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News

Head to head: Digital Photo Frames

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Hands up those of you who like taking photos with your digital camera. Now, hands up all those who use them to their full potential. We’re willing to bet it’s a disappointingly small percentage.

It’s all very well filling up your camera’s memory card with endless prize-winning and nostalgia-provoking photos, but what’s the point if they’re not going to be viewed? While a select few may get printed out and hung on the wall, it’s a sad fact that most of us store reams of images on our home computers. Apart from the occasional look through, these shots remain unloved and unappreciated.

But the digital photo frame has evolved to revolutionise how we store our shots, allowing photos to be viewed and shared with ease. And with a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles
now on offer, you’re bound to find the right one to suit your photographic needs. Whether placed on a shelf or mounted on the wall, it’s a subtle yet effective way to show off those latest holiday snaps to family and friends.
But which one do you choose? We’ve taken two similarly priced yet very different digital photo frames currently available on the market and compared them in terms of image quality, features, ease of use and compatibility. Despite appearances, there’s quite a lot of difference between models so we’ll demystify a few of the more common queries. Allow us to help you find your future frame – or at least give you a better idea of what to look out for when searching the market.

Genius DPF-T805 £90

Key features
• Memory card/USB compatible
• Touch-screen menu controls
• 128MB internal memory

The first thing that strikes us about this frame is its small size. This may well be preferable for a lot of users who have less space or who want a more covert way of displaying photos, but for the money you can’t help but expect more. Still, size isn’t everything, and it is very easy to set up – you simply turn and lock the plastic stand into the back. Unfortunately there are no wall-mountable screws, so your only option is to prop it up. This frame allows you to view your images via USB or memory card, or you can copy them onto the 128MB of internal memory. The frame is controlled by touch- activated buttons, which run down one side of the sleek black exterior. While this
seems okay in theory, it becomes a bit more of a chore if you’re constantly wanting to change images, settings, etc – and the controls themselves aren’t very quick to respond. Again, it would seem much more acceptable if the price wasn’t so high; for this money you’d expect a portable remote control to be included. The on-frame buttons are also unimpressive from an aesthetic point of view, as they leave noticeable fingerprint marks around the side that can detract from the appeal of your images. The images themselves are of an acceptable quality with objects appearing clear, although some colours don’t seem to be as vibrant and true-to-life as they could be. Options to display your shots include a multi-photo slideshow mode, which enables you to view your images four at a
time, and a photo rotation feature that turns your image from landscape to portrait as you turn the frame. You can also include music to accompany your slideshow, and there’s a mode to display AVI videos. Although this frame displays images quite adequately, it’s not good enough to justify its price. If a remote was included it would seem more of a worthy investment.

RATING: 2/5

Learn more…
• www.geniusnet.com

Available from…
• www.misco.co.uk

Jessops 10.4-inch LCD Picture Frame £89

Key features
• Memory card/USB compatible
• Remote control included
• 256MB internal memory

This frame from Jessops is two inches wider, and dwarfs the Genius in comparison. But despite the size its screen is thinner than the Genius, which serves to give it a more slick, stylish look. This is a frame that wouldn’t look out of place as a piece of furniture in your home, even when it’s turned off. The wall-mount capability also adds to its
aesthetic versatility. Setting up and turning the frame on is pretty much as simple as the Genius, with a handy adjustable stand that can be screwed into a different position depending on how you want the frame to sit. There are two options when it comes to the controls: either press the labelled buttons on the back or use the remote. While it’s nice to have the option, the remote is a much easier and more convenient way of navigating around the
screens. On-screen options are clear, bold and responsive, so you can feasibly flick through them from the comfort of an armchair rather than awkwardly having to hunch over the frame. Like the Genius, images on the Jessops
frame can be viewed via memory card, USB (there’s a USB cable included to share files from your computer) or 256MB of internal memory. While you’d probably expect more memory from such an otherwise impressive frame, it still has twice the amount of the Genius. Image quality is extremely impressive, with lifelike clarity and colour. You can either select a single image, view images as a slideshow or pick Magic Window mode, the equivalent of Genius’s multi-photo slideshow mode. You also get the option to add music or watch AVI videos. Considering the Jessops frame is cheaper than the Genius, it dwarfs its contender in more ways than one. Its slick, stylish
exterior is equally matched by its accessible features and stunning photo quality.

RATING: 4/5

Learn more…
• www.jessops.com
Available from…
• www.jessops.com

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