quite slow at reading thumbnails (and only 5 is displayed at the same time, even in VGA) - 1 thumbnail of a 2 Mpixel image in appr. 0.3 seconds.

-         zoom is totally useless

-         slideshow mode useless because it only uses half of the screen estate

-         seems that in general it is tied to QVGA

-         reads pics at VGA resolution, so not even 2 Mpixel images can't be really zoomed into

Verdict: should be avoided on a VGA machine

iView 1.0.0.1603

http://www.pocketpccity.com/software/pocketpc/iView-2003-1-17-ce-pocketpc.html

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

Button-only control: nothing at all; can be only used using the touch screen. In this respect, it's the worst in this roundup.

 

Pros:

-         memory consumption only 89k

-         native support for VGA

Cons:

-         absolutely nothing: no landscape mode, no zoom, no thumbnails, slow JPEG decoding speed

-         10 (ten) US$ for this?!?

Verdict: not even for free...

Avantgarde Digital Digivue 1.1

http://www.aedigital.com/

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

A well-known image viewer/slideshow program. It doesn't really have anything to write home about. Has no real advantages over, say, Resco.

 

Pros:

        not very slow JPEG decoding

Cons:

Picture Perfect 5.14s

http://www.applian.com/pocketpc/pictureperfect/index.php

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

The app is not developed any more; the last version, 5.14s, has been updated some 2 years ago, in July 2003.

 

 

It's a bare-bone image viewer / slideshower app. To load a directory of images (you can't just load individual ones based on their filename), choose Album/New/From Folder, navigate to the target folder and click OK. Then, click the thumbnail icon in the far right to see the thumbnails. If you want to wait, that is - it's very slow at loading them.

 

It has no editing capabilities either. Removing its support files from \My Document renders it unable to be run any more.

 

It has, however, dithering. The latter, however, introduces a quite large amount of noise into the images. The following thee shots, from up to down, are from Resco (default dithered mode, no dithering), Album (which uses dithering) and Picture Perfect:

 

 

It's also worth noticing that the horizontal stripes on the guy's T-shirt are only visible on the Resco representation of the image; on the two other images are completely messed up.

 

To sum it up: I don't recommend this app at all.

PictPocket Cinema 4.0

http://www.digisoftdirect.com/products/pictpocketcinema.html

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

Pro:

-         VGA card support

Cons:

-         much worse at playing videos than the free (!) BetaPlayer

-         no real image saving mode. All modifications are saved in a proprietary MAB file, which can only be processed by the same program. That is, any additional drawing / modifying an image can only be seen in the same application and nothing else. This really limits the usability of the program.

-         useless for REAL quick work - loaded the 14 Mpixel images very slowly

-         far worse for its very high (!) price than any other image watching / slideshow program

Glass Lantern's PocketLoupe 1.71b

http://www.glasslantern.com/products/index.htm; see also: http://www.photo.net/equipment/digital/software/pocketloupe/

 

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

Specifically meant for in-the-field digicam use; therefore, it comes in two versions, a RAW-capable and a JPEG-only capable, the latter being significantly cheaper. It has quite a few pro's - excellent tool if you only want to quickly review your images and delete unwanted ones, much faster/at much higher resolution than on your digicam.

 

Pros:

-         VGA support

-         one-touch delete

-         histogram

-         RAW/TIF file support; from version 1.70, a lot of new raw formats are supported

-         email send

-         very fast at reading EXIF thumbnails and has no EXIF compatibility problems

-         159k memory consumption

-         has a cheaper, LE version (without raw capabilities) for JPEG-only camera users

Cons:

-           reads all directories from a card

-         zoom range severely limited: only 2 zoom levels

-         limited EXIF display

-         no editing at all

-         in the 14 Mpixel torture test, it was the only one app to use the non-standard EXIF thumbnails of the Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c. The rest of the thumbnails remained black, but it is still possible to click their place.

-         on the other hand, when reading other (not the 14 Mpixel "torture" check) JPG's without EXIF tumbnails, it worked; it's clearly slower than other applications, though.

-         doesn't read GIF images (it's not a problem with digicam users, though)

-         not the fastest at JPEG decoding

 

It's really the best tool if you want fast image reviewing and, especially, all kind of RAW support.

Photogenics 1.0 Release 139

http://www.idruna.com/products_pocketpc.html

Idruna's first image editor program. It has very good features, especially when you take its age (over 3+ years) into account.

 

Pros:

Cons:

Pocket Phojo V3.0 release 256

http://www.idruna.com/pocketphojo.html

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

Idruna's main in-the-field image editing tool. Very pricey, but you still may find it an essential tool if you have to process images over 10-12 Mpixel and need really fast EXIF thumbnail reading, which, for example, Spb Imageer doesn't offer. It also sports the fastest. most efficient PPC-based FTP client available.

Pros:

-         a REAL app for the photographer-on-the-go, especially with Canon/Nikon cameras with the Wi-Fi add-on (see below)

-         really fast EXIF thumbnail reading

-         file-to-file batch conversion capabilties

-         by far the fastest batch resizing speed; about an order of magnitude faster than either XnView 1.31 or Pocket Artis 3.0! Resized 237 files totalling 624 Mbyte (reading from a fast SD card, writing the VGA-sized target files to main memory), even including 16 Mpixel ones, on a Pocket Loox 720 in 31 minutes!

-         unmatched Wi-Fi communication & automation capabilities with the Nikon WT-1/WT-2 and Canon WFT-E1 WiFi transmitters (see http://idruna.com/pocketphojo_wifi.html for more info)

-         direct FTP upload; other apps can only E-mail, if at all.

-         the only program that was able to process all the 14 Mpixel images. The only other program, Spb Imageer, capable of saving large pictures, didn't work with Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n images.

-         much as it uses its own SMTP client, it's a bit more advanced than that of Windows Mobile: it has a progress bar and also shows detailed success/failure reports.

-         it has built-in FTP upload capabilities (unlike other programs), and it's faster than the other FTP clients available. I've made several tests and, over a tolerably fast (USB AS; these results can be extrapolated to Wi-Fi speeds as well) connection, got the following results (you may also check out http://www.firstloox.org/forums/showthread.php?p=18741 for more info on PPC FTP clients):

 

        Resco Explorer's FTP plug-in: 130 kbytes/s from card; 150 kbytes/s from main memory

        Pocket Phojo: 190 kbytes/s from card

        vxFtp: 4 kbytes/s from card; 4 kbytes/s from main memory (stunning results if you take into account that vxFtp is by far the fastest app at downloading)

        CedeFTP: 145 kbytes/s from card; 145 kbytes/s from main memory

Cons:

-         price

-         upon (also batch) conversion, EXIF info is not preserved

-          an earlier beta build had CR/LF problems with my SMTP server. The latest build, however, used Idruna's SMTP server without problems. I haven't tested it with my SMTP server.

-           "torture test": the beta crashed upon reading 800 VGA file thumbnails. It read the first 390 files in 2:20 (with a 40s initial directory catch-up, during which the PDA became unresponsive) and then stopped. The dynamic memory consumption varied between 26 and 28M during this. Nothing could be accessed after this, the memory wasn't freed - had to reset.

-         batch file conversion capabilities could be a bit more advanced. Now, as of release 256 is concerned, only caption editing, JPEG quality setting, resizing and manual saturation/sharpness settings are accessible, while the app also supports for example automatic brightness settings. The IPTC adding capabilities of Pocket Artist 3.0 are definitely better than the simple caption adding of Phojo. And, you can't add a caption to an image without recompressing it.

 

Bottom line: the Wi-Fi capabilities, the excellent FTP upload efficiency and the blazingly fast batch resizing/conversion capabilities make this app unique. For casual (non-pro) users, the high price tag is quite restrictive, though.

SplashPhoto 4.32

http://www.splashdata.com/ppc/splashphoto/index.htm

Dithering- and shrink quality-test

 

Button-only control: not reconfigurable; previous/next only.

 

This app may be a good alternative to, for example, Spb for people with 10+ Mpixel machines for quick image revision. It has, however, no editing capabilities.

Pros:

-         second torture test: was able to read (at appr. 3 sec/picture) and display all the 14 Mpixel thumbnails

-         pretty fast at decoding 14 Mpixel images (6 secs for the 6.6 MBytes/14 MPixel image)

-         no wait symbol in slideshow mode, quick delete supported

-         IrDA/E-mail transfer capabilities

-         native VGA support

-         just like Spb/Resco, it also has a desktop-based image conversion tool to avoid using third-party solutions for converting/resizing the images before uploading to the PDA

-         in-memory image (not just thumbnail!) cache - caches the last viewed images in memory (in VGA size), so that it can be seen again very fast. No other viewer is able to do the same.

