People who know me have realised that I have a thing for digital stuff, from simple camera's to laptops that do everything apart from wash the dishes, so getting me things for my birthday and Christmas is getting easier, if a bit costly, for them.
One thing that I do tend to like is something called a digital photo frame, which I am the proud owner of quite a few of them, with a collection that seems to be growing quicker than it should really. And recently I was given yet another digital photo frame from a friend to add to my ever growing collection.
This particular digital photo frame is from a company I used to associated more with photo printing, the company calling itself Agfa, with this frame being called the AgfaPhoto AF5088PS, (what is it with these names? Do people not think that a more 'catchy' name may just attract more custom to that particular product).
Anyway, when I got this frame I was raring to set it up and start it going, adding some more of my millions of photo's to the viewing world, allowing me to exhibit more than just what you can show on a wall with the old fashioned wooden picture frames.
It's not the most sophisticated of digital photo frame on the market these days it's doesn't have any built in speakers so it can't play music whilst your images roll along, neither does it have touch screen technology so you have to use the old fashioned cursor control system to navigate through the menus.
There's also no built in alarm clock to awaken you from your slumber, nor does it have a battery back up in case of a power shortage or accidental unpluggification.
But what it does have is enough to make it one of the easier to use digital photo frames out there. It has an 8 inch LED backlit screen which has a 4:3 ration and boast 800 x 600 pixel resolution. It's internal memory is just over 130MB which is ample enough on its own to store many of your favourite pictures to use as a slide show.
It also has the capabilities of allowing the addition of extra memory via the USB port and memory card expansion slots, which can accommodate SD/SDHC/memory stick/memory stick pro duo/MMC, (but not all at once of course).
As for the actual size of this photo frame, well it's not a bad one at that, being 200mm wide by 160mm high and 130mm deep, although the frame itself is only a mere 15mm deep, with the stand taking up the rest of the depth and it won't fracture the shelf or table you plan on putting it on as it's only a lightweight 900 grams, or there abouts, so there's no need to worry about it being too heavy for where ever you want to put it.
You do have to remember though that it is mains powered so it will have to be located near a plug socket but as the power lead is a good length this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
It has something that is called 'Crystal Image Technology' which is supposed to automatically improve the quality of your pictures when they scroll through on the slideshow.
Plus, for that little extra bonus, it comes with a built in clock and calendar so you can keep a track of the time and date.
And, for the tree huggers amongst us, there are a couple of energy efficient additions to this frame as well, such as the fact that it can turn itself off if you chose that option.
The frame itself, which surrounds the good size screen, is a very nice black colour with a slight shine on it, but not too much as to cause any reflections, and it's this glossy look that really makes the images on the screen stand out.
The back of the unit is where the main controls are, being what looks like a cross on the top left, near the brand name itself, with the power button and memory card slots being cleverly positioned on the stand itself.
The 'cross' allows you to scroll through the menu, which is accessed via a little switch which is just off this 'cross', lying on the side of the frame itself.
The mains lead is quite long, being a good metre or so, which gives you a bit of scope choosing where to put this. This lead slots into the port which is situated on the rear support section, right next to the power button, with the memory card slots being on the opposite side.
The menu offers your standard options, such as which images you want to show, how fast the slides should show for and more, including adjusting the likes of the brightness and colour.
You can even rename the folders that the images are in by using the qwerty style keyboard that appears when you press 'rename'. it isn't a touch screen and you will have to again use the 'cursor' buttons to scroll along the selection of letter and numbers.
The 'setting' mode, which is represented by a hammer and a screwdriver and is situated on the right edge as you look at the gets the frame going, letting you set it up to how you want it to run, such as which images will run in the slide show and for how long they appear
Then there's the option to adjust the images, such as rotating them and even what transition effect comes between the images, setting the frame up exactly how you want it.
Using it is as easy as watching the television really as when scrolling through it it will show around 16 thumbnails at once, allowing you to see all the images before you put them on show. Then it is a matter of using the 'cursor' buttons to select which image you want, pressing the OK button when you decide.
It's as simple as that really
Or, if you don't want to see any photos on the screen, you do have the option of replacing them with a clock and calendar, which is quite a funky idea and looks pretty cool, in a way.
In all, a fine digital photo frame which will help you see more than your usual wall full of pictures that was the vogue in the old days.
I particularly like the way that the frame is supported by the strutting out section on the rear which is where the power switch and the memory card slots are. This gives the frame a nice 25% angle, thereabouts. Although as this support section sticks out quite a bit you will have to find a deep enough shelf to place this on.
And now for the price, this is the fun part as this particular frame sells for around £40-£50, which may sound a bit steep but imagine covering the cost of maybe 200 or so wooden photo frames to exhibit your favourite pictures, now that would probably cost way over £50 wouldn't it?