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Pandigital 8" Frame
© 2007 KenRockwell.com

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PANDIGITAL 8" frame

I'd get it here. It helps me publish this site when you get yours from this link, too.

April 2007

INTRODUCTION

I picked up a few of these on impulse while walking through our local members-only Price Club. I thought they used to cost at least a several hundred dollars, look awful and not work very well, so I'd never researched them before. Even back at Christmas these cost much more.

I saw one on display for cheap and it looked pretty good with demo images playing. God bless progress: these have gotten much cheaper than they were at Christmas.

For fun, I pulled the CF card from my Canon 5D hanging around my neck and jammed it into the sample frame to see what would happen. Amazing! It displayed perfectly the 12 MP images without any fiddling. They were sharp, bright, and just played. I was sold.

We grabbed three to distribute to the family so they could see our baby Ryan's cute baby pictures all day.

SPECIFICATIONS with commentary  back to top

Specifications    Performance    Recommendations

Screen Size: 8" diagonal

Resolution: 800 x 600 pixels, which at this size has more DPI than a computer screen.

Brightness: 350 cd/m^2 (100 fL). This is rated as good as my exotic 30" Apple Cinema Display actually performs.

Card Types: SD, CF and many more.

Internal Memory: 128 MB (no card needed)

Data: USB, slow.

File Types: JPGs and several kinds of video.

Audio: Yes, speaker and amplifier.

Power: wall-wart (AC Adapter).

PERFORMANCE   back to top

Specifications    Performance    Recommendations

Ease of Use

Excellent! It just works. I had used a card from my camera in the store.

When I brought it home, it was trivial to plug the USB cable into my Mac and drag and drop files to the frame. (I didn't try it with a Windows PC.)

Data transfer is slow, much slower than a card reader. It took a few minutes to fill up the frame. You don't need to wait if playing from a card, as it reads each as it plays it.

It was easy to figure out how to set it to stop or run, and how fast between photos.

It defaults to a stupid effect when changing images. It was easy to get hard cuts from one shot to the next.

Picture Quality

I was impressed: it is as bright as my 30" Apple display, and sharper!

Colors aren't that great. Lighter skin tones that are supposed to be pink tended towards yellow, but tough, what do you want from an under-$200 display that does everything else well?

What impressed me the most is that images automatically scale correctly. It doesn't matter if images come from my 12 MP Canon 5D or were 96 x 96 pixel JPGs pulled from my website: they all automatically enlarge or reduce to fit the screen perfectly.

This little frame works better than a Windows PC, which never seem to be smart enough to upsample and downsample images to fit automatically.

It always resizes the image so the entire image fits, and if the shape is other then 4:3, you get the required black bars only along two sides. This is much smarter than any HDTV network broadcast or $10,000 HDTV display, which often leaves black borders around all four sides! This silly little frame always does the right thing. (You've noted a personal issue with me: I've been designing HDTV hardware since the 1980s and have been warning people for the past 20 years that two aspect ratios will never play well at the same time, thus most HDTV screens spend most of their time showing more black than image!)

I didn't recall if it read rotation flags. I rotate all my vertical shots for real after I shoot them.

Resampling is OK. Diagonal lines can be a little bit jaggy if you look for fine points like that.

Automatic sharpening is perfect.

Data and Files

Data transfer is slow. It will take several minutes to load up the entire frame.

Ideally you'll format your images to fit the frame's pixel dimensions exactly. I don't have the time for that, so I simply dump JPGs straight from my camera into it. This wastes a lot of space: the frame will hold about 100 images directly from my cameras, or over a thousand if resized first.

I'm so lazy I copied the 600-pixel wide snaps of my baby from his website file and used those on the higher-resolution 800-pixel wide frame. They looked fine and rescaled with no loss of sharpness as far as the family is concerned.

I had planned to send the family baby photo updates on easily-mailed 1 GB SD cards (you can buy good ones today for $11 each here), however I haven't gotten around to it. I plan to mail mom a new SD card, and have her return the old one for my next update.

Video

I never got video to play well or reliably. I don't care and gave up. I don't know if my video file type was supported anyway.

RECOMMENDATIONS   back to top

Specifications    Performance    Recommendations

I got these on a whim. I have no idea how others work. The only way others could be better would be if they had slightly better color. If I wanted better color, I'd use an old Apple laptop instead, but it wouldn't be as bright or as convenient.

These are inexpensive display devices and work great for the price I paid. I'm very happy. No, they are not color-exact. If I wanted exact colors I also might consider pre-correcting the files I wrote to the frame, but I'm too lazy

The family loves these! They get to see our baby or whatever, and they look great. If I want better image quality, I use my laptop. The family doesn't notice.

Everything else works great, and for the discount price, the ability to have crisp, bright, sharp images easily popping up is a way to let others enjoy my photos without expecting them to look at my website.

PLUG

If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

Thanks for reading!

Ken

 

Caveat: The ads below come from a third party and I don't see or approve them. They are sent to your screen directly from a third party. They don't come from me or my site. See more at my Buying Advice page. Personally I get my goodies at Ritz, Amazon and Adorama.

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