Cons:

-         no dithering, average shrinking quality, no zoom of any kind

-         has a wrong wallpaper setting functionality, because it just copies the file in question to \Windows\tdycust.jpg, without resizing it. Exactly how for example MultiIE or Pocket Artist behaves, though.

-         unable to read only a settable directory - reads all directories at once under \My Documents in the main memory and \DCIM on storage cards (it isn't able to selectively step into a given directory); it completely ignores other directories

-         has not any kind of thumbnail caching mechanism in the default listing mode - it's really a pain in the neck to browse large digicam thumbnails because, after switching back from viewing a given image to the detailed list view, it also reads the thumbnails. Fortunately, this isn't the case with the simple thumbnail view (without details) - there, it's pretty fast.

-         the slideshow mode doesn't have anything special: no voice/textual annotations, no transition effects

-         doesn't read GIF images

Testing methologies

I've used my Fujitsu-Siemens Pocket Loox 720 to run my tests. To test some bugs and the iPAQ Viewer, I've also used my iPAQ 2210. I've always soft reset the device before going on with the next program. To avoid some programs' using their own thumbnail caches, I've always measured thumbnail reading at the first reading and also checked for thumbnails files in the file system. There has always been over 100 Mbytes of free main memory, except for the 8Mpixel case, when I moved the files into main memory. The PDA had its factory settings - no overclocking took place.

 

I've run benchmarks and tests with the following types of images:

 

-         "standard" EXIF thumbnail and overall compatibility tests with over 50 digicams; the list of them can be found in the table below. These tests were all done with a Pocket Loox 720 after the 712 ROM upgrade, which clearly boosted SD reading performance.

-         reading a !!!!!!!!!

-         torture test one: 14 MPixel images on an SD card (accessed by the Loox at about 800-900 kbytes/s - please note that these tests, along with all the other, not belonging to the EXIF tests above, were all made with the same PL720 but with an earlier ROM version). There were 54 of them, totalling 169288 kbytes. These images all had non-standard and/or non-existing EXIF thumbnail images; thus, they all forced image viewer apps to read the image files in their entirety and generate the thumbnail image. This torture test is a great simulation for cases with missing EXIF thumbnails. This is the case if you just convert your image files with ImageMagick, without explicitly instructing it to preserve the EXIF thumbnail.

-         EXIF and generic full reading test: 8 Mpixel images in the main memory (so that the memory card reading speed doesn't interfere in the results). There were 17 of them, totalling 45346 kbytes; the camera was a Nikon Coolpix 8700.

-         5 and 2 Mpixel images on a CF card, accessed a bit slower than the SD card; at about 600-700 kbytes/s. 105 files, totalling 110Mbytes, on the CF. These images have all been taken by me with a Nikon Coolpix 5000 and 2000.

-         torture test two: 844 small (sized 6-63k) VGA files, totalling 23Mbytes, on the CF. This was the second "torture" test. Once again, failing in this test doesn't mean the given application works bad, because it's very rare to have more than 200 files in any directory. Digicams never put more than 200 files in a directory, and, if you don't want to cause problems either, you shouldn't put so many image files in the same directory either. Actually, it's well over 300 images that the tested programs started to fail / refuse to load the images or their file listing, so in real-life situations (<200 images in a directory), they all will behave OK. As has been already pointed out, I've removed the EXIF thumbnails from these images (as with the images in the first, 14 Mpixel torture test) to find out the real thumbnail generation speed from reading in and processing/downscaling the entire image file. This is why the 'torture' test results differ so much from those of images with intact EXIF thumbs.

 

When measuring checking memory consumption, I've also scrutinized whether the tested apps put anything in main memory (DLL's etc). Fortunately, none of them did. Some loaded some example pictures / ads in \My Documents, but they can easily be found and deleted.

 

VGA compatibility: in the era of VGA screens, it is of high importance to have VGA-compliant picture viewers/editors. Fortunately, most apps were able to present a VGA GUI/high resolution picture in plain QVGA mode, without doing any additional hacking or switching the PDA to native VGA mode. I this case, there is a '+' mark denoting 'yes' in the "VGA in QVGA?" row.

 

There're applications, however, that only present QVGA-resolution pictures on VGA devices, but, with applying the Hi-Res resolution hack described at, for example, http://www.pc-counselor.com/How_to/index.htm#doublepixeling , are able to render pictures at their full glory - that is, at VGA resolution. Some pic viewers indeed work flawlessly in this (called "forced VGA") mode; some (e.g., PQV) don't.

 

Non-VGA-aware picture viewers that are unable to work with QVGA / the forced VGA hack still may work in the so-called "native VGA" mode of WM2003SE. This is the last resort of a VGA user because the QVGA screen on a VGA device is so much better unless you use a configurable 'native' VGA client like OzVGA. Still, if nothing else works, this is the only way to go to be able to see images in VGA resolution.

 

Unfortunately, there are still some (older) programs that still have problems even with native VGA mode. Fortunately, with a little bit of tweaking, these problems can be solved; it's only with very few programs (e.g., Photogenics) that have serious problems in this mode. I've added remarks all over the row to denote such incompatibilities.

In-the-field digicam users

The next main section, "For in-the-field digicam users" in the table discusses the uses an in-the-field digicam user wanting to quickly review / delete / comment / resize / crop / adjust / edit (by drawing) / filter images

 

The most important test, the EXIF thumbnail reading and compatibility test ("EXIF thumbnail compliance?"), has already been discussed and the results collected in a separate table.

 

The next test, "Reading a 10M 16 Mpixel image at 104 MHz", is also very important.

 

I've chosen a publicly available 10Mbyte-big 16 Mpixel dpreview image (be warned, the link is a direct link! Do NOT click it unless you're REALLY sure you want to download 10 Mbytes!) for this test so that it is easily reproducable. I ran my Pocket Loox 720 at constant 104 MHz so that the results can be easily benchmarked and compared, unlike running the PDA at the default 520 MHz, where loading/rendering times are about 4 times less in general, making benchmarking and comparing much harder.

 

Where the particular application allowed for load time optimizations, I've also benchmarked loading times using them. This way, I've managed to reduce, for example, the loading time of PQV to be clearly the best and fastest. I've also shown in this row the way to switch between optimized and non-optimized loading.

 

Please note that an app failing at this test alone doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. For example, Phojo spent 50 secs at reading the test image. Still, it's about an order of magnitude faster at resizing JPEG images in batch mode (which also involves JPEG loading decoding) than either Pocket Artist or XnView.

 

"Quick picture delete?" is moderately important. It's good to have a quick image browser that allows for quick reviewing and deleting of pictures off a memory card. Sure, you can still switch to File Explorer or some other file management utility to delete the image in question (if there's no way to do that from inside), but that's much more complicated than a Delete icon on the taskbar or in some of the menus. Furthermore, there're quite a few image browsers that don't display the name of the current file, and there may be cases (if you iterate over a series of pictures) when it's very hard to find out which the given file was. An example of this is CEPicture. The best application to offer the fastest and easiest way of deleting an image is PocketLoupe.

 

"Image types read": this speaks for itself.

 

"Button-only control": if you want to browse a bunch of images without using the stylus, it's important to have some kind of button-based previous/next functionality. Fortunately, only one of the tested programs (iView 1.0.0.1603) don't allow for any kind of button control. The ability to redefine keys is even better.

 

"14/8 Mpixel write (where possible)? If not, which is the max. size that is saved OK?" is important for all the digicam users that would like to save their digicam images after some modification (e.g., color/brightness/contrast adjustment / cropping / resizing) without serious downsampling (resizing). Unfortunately, very few apps were able to save images over 2 Mpixel at their original size. Resco was one of the biggest disappointments. Now, only Spb Imageer, Pocket Artist (as soon as the bugs are ironed out) and Pocket Phojo seems to be able to save any image at their original size.

 

The next section, starting with "EXIF display?" and ending with "Standard IPTC edit & save?", discusses the ability to read/ modify / add / resave additional EXIF/IPCT information ( more on them at http://www.pcplus.co.uk/tips/default.asp?pagetypeid=2&articleid=5695&subsectionid=390 ; I've used the EXIF/IPTC Viewer at http://www.takenet.or.jp/~ryuuji/minisoft/exifread/english/ to check whether the apps save comments in a standardized way). Unfortunately, there weren't any application to resave them all without problems, except for Pocket Artist 3.0.

