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- Introduction -
I had wanted to get a digital photo frame for a while, given the fact that I enjoy taking a multitude of photos when I'm lucky enough to go abroad during my summer holidays, I thought the idea of a digital photo frame was good, no need to buy large photo albums and pay for professional prints of all your photos and then where to store them all and all the rest - no, this product makes it alot easier. So when I'd amassed a few gift vouchers I decided to splash out on a decent one and I found this Kodak model on sale for £49.99 on Amazon, though it only cost me about £25 after I used my vouchers, which I thought was a steal of a price given it was a Kodak model that got alot of 5 star reviews on Amazon, I was confident I'd made the right decision.
Read on to find out more about it and what I think of it now ive had it for a while...
- What Does It Offer? -
The Kodak Easyshare P720 digital frame (thats the full name folks!) has a number of features which include the following:-
- 1x USB port, so you can plug in a flash drive and playback photos from it
- 2x SD memory card slots, so you can have access to wider number of pictures stored on two separate cards. One of the card slots, at the top, is marked 'SD/MMC/MS/XD while the other one is located on the left hand side and that one is marked 'SD/SDHC' to indicate the type of memory cards that the slots can read
- Automatic slideshow function. Whenever I switch it on with an SD card inserted, it loads its usual 'Kodak' screen for a few seconds and then starts to play the photos that I had previously asked it to show, so you don't have to spend ages telling it what to playback once its set up you can leave it and it'll remember if you unplug it and plug it back in again (its mains powered, which is the next point)
- Mains powered. There's no need to be carrying tons of batteries around to keep it working, its powered by a mains adapter which is included with the frame, thankfully lol
- A screen display size of 7 inches (17.8cm) and a maximum resolution of 480x234 pixels (which sounds pretty crummy but remember the screen isn't all that large)
- Two 'decorative mattes' as Amazon call them lol basically you get two different colour border 'skins' like fascias you used to get for Nokia phones or whatever, they can be put around the border of the frame if you want to add a bit of colour to it, one is red and one is silver
- Kodaks 'Quick Touch Border' - This is the one thing I will be most critical about really, as far as this photo frame is concerned. Basically this is how you navigate to the image you want, you have this supposedly 'quick touch border' instead of up, down, left, right and ok buttons or something to that effect, its the frames version of a mouse and click buttons you could say but im really not too keen on it myself...
- A soft cloth for cleaning the screen with (it can get dusty)
- What Does It NOT Offer? -
- Video or MP3 (audio) playback - boo!
- A remote
- Portability (it can't be powered by batteries, only by mains power)
- Whats Included? -
- The unit itself
- The mains adapter (which has quite
a long lead which is always useful I think)
- 2 x decorative mattes/border skins/fascias (1x red, 1x silver)
- User guide. The guide looks quite big although its only 23 pages long and the rest is in other languages, so don't be fooled by the thickness of the booklet! (lol) the guide is pretty useful, covering the basics of how to use the frame, how to transfer images and how to keep it in good order etc.
- Quick start leaflet and matte information sheet
- Kodak Easyshare Software, Digital Frame edition CD - I never bothered using this program but according to the user guide it gives you the ability to drag and drop pictures easily from your computer to a memory card or USB drive to then plug into the frame (why you'd prefer to do it that way rather than using the usual Windows way I dont know, I dont like to install unnecessary programs I end up never using so I'm not bothering with investigating that, sorry I can't comment any further as far as thats concerned)
- Setting It Up -
I wasn't overly impressed with the DIY nature of this product, I must say. First off, I had to connect the stand to the back of the frame, which was easier said than done, it required a bit of a heavy handed shove in at the right angle before it properly clicked into place - I always worry I'll break such plastic pieces when trying to do such things! I suppose its fair enough that it doesn't come with the stand in place, how could it be safley placed flat in the box otherwise but anyway I did find that a bit awkward, so thought I may as well mention that...
Next you also have to attach the UK 3 pin attachment to the mains adapter as the one that comes in the box, at least in mine anyway, is the 2 pin European variety for some reason. This I also found a bit awkward but after that your about set to go, just attach the other end of the adapter to the mains port bit under the stand, then plug the other end to a free wall socket and press the mains button at the top of the frame and it should start up (dont forget if you want to view a photo of yours to insert an SD card or a USB flash drive into one of the three available ports).
- Navigation -
Ok so it shows its usual 'Kodak' screen while it 'boots up' (gets ready to work, basically) when you first press the power button, then what? how do I choose which photo from my inserted memory card or flah drive, I want to display? well this is where the aforementioned 'Quick touch border' comes into play. Oh joy. Can you tell im not a great fan of this? lol ok so basically instead of having regular buttons that you can clearly see and that are clearly labelled, for scrolling or otherwise navigating through the files you have access to, you instead have to fumble about pressing your finger on the thinner inside border right next to the display screen. Its not labelled at all so you just have to keep pressing around until you find the right place and then menu options appear on the display screen and you press on the border next to the option you wish to use. I find this quite clumsy and to be perfectly honest im still getting used to it. Its not impossible to use, it depends on how much you want to do but it does put me off adjusting settings or searching for specific pics because I find it very fiddly. Where there are menus and you want to highlight a different option, you have to use a slider function by sliding your finger along the bottom of the inside border, that works well enough but I still find it a bit of a nuisance nonetheless. I think that if your going to use the frame alot then you could get used to it after a while, I only really actively use my frame ocassionally though and every time I have, ive found it a nuisance trying to re-learn what the different menu icons mean and reminding myself how to scroll to or otherwise access what I want using this border function.
