The only drawback in society's massive move towards digital photography seems to be how to actually view the photos. Crowding around a family computer to run through slide shows is a hassle, but many consumers find the relatively high cost of network media players hard to justify for the occasional slideshow night. SanDisk's Photo Album is a simple flash media reader designed to display photos, MP3s, and video files on a lounge room TV.
- Easy operation, simple design
- Composite connector only, support for a limited range of video formats
Though SanDisk’s Photo Album lacks some multimedia features, it’s well designed for digital photographers looking to view or manage their photos away from a PC.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
The 19 x 7 x 2cm Photo Album doesn't include any internal storage of its own, but instead shows images, videos or plays MP3s directly from flash media. The slender silver device features front slots for CompactFlash type 1 and 2, Smart media / xD, MemoryStick/PRO, and SD/MMC alongside an infrared receiver. The rear panel offers up a power connector, 3.5 mm AV connector, two USB ports, another CompactFlash slot for storing files on the device, and a switch to toggle between PAL and NTSC outputs. The second CompactFlash slot can be filled with a large memory card, and there is a button on the bundled gray remote control labelled "Store" that automatically transfers the current image or video from a front mounted memory card to the permanent one.
One of the rear USB ports can be used to connect the device to a computer for use as a conventional card reader, while the second allows users to plug in memory keys containing digital media.
The device ships with a capable remote control, which is used to drive most of the functions, and there are separate buttons to zoom and rotate images on screen. A composite cable is also provided along with the AC and USB adapters, but that is the only television connection interface offered. Though it isn't it an issue for the majority, those with state of the art LCD or plasma TVs will lament the relatively poor quality offered by the composite connector.
The SanDisk device is relatively straightforward to operate.. It automatically reads the contents of a new flash disk and you can browse the contents on screen, and if MP3s and images are stored on the same memory card, it's possible to launch a new slideshow with background music. Support for JPEG images and MP3 audio is included as standard, but video formats are limited. The machine will handle MPEG-1 and Motion JPEG video, but failed to recognize popular MP4 and Windows Media files.
Though it's not a strong multimedia player, the SanDisk Photo Album does a solid job with photos, and the asking price is reasonable for those looking to view and manage photos on a home TV (or hotel one while on holidays).
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