 

I've paid special attention to quality loss thorough the entire test. It may result in quality degradation by, for example, recompression after a "simple" IPTC caption information editing (and, incidentally, that was the reason I've also checked whether the given application also supports losless JPEG rotation) upon exporting a JPEG image. So, I've checked that - aside from the mundane "Can the app display existing EXIF infos at all?" ("EXIF display?") question - the apps are able to, upon modifying their EXIF / IPTC comments ("EXIF ImageDescription comment editing?", "IPTC display?"), can they update the JPEG images without re-saving them. Unfortunately, only the bug-ridden ACDSee Mobile 1.0 was able to set the EXIF ImageDescription comment, and the apps that were able to set the IPTC fields, DIGIVUE and the two Idrune applications, did it in a non-standard way and with recompression, respectively.

 

In a word, for now, there is no easy way for EXIF/ IPTC-based in-the-field image commenting. This is why I've also included the "Comment in a separate text file in <picfilename>.ext ?" test case. Some programs export their (mostly slideshow-related) comments in a plain text file under the same name as the original picture, so desktop tools have an easy time associating comments with an individual image. Unfortunately, Resco exports its comments to a generic, proprietary file that is pretty hard to process and Spb Imageer, the other "killer" image viewer app, embeds them in the images themselves, in a non-EXIF/IPTC-compliant way.

 

"Histogram?" is also an invaluable, and from a lot of digicams, missing feature for quickly deciding the quality of a given picture upon a quick review. Most in-the-field capable apps offer this functionality. The most easily accessible is, again, PocketLoupe.

 

The row "Output file formats (if any)" speaks for itself. (Incidentally, there's no input counterpart in the table; I've mentioned above if a given application sports "extraordinary" digicam formats, like plain RAW or animated GIF as well). I've paid special attention to JPEG quality settings and listed whether it's fine-tunable (1...100%) or have only few pre-defined grades. Unfortunately, big names like PQV and XnView are only capable of saving JPEG images with 25/50/75/100% quality, and ACDSee is even worse (Low/ Medium/ High quality settings only). Fortunately, the two most invaluable tools (as far as their ability to save >2 MPixel images is concerned) for the in-the-field image editor, Spb Imageer and Pocket Phojo, both offer fine-tunable JPEG compression quality. The latter is, furthermore, the only app that has image file size estimation before saving.

 

Incidentally, as far as animated GIF's are concerned, which can be of interest to some people (definitely not for digicam users, though), only Resco, the F-S Album, CEPicture, Pocket Artist and PQV are able to read/display them (the otherwise excellent Spb Imageer isn't). In addition to the ubiquitous smileys that can be found anywhere, I've used 4 larger (between 100 and 200 kbytes) animated GIF's to test the animated GIF-compliance. All the apps mentioned were able to play them all. Album only played the sequence once; had to reload the GIF to see it once more. PQV has the ability to set how many frames are displayed in a second; interestingly, its 1 fps setting still displays about 3-4 frames a second.

 

If your particular viewer of choice doesn't support animated GIF's, you are not lost: you can also convert animated GIF pictures to a series of static GIF images with ImageMagick, using the following command: convert.exe <inputfilename> frame%02d.gif. Using the second, frame%02d.gif parameter creates files named frame00.gif, frame01.gif, frame02.gif etc.

 

You may also want to append these frames to one GIF image so that you will be able to see all the frames in their entirety with the command convert.exe +append frame00.gif ... frameXX.gif outputname.

 

This way, the lack of the capability of reading animated GIF images becomes less acute.

 

Very few applications have no GIF reading support at all; I've mentioned this in the 'Cons' section of all of them.

 

"Dedicated red-eye reduction?" also speaks for itself. Note that I haven't tested whether it's worth anything. Some apps (e.g., Spb) only implement this as eliminating a given red hue color in the selected area (it still works astonishingly good); other tools may be better.

 

"In-program file transfer / (e.g., IrDA / BT / E-mail /FTP) capabilities?" is for people that want to send the images over the Internet/ the air as soon as possible. As far as the Internet is concerned, there're three forms of file transfer: the most ubiquitous E-mail, Pocket Phojo's built-in FTP client and Spb's "Publish to web" functionality. The two latter on a PDA with generally meager (mobile phone/dialup-based) bandwidth is by far more effective, so I paid a lot of attention to testing them. The fact that Spb is only able to batch-process images when uploading to the Web also made me turn to this feature. Pocket Phojo's FTP client has turned out to be better than any other PPC-based FTP clients when transferring files from memory cards, so it's not useless. (If it weren't better, then using an external tool to transfer files would pay off much faster.)

 

I've elaborated a lot on E-mail sending capabilities (next row). It's not an essential feature (it's pretty easy to manually switch to Messaging and manually collect the files to be sent from the file system), but still good to have. I've tested the following capabilities:

 

 

I don't consider a program that doesn't have email transfer capabilities heavily lacking - you may want to prefer using FTP over SMTP with large pictures / over slow (e.g., dial-up) connections to save bandwidth because FTP is binary, while SMTP uses 6-bit encoding for binary content, resulting in worse throughput.

 

"Any kind of batch processing?" was the next usability test. It's often advantageous to be able to do exactly the same transformation to a bunch of images at once, without repeating it manually for each file. An example of this is taking a lot of pictures, putting the memory card in the PDA, and resizing them / decreasing their quality for E-mail / FTP / HTTP transfer. This is exactly how desktop-based image converters (e.g., IfranView, http://www.irfanview.com/ or ImageMagick, http://imagemagick.org/) work. Fortunately, some of the programs allows for this, to a certain degree. Unfortunately, neither the two best consumer-grade program, Spb / Resco, support writing back to file system. Actually, Resco has an almost non-existing batch mode (see remarks in the table). Prosumer apps like Pocket Artist and, particularly, Pocket Phojo do support batch (the latter supports them with severel different source/target types), however.

 

As an example of the usability of batch processing, assume you're abroad only with your PDA and without access to any decent desktop computers and you want to process your images there. However, usually, most shops that develop print images have lower prices on traditional 2:3 photopapers. How would you give them your originally 3:4 images in a 2:3 format to make use of this possibility?

 

A common trick is converting a 3:4 size-ratio image to a 2:3 one is cropping only the middle of the image and discarding the uppermost and the lowermost part of it. Assuming 5 Mpixel (2592*1952) image, you can discard the upper and lower part of all your images in the current (and all sub-) directory with the following ImageMagick call:

 

FOR /R %%X IN (*.jpg) DO "C:\Program Files\ImageMagick-6.2.1-Q8\convert.exe" -crop 2592x1728+0+112 "%%X" "%%X"

 

(for a 2Mpixel 1632*1088 image, the parameters of convert -crop would be -1632x1088+0+68)

 

This command will convert your file into 2:3 by just keeping the middle area.

 

How would you do this on your Pocket PC? This is where crop-capable batch mode that writes back to the file system comes into the picture. Using that, you could convert all your images on your PDA without hunting for a desktop / notebook computer.

 

In the "Batch examples: converting (cropping) 3:4 digicam images to 2:3 analogue-format" section I've examined whether the given application is able to achieve this. Unfortunately, none of the batch processing-capable apps were able to do the above-explained trick.

 

The second test (see "Batch example 2: mass-resizing images to VGA size"), which "only" resized six moderately-sized images to VGA size. XnView and Pocket Artist was able to do this task, but very slowly; PQV wasn't. The real killer was Pocket Phojo in this respect - it produced an order of magnitude faster execution than the other two applications. Its speed wasn't much worse than a desktop computer running ImageMagick with the command FOR /R %%X IN (*.jpg) DO "C:\Program Files\ImageMagick-6.2.1-Q8\convert.exe" -resize 640 -quality 50 "%%X" "%%X" .

 

The third test ("Batch example 3: mass-recompress images to reduce their size") is another real-life problem: can you just recompress all the images without resizing / cropping. This can be easily achieved with ImageMagick with the FOR /R %%X IN (*.jpg) DO "C:\Program Files\ImageMagick-6.2.1-Q8\convert.exe" -quality 50 "%%X" "%%X" command.

 

Bottom line, as far as batch mode is concerned: ImageMagick should be ported to WindowsCE. The batching capabilities of these programs are all very weak and are nowhere near to those of ImageMagick.

 

"Video playing capabilities; MP4: Philips/Camera/DIGIMAX": I've also tested the video playing capabilities of the programs (where applicable). Unfortunately, all of them were considerably worse than the free (!) BetaPlayer (http://betaplayer.corecodec.org), which has a QuickTime / M-JPEG / MPEG1/2 codec built-in.

 

As for non-MP4-cameras, I've used four different video files, produced by four different, well-known cameras (Casio QV-2900UX (M-JPEG), HP Photosmart 850 (MPEG1); Canon Digital IXUS 40 (M-JPEG); Nikon Coolpix 2000 (QuickTime)). The video formats used by these cameras are almost always the same in the other cameras of the same manufacturer.

