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I happen to own a rather fine collection of digital picture frames, which I find a lot handier than a normal wooden picture frame, mainly due to the fact that there’s a lot more room on a digital picture frame than a few pictures hidden behind that piece of glass embedded in a frame of wood.
Anyway, for those people that have never heard of a digital picture frame, which is probably just my dad, then I will tell you that they are an invention that has revolutionised exhibiting your favourite pictures, bringing the old fashioned picture frame together with the digital age, giving you the chance to show off possibly thousands of photographs in one little space, and when I say little I really do mean little. Digital picture frames come in many different sizes, from a good size 15inch screen, corner to corner, to the much smaller size one that I was given as a present, which stands at a tiny 1.5inch screen, yes 1.5inch screen. I know you might think that 1.5inch may sound a bit on the small side but with technology these days that 1.5inch screen is as clear as if it was a lot bigger.
The particular digital picture frame I was given, which is a little more than just a digital picture frame, it is in fact a key ring, is called the Cirrus, and it is quite a remarkable little device indeed.
The whole frame itself is approximately 75mm by about 50mm and a mere 15mm thick, with the 1.5inch screen being set slightly to the top of it, the name Cirrus being printed below the screen. There’s a little hook on the top which is where you can connect either the key ring or the neck chains, both come in the box with the frame, together wit an installation disk and a user guide, although the user guide is about as useful as a jelly ladder. There’s a micro USB port on the side which is where you can connect it to your PC to transfer the images you want onto it. And it comes in a variety of colours, including the colour I have, which is blue, then there’s red, black, grey and pink too.
And that’s it, that’s all it looks like.
Apart from the frame you also get with it the USB cable, a key ring connector and a neck chain with a small clasp on the end, this means that not only can it be clipped to your keys but you can also wear it around your neck.
There’s no Micro SD card port, basically as you can’t add any extra memory, but the 8MB of internal memory is quite enough to hold several pictures, especially as they can be only 128 x 128 pixels, so you can get a good 100+ little pictures onto it.
As for the pictures that can be placed onto this, you can use most formats, such as the more common picture formats will work on this device, such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF,BMP and GIF, so there shouldn’t be any hassle when you go through your picture, resizing, reshaping and generally choosing the ones you want to carry around with you. That may sound a problem, resizing the images to fit this frame, but there are lots of software out there that can do this in seconds. To shrink my images for this particular digital picture frame I use a nice little program called ‘Faststone image viewer’, but there are other ones out there to help in your quest to shrink your pictures. Once you’ve resized the images it then a matter of transferring them from your PC, which is done as easy as pressing a button. Firstly though you will need a few specs on your PC, , such as windows 98 and upwards, plus Mac 10.4 and above, which means that it will work with most PC’s of today. If you have them then just plug in the supplied USB cable, wait for you PC to find and load the drivers. You can then either drag and drop the images onto the frame or use copy paste, the choice is your, but both ways work just as well as each other.
You don’t have to install the software that comes with the frame, I found that if you just plug the USB cable into your PC, as long as your online at the time, then the drivers were automatically found and installed. But if this fails then simply put the CD into the drive and load it up manually.
Once the images are on the fun begins, giving you the chance to carry a a hundred plus of your pictures in one tiny place. You can opt for a slideshow of the uploaded pictures, although this does take up more battery power so you will have to keep charging it up. Or simply have one picture showing, maybe changing that picture manually every day or so, this saves on battery power.
It has a built in rechargeable battery which can last between half an hour and up to 4 hours, depending on how you have the frame set up, sometimes even longer. Charging it is simply a matter of plugging it your PC, which can take about two to three hours to get a full charge, which can give up to 8 hours of image showing use, although this does depend on the settings you have the frame on. But whilst it is plugged up to the PC this is when you can transfer your images over onto it whilst you wait, sorting out the sizes without having to rush. One thing I will have to say is that as the internal memory is only small it is best to make your picture smaller than they probably are, and as the screen on the frame is only small the picture still look the part even after shrinking.
I have mine connected to my keys but there is a necklace that attaches to it which is a good length, in fact it is the same style as the ones that you can attached to mobile phones, or even the ones you see around students necks as they wonder aimlessly around the streets.
In all, this is not a bad little way to carry a lot of pictures around with you. The pictures are clear enough to see what’s what without having to squint too much and it fits easily into my pocket.
There are a couple of downsides that I have found with this, the main one being that if you have keys attached to it, like I do, the screen can get scratched a bit if and when it’s rattling around in my pocket, bashing against keys and coins.
The other downside is that some of the pictures can look a little TOO small, especially those that have massive groups of people or integrate landscapes. I mainly have picture of family on mine, although I don’t have anywhere near a hundred on it as yet.
As for the price, this sells for around the £7.00 region, which isn’t too bad and make a lovely little present indeed, and with the colours to choose from there’s probably one there for every one.