Maybe im getting old, I dont know(?! lol) but I cant help but think that I'd find it alot simpler and easier if there were a small set of buttons instead of this semi invisible border operation. Its not impossible to use, after a while you do get a feel for it but its quite sensitive, you can accidentally select the wrong option if your not careful (especially if you hold the frame and press the inside border by mistake or something like that). There are some transitions you can select and a shuffle option and such like which are nice to have too.
Personally I find its best to spend time the first time I put the memory card in, select the point/file I want it to start showing and then leave it to it. I just feel put off using that border 'menu' system or whatever anymore than is utterly necessary, myself. Thats not to say that others couldn't get the hang of it and I'd probably use it more, like I say, if I was going to display photos on my frame alot more regularly but as it is, I'm not keen on it so I try not to use the menus much. I also find that sometimes I press fairly hard but the options/menu doesn't show up and once the menu is up, it reacts very quickly to touches, even if you didnt mean to select the option lol *doh*! plus be quick to select what option you want as it disappears off the display within 5 to 10 seconds (unless you select the 'home page' icon/button). Basically im not best keen on this Kodak functionality! and I also think that it wouldn't suit technophobes or/and older people either because it is quite precise and tricky. If it had labelled the parts on the border that equate to certain commands that would help alot, it'd be more obvious where to press to load certain options but it doesnt so you just guess where to press, so to speak lol.
- Anything Else? Picture Quality? -
Oh yes, of couse, what do the pictures look like, I guess that might *just* be relevant eh? well to be totally honest, I was hoping for something a bit more clear but there again, the photos are far from ruined. Its hard to judge I suppose, perhaps im too picky(?). If you look too close, you'll see the pixels but I wasn't prepared to pay a hefty price for a top of the line frame just for a very high resolution anyway. I think that as long as you place the frame a good couple of feet away and stand back to watch the photos, you can make them up quite well. A well taken photo (it doesnt perform miracles, if it looks blurry on your computer, it'll look blurry on the
Pictures of Kodak Easyshare P720
My photo frame in its usual place in the corner of my desk, displaying a concert photo
photo frame!) will look presentable enough, lets say, on the frame. The picture quality could be better but it could also be worse and I'm sure there are frames with lower resolutions that would offer worse quality playback. I like that the colours look pretty crisp and im happy viewing my concert and holiday snaps on it but as I say, it looks better viewed at from a bit of a distance and it isn't the best of the best, its average to good I'd say, roughly, if that helps. I'll include some photos (as ironic as that is!) to help you judge for yourself.. - Price -
This photo frame is currently for sale on Amazon UK for £40.99. It originally cost £69.99, which would have been a real rip off as far as im concerned, anything over £30-£40 I'd wince at really but considering it only cost me about £25 of my own hard earned cash, I think for that price its not bad lol! such items will likely decrease in time though, as larger screen versions (8 inch+) become more popular and more people buy them, so be on the lookout for a bargain in the summer sales perhaps.
- Official Manufacuters Website -
If you want to know more about this products specification or you want to see what support options they offer, check out the Kodak website for it here:- http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?ncc=uk&lcc=&pq-locale=en_GB&pq-path=12591
- Conclusions -
At first I felt rather disappointed by this product. It isn't as usable as I'd hoped it might be and the picture quality isn't 100% perfect either, although now I'm happy I have it because I still like the basic idea of a digital photo frame. Thinking about it, im sure other much cheaper frames by lesser known brands will offer lower quality picture playback and I know this is quite new technology still, so you know, you can't expect something perfect but I do have to mark Kodak down for the border operation, im sorry I just don't like it myself, I find it clumsy and I wouldn't like to have to try to show, for example, my grandparents how to use, it isn't very good for older people or possibly technophobes either.
I quite like the basic design of the frame and it looks quite nice on my desk. I like the way it goes through slideshows and I like that it'll play pics from SD cards and from USB drives. I like the size of it, it isn't massive and it isn't tiny and the decorative mattes, as their called, well I don't really use them either but its nice to have those as an option I guess. I also like that the mains adapter lead is quite long, so you have room to plug it in and locate the frame elsewhere in the room. Its perhaps a shame that you don't have the option to power it with batteries, just to have the option would be nice but oh well...
I'm not sure whether or not to recommend this, I think I would recommend it as it does offer quite a few features but only if you have the time to get used to the quick touch border operation, if your going to use it alot you probably could get alot more familiar with it than I am thus far lol if it is on sale very cheap then its worth getting but I certainly wouldn't say its worth more than £30-£40 max. in my personal opinion, so I'd very cautiously just about recommend it I think!
I hope this review is useful, thanks for reading it and thanks for any and all r/r/c's. This review may also be posted on DooYoo UK under the same username, IzzyS.