 

Additionally, I've tested the players with three MP4 files (created by some low-end digicams and a lot of video cameras with MPEG4 capabilities): the first coming with the Philips Platform4 Player for Pocket PC 3.0 (http://www.pdagold.com/software/detail.asp?s=513; the app is a generic mobile file player - AMR, 3G, MP4 etc. It has quite limited MP4 capabilities - was only able to play its own video); the second was an MP4 file created with PL720's built-in Camera app. BetaPlayer 0.95 wasn't able to play neither of them properly - it didn't include the audio codec for the Camera-created video and had green blocking-problems with the Philips one. The third was a file (http://www.digimax.com.tw/MPEG4/download/hc/Digimax_CF2.mp4) coming with the DIGIMAX MP4 suite (http://www.digimax.com.tw/MPEG4/). After increasing the buffer size, BetaPlayer was able to play the latter (unlike any other players) in full screen without major problems.

 

Incidentally, I publish here something I've found out: Philips Platform4 Player has 5MByte of memory consumption, half of it is the program's DLL, Platform4PocketAxc.dll, in \Windows. The latter file can freely be deleted if you only need to play local media files; or, at least, relocated into an external Flash ROM card by using a reg editor. Just look for the first occurrence of 'platform4' in the registry, and change \Windows\ to \SD Card\ (or the name of your card) accordingly.

 

"Crop" / "Rotate/flip" / "Resize": these tests speak for themselves. (For comparison, WM2003(SE)'s Pictures only offers cropping and rotating.)

 

"Adjust?": almost all the programs that had some kind of file (not just slideshow) export capability have some kind of adjustment capabilities. Brightness and Contrast adjustments are pretty common (Spb can even do that automatically, even in batch mode - too bad it can't convert files in the file system!). There're quite a few other adjustment possibilities; Pocket Artist has especially a lot of them. (For comparison, WM2003(SE)'s Pictures only has Brightness and Contrast manual adjustment.)

 

"Filters": anyone that has ever seen Photoshop know what filters are. The most common three filters with PDA-based image editors are Sharpen, Blur and Smooth. Sharpen does exactly the opposite of the other two. As with adjustments, Pocket Artist certainly excels in this area too.

 

"Drawing menu": if you want to write/draw anything on the image, this is where you start. Some programs (e.g., Photogenics or Mobile Atelier) even offer layering capabilities. Some have nothing (e.g., Pocket Phojo), others only have freehand only with color picker, while e.g. Pocket Artist has an entire army (gradients etc.) of them.

 

"Create New Image? Max. size?" if a pic editor has drawing capabilities, then it could be used not only to edit existing images, but also creating them. Two of the tested programs (except for Mobile Pencil/Atelier) were able to do this. I've also tested the maximal size of the image.

 

"1:1 zooming into large (2/5/8 Mpixel) pics. Lack of pixelization?" is a test of zooming (and, incidentally, file reading) capabilities. Better image viewers / in-the-field image editors are, or, at least, should be capable of zooming into images to the original (100%) size to make out even the slightest detail. Unfortunately, very few applications are able to do this.

 

Image Wallet/slideshow- users

 

This section is meant at people that "only" use their PDA's for image wallet/slideshow purposes.

 

 

"Shrink quality?": one of the most important quality issue when watching larger images on a (relatively) low-resolution is whether there's any algorithm against "jagged" lines. Because a digicam user rarely needs this functionality and because using it sometimes results in slightly worse resolution (as with Resco), it's here that I've included it and not above.

 

Unfortunately, only four applications contain advanced de-jagging algorithms: Spb, Resco and the two apps from Aidem. It's deactivable in Resco; this doesn't really increase file reading speeds, however. So, if you really want lines without jagging, get one of these four programs.

 

Of course, as has already been pointed out, it is only an issue with images that are larger than the available screen estate (or, if you deliberately decrease the zoom value). If the application doesn't need to shrink the image into the screen, no quality degradation will occur at all. In a word: if you want to do some slideshowing on your PDA using the highest available quality, make sure you convert your images exactly to QVGA or VGA size before transferring them to your PDA.

 

I've used, as has been already stated, http://img2.dpreview.com/gallery/kodakdcsslrn_preview/originals/g2d20888.jpg for pointing out jagged lines. Another perfect example would have been http://img2.dpreview.com/gallery/nikoncp8700_samples/originals/040330-1145-11.jpg. It's because of its lacking sky colors that I've gone for the former picture to avoid having to use two test images.

 

"Error diffusion dithering in 16 bit mode?": along with a decent shrinking algorithm, another important feature is some kind of advanced dithering, even on 16-bit screens, to avoid discreet 'steps' in gradient-like things like the sky. Just compare the sample images of F-S Album, XnView or the two Aiden applications to those of the other image viewers - yeah, the sky is much prettier on the ones that support dithering. Unfortunately, speaking of the two most important image viewers, neither Spb nor Resco do anything to avoid 'steps' in continuous color gradients - a big minus for both of them. You can also take a look at another test image (now, posted at http://www.pocketpcthoughts.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=323280) two examples. The built-in Pocket Internet Explorer, which doesn't have dithering either, renders the test image this way, while F-S Album this way.

 

"Any advanced slideshow feature?": if applicable (the app has a slideshow mode), I've listed here the number of transition effects and the extra features like generating EXE files that can be used without any picture viewer.

 

"Annotating slideshows? Does it allow for HQ voice recordings? Does it wait for a loooong voice note to end before stepping to the next slide? If not, does it stop playing the file at once, or does it play to the end? File format compatible with other slideshow-capable viewers (picfilename.wav)?": these tests speak for themselves. A little bit of elaboration, though.

-         All the sound-capable slideshower apps support any bit depth/sampling frequency recording mode, so you don't have to throw low-level recordings at your audience.

-         Some of the sound-capable slideshower apps wait for a given voice note to be fully played before stepping to the next slide, independent of the waiting time between the slides. If you plan to play slideshows with voice annotations, make sure you check out this feature (or, the lack thereof) to save you a lot of headache.

-         most slideshowers are able to play slideshows with sound if the individual sound files are put in the same directory as the image files and their name follows the <image filename>.wav format. This definitely means portability. Note that much more slideshow-capable programs are capable of this than displaying textual notes, because only few of them uses the standard <image filename>.txt to store them. (Unfortunately, Resco isn't compatible with this naming convention, either.)

 

"Support for SD/CF VGA cards/ jackets/ VGA output?": if you don't have a Toshiba e750/e800 or the Dell Axim x50v, which allow for hardware-driven device screen -> VGA mapping, this one can be important if you want to show your slideshows on an external VGA monitor. Unfortunately, Spb doesn't support any external card/sleeve; Resco, on the other hand, supports several.

 

"Annoying clock when loading the next image?": upon development, some software houses didn't pay attention to eliminating the ubiquitous waiting symbol when, even in slideshow mode, the program loads and decodes the next image. A serious drawback; can be one of the main deal breakers with F-S Album and PDAMill Viewer.

 

Note that the waiting symbol can be totally eliminated system-wide using a one pixel-tall/wide symbol like the one at http://discussion.brighthand.com/attachment.php?s=&postid=635554 as described at http://www.masellis.com/wait/create.htm, but this solution can cause problems in other programs so shoulnd't be used. It's better to forget both F-S Album and PDAMill Viewer if you can't put up with the hour sign.

 

Some other benchmarks

 

Please note that these benchmarks were the main benchmarks in the previous versions of my article. Then, when I switched to benchmarking loading a single, big image at the lowest possible CPU speed, I've moved all these benchmarks to a non-central place. That is, these rows are not as important as the main benchmarks above; I've still kept them to add more information.

 

The first row, "Reading a 6.6M 14 Mpixel image", lists the time the apps spent at reading the 6.6 Mbyte image at http://img2.dpreview.com/gallery/kodakdcs14n_samples1/originals/kp146309.jpg. (I've chosen a publicly available image so that the test results can be verified.) As can clearly be seen, the average loading/decoding time was 4-6 seconds for (comparatively) better and 10-14 seconds for worse applications.

 

The next test case, "8 Mpixel thumbnail", measured how fast the applications could read all the thumbnails of the above-introduced 17 8 Mpixel images, now, from main memory, so that the performance hit associated with accessing a memory card can be eliminated. The fastest applications (Resco, Spb, Phojo, in that order) were able to render the (here, EXIF) thumbnails almost instantly, while applications (seemingly) unable to process EXIF thumbnails (for example, PictPocket Cinema 4.0) spent orders of magnitude more time at this task.

