==Price and Availability==
I received the Braun digital photo frame from my parents for Christmas probably about three or four years ago now. At the time digital photo frames had been widely available for a couple of years and whilst I hadn't specifically asked for one as a gift I was pretty pleased when I opened it. I aren't sure what my parents paid when they bought the frame, my Mum thinks it was about £50 or £60 but the frame sells for just over £40 which is quite reasonable for a digital photo frame although there are quite a lot of other cheaper models available.
==Braun Digital Photo Frame==
This is quite a small digital photo frame with a 7 inch LED screen with a resolution of 800x600 pixels; this is surrounded by a plastic black gloss curved frame which in my opinion fits in well with the majority of different rooms. The photo frame also comes with a small remote control which is handy and a nice little feature, we have another digital frame in the house which doesn't get used as often as it's manually controlled. The frame is PC Independent, meaning that you don't actually upload photographs onto the frame just plug in your phone or camera via USB and the frame will display the photographs. There's also the option to insert a memory card directly into the frame. The frame can be displayed in either portrait or landscape and can also be mounted onto the wall, however as the frame needs to be plugged in I've never really seen the appeal of this, especially as the frame is only quite small.
I've been using this frame on and off since I first received it three or four years ago and it still works really well. The resolution is really quite impressive and photographs are displayed well and the images are crisp and sharp, the screen is backlit so you can see the photo's really well and the frame looks really effective at night. The images on the screen can be displayed for varying length of time, the shorted being 3 seconds the longest being an hour with quite a few different stages in between. The remote control can be used to pause images, you can also zoom, rotate and adjust the brightness, as well as skip on to another photo, I've never experienced any problems with the frame not responding and it always seems to respond to both manual operation and the remote control very quickly. I usually use the frame with a memory card as I think plugging a device in using a USB can look a little bit messy, especially as we have the frame on usually if we have guests over, the memory cards however are inserted at the back and can't be seen when looking at the frame. Our electricity is on a payment meter and I have noticed that when the frame is on it does seem to use quite a lot of electricity which makes me a little reluctant to use it on a regular basis. We have another digital photo frame which also uses a lot of electricity so it's not an uncommon problem and if we weren't on the prepayment meter it wouldn't be noticed.
Although my use of the Braun Digital Photo Frame is on and off I'm always impressed when I use it, it's a nice alternative to standard photo frames but in my opinion will never be as good. The images on the frame are very high quality and you can watch the images at varying speeds allowing many different photographs to be viewed, the frame also has the handy remote control which makes using the frame easier. There's a price to pay though as the frame isn't cheap to buy, it also isn't cheap to run, and whilst this frame is impressive it doesn't seem to get more than occasional use from me.
When I first heard about LCD photo displays, my immediate response was a negative one. Maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind - excuse the pun - but the idea of consuming energy in an effort to back-light digital images about the home seemed highly unnecessary. With a renewable resource behind the concept I can see the market, but as a plugged-in device constantly consuming electricity, it seems very wasteful. What's more, where can you put the thing? It can't distract from a computer or television in a main room, and conversely, it can't be chucked in a corner and forgotten about - the bathroom seems the only logical destination, until you remember water. Despite all this negativity however, I was bought a 'Braun DigiFrame 1500' photo frame (LCD) by a rich aunt a while back. She said it had cost a lot of money, so out of kindness I set the thing up, and here's what I thought...
Technical Specification and How It Works:
The device has a large 15 inch LCD screen with 'authentic' wooden frame edge, alluding to the fact that this is a digital / electrical displayer. The first thing to mention is that the device is PC-independent, meaning you don't require a computer to upload images to the in-built software. The Digiframe comes with an external USB cable (USB 2.0 and 1.1 supported) which can be used to connect any compatible device. So you can take images from your MP3 player, phone, tablet, etc with ease. You can also plug in a memory stick (leaving this plugged in or extracting images from it) - Memory Stick PRO's, Multi-Media Card's, SD Memory Card's, Memory Stick Duo's, and Compact Flash Card's are accepted too. The only supported file type is JPEG which can be irritating if this means you need to convert a bunch of photographs to this format, but the quality achieved can be sensational - 1024 x 768 is the highest resolution available. The menu system you use to moves files back and forth is simple, and consists of a series of lists allowing you to select individual images or groups of images for display. The device has a tiny in-built memory of 128mb, very out-dated by today's standards, so this means it's probably best to leave a USB plugged in unless you don't need any more than 100 or so images flicked through at any one time. The software's slide-show function allows you to display one image and then the next at different rates, zoomed in, zoomed out, and at varying rotations. I think overall, the way you operate the displayer, the way you move over images, and the technical potential of the product is good to average. Not all the features you might require are available, but all the basics are covered. Power is supplied through a standard grade AC adapter (included).
Packaging and Build Quality:
The Digiframe 1500 comes in a standard box showing the device on the front along with all the relevant technical information and safety warnings. Inside the screen is well secured, with separate compartments for the AC adapter and USB cable. A thin plastic film coated the screen for added protection (which I removed straight away). On first inspection, the build quality of the device seemed very good. The frame is real wood, slightly grooved, and fitted to the plastic of the screen within neatly. The power button and connections at the back are well integrated, and a stand gives good support - although this can slip on certain surfaces, so you have to careful. Nothing rattles and the whole piece feels firm and secure. I suppose the only problem with the design is the fact you have to have a cable (or two) sticking out the back, taking away from the delusion of the device - these are black and blend in well with furniture however.
Reliability and Performance:
Technicalities out the way, I think the image quality of the Digiframe 1500 is excellent. A richness in tone and colour is only enhanced by the backdrop of clear light shining through. In a darkened room with no other screens about, the backlit image appears vibrant and strong. It doesn't really matter what the image is, as long as it's clear - and the stronger the colours the better. The device doesn't seem to make much noise (only if you put your ear right up to it will you here a light rumble), but it does produce a more noticeable level of heat. What's good about the Digiframe though, is that you can leave it on all day and it won't run down, or damage in any way - the longevity of the product is good. Similarly, never once has it stopped working, frozen, or missed out certain images. It seems very reliable, but not so efficient.
I still don't really see the point in powering one of these frames, unless maybe during a dinner party or if the TV's broken. The idea of them still seems silly, but after trying one out, I have to give in to the devices ease of use, good connectivity, and exceptional picture quality. It has its faults: a poor memory unit, lots of power consumption, release of heat and slight sound, and where the hell do you put it?! In all though, I am impressed and can't give any less than 4-stars. Recommendable to anyone who has a need for something like this.
SIZE: 41.5 cm x 5.5 cm x 34 cm
AVAILABILITY: It seems to have stopped selling everywhere I look, but you can pick up a newer Braun Digiframe from Amazon for £50 - with an 8-inch screen.