Kogan Technologies 7in Digital Photo Frame
- It can play back video and music files as well as JPEGs
- Its 16:9 aspect ratio makes photos look horrible, the remote control isn't very responsive, the aspect ratio button didn't work, no CompactFlash slot
Its 16:9 aspect ratio makes photos look horrible and there's no way to change this. However, that same aspect ratio makes widescreen video file playback very enjoyable. As a picture frame, the Kogan falters, but as a video frame, it does well.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
As a picture-displaying device, the Kogan 7in widescreen Digital Photo Frame is far from ideal. Luckily, it's more than just a picture frame: it'll play MP3 files, it'll play MP3 files while displaying photos, it'll play video files and it'll display the time and date. But the fact remains, it's a poor solution for anyone who's purely after a picture frame to share photos with friends and family.
That's too bad because physically the Kogan is an ideal size (apart from the widescreen aspect ratio) for an intimate picture frame that is to reside on a bedside table or bookshelf, although the acrylic frame around the screen still seems a little unnecessary. A memory card slot resides on the right-hand side of the unit, and it will accept SD, MS and MMC card types. It recognised our 1GB and 2GB SD cards without any problems.
Its 480x234-pixel LCD screen is too small to adequately scale pictures from multi-megapixel digital cameras down to its 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, so any image that you throw at it (except for portrait-orientated photos) will be distorted unless it's cropped to a 16:9 ratio. A squarer aspect ratio would've been far more beneficial. The uncomfortable remote control that's supplied with the frame does have an aspect ratio button, but this had no effect on our screen at all. The remote control, in general, was very sluggish and sometimes required multiple presses before our commands would be executed.
The quality of the screen itself isn't too bad. It's quite viewable from the sides and from above, and it has adequate contrast and brightness levels. This is just as well because the menu system has limited luminance settings -- you can only select from three brightness levels, and from eight contrast levels. The colour saturation can be manipulated in the same way as the contrast, but we found the default colour setting to be the most pleasant.
When a card is inserted, the photos don't just magically appear. Instead, the menu system needs to be consulted, and from there photos, music or video files can be selected. When photos are selected, they can take a long time to load, depending on their resolution. Random transition effects are inserted in between photos, with the best one being a black and white effect that washes photos with colour as it transitions.
The redeeming feature of the Kogan is its DivX file-playing capability. Widescreen DivX-based TV shows and movies are played back splendidly, which makes the Kogan a spiffy little bedside TV of sorts. It'll also play VOB files from DVDs, but you'll need a large capacity memory card or USB storage device to play them from. Surprisingly, the built-in speaker is quite clear and more than acceptable for close-up listening. An AV output port for video and audio is present, and a cable is supplied, while its USB port will accommodate USB storage devices, too.
All up, if the Kogan ran on batteries and didn't have an acrylic frame, it might pass as a capable portable media player. As it stands, it's just a 7in widescreen LCD monitor that's better suited to displaying videos rather than pictures. Admittedly, it's very affordable -- just $129 -- so it's worth checking out, especially if you crop all your photos using a 16:9 ratio.
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