XreArt Frames in hands-on: Apple iPhone, Nintendo Game Boy and Co. become framed wall decoration
Framed retro gadgets are no longer a new idea, there is now a wide range of gadgets that are disassembled by different companies so that the individual components can be attached to a picture frame and displayed in this way. XreArt has provided us with two of these frames so that we can take a closer look at this trend.
Apple iPhone 2G in frame awakens nostalgia
The first frame sent to us by XreArt contains an Apple iPhone 2G that has been disassembled into its individual parts. The battery is omitted, for obvious security reasons. Otherwise, all the major components can be seen, from the home button to the 412 MHz ARM processor to the device's casing.
Each component is neatly labeled so that not only components like the 2-megapixel main camera are easy to identify, but also the speaker, the headphone jack and the mechanism behind the volume rocker. A short text indicates that this is the first iPhone, along with an anecdote about the launch event.
The workmanship shows minor weaknesses
However, our review sample also shows minor drawbacks that customers have to put up with. On the one hand, the casing of the iPhone 2G shows visible signs of use, from deep scratches to deformed edges. This can hardly be avoided with retro devices, because XreArt has to resort to used devices in moderate condition to achieve an acceptable price.
On the other hand, one of our two frames has a relatively deep scratch on the back. The front of both frames is flawless, and there is nothing else to complain about in terms of workmanship. Two nails are required to hang the frame on the wall, as the frame has a suspension at the corners - this makes sense in view of the rather high weight. It is interesting that the design, up to the arrangement of the components, is practically identical with competitors like Grid Studio. Apparently several companies source products from the same manufacturer.
Game Boy Pocket components as Tetris blocks
In addition to the iPhone 2G, XreArt also sent us a framed Game Boy Pocket, which is in relatively good condition aside from oxidation on the motherboard. The gaming handheld from 1996 consists of few components, but they are larger than those of the iPhone 2G. To make everything fit into the frame, the manufacturer played a bit of Tetris and rotated the motherboard as well as the back. The 8-bit processor based on the Sharp Z80, which reaches a clock frequency of 2.2 MHz, can be seen just as well as the two buttons, the control pad and the simple speaker.
The frames from XreArt are neatly manufactured and quite decorative. However, buyers should note that the devices in the frames partly show heavy signs of use - hardly surprising considering the age of the gadgets. XreArt's marketing images hardly show these signs of use.
Prices and availability
The XreArt frames are available directly via the website of the manufacturer. Prices depend primarily on the device selected. The frames described in this article cost $199 with the Game Boy Pocket, or else $349 with the first-generation Apple iPhone.
Shipping is free, and customs and import sales taxes are paid by XreArt. The company also offers DIY kits as well as an Apple Watch, a Sony PSP or a Nintendo Switch (about 280 Euros/~$301 on Amazon) in the frame.
Disclaimer: The frames shown in this review were provided to us free of charge by XreArt. There were no conditions attached to these samples for reporting purposes.