Product Type: Alba Digital Photo Frame
Newest Review: ... almost no frame makes the screen and in turn the pictures look bigger. It has a 16:10 screen ratio. This means all photos are display... more
Cheap, cheerful and surprisingly good value
Member Name: ladybracknell
Advantages: Inexpensive, easy to load and displays photographs clearly
Disadvantages: The frame stand is quite flimsy
Because of her condition, buying presents for her is incredibly difficult. Books are out and there is a limit to how many pashminas one old lady can use. So for her latest birthday, I decided to buy her a digital photo frame and load it with a selection of family pictures.
As I wasn't sure how well the present would go down, I didn't want to spend a huge amount so plumped for the Alba PF-A730 which was on sale at Argos for £28.59 and had received favourable reviews from others who'd bought it. I also bought a Sandisk 4GB memory card to use with the frame which cost an additional £8.49.
The Photo Frame:
The 7 inch black plastic frame, which is remarkably lightweight, comes with an integrated stand, mains adaptor cable and full instructions for operation and is compatible with memory sticks, SD cards and MMC (multi-media card) but, of course, these need to be purchased separately. The frame has a screen resolution of 450 x 234 and is fixed or at least if it's adjustable, I haven't found out how to do it yet!
Setting up the frame is very simple, or at least it was once I discovered where the frame stand was stored! The stand is a long plastic peg-like piece of kit which clicks into a hole on the back of the frame and for such a flimsy structure provides a surprisingly stable base. The frame can also be wall mounted and there are small apertures on the back from which to hang it. The mains adapter also plugs in at the back and the whole thing operates on a simple plug and play system.
Loading photographs is also simple, either copying onto an SD and MMC card from the PC or loading the pictures onto a memory stick. From an aesthetic point of view, the neatest way to run the pictures is via a memory card which slots into the body of the frame. If using a memory stick, even one of the very small ones, the end is likely to protrude beyond the rim of the frame.
Once switched on and loaded with the photographs you wish to display, the frame automatically recognises which kind of media has been loaded, either card or stick and begins to run the photographs after a short delay during which an egg timer icon appears to let you know that the process has begun. The default programme for display is as a slide show and it's possible to adjust the time that each photograph is displayed. However, the frame can be adapted to show single photographs or thumbnails if preferred. With regard to orientation, the frame can be set up to display in either portrait or landscape. I should add that it's also possible to adjust the screen brightness although the default brightness seems perfect to me.
The quality of display is very good for such a cheap frame, although I suspect the clarity of the picture largely depends on how good were the original photographs. In my case, many of the photographs loaded are black and white one, taken originally with a Box Brownie or similar camera and re-photographed by me to turn them into jpegs. There are also more recent colour photos, again re-photographed by me and both colour and black and white pictures display very clearly without any fuzziness.
Is there a downside?
Although marketed as a 7 inch frame, the visible screen is actually 6.6 inches and that 0.4 of an inch can sometimes make a difference because I found that some of the pictures I'd loaded had the tops of heads or feet chopped off. However, this could be because many of the jpegs I loaded were photographs of photographs and as you'll see from the photographs in the review, I'm no David Bailey.
The frame stand is fairly flimsy and I'm not sure it would survive being dropped, even from a relatively low height without snapping off.
For anyone with the slightest bit of technological knowledge there won't be a problem with set up or running this frame but if you're buying this for an elderly relative, they may find it difficult to understand its operation. However, if you've already set the frame up for use, they won't need to do anything. If the frame is switched off for any reason, once switched back on it will resume with the previously loaded display programme starting from picture one.
This is a cheap and cheerful digital photoframe which is ideal for giving as a gift, although probably not suitable for people who are serious about photography and want to display anything other than happy snappy family photographs. It certainly went down a storm with Mum who is thrilled with it, or at least with the pictures it's displaying which offer the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane whenever she wants.
Summary: An inexpensive digital photo frame giving surprisingly good results
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