- Review Price: £160.00
The photo frame of the 21st century isn’t a boring, static device that can only show a single picture. The connected home now has a digital LCD photo frame that can display many pictures one after the other. The likes of Sony and Philips have had these sorts of displays out for a while and read pictures from a memory card. Parrot’s frame has no card slots at all – instead you beam your pictures to it via Bluetooth, without any need for cables or cards.
It’s an idea that makes a lot of sense. With camera phones megapixel count increasing and their optical ability improving, many people are now taking quite decent snaps. With one of these frames they can beam their pictures directly to the frame and have them display in seconds. There is a downside. These frames obviously require power, so you’ll have to allow for another power cable trailing.
One aspect that disappointed me was the small size of the display. The frame is 6.5in wide but the actual LCD is only 3.5in in diameter and looks rather lost with such a thick bezel. This wouldn’t be so bad if the frame was that attractive to look at, but it’s not. It’s available in both leather and an oak effect and we were sent the leather with white stitching and general consensus was that it doesn’t look that great. We had a Philips frame in for comparison and I much preferred its modern clear plastic and white styling. On the upside the Parrot frame feels quite solid.
The LCD resolution is a mere 320 x 234 and can display 262,144 colours. This is 18-bit colour, which is ok but not outstanding. However, the Parrot’s small LCD size actually helps it here.
The viewer can accept images of up to seven megapixels in size, (it resizes images to fit automatically), which ought to be enough for anyone. However, the specs of the Philips photo viewer says that it can display up to 12 megapixels. Either way, the Parrot only has 32MB of space so you wouldn’t want to transfer over too many large pictures onto it.
The frame does have some neat tricks. If you leave it by your bedside the light from the screen could well disturb you at night. Therefore Parrot has given it a light sensor, which turns off the backlight when light levels drop. You can also set an exact time for this to happen if you prefer.
The frame can be stood up in either portrait or landscape mode and you don’t have to do anything to your pictures. Just turn in one way and the picture instantly flips to the correct orientation.
A screw in stand holds the frame up or it can be hung via a small hook on the back and there are small clips for holding the power cable in place, which sports a bulbous on/off switch.
The display has a simple OSD easily accessible by pressing a button the rear, and navigated by two forward and back arrows. You can view thumbnails of all the pictures on the display, get info on them and adjust the slideshow timings. The OSD also turns off with a cool fade away effect.
Getting pictures onto the frame is really quite straightforward. You just launch a Bluetooth search from your phone, which will find the Parrot frame. You simply confirm that you want to add it to your phone’s Devices list and enter your Bluetooth passcode, (the default is normally 0000). You can then send your pictures. As they are received on the frame a large Bluetooth icon appears in the corner and the image appears line by line. It’s really simple and easy.
However, you’ll have to really want this frame. It costs £160, quite a bit more than the larger and better styled Philips, which can be had for around £125. For £160 I’d have hoped the parrot to be larger and to offer a memory card slot as well. Bluetooth only could be something of a limitation for PCs that don’t have it integrated.
There is another snag. Image quality is fine straight on but at angles brightness and colour fades quickly, though admittedly the Philips wasn’t that much better.
As a concept I really like the Parrot Bluetooth photo frame. Being able to beam pictures straight from your phone and displaying a slideshow is a winner. However, for the price, it’s too small and basically too expensive and it really could do with a memory card slot for added flexibility.
Score in detail
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