MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
Echologic 3.5in Digital Photo Frame
A little frame with sizeable issues
- Small form factor, rechargeable battery, good colour accuracy
- Paltry internal storage, mirrored frame is distracting, photos easily pixelated, inadequate viewing angles
Echologic’s 3.5in digital photo frame relies too much on its cute factor. It is let down by poor screen performance and inadequate internal storage, making it an underwhelming product.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
Echologic's latest digital photo frame is the second-smallest we've seen, beaten only by Kaiser Baas' 1.5in photo frame. At 3.5in, it's more of a tiny photo frame than a keyring accessory, fitting into a market smaller than a midget submarine. It's competitively priced and should be suitable for those who want a portable photo frame for travelling.
The device has smooth, black rubberised plastic on the back; the LCD itself is surrounded by a silver mirrored frame (which distracts somewhat from the photos themselves). A multi-card reader on the side supports SD and MMC cards, while a mini-USB port allows for a PC connection. The frame even has a small stand for those times when you just need to gather around a tiny screen with 15 of your closest friends and watch the good times roll.
Don't expect to fit too much on the frame's internal memory — the device has a measly 1.5MB of internal storage. Thankfully, the frame's rechargeable battery is more than up to the task of powering the device and displaying photos for a few hours.
Options aren't abundant on the device, but it does offer basic configuration. A menu allows users to change the displayed image size, language and power saving settings, as well as configure slideshow transition and speed settings, and enter PC connection mode.
Picture quality is a little disappointing. The frame's 320x240 pixel resolution screen is more than adequate given the screen's size, but it quickly pixelates any images of a substantial size — our 8.2-megapixel test images were almost pixelated beyond recognition. Echologic remedies this problem somewhat by offering a free piece of software on its Web site, "NorFlash Tool", which optimises photos for the device's screen. This generally works well, but there are two main drawbacks — the software is PC-only, and it will only transfer photos to the frame's internal memory rather than an SD or MMC card.
What really let this frame down are its viewing angles. Horizontal angles beyond 120 degrees caused colours to become washed out. Tilting the frame downwards doesn't reveal any flaws, but tilting upwards instantly causes the screen's contrast to be heightened, washing out colours. In real world situations, the frame will suffice when using it as a typical digital photo frame on a desk lower than eye level.
These flaws are disappointing given that the frame's colour accuracy isn't too bad. Red's are slightly under-produced, but blacks are well defined and yellows are vibrant. Flesh tones are largely accurate, making this frame a good choice for family photos and portraits.
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