Photo Frames: Choose Wi-Fi or a Huge Screen

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At a Glance
  • Kodak EasyShare EX811 Digital Picture Frame

  • pandigital 15-inch Digital Photo Frame

Kodak's Easyshare EX811 offers wireless photo sharing; the Pandigital PAN-150 has a huge 15-inch screen.
Sharing your digital photos online is easy. But storing them on a PC can make them less convenient to show to guests when you are at home. If you want to show off your shots at once, without printing them, a digital photo frame can help.

Both Kodak's 8-inch EasyShare EX811 frame ($180) and Pandigital's 15-inch PAN-150 frame ($299) will display customizable slide shows of digital images. Both come with memory card slots, and both can play music and video files while propped up on their kickstand on your desk. But there the similarities end.

Kodak's EX811 (the EasyShare EX1011, a 10-inch version, is available for $280) displays images via Wi-Fi from your PC or from the Internet via Kodak's EasyShare Gallery. The frame's 802.11b/g wireless connection is easy to set up using the on-screen menus, except that entering your security pass code requires you to use the remote (or buttons on the frame) and maneuver through the on-screen keyboard. Then, after you enter your account information on the keyboard, Kodak's frame displays photos in shared albums, without your having to turn your PC on. Viewing Gallery photos is as seamless as choosing to view content on a memory card. The frame had no trouble seeing my existing shared Gallery albums; but asdiscovered that it can take up to two hours to detect newly shared albums. The included EasyShare software helps you organize images and upload them to a Kodak EasyShare Gallery account.

You can use your PC to access media to display on the EX811, but you can't transmit files to the frame without Windows Media Player 11, and you have to enable media sharing. The frame supports JPEG file and most MPEG-1, MPEG-4, MOV, AVI and MP3 files, according to the manual.

My images looked lovely on the Kodak's 800-by-480-pixel LCD, with higher contrast and greater color saturation than I've seen on the LCD connected to my desktop PC. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, and I noticed some obvious image cropping in my tests. Kodak says that it plans to offer a firmware update to improve the scaling, though I saw no artifacting due to the images being automatically scaled.

The EX811 has a modern, stylish look, though you get just the one black bezel (some competing frames offer swappable bezels). Its on-unit navigation controls are unpleasant to use because the buttons sit on the back of the frame, at the top, which makes viewing the on-screen menus while figuring out which button to press unduly difficult. To navigate the frame's features, you'll need the home button--but that button appears only on the credit-card-sized remote control, whose buttons are hard to press.

The frame has just 128MB of internal memory, but that amount is adequate because you can display images from your PC, from your EasyShare Gallery account, or from a memory card. You can connect the EX811 to various devices, including a PictBridge USB printer and a USB flash drive.

At a Glance
  • Kodak EasyShare EX811 Digital Picture Frame

  • pandigital 15-inch Digital Photo Frame

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