So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Viewsonic 7in Digital Photo Frame (DPX704WH)
Widescreen, but way too small.
- Auto-rotation, attractive pop-up menu, good video playback, decent display
- Poor viewing angles, display is too small, no full-sized USB port, some photo stretching
Viewsonic's 7in photo frame retains the minimal feature set of its 8in counterpart, while opting for a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. The result is a decent quality frame that is a little too small.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
Viewsonic's DPX704WH 7in digital photo frame is a slightly scaled-down version of the 8in Digital Photo Frame (DPX804WH). As with its bigger brother, the DPX704WH isn't anything truly unique and it doesn't have the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity of some competing frames. Nevertheless, it does an adequate job and its widescreen aspect ratio makes the DPX704WH a decent purchase, even if the display is a little small.
The frame boasts a 7in matte display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, instead of the 4:3 aspect ratio found on the 8in Digital Photo Frame (DPX804WH). The change in ratio better suits landscape photography and video footage, though it comes at the sacrifice of screen real estate. This is an obvious downside to the photo frame. If placed on a bedside table or desk, the frame's size shouldn't be a problem, but in an open space, such as a living room or larger kitchen, the frame could be easily missed.
The DPX704WH offers an auto-rotation function, changing to landscape or portrait mode in order to suit its orientation. Though this has obvious benefits, the execution isn't flawless; some wider photos were stretched when auto-rotated to fit the portrait orientation, skewing its aspect ratio to 9:16.
The display is surrounded by a thin gloss white bezel that complements the frame's ability to display vibrant colours. Its media ports — supporting MemoryStick, xD, SD, MMC and CompactFlash — are placed on either side of the frame's back plate, along with a mini-USB port that allows connection to a PC. Disappointingly, the lack of a standard USB port means you can't use a flash drive for expanded storage.
Thankfully, the frame has 128MB of internal storage, so it will easily fit a number of smaller photos, though standard 8-megapixel photos will fill the frame's storage quickly.
The frame utilises a pop-up menu. It means that users can easily switch modes without distracting from the slideshow, movie or audio in progress. Users don't have to wade through the rather slow and ugly full-screen interfaces found on other frames.
The frame's format support is somewhat limited. It is capable of displaying JPEG and BMP images and playing MP3 audio; it also supports MPEG1 and MPEG4 videos. We found that the frame could also play XViD-encoded AVI files, though we weren't able to experiment to see if there are other formats the frame can display.
The frame's video playback is particularly commendable. Most frames aren't able to play large video files without stuttering or losing sync with the audio track, but the DPX804WH played standard-definition videos without any problems. Of course, with a display resolution of 800x480 pixels, it isn't your next high-definition TV and won't replace your computer monitor.
The frame's display is of good quality on the whole, though there are some minor flaws. The use of a different LCD panel to the 8in Digital Photo Frame (DPX804WH) has adversely affected the display quality. Although horizontal viewing angles are still not a problem, the vertical viewing angles are even worse than those of its 8in counterpart. Viewing the frame from above almost immediately washes out otherwise vibrant colours.
When viewed on a straight plane, the display's quality is noticeable. Colours are generally vibrant, though accuracy is lacking in some aspects (particularly in regards to reds). Nevertheless, the frame doesn't suffer from poor downscaling of high-resolution images, which many other frames do.
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