 

Incidentally, as long as memory accessing speed is considered, it indeed has a great impact on how the pic viewer apps fare. For example, Resco, while reading & rendering the 5 Mpixel pictures in 31-32 secs off the CF card, has only spent 18 secs off the main memory and 26 secs off the SD card. This strongly corresponds to the file copying benchmarks I've published at http://www.firstloox.org/forums/showthread.php?t=2597 - that is, the PL720 accesses the SD card faster than the CF card.

 

"8 Mpixel read" follows, meaning measuring the time all applications need to iterate over the 8 Mpixel images (I didn't really want to measure the loading/rendering time of just one because of the human factor - I would have been unable to use the stopwatch very fast. Furthermore, I didn't want to reduce the clock speed of my PL720 because I didn't want to present non-real-life, simulated-only loading times). I've done this in plain image viewing mode, without any pre-viewing the images to avoid in-memory image cache usage because, for example, SplashPhoto extensively uses caching. Because a lot of the tested programs don't support slideshow mode, I refrained from using any kind of slideshow mode in applications that would actually have supported it in order to have comparable results. In the test, I've tried to switch to the next picture as soon as possible. I paid special attention NOT to be too fast, because pre-mature switching to the new picture would have resulted in the current image's not being displayed and, therefore, seemingly reduced total loading time.

 

Where applicable, I've tested the applications using the different image loading/rendering methods available. For example, PQV allows for both full-size and reduced-size reading; the performance difference of the two modes are staggering. The same applies to Resco, with the additional option of switching off/on the advanced shrinking algorithm, resulting in far less "jagged" lines. Using the latter algorithm, fortunately, doesn't drastically increase loading times.

 

 

 

Now comes the first torture test result: 14 MPixel thumb reading. This row lists the measured time the apps spent at reading in all the thumbnails of the 52 14 MPixel test files (totalling 169288k) off the SD card. This was one of the torture tests because these images had no thumbnails, except for some (but only Loupe was able to find and display these already-existing, low-quality EXIF thumbnails). So, almost all apps (except for Loupe - it didn't try to generate them) had to read in all the images and generate thumbnails "in the hard way".

 

After this comes some additional benchmarks, now with 2/5 Mpixel images and in the dedicated slideshow mode. I haven't put these benchmarks right after the 14/8 Mpixel results, because it's in slideshow mode that I've tested them and not in 'plain' image mode. By this, I've eliminated the benchmark-incompatibility problems caused by any kind of optimized image loading (because we only need VGA resolution and no zooming will take place).

 

It's here that I've measured the power consumption of time-(and processor-) consuming tasks like iterating over (=reading, decoding (which is by far the most processor-hungry process) and displaying) hundreds of pictures. The numbers (generally between 2 and 6%) are measured on a Pocket Loox 720 and can only be used relatively (compared to the results of other apps).

 

Additional system tools/utilities

 

The next section discusses some other tools that have nothing to do with image editing / slideshow per se, but can be advantageous to have because they are of system-level utility.

 

"WM2003(SE) / VGA today screen theme generation": it's not that easy to set wallpapers for SE devices, let alone VGA ones. I'll describe the problem and all the available applications in my forthcoming article "Theme Generators/Today Wallpaper Setters for the Pocket PC" some time. None of the apps tested were as good at setting wallpapers than the built-in Pictures application. At last, something Pictures excels at, in addition to the ability to save even 16 Mpixel images.

 

"capture screen? VGA?": some apps also offer screen capturing capabilities. I paid special attention to testing whether they really can capture VGA stuff - for example, PQV can't.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there's no all-in-one program, especially if you need any kind of image editing. This means you have to seriously consider your needs and base your choice upon it.

 

Small, but otherwise good picture viewers without editing features

 

If you don't want anything special, just a small, but fast and free pic viewer also with GIF support, and don't need thumbnails of large(r) images, get the PDAMill Viewer. CEPicture, the other contender in this category, is not free, but it is also capable of displaying animated GIF's. Unfortunately, its image thumbnail capabilities are very restricted, just like those of PDAMill Viewer.

 

PocketLoupe is a very handy tool for digicam users, especially for people with TIF/RAW images. Also, the ease of image deletion, the histogram and the superior EXIF thumbnail reading speed are a big plus.

 

Advanced slideshow capabilities, excellent speed & picture quality - Resco and Spb Imageer

 

If you want at least automatic slideshow, zooming and even basic image editing capabilities (resize, crop, added text/drawing etc.) with a very fast engine, also capable of displaying thumbs, go for the Resco Picture Viewer 5.2 or Spb Imageer. These two applications are the only to offer excellent shrinking quality, which is essential for the picture viewing without jagged lines, so they are the best choice for anyone looking for a Digital Image Wallet.

 

Spb Imageer seems a bit better because it has some additional image editing capabilities (e.g. red-eye correction) not present in Resco and has the ability to save images of even 14 Mpixel. Resco is clearly worse in the maximal save size. If you plan to save anything over 2Mpixel, do not get it!

 

Advanced adjusting capabilities; on-the-field digicam support

 

The other application capable of unlimited saving of large-resolution images, Phojo, may be worth considering if you look for excellent adjustment/filtering capabilities and/or support for the Wi-Fi add-ons of some professional Nikon/Canon cameras. However, a serious contender of Phojo is Pocket Artist (especially because of its excellent IPCT setting capabilities, even in batch mode), at a much smaller price tag. The latter doesn't support the above-mentioned Wi-Fi add-ons, however.

 

If you would like to have a picture creator/editor tool instead of an image editor, your choices are Pocket Artist or Photogenics. Also, of interest are the two free tools, Mobile Pencil and Atelier.

 

Standardized EXIF reading and compatibility test results

 

It's very important to know if a given photo viewer application supports the native thumbnail format of a given digital camera. If you always shoot tons of pictures and need the fastest PDA-based image viewer which displays the EXIF thumbnails of the images in an instant, then, this matrix is for you.

 

If you don't have a digicam model listed below (I've tried to test the latest digicam models), this matrix can still be pretty instructive because you still can see if a given application has problems with some cameras and, in general, does it know all (the tested, that is) EXIF thumbnail formats.

 

In the compatibility matrix, I've marked all the application & digicam compinations that resulted in really fast thumbnail reading. Furthermore, I also made some timing tests here too with two sets of images. Then, I've put some 4-5 images of all the listed digicams in a directory and loaded all of the thumbnails.

 

I've only tested the fastest apps. There would have been no point in benchmarking, say, the very slow Aidem Photo Explorer or CEPicture - just take my word, they are slow. Please note that I've used the non-default thumbnail modes of SplashPhoto because of its flaky thumbnail caching/reading algorithm in the standard mode.

 

 

PQV

XnView

Spb Imageer 1.2

Resco Picture Viewer 5.31

Fujitsu-Siemens Album

Pocket Phojo

Loupe

Pocket Artist 3.0

SplashPhoto

(Westtek) iPAQ Viewer 2.12 (on a 2210)

Canon EOS 20D

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

+

slow

Canon EOS 350D - Digital Rebel XT

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

slow

Canon PowerShot A95

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Canon PowerShot A510

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Canon PowerShot A520

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Canon PowerShot SD500

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Canon PowerShot G6

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Canon PowerShot Pro1

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Canon PowerShot S1 IS

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Canon PowerShot S60

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Canon PowerShot S70

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Casio Exilim EX-750

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Casio Exilim Pro EX-P700

+

+

very slow

+

+

+

+

a little bit slower

slow

+

Fujifilm FinePix E550 Zoom

+

+

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

Fujifilm FinePix F10

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Fujifilm FinePix F810

+

+

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro

+

+

slowish

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Fujifilm FinePix S5100 - S5500

+

+

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

HP PhotoSmart R707

not comp. with HP's

+

slowish

+

slowish

+

+

+

slow

+

Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Konica Minolta Dimage Z2

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Konica Minolta Dimage Z5

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

slow

+

Leica Digilux 2

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Nikon CoolPix 2000

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Nikon CoolPix 4800

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Nikon CoolPix 5200

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Nikon Coolpix 5700

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Nikon Coolpix 7900

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Nikon Coolpix 8400

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

slow

+

Nikon Coolpix 8700

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

slow

+

Nikon Coolpix 8800

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Nikon D70

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

slow

+

Olympus C-7000 / C-70 Zoom

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Olympus E-300 EVOLT

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Olympus Stylus Verve (-mini) Digital

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Pentax *ist DS

+

+

slowish

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Pentax Optio 750Z

+

+

slowish

+

+

+

+

+

slow

+

Pentax Optio S5i

+

+

+

+

very slow

+

+

+

+

+

Samsung Digimax V700

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Sigma SD10

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F88

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P150

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

 

Sony Cyber-shot S90

+

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

 

 

Sony DSC-L1

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

 

time

<0:25

0:13

about 2:00

<0:30 (hard to measure; loads current page)

 

<0:15 (hard to measure; loads current)

<0:30 (hard to measure; loads current)

loads on-demand, a page (6) only, without caching

 

 

 

As you can clearly see, only Resco, Phojo, Pocket Artist, XnView, PQV and Loupe were able to read all the thumbnails without serious slowdowns. The clear losers in this test were SplashPhoto and (the otherwise excellent) Spb Imageer. Also note that by removing the digicam images causing the slowdowns from F-S Album, SplashPhoto and Spb Imageer, the overall benchmark times could have been much better (comparable to those of the other, 100% compatible apps).

