“ Brand: John Lewis / Type: Multimedia Digital Photo Frame / Compatible: CF, SD, SDHC, MMC, XD, MS, XD / Resolution: 800 x 600 „
John Lewis Customer Service provided excellent support and a Full Colour Quick Instruction guide. Only a phone call or e-mail away (firstname.lastname@example.org). Now I can decipher the mystery buttons and the Photo Frame has shown its hidden talents. Hence the improved rating.
As the other reviewer states this product is severely let down by three things:1) On-screen icons - non-standard coloured, without text decriptors2) Instructions poorly printed in black and white3) Multi purpose buttons that have fuzzy, delayed response The best method of loading pictures I found, is to use an SD card, loaded direct from your PC (with USB card reader). Then eventually you will find the right button to force panel to stop loading from internal memory. The simplest correction is to supply coloured Quick Guide to explain the weird icons. Pictures and transitions are fine, once you have figured driving the software!
I purchased the 8" John Lewis branded photo frame for my mother for Christmas, she's not very technical so I was looking for a frame that was easy to use, of high quality and performed the basic functions well. She was delighted with the frame, so I then proceeded to load all her photographs onto the device to get her started.
The frame is packaged in a stylish black John Lewis box, and contains the frame, quick start guide and instruction manual slotted into the usual 'egg box style' inner packaging.
Before I go on, I should probably say I'm a very technical person but I like to read the instructions thoroughly so I can get the most out of a product before I use it. And I admit, as a bit of an Apple fanboy I'm spoilt with fantastically functional and intuitive products. I realised that with an £89 photo frame, I wasn't going to get that, but still I was not prepared for the utterly perplexing device I unboxed on Christmas Day.
On first view, I liked the look of the photo frame as the lack of branding made it look discreet and the rear support was chunky and part of the frame, so unlikely to break off and snap. It also had only 2 inputs, an SD slot (which also supports CF, SDHC, MMC, XD, MS and XD) and USB slot. I liked this as it avoided confusion, but for others you might require slots for different types of memory card.
First the instruction manual. The thing was wafer thin and very poorly written. I don't know if it had been translated or written by a non native speaker, but some of the sentences did not even make sense. Secondly, I would expect a page detailing the parts, a diagram pointing out all the buttons and perhaps symbols on the screen, then a basic overview of the product becoming more technical as it progressed. None of this. In total there were four small pages showing how to copy photos to the device and how to play videos using bullet points which were very difficult to follow, if not totally non-sensical.
Another attractive aspect of the frame was the 2GB internal memory, I though this would also serve as a backup of all the photographs my family had taken. Photos could be copied via the SD or USB reader easily and would be simpler than using the computer for my non tech savvy mother.
After playing around, I eventually discovered that the touch display was located along the bottom of the frame (navigates left and right through the menu) and the 'enter' button was a physical button on the right hand side of the frame. I inserted the camera's memory card into the reader and the photos started to play. On a very basic level, this was fine, the quality of the pictures on the screen was medium quality, certainly not high quality as stated on the box. Still, I proceeded to copy the pictures onto the internal memory.
Normally, I'd tell you how to do this, but I have no idea how I ended up putting the pictures on the camera, but 20 minutes later, the frame indicated to me that the photos were being copied. You see the menus are indicated through 'symbols', not words. (presumably so the same product can be sold in different territories.) And of course, there was no indication what these symbols meant in the instruction manual.
After a while, I started to work it out, but it is certainly a very awkward device to use even if you can understand the instruction manual. A few pictures had been taken in portrait mode, so I tried to work out how to rotate the picture so it was the correct way up and this was probably the final straw. The outcome is a correctly rotated picture, but stretched to fit a landscape screen with no way I could see to alter this. There was certainly no mention of it in the instruction manual anyway. My sister wasn't happy looking so fat and I just thought this was totally ridiculous from a modern product with a relatively high price tag.
At this point, I gave up. After removing the photos from the frame I repackaged it and returned it to John Lewis. After some convincing they allowed me to exchange it. They claimed no other frames had been returned and that all other customers were happy. But to me it was way inferior to a product released by a major electronics manufacturer and incredibly difficult to use. If someone tech-savvy like me couldn't use it, my mother wouldn't stand a hope in hell. I tried reading the instructions and invested a lot of time in getting it to work - I am pretty sure it's not 'just me'!