- Review Price: £90.00
We’ve taken a look at quite a few digital photo frames over the past few months, including the Jessops 10.4-inch LCD Picture Frame, the Texet DPF-807, and the Kodak EasyShare W1020. So far most of them have been very good, with decent screens, easy-to-use interfaces, attractive design and good build quality, however with the exception of the bargain-priced Texet they have also been quite expensive, often over £100. Today I’m looking at the Genius DPF-T805, which is available from some online retailers for around £90.
Genius is the trading name of a Taiwanese manufacturer that produces a wide range of computer and audio-visual gadgets, some of which we’ve seen previously including cameras and graphics pen tablets, and I think the kindest thing I can say is that some of its products are a lot better than others. Fortunately the DPF-T805 Digital Photo Frame is one of the better ones, although it does have a couple of problems.
Straight out of the box the initial impression is quite good. The design is simple and unobtrusive, a plain black plastic case with a glossy finish, a row of discreet control icons down the right side, and a chrome Genius logo at the bottom. The screen itself is an 8.4-inch TFT LCD with a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels and an anti-reflective surface. Handling the device reveals that the overall build quality is reasonable, although the back panel does feel a bit flimsy. It also reveals that the glossy black finish is extraordinarily good at picking up fingerprints, which I guess might come in handy if it’s ever stolen.
The back of the device has two memory card slots, one for Type 1 CompactFlash cards (the thinner ones) and the other a combined slot for SD/SDHC/MMC/xD/Memory Stick cards. It also has USB and Mini-USB sockets for connection to a computer, and on/off button, two speakers for audio playback of video files, and the prop stand, which clips into a recess on the back via a two-pronged bayonet clip. The stand is positioned so that the frame can be stood in either landscape or portrait format, and is fairly sturdy as long as long as it’s not handled too roughly. Unlike most digital photo frames the T805 does not have holes for wall mounting screws.
Connecting the mains power supply with its generous two-metre cable reveals that the front panel controls are highlighted by bright blue LEDs, which cycle briefly when the device is switched on. The T805 is compatible with JPEG, MP3 and Motion JPEG AVI files only. Put in a card containing any of these file types and the frame will automatically scan and detect them, and start playing them as a slide show, with the usual slightly cheesy selection of screen transitions.
The T805 has what are supposed to be touch-sensitive controls, in a row down the right side of the fascia. However they are extremely slow to respond, making the menu system very clumsy and awkward to use. The menu screens look as though they were intended for use with a touch-screen system, but that would no doubt have proved far too expensive. The menu system is quite limited, but you can at least change the rate of the slide show and the style of the transitions.
The T805 does have one unusual feature, a clock and calendar screen that also features your pictures as a sort of screen-in-screen slide show. It would be nice if there were some extra options for this feature, such as different colours or clock sizes, because as it stands the clock is quite small and difficult to read. More advanced versions apparently feature and alarm and scheduler function, but this is absent from the T805.
For a digital picture frame one thing is crucial, and that is of course the quality of the screen. Unfortunately the screen on the T805 has a couple of problems. It’s certainly sharp and bright enough, and is immune to reflected glare, but displayed colours look pale and washed out, especially reds and oranges which appear as brown or yellow. The viewing angle is very good when the frame is in landscape position, but if it is displayed vertically it cannot be viewed from the left at an angle greater than about 45 degrees. However it does feature an automatic orientation sensor, so your picture will always display the right way up regardless of the orientation of the frame.
The speakers are also not terribly good, sounding tinny and lacking bass. The frame comes pre-loaded with some sample files including a child repeatedly shouting very loudly some phrase in what I assume is Taiwanese or Chinese (I speak neither), and coming out of those speakers it’s one of the most painfully annoying things I’ve ever heard, and I’ve seen New Kids On The Block live. Fortunately it is possible to delete these files, leaving a fairly generous 110MB of internal storage for your files, which can be copied from your memory card or directly from your PC via USB.
Ultimately however the T805 achieves what it sets out to do. It is a basic no-frills digital photo frame that can display pictures or video shot on virtually any compact camera or memory card. It’s easy to use, the design is unobtrusive, and it does look good as long as you keep the fingerprints off it. It lack some features of rival models, such as a remote control, and the touch-sensitive menu is slow and awkward to use, but it does the job without fuss. The only really serious problem with the T805 is its £90 price tag. Jessops sells a number of 8-inch frames starting at £49, which makes the Genius DPF-T805 look pretty expensive for what it offers.
Although it is attractively designed, the less-than-stellar build quality, clumsy and unresponsive touch-sensitive controls, inferior audio quality and very poor colour rendition are major handicaps for what could otherwise be an attractive product, at about half its current price.
Score in detail
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