05.Review: AV Labs Portable Photo Gallery
When CHOICE tested digital photo frames, the AVL994 was in the process of being released. Unlike other digital photo frames, which always need to be anchored to a power outlet, the AVL994 has a lithium battery, lasting just over three hours, so you can take it with you to a meeting or family BBQ. But how does it differ in picture quality and ease of use? And is the price tag worth it?
We ran the AVL994 through our picture assessment panel, which was satisfied with its detail, contrast and colour accuracy. Compared with the other photo frames it’s around middle of the range. Navigating through the menu system is awkward and slow, although many of the photo frames on test were as well.
It lacks a remote control, which could be useful when using it with the supplied stand. It also lacks a standard USB slot, relying on an adapter cable to connect a USB key or PC. Other digital photo frames also require an adapter cable, but it seems short-sighted to require one for a portable product. It claims to work with a PC, but we couldn't get this feature to work. It has three memory card options: SD, MMC and MS.
You’ll need to convert all your photos into the correct resolution before transferring them to the AVL994, an extra step most of the digital photo frames also require. Its large 4GB internal memory is four times the largest of the photo frames in our test, which is a major advantage, however you’re still ultimately left with a one-trick pony.
In an age where many portable devices have more than one function, the AVL994 is sorely lacking in versatility. It may be useful if you only need a portable photo viewer, but for a comparable price you can buy a netbook of the same size, which can do so much more and has a similar, if not better, battery life.