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Reviews

Resco Photo Viewer v6.01

By MikeBenton March 2, 2007, 12:00 am

How many times have you found yourself needing to edit an image on your Pocket PC only to be dismayed by the drab Pictures and Video offering that comes with Windows Mobile 5.0? With all the room for improvement on image manipulation, Resco has stepped up and put their chips on the table with Resco Photo Viewer v6.01. Is Resco Photo Viewer an app that every road warrior should have? Read on to find out!

WHAT'S HOT

Resco Photo Viewer has really matured since the last time we told you about it. With 45 improvements over version 5.0, Resco Photo Viewer 6.01 joins the fight to put portability back into your PDA. Highlights that set Resco Photo Viewer apart from the others are support for JPG, JPE, JPEG, BMP, 2BP, GIF, PCD, RAQ, PGM, PPM, PNG, RAB, RLA, THM, WBMP, PCX, PSD, TIF, TIFF, CFX, TFX, MPG,MPEG, M1V, and M files. That's a lot of formats! They also optimized cache use for improved speed, beefed up edit mode, drawing mode, album mode, text and audio note attachment to images, and sharing capabilities. There is also an optional add-in for Active sync to allow for advanced Photo and Video synchronization between the Pocket PC and Desktop. Sounds great on paper — now, let's use it...

POCKETNOW VIDEO OF THE DAY

SETUP

The install is straight forward and simple. There are four components you can option during your install.

  • Resco Photo Viewerfor Pocket PC: the bread and butter of the installation, this is where Resco goes for the gold. Also includes the Screen Capturer.

  • PhotoSynchronization Add-In: for Active sync. You can define folders to sync from and to. Vista users already have this in Windows Mobile Device Center.

  • Desktop AlbumGenerator: bare bones album generator useful for creating albums and transferring directly to your Pocket PC on demand. You can also use this to convert MS PowerPoint Presentations into Albums for display in Resco Photo Viewer. You need PowerPoint installed for this to work. The conversion did not work on Vista but works great on XP

  • PowerPoint ->RAB Conversion: this add-in changes the file format during sync so you can drag and drop files from your desktop to Pocket PC without using the Desktop Album Generator

If you choose to install the PowerPoint -> RAB Conversion add-in, the installer will ask you if you wish to set it as the default converter for PowerPoint files. Once installed, Resco Photo Viewer will run on the Pocket PC and ask if you wish to set file associations, this is followed by a checklist menu of various file formats. I suggest you check them all, Photo Viewer is does its job quite well.

When you click done here, Resco Photo Viewer will load the default album slide show and take you to the initial album view.

PRODUCT FEATURES

Noticeable right away is the prominence of menus everywhere in the application. These come in extremely handy and many times are redundant to the icons in the tool bars. In addition to viewing and editing of images, PowerPoint slide shows can be converted to Resco Albums and viewed in Photo Viewer. The file conversion is done on the desktop PC using the Desktop Album Generator and you must have PowerPoint installed. This seems to be one of the main selling points of Resco Photo Viewer as once the .ppt is converted to .rab you can edit the slide show on your Pocket PC.

The Album/Folder view is where most of the work is done with slide shows. Different sized thumbnails (small, medium, large and details view) are viewable as well.

Slide Show properties can be modified. Everything from Transition Effects to Play Direction. Resco Photo Viewer supports voice notes for images you can choose to play these or a different audio file through out the slide show.

When I first selected Browse Card from the menu, I was surprised at how fast Resco Photo Viewer was able to find, thumbnail and display every image on my storage card. This can potentially be a very useful feature for anyone that works with multiple images, in multiple files frequently. Photo Viewer also gives the ability to define Favorites.

Once an image is selected, you are able to work with it in more depth. Easily accessible from the image view screen are the zoom levels, rotation settings, cropping, resizing, levels selection (using sliders), audio/voice notes, text notes and the drawing tool bars.

Drawing mode gives basic drawing possiblities: Pen markups, squares and circles are the meat of it. Further customization is available through Pen Width, Pen Color, and Fill Color. You can also add Text to the image (separate from Text Notes). To enhance the collaboration effect, Photo Viewer also includes the ability to Send to IrDA, Bluetooth and E-mail/MMS so you can truly get your message across efficiently.

Audio notes can be attached to images individually in addition to text notes. Text note's position, font, shadow feather and color can be modified. Taking the text notes to higher level.

It is possible to select part of an image and Save to Contact (for a contact photo) or Set as Background for your today screen

Included with Resco Photo Viewer is a Screen Capture utility for use on the Pocket PC. The images captured can be saved as PNG, JPG or BMP. Very useful for Bug reporting or showing off an app to friends.

With all the options available while using Resco Photo Viewer, the experience would not be complete without the ability to set your folder defaults and even assign buttons to commonly used functions.

HELP SUPPORT

Although the on line Manual (PDF) is still written for v5.0 it did help me figure out a few options that weren't clear to me. If you are at all familiar with any image editing software, including Paint, Resco Photo Viewer will not be hard for you issues you can email [email protected]

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

This review is about the Windows Mobile Version of Resco Photo Viewer. Photo Viewer is also available for Windows Mobile Smartphone, Palm OS, Symbian s60 and Symbian UIQ. The complete download including the Desktop Album generator is 1,516 KB. For a full install 2304 KB will be required on the device (minimum) and 2528 KB on the PC for the Desktop Album Generator, Photo Synchronization Add-In, and Power point -> RAB Conversion for Active sync. Resco Photo Viewer installs and runs fine to the storage card and only took 1.5 MB of Program memory at the most while running.

BUGS AND WISHES

My main disappointment with Resco Photo Viewer was the inability to convert PPT files on the Pocket PC. In addition the ability to convert from RAB file to PPT file does not exist and if it did would truly enhance its functionality.

Figuring out how to create a new album took way too long, and for a moment I feared it would only be possible from the Desktop Album Generator.

The folder navigation was clunky with an error message popping up whenever a folder did not contain any supported image files.

Although the default folders are configurable, the installer should prompt for this information.

One of the more important options that was missing is the option to undo changes; it only exists as 'Revert to Saved', when exiting the edit screen to the album view you are asked if you want to save changes. I suppose the memory requirement would increase dramatically if multiple undo levels existed.

The Desktop Album Generator, Photo Synchronization and PPT -> RAB conversion worked great on XP with ActiveSync, but do not work on Vista with Windows Mobile Device Center. The Desktop Album Generator was able to create albums but was unable to convert PowerPointPresentations. Potential Vista users do not be entirely dismayed, Windows Mobile Device Center has a built in Photo and Video Synchronization Option.

PURCHASING

You can download a 14 day Free Trial or purchase Resco Photo Viewer from Resco's site for $24.95.

Pros

  • Fast storage card image searching
  • Excellent slide show features
  • Image manipulation is extremely handy on the Pocket PC.
  • Small memory footprint
  • External display support

Cons

  • PowerPoint to Resco Album conversion only possible from Desktop Album Generator
  • New album creation is confusing
  • Folder navigation is clunky

OVERALL IMPRESSION

Overall, I really liked Resco Photo Viewer. It has definitely earned a 'stays installed' on my Pocket PC, even though it had some ease of use issues. If you feel like something is missing from Windows Mobile 5.0 in the way of image viewing and editing, Resco Photo Viewer can be a big help.

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