Digital Picture Frames ReviewedAccessories, Reviews — By Benjamin Ariff
My testing looked at four different picture frames from three manufacturers. Pandigital provided their 8” Digital Photo Frame with PanTouch and their 9” Digital Photo Frame. GiiNii and Westinghouse digital both provided their 8” digital photo frames. Each frame although very similar in design had noticeable differences.
All of the manufacturers have developed devices that both look nice and are easy to use, no matter how technically savvy you are. Pictures capture everyday life and provide memories that last a lifetime. Having a digital companion to hold those memories seems to be a standard in today’s homes and offices. All three manufacturers carry viable options that come down to a few features when making your purchase.
When choosing your frame, consider these few options. How big of a screen do I want? How many extra gizmos will I actually use? Will I want to display videos and music, or just pictures? For me, a professional photographer, I prefer a simpler device that just shows pictures. However, the frames I tested all came with additional capabilities. Uploading new photos is easy and takes just seconds. All four digital photo frames are easy to keep updated and therefore great when the mother in law drops in for her surprise visit. Luckily, the recent photos from her grandson’s baseball game were already loaded and greet her warmly as she walks in.
Each frame came equipped with a stand and power cord. The Pandigital frames and the GiiNii both came with a remote which made controlling the device easier and more ergonomic. Controls on the Westinghouse and the PanDigital were laid out in a similar fashion with a four-button configuration, enabling you to control the entire device. The buttons on the GiiNii were slightly more complicated and required additional practice to understand.
The menu layout on the Pandigital and Westinghouse are similar and easy to learn. A few minutes of scanning gives you a good understanding of how to properly use the device. However, the GiiNii unit required more time and patience in understanding the menu layout and button configuration. Pandigital’s 8” Photo Frame with PanTouch offered the most features and best menu layout. It is my feeling that each frame should be just as easy to use whether your 18 or 81.
All frames displayed good color, contrast, and clarity and had no problem in bright areas. Each frame came with built in flash memory enabling storage of photos and media directly on the device. All frames were capable of displaying pictures and video as well as the ability of storing and playing music that could be included in slideshows. The four frames all offered card readers that read multiple card formats as well as a USB port, however the GiiNii appeared to have minor compatibility issues with some of the SD cards that we used for testing. By simply inserting your card in the side of the frame, they instantly became accessible and with a few extra steps could be transferred to the devices internal storage. Putting your personal photos on the Pandigital and Westinghouse units took slightly less work than with the GiiNii unit.
In comparison to the days of film; driving to the lab, paying for developing and processing, and waiting for your prints, the few minutes of learning on any of these frames is well worth it.
Each frame offers a small selection of other features that give the user an added bonus. Certain frames offer options to display a calendar, clock, and music. The GiiNii and Westinghouse units have a collage function that makes for a nice presentation, however the GiiNii frame offers a limited number of premade templates to choose from that makes this feature rather limited in usability. We also would have liked to see an on/ off button on the remote control. On the plus side, the GiiNii has a sleep timer to shut the frame off after a preset time period and is the lightest and smallest of the four. The 8” Digital photo frame by Pandigital features their PanTouch technology that allows the user to control the frames functions via touch. By simply touching the right top corner of the frame, you activate the touch capability enabling access to all functions. Its placement along the edge of the screen keeps fingerprints off while maintaining functionality. This frame also offers a wireless capability, enabling the user to transfer photos wirelessly to the frame from your computer or other wireless enabled device.
These four digital photo frames offer consumers great capability at a reasonable price. No matter which frame makes it into your bag, be assured that they will all accomplish the goal of delivering good quality media for all to enjoy. Price points on each frame remain competitive. The current prices for the Pandigtial frames hover around $100 with the GiiNii being slightly less and the Westinghouse somewhat more. With all factors considered, I would recommend the 8” Pandigital because of its ease of use, overall functionality, and its fun PanTouch technology. The frames are all fun and practical and are great for the office or your home. Their versatility makes them a great gift for friends, family, or yourself and quickly becomes your favorite companion.