 

Main feature & non-EXIF-benchmark table

 

 

 

Photogenics

Phojo 3.0 Release 256

PQV 3.0.10

PocketLoupe 1.71b

Spb Imageer 1.2

XnView 1.31

Aidem Photo Explorer 2.01 + Aidem Pocket Painter 2.11 combo

Resco Picture Viewer 5.32

Picture Perfect 5.14s

Fujitsu-Siemens Album

ACDSee Mobile 1.0

PDAMill Viewer

CEPicture 2.7

Conduits Pocket Artist 3.0

Digivue 1.1

PictPocket Cinema 4.0

Price (US$)

49.95

495

19.95

$34.95 (raw-compliant full) / $19.95 (LE, JPEG only)

14.95

free (!)

19.95$ + 24.95$

24.95

19.95$

pre-installed on PL 720

39.95

free (!)

12

49.95

14.99$

39.95$

Memory consumption

1.3M

1.688M

642k

159k

2.8M + the 38k ImageerService.dll (run as a service to look for image files on the card) + a lot of .2bp files + a 68k help file in \Windows

1.455M

 

481 + 572k

2.232M + the 287K RFileShell.dll in \Windows

441k + some pp*.html in \Windows

ROM

630k

 

398k, of which 195k in \My Documents\ PDAmill can be deleted at once

 

208k; 20k in \Windows (CEPicture.htm)

 

1970k + a 88k HTML help file in \Windows

 

730k

3.038M (w/o the 800k PIE plugin, which is only needed for WMV video playback)

VGA in QVGA?

-

+

-

+

+

+

+

+

-

+

+

-

-

+

-

-

Forced VGA in QVGA?

-; only occupies quarter of the screen

no need

heavy misalignment on starting (register) screen and toolbars aren't visible; otherwise, OK

no need

no need

no need

no need

no need

+

no need

no need

+

+

No need

+

+ with slight thumbnail misalignment. Video playing doesn't work in forced VGA!

VGA in VGA?

-; only occupies quarter of the screen

no need

+; GUI (mainly the file & other dialogs) is, however, pretty misaligned in here too

no need

no need

no need

no need

no need

+

no need

no need

+

+

No need

+

+; Video playing doesn't work in native VGA!

EXIF thumbnail compliance?

 

excellent

excellent, except for HP models

excellent

several models aren't supported; otherwise, fair

excellent

none

excellent

none

several models aren't supported; otherwise, fair

 

none, doesn't even try to render thumbnails (big minus)

none

excellent

none

none

Reading a 10M 16 Mpixel image at 104 MHz

 

0:50 (520M: 0:13). No scale-down.

0:29 (default: full size load); optimized load (Options/Preferences/JPEG/Optimize JPEG load size): 0:04 (QVGA), 0:06 (VGA)

0:20 with Menu/Smart Scaling switched on (default); with switching it off, out of memory error.

0:13 (def.); full size (View/100% (Original)): 0:26 (loads at 50%)

0:14 (default); loading at original size (View/Original Size) results in out of memory error and the usual gray screen

0:13

0:16 (520M: 00:035) default VGA (640*480); 0:10 (QVGA) (settable: Settings/Options/Image/Load big pictures resized to...). Without best-quality shrink: 0:14 (VGA) / 0:09.(QVGA)

0:20; the GUI/device become responisve after about 0:30, though.

0:25

 

0:15

0:45; with disabled 'Economic Memory Mode' (File/Settings/General), 1:46

0:57 (520: 0:14)

0:18

didn't load (in 3 mins)

Quick picture delete?

-

+

+

+ (the fastest of all: you can delete an image with only one click if you disable Menu/Confirm deletes)

+

+

+ (tap + 2 click in thumbnail mode)

+

-; Picture/Remove (or the Quick Delete mode) only removes the picture from the current album, not from the FS

- (!)

 

-

-

- (!)

-

- (has a Delete Image menu, but it only removes the file from the album)

Image types read

 

 

JPEG/ TIF / BMP, B2P / GIF/ PCX/ DCX / TGA / AWD / PNG/ MPG / AVI / MOV. picture-based PDF reading and a lot of other image formats, including ones that are not at all supported in other PPC-based pic viewers/editors (JPEG, GIF, Windows BMP (RLE too), CALS, TARGA, FLI/FLC, and FAX; multipage file formats including TIFF, DCX, AWD (MS FAX), MOD:CA/IOCA, picture-based PDF; (also animated) GIF, animated FLI/FLC)

JPG / RAW, including Nikon NEF, Canon CRW, Minolta MRW and Fuji S2 RAF. (No GIFs!)

JPG/BMP/GIF/TIF/PNG

 

JPG / TGA / BMP / GIF / PNG / 2BP / TIF (Rev. 6) / PCX / PBM, PGM, PPM, PNM / XBM, XPM

JPG / BMP / GIF

RAB, RLA/ JPEG/ THM/ TIFF,CFX,TFX/ 2BP,BMP/ (also animated) GIF/ PCX/ PCD/ PSD/ RAW, PRG,PPM/ PNG/ MPG

 

JPG / (also animated) GIF

 

JPG/GIF

JPG/BMP/ JPG / (also animated) GIF

PSD, JPG, BMP, 2BP, PNG, (also animated) GIF

 

 

Button-only control

 

 

reconfigurable (Options/Preferences/Buttons), both D-Pad and all buttons. All the available functionality can be invoked by a hardware button and, additionally, you can even define a different set of button assignments for fullscreen and thumbnail view and main window. Unfortunately, it doesn't support scrolling either.

 

not reconfigurable; previous/next only.

reconfigurable (unlike version 1.20); previous/next/zoom in/out, fullscreen.

not reconfigurable. D-pad: next/previous; no other buttons.

reconfigurable (File/Settings/Options/Buttons), both D-Pad and all buttons

reconfigurable (Album/Settings/Button Assignments), both D-Pad and some buttons. Zoom, full screen, previous/next, play sounds/display text.

not reconfigurable; previous/next only.

 

not reconfigurable; previous/next only.

not reconfigurable: down/up: next/previous; left/righ: zoom; no other buttons

 

not reconfigurable; D-pad: next/previous and zooming; no other buttons.

 

14/8 Mpixel write (where possible)? If not, which is the max. size that is saved OK?

-, resizes to 1632*1224

+

-, resizes to 1632*1224. 5: resizes to 1280*960. 2 Mpixel pics are exported OK.

no editing/writing/adjusting capabilities

+; 16 Mpixel images are only loaded at 50%, though.

8 Mpixel pictures are not saved at all. No error message is presented - serious flaw! 5/2: doesn't resize, saved OK.

downscales

Downscales images over about 6 Mpixel.

- (no editing)

(doesn't have any image editing capabilities)

 

 

(doesn't have any image editing capabilities)

(couldn't test because of beta bugs)

resizes to PAL video size

(no real saving mode)

EXIF display?

-

-

+ (pretty limited, compared to, e.g., XnView)

 

+

+

-

+ (introed in 5.3x)

-

+

+

-

+

+

-

-

IPTC display?

+

+

-

 

 

+

-

-

-

 

 

 

-

+

-

 

EXIF ImageDescription comment editing?

-

-

-

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

+; the only program that uses the standard EXIF ImageDescription. Doesn't recompress image upon EXIF export - a big plus!

-

-

-

-

-

Resaves EXIF infos?

- (!)

- (!)

- (!)

 

+, also the EXIF thumbnail

+, also the EXIF thumbnail

-

+ (introed in 5.3x)

-

n/a (doesn't have any image editing capabilities)

+

-

-

+

-

(no saving mode)

Comment in a separate text file in <picfilename>.ext ?

 

-

-

 

Textual notes are embedded in the JPG file itself w/o recompression; not readable by IPTC/EXIF tools.

-

 

They are saved in a common-for-all proprietary file

 

+

 

-

+ (*.cep)

-

-

Annotations can only embedded in the picture itself.

Standard IPTC edit & save?

+; can't be set without JPG recompression!

+; can't be set without JPG recompression!

-

 

-

+

-

-

-

-

-

 

 

+; even supports importing/saving IPTC infos into AIC files and adding IPTC tags in batch mode. Really nice!

