Philips Digital Photo Display
- Attractive design, USB connectivity, Transitions and duration options
- Short battery life, mediocre viewing angle, limited storage, too expensive
The Philips Digital Photo Display is perfect for someone with a little money to burn who wants something that looks funky and technologically advanced on their mantel.
Price$ 439.00 (AUD)
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While everyone loves digital cameras, there's no denying that most of our photos end up stored on a hard drive or burnt on a CD, never to be seen again.
Philips has released what we think is an eminently practical solution to this problem - a digital photo frame that cycles through all your digital photos. Once you've taken photos using your camera, you simply take out the memory card and pop it into a slot on the back of the photo display, which then displays all the photos in a slideshow. At the GoodGearGuide, we simply love products that are practical, easy to use and address issues experienced by everyday consumers, and the Digital Photo Display undoutbedly fits into this category.
A very simple concept, the unit looks extremely sexy with a white plastic bezel set into a clear perspex frame. The seven inch LCD screen is bright and displays colour accurately. We liked the quality of the image being displayed and felt that the screen was of a high calibre. Essentially, this device is a photo frame and as such all it needs to do is show photos. It does that very well with a handful of options to configure, such as photo duration and transition effects. You can also specify the orientation of the frame so the device can display the images the right way around.
The screen has a 720x480 native resolution and has a very fine dot pitch allowing for high resolution images to look superb. However, the viewing angle is a problem at only 170 degrees. This means that, unlike an actual photo frame, the images can't be properly seen from anywhere in the room as the image suffer from colour shift after a certain angle.
We did have some issues with the control system of the Digital Photo Display. The four buttons work well enough but we felt that the unit would have been better served with a touch screen interface as the current system is rather cumbersome and prone to input errors.
Perhaps a bigger disappointment was the lack of inbuilt storage, with Philips providing a paltry 12MB. Depending on the size of your photos, you can still fit in a nice selection, but at this asking price, we would have expected more. Photos can be uploaded onto the device via a mini-USB connector which, when connected, is found as a Windows mass storage device.
Although Philips has made every effort to cater for most kinds of memory cards (Compact Flash, MMC, SD, Memory Stick, and Memory Stick Pro), the small amount of internal memory means that you will nearly always have to use a card in the unit - so you won't be able to use your camera unless you have more than one card. Factor in the cost of purchasing an extra card before you buy this product.
We were also extremely disappointed with the battery life - an extremely poor 50 minutes. We can't understand why this has a battery in the first place if it doesn't even last for an hour. Thankfully, the Digital Photo Display does come with a mains power adapter, but due to the perspex frame, this creates the problem of unsighly wires.
In the end, this little display is a novelty item and will suit someone with a little money to burn who wants something that looks funky and technologically advanced on their mantle or desk. It's a real shame as everyone we showed it to absolutely loved it. If Philips releases an improved version of this product, with much larger storage and more viable power options, they will undoubtedly be onto a winner.
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