Digital photo frames review 2009

Digital photo album technology is still a little raw.
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  • Updated:9 Jan 2009

04.What to look for

  • On-screen menu systems should be logical and easy to read and the buttons to control it should work reliably. All of the models can move backward and forward, plus show a sideshow through the menu.
  • Remote controls for these products tend to be small, but they still need to be functional.
  • Check that the frame can connect to your photo-storage device. All can connect to a computer via a USB port to download files.
  • Check the manufacturer’s warranty to see if they’re covered for dead pixels. One pixel is unlikely to be a problem, but if you can see a cluster of them, take the frame back to the retailer and ask for a new one.
  • An internal memory means you don’t have to leave your flash memory card or USB stick in the frame when displaying images. All except the AV Labs and LeVision have at least 16MB.
  • Take a flash card or USB stick loaded with some images you’re familiar with when choosing a frame. This way you can get an idea of which model produces an image you’re happy with.
  • Don’t expect great sound quality.
  • Expect a reduction of image quality as you move up and down, or side to side, however all suffer the most when viewed from below.
  • Check the stability of the frame and how strong the stand is. All the frames on test have a stand that is either removable or fixed.
  • Space can be taken up at the rear of the frame by the stand, so check the dimensions in the shop. However, all frames on test can have their stand either tucked in or removed from the frame entirely.
  • A Glossy screen claims to give a clearer picture, however you may not like its reflective quality and glare in bright light such as sunlight.
  • A Matte screen diffuses the light so reflections are not so obvious. However, some people don’t prefer matte because it doesn’t seem as bright. Take a look at the reflective quality of the screen in store when looking to purchase to see which you prefer.

How they work

You don't seem to have the Flash player installed. To get it go here. All of the digital frames in the test can display your photos in a still or slideshow manner. Some play music and even movies, just like a miniature computer monitor, though don’t expect much of a visual or audio experience. All but the AV Labs can be positioned to landscape or portrait and the photos can be rotated manually, but they won’t automatically recognise and rotate photos to match the frame’s position.

Electronic photo frames can be hung on the wall or supported by an adjustable stand, but you may want to position them away from the edge of your desk or table, as a fall can be fatal to the screen. Only the Agfaphoto, Aiptek and Samsung cannot be wall mounted. The frames are mains powered so they have to be positioned near a power point.

All the frames accept a variety of flash memory types, such as MMC and SD, to access your images. All have a USB connection so photos can be displayed directly from a USB key or transferred to internal memory from your PC, though two require the supplied USB cable to do so. Of the tested models, only the AV Labs and LèVision don’t have an internal memory to download and store your images. All models except the Kodak and Samsung come with a small remote control, allowing the user to control picture rotation, zoom in, run a slideshow, change the aspect ratio and access the on-screen menu.


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