-: Author/Description settable and are stored in the JPG, but in a non-standard way

-

Histogram?

- (!)

+, all 4 channels

+

 

-

-

-

-

-

+

 

-

-

+

+, lum. + all color channels

+

Output file formats (if any)

JPG, BMP, GIF, TARGA

JPG; the only app that has image file size estimation

several TIF, 2 BMP's, PCX, DCX, GIF, CALS, JPEG JFIF (4 quality levels + additional caability of 4:2:2 subsampling)

 

JPG only (fine-tunable quality)

JPG(25/50/75/100% quality), GIF (BW/16/256 colors), BMP (BW/16/256 colors/24 bit), PNG (BW/16/256 colors/24 bit; 1...9 quality)

 

JPG (fine-tunable quality)/PNG/BMP

-

(doesn't have any image editing capabilities)

JPG (Low/ Medium/ High pre-set global quality)

 

 

 

jpg/tiff/bmp

(no real saving mode)

Dedicated red-eye reduction?

+

-

+

 

+

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

+

-

-

In-program file transfer / (e.g., IrDA / BT / E-mail /FTP) capabilities?

 

E-mail/FTP

IrDA/ E-mail + Print via IR

 

Publish to Web (to public.fotki.com; see: http://signup.fotki.com/ ) right from the app; otherwise, no "traditional" transfer capabilities

E-mail, IrDA send/receive

E-mail, IrDA send/receive

IrDA/ BT / mail; both individual pics and albums can be sent

-

E-mail

 

-

 

-

IrDA/ BT / E-mail

-

E-mail: how does it integrate with WM's Inbox/Messaging? Is it able to send several images at once? Does it resize pictures?

 

SMTP: doesn't integrate. Able to access the Contacts WinCE database and has progress bar, though.

Has the ability to send pics as is. Only knows resizing and format conversion upon sending. Doesn't send several pics at once. Didn't work under WM2003SE - nothing happened upon pressing 'send'.

 

No e-mail.

Doesn't let the user edit the message (only the Messaging accounts can be accessed, it doesn't switch to Messaging): standardized subject/body, no Contacts. Supports sending of multiple pics at once. Can send even large (14Mp) pics untouched. Offers size/format conversion upon sending.

 

OK. Lets the user edit the message - sending is transferred to Messaging (the account will be the last used one); therefore, compatible with Contacts/ multiple receivers etc. Doesn't support sending of multiple pics at once, only as an album; sends even large (14Mp) pics untouched.

-

Uses the built-in mailer, so everything is accessible; saves the mail in Drafts. Doesn't resize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

any kind of batch processing?

-

batch Wi-Fi transmit / mailer / FTP uploader. Also supports local batch modes - see remarks above.

Upon writing back to file system: manual resize/crop/delete/rotate/ copy/conversion. The auto-batch crops, rescales/ resizes, converts (saves with a different file type) files and also can use Error Diffusion instead of the standard Best colors. Pretty similar in functionality to Spb; the latter has a much more intuitive bacth interface.

 

Upon publishing to Web/Create an album, settable for all pics to be sent one-by-one, Resize; auto/manual; Rotation / Auto-crop (dumb); Rename (with an additional Datum / Custom prefix and/or re-number). Individual local files can't be automatically created (Create an Album uses a proprietary file format), unlike with, e.g., XnView. Can't process 14Mpixel pics in these modes.

Pretty sophisticated: upon selecting more than one thumbnail, the selected transformation (e.g., resize - to any size, unlike with Pocket Artist) can be applied to them all at once and the new file saved with a given pre/postfix. It supports JPEG quality setting, saving as not only JPEG but also GIF/BMP/PNG. Sharpen/Smooth/Reduce noise etc. Doesn't work with large (7+ Mpixel) images.

-

"Apply to all images": it only works with adjustments, nothing else. Furthermore, the adjusted images aren't automatically saved - they must be saved by hand. Almost useless.

 

-

-

 

 

rotate, flip, transpose, add IPTC fields and resize. The latter to predefined dimensions only (320*240 (QVGA), 640*480 (VGA).... 1600*1200). You can't change the saving JPEG quality unlike in XnView/Phojo/PQV!

-

-

Batch example 1: converting (cropping) 3:4 digicam images to 2:3 analogue-format

 

- (crop is not supported in batch mode; only resize and Saturation/Sharpness setting)

- (didn't want to do anything after tagging all images to cropping and filling in the Lefx/Right X and Top/Bottom Y fields in Options/Preferences/Batch. The log file contained the error report Error Decompressing Page,Code = -1

 

- (you can't write back to the local file system)

- (you can't crop for all the images, even if they have the same dimensions. This is certainly an oversight.)

 

- (no batch mode)

 

 

 

 

 

- (crop, as with XnView, can only be applied to individual images)

 

 

Batch example 2: mass-resizing images to VGA size

 

+; 00:20; excellent speed!

didn't work with most images; received a lot of Error Decompressing Page error messages

 

- (you can't write back to the local file system); it would work for Web publishing; however.

+; about 4.5 minutes

 

- (no batch mode)

 

 

 

 

 

+; about 4 minutes

 

 

Batch example 3: mass-recompress images to reduce their size

 

+; 01:14

doesn't work either: Copy just copies files, while Convert wants to resize. Resizing just can't be circumvented.

 

- (you can't write back to the local file system); it would work for Web publishing; however.

+; 00:43

 

- (no batch mode)

 

 

 

 

 

- (there is no just simple recompression)

 

 

Video playing capabilities; MP4: Philips/Camera/DIGIMAX

 

 

-

-

Casio: +

HP: -

Canon: +

Nikon : +

MP4: no support at all

 

Didn't work in the default direct screen access mode on the PL720. Tested in true QVGA (no forced VGA). Slow, appr. 8-10 fps video.

 

-

-

 

MPEG1/2 only;

 

HP: - (wasn't able to play the sound)

others: all -

 

Casio: +

HP: -

Canon: +, with sound (the sound was much worse - stuttering, pauses now and then - than in BetaPlayer though!)

Nikon : -

MP4: +/+/-; didn't play the DIGIMAX video, only the sound

 

 

 

 

-

 

Casio: - (unknown image format)

HP: +

Canon: +

Nikon : +

MP4: +/-/-

 

 

Only usable in true QVGA mode!

Crop?

-

+

+

 

+, with size

+; size in pixels

+

+; with size in pixels

 

-

+, without size (unlike all other apps)

 

 

+

+

(no real saving mode. All modifications are saved in a proprietary MAB file)

Rotate/flip

+; any angle

+

+/+

 

+/-

Yes/yes; JPEG losless rotation supported

+/+, even with any degree, not just multipliers of 90)

Yes/no

 

-

+/+

 

 

+/+; rotate can be done with any degrees, not just a multiplicate of 90

+/+

+/-

resize?

+

+

+

 

+

+

+

+

 

-

+

 

 

+

+

-

adjust?

a lot - see the program intro

Levels (Brightness, R, G, B); Colour correct (HSBCG mode: Hue/ Saturation/ Brightness / Contrast / Gamma / Exposure; RGB mode: R/G/B)

Brightness +/- 10%; modify color depth (to 1/4/8/16/24 bits); Color -> Gray; Invert. No contrast / hue.

 

/Hue / Saturation / Lightness / R/G/B Channel. Auto brightness/contrast-adjust feature (unlike other apps!)!

Brightness/Contrast / Gamma

Brightness / Contrast / Hue / Saturation / Gamma / Rescale, Invert, Gray, Color Level

Brightness/Contrast / Gamma/ Gamma-R/G/B ; negative picture

 

-

Blackpoint/ Whitepoint/Brightness/ Contrast / Gamma; Auto Levels

 

 

Levels / Fill Shadows / Auto Contrast / Fix overflash (very handy!) / Brightness/Contrast /Hue / Saturation / Lightness / Color curves (extremely good) / Desaturate / Invert.

Brightness/Contrast / R/G/B

Brightness/Contrast

Filters

a lot - see the program intro

Dodge and Burn; Sharpen; Canopy Closure

-

 

Sharpen / Blur

Sharpen/Smooth/Reduce noise

Blur / Sharpen / Average / Despeckle / Diffuse / Emboss / Find Edge / Mosaic / Trace Countour / Cool Color / Warm Color

-

 

-

-

 

 

Blur/ Motion Blur/ Sharpen / Sharpen More (it's not as spectacular as XnView's slider-based control!) / Despeckle / Reduce Grain / Convolve / Emboss / Find Edges / Solarize

Sharpen / Blur / Smooth

-

Drawing menu

a lot; offers even freely variable layers

- (nothing)

- (nothing)

 

Freehand only with color picker

-

Gradient Tool; Water / Oil / Wax/ Carbon / Mick / Color Pen, Chalk etc.

