Parrot 7 inch bluetooth photo frame
Electronic photo frames have been out for a while from various manufacturers. Most of these allow you to transfer images from your computer via USB. That's all well and good, but each time you want to change the pictures you have to move the frame to your computer and find that cable (ok - where did you safely store it this time?
Parrot have a different take on populating the frame with your images. Bringing their years of BlueTooth experience to the problem, they have come up with a very usable solution. Rather than connect to your computer simply 'beam' images directly from your phone - for many people that is where you have them anyway!
You can pair up to 10 phones with the frame, which allows each member of the family to simply come home and beam their latest masterpiece into the running slide show. This is a great solution to those photos you lock away on your phone never to see the light of day again!
The Parrot Photo Viewer provides a 5" by 3.5" viewing area (185x90mm) with a good resolution of 720x480 pixels. Pictures are stored internally with 64Mbyte of available memory. There is no option for an external memory card, but images transfered appear to be resized allowing you to store around 500 images. That should be more than enough, if you could store more the user interface would become very cumbersome.
The combination of internal memory and bluetooth connectivity mean the unit is very easy to use. Simply plug the suppied transformer into the wall and it springs to life. Go through the usual BlueTooth pairing sequence and you simply 'send' pictures from your phone and they magically appear on the screen.
A set of three buttons on the rear of the frame provide access to a user interface which is very easy to use. Through this interface you can select images, delete images, select slide-show properties and other functions.
By default the frame allows you to step through images using the controls on the rear, however a much more interesting effect is achieved by switching on the slide-show function. You can either choose the sequence or have the frame make a random selection - with a choice of transitions between images.
A nice feature is auto-sensing whether the frame is in landscape or portrait orientation and automatically rotating the picture.
Unfortunately there is no battery support at all. While this isn't generally a problem, it would be nice to be able to take the frame for a short period and pass it between members of the family to step through your latest masterpieces without the power-lead trailing it.
There is a built in clock that is on by default, ant that shows the time in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. You can disable this if you so please. Unfortunately a side effect of no battery support is that each time you unplug the unit it forgets the time and has to be reset.
Brightness of the screen was good. There is an automatic light sensor that will switch the display off at night to save power. As with all LCD displays it's not at it's best in bright daylight. The screen is best viewed from the directly in front - the range of viewing angle is somewhat limited.
In use the unit has to be plugged into a wall socket and will take 600mW of power.
The Parrot 7" Photo frame is available in a range of 11 designs allowing you to match your surroundings. Price from Parrot is £113.95 including VAT. I've not been able to find it stocked elsewhere. This is more expensive than most 7" products, but is unique in it's Bluetooth capability - which alone means you might actually keep adding pictures to this one!
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