Text / line / rectangle / circle/ text / set pen/fill (there is no real fill, it's just the color of rectangles/circles) color; Pen width: 6 sizes. It supports object-based drawing (order setting: forward one/backward one/to front/to back), which is a plus.

 

-

-

-

-

See above

-

Text / line / rectangle / circle; for/background color chooser (only 47 pre-defined colors) / 6 pen width. Seems buggy in drawing: current drawing only visible after zooming

Create New Image? Max. size?

+; about 2 Mpixel

-

-

 

-

-

+ (!)

-

-

-

 

-

-

+;

 

 

1:1 zooming into large (2/5/8 Mpixel) pics. Lack of pixelization?

2 Mp: yes

5/8 Mp: no

yes

2 Mp: yes

5/8 Mp: yes

 

2 Mp: (generally) yes

5/8 Mp: no, only zooms to 50%

2 Mp: yes

5/8 Mp: no, nothing can be seen (!)

 

2 Mp: yes

5/8 Mp: no memory; pixelizated

 

2 Mp: yes

5/8 Mp: no, pixelizated

(unable to read large JPG's)

no zoom at all

2 Mp: yes

5/8 Mp: no, pixelizated

2 Mp: yes

5/8 Mp: no, 50%

8Mp: no; disabling Tools/Options/Downscale pictures doesn't help.

5Mp: yes

2Mp: yes

-

For Image Wallet/slideshow- users : Shrink quality?

 

 

average

 

excellent

average

excellent

excellent (default JPEG loading setting) / average (non-default)

 

average

 

average

average

average

average

average

Error diffusion dithering in 16 bit mode?

 

 

-; however, in exporting JPEG images, you can choose it over the default mode

 

-

+

 

-

 

+

-

-

-

-

 

-

Any advanced slideshow feature?

 

(no slideshow)

(no slideshow)

22 transition effects

 

24 transition effects

Creates an .EXE slideshow (watchable w/o any kind of pic viewer). Capable of playing ONE external audio file in the background (Resco allows for several). There're a lot of transition effects, but their speed can't be set (and may be, therefore, anningly slow) and can only be applied randomly.

 

+ Not only plays voice notes attached to pictures (as with almost all the other viewers that have dedicated slideshow mode), but also any bakground music, even more of them. (No need to fire up PWMP in the background.)

+ a lot of transition effects (about 16)

 

a lot of transition effects; even more than those of Resco (about 52)

 

 

 

 

no transition effects at all, only delay and auto rotate setting. Not even annotating.

 

Annotating slideshows? Does it allow for HQ voice recordings? Does it wait for a loooong voice note to end before stepping to the next slide? If not, does it stop playing the file at once, or does it play to the end? File format compatible with other slideshow-capable viewers (picfilename.wav)?

 

 

Voice note; WAV, with system-level audio quality; waits to finish. Compatible.

 

Text / Audio; audio is stored in the same directory; text is stored in the JPG but NOT as EXIF/IPTC. Doesn't wait; cuts off the sound. Compatible.

-; it's only capable of playing only one pre-defined audio file during the slideshow

 

Rich text/Voice notes. After adding the text notes, the toolbar doesn't retreat to below (bug!). VAW files are stored in the same directory; textual notes are stored in the non-image-specific \My Documents\RAlbum.ra_. Waits for sounds to finish; compatible audio file naming convention.

 

Voice & text; saved as <filename>.aud and .txt files (that is, not compatible with the others without renaming them first in Total Commander; fortunately, the two-directional renaming is simple). Doesn't wait; plays to the end. Allows for HQ recording.

Voice only

-

 

-

-

Voice (any quality)/text; uses standard name convention. Doesn't wait for individual sound end; cuts it off.

Support for SD/CF VGA cards/ jackets/ VGA output?

 

 

+ (Voyager only)

 

-

-

 

Voyager, Pretec VGA, Presenter-to-go, FlyJacket

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

Margi Presenter-to-Go; Colorgraphics Voyager CF

Annoying clock when loading the next image?

 

 

-

 

-

-

 

-

 

+

-

+ (not visible in VGA pics)

-

(no slideshow mode)

-

 

Other (for example, slideshow) benchmarks: Large, original 5 Mpixel files:

Reading the thumbnail of 10 files, totalling 17M

 

<0.5s

5s

 

not tested

17s

 

<1s

 

<1s

(unable to read them)

(doesn't display large files' thumbs)

crashes

not tested

Coulnd't read all the thumbnails in disabled Downscale mode.

 

Iterating over 10 files/17M

 

 

full JPEG loading quality: 47/36s; VGA loading on VGA screen 35/25s; QVGA loading on QVGA screen 21s/12s (reading off CF/main memory)

 

not tested

52s

 

33s in dedicated slideshow mode. Upon manual iteration, loading full-sized images and allowing for (the default) shrink, 45s; VGA-sized loading+ shrink: 27s; VGA-sized loading+ no shrink: 24s. (33/15/12s from main memory).

 

47s

(unable to read them)

40s

not tested

not tested

 

 

Large, original 2/5 Mpixel files: Reading the thumbnails of 105 files, totalling 110M

 

<10s

25s

 

<10s

2:00 min

 

<10s

 

several minutes (see notes)

(unable to read them)

(doesn't display large files' thumbs)

crashes

1:00

 

 

Iterating over 105 files/110M; 1s waiting between the consequent images; power consumption

 

 

not tested

 

66 files/60M: 3:22

10:24 min; -4%

 

5:12; -2%

 

6:40 minutes:seconds; -4%

(unable to read them)

6:32; -2%

not tested

(no slideshow mode)

 

 

8 Mpixel thumbnail from main memory

0:16;

Puts thumbnail cache in \Temp

<3s

<2 sec

 

0:08

0:11

 

<1s

? couldn't test because of trial version

0:24

(coulnd't read them)

 

0:12

 

0:21

0:53

8 Mpixel read

about 2.9 sec/pic (hard to measure) at 50% zoom

 

16/24-bit (no performance difference between the two!), full size: 50 sec

with reduced-size reading: 13 sec

 

at 50% zoom, 0:41

0:37; zoom up to 75%

 

"original" size: 1:01 with no good-quality shrinking; 1:16 with enabling shrinking

resized to VGA: 0:26

 

+

- (exits)

+

+

+

+; only with downscaling to QVGA/VGA/SVGA/XGA. Otherwise, didn't even load.

+

Torture test one: 52*14 MPixel thumb (totalling 169288k) reading from SD (WM2003SE Pictures: 3:59)

 

3:52

0:38; wasn't able to read img2.dpreview.com/gallery/kodakslrc_samples/originals/f6fm1052.jpg and f6fm1085.jpg

 

42 files/142MB: 1:39

3:40

 

1:40

 

4:51

 

-

0:35 to step into dir; couldn't stand waiting after 3 additional minutes (nothing has been rendered)

 

4:34

about 10-12 minutes

Torture test two Small VGA files of size 6-63k; 844 of them/23M; thumbnail

 

 

crashed at rendering appr. the 300th thumbnail

 

2:00 (file list view, NOT thumbnail!)

2:21 m:s

 

about 10 sec to initially cache the filenames; fast

 

can start to browse at once; medium

can start to browse at once; slow

452 files/12M: 1:00

not tested

not tested

 

 

844/23M; 0s waiting; power consumption

 

 

not tested

 

471 files/13.3M: 3:38

11:26/-6%

 

12:26 / -6%

 

19:50; -8%

no reason (no auto-landscape mode)

452 files/12M: 3:23

not tested

(no slideshow mode)

 

 

Additional system tools/utilities: WM2003(SE) / VGA today screen theme generation

 

 

-

 

-

-

 

+ (both VGA and QVGA; tiling in Landscape (5.2 was better in this respect!); no transparency level setting; no manual font color setting; also sets the Start menu background. (unlike in 5.20)). stwater.gif is arounf 60k.

 

+ (only VGA, non-QVGA; tiling in Landscape; no transparency level setting; no manual menu color setting; doesn't center; doesn't use all the available screen estate)

-

-

-

today screen wallpaper; pretty weak (Menu/Image/Tools/Use as Desktop)

-

-

capture screen? VGA?

QVGA: doesn't work OK under SE

-

+, comes even with a separate screen capturer utility, assignable to a HW button. QVGA only!

 

-

+: settable delay and file format, VGA - compliant

 

+; VGA; now/10s later.

 

-

-

 

+, button-assignable; QVGA in QVGA; VGA in forced VGA

+, only to clipboard (saving is possible from the app via New / Paste)

-

+; VGA, from inside the app