Digital picture frames have recently become very popular. Because of how popular they are it seems that every company is coming out with their own. This time I am reviewing the Genius PF-A01 10″ digital picture frame.
- Size: 10.4″ 4:3 digital TFT LCD
- Resolution: 640×480 pixels
- View Angle: Horizontal: 65/65 degree Vertical: 50/50 degree
- Contract: 300:1
- Flash:128MB flash
When I first opened the box I was very surprised by the large size of the display. When choosing a picture frame you have a choice between a 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio. This frame has a 4:3 aspect ratio, so your photos will fit better and you won’t have a lot of unused black space on the side of the frame. The 10″ display is one of the largest I have seen, and the large size is essential for seeing a lot of detail in each picture.
To display pictures the frame has 128MB of internal memory, two flash card slots and a USB port. The two flash card slots are a CF/MD and SD/MMC/MS card slots. When you have a card plugged into the frame it will only read from the card and not from the internal memory. The USB port on the side is used to show pictures that are stored on a USB memory stick.
The PF-A01 picture frame has a resolution of 640 x 480. While this may seem like a low resolution it is not bad for a 10″ screen. If your photos are larger than 640 x 480 the frame will automatically scale them down to fit. However, you may want to consider making them smaller on your own because having your pictures small will reduce the file sizes so they don’t take up a lot of memory.
The included remote is how you control the picture frame. There are no controls on the frame itself so if you want to do anything it must be done with the remote. It would be a good idea not to lose the remote, because without it you will not be able to change any settings on the frame. With the remote you can manage your photos by copying them from a card to the internal memory, deleting the ones you don’t like, and even rotating the ones that are the wrong direction.
The front of the frame is very simple. The display dominates the front and at the bottom is the IR sensor for the remote.
On the right side is a CF and SD card slot and a USB port. When you have a card plugged into the frame it will only read from the card and not from the internal memory. The USB port is used to show pictures that are stored on a USB memory stick.
The bottom has a power switch, power plug, mini USB port, and a speaker output. The USB on the bottom is used for transfering pictures from your computer to the PF-A01’s internal memory.
On the back is a speaker for playing MP3’s, two holes for the stand, and the holder for the remote.
The remote has several buttons and they all perform various important functions. The setup button takes you to the setup menus, the slide button takes you from the setup pages to the index page, which will start a slide show. During a slide show you can press it to go to a multi-slide show, this is where it shows more than one picture on the screen at the same time. The display button turns on and off the calendar and clock. The V+ and V- buttons control the volume, MP3 takes you to the list of MP3’s that are either on the card or on the internal memory. The B button changes the brightness of the frame and the Pg Up and Pg Dn move the index pages up and down.
I think the most important measure of performance for a digital picture frame is how the pictures look. Even if the frame has a bunch of cool features, if the pictures look bad, then you are not going to want to keep it.
When I first got this frame I didn’t have another one to comapre it to, so I went out and bought another frame. I tried to get a frame with similar specs and screen size. The frame I bought was a Memorex 10″ widescreen frame, but this frame is a perfect example of what I said above about features. The Memorex frame was better than the Genius frame in wany ways, but when it came to the quality of the picture it wasn’t even close. As you can see the Genius PF-A01 has much richer colors; in addition, because the Memorex frame is widescreen there is always a bit of unused black space on either side of the picture. The PF-A01’s 4:3 aspect ratio is a much better fit for standard digital pictures. I even compared the PF-A01 to my 24″ widescreen LCD monitor and the PF-A01 looks a bit pale.
One of the ways that the PF-A01 frame fell short of the Memorex frame was in the menu options and features. The Memorex menus were graphical and the PF-A01 uses text menus. The Memorex also had many more options like Random photo play and being able to choose your favorate transition effect.
Because the PS-A01 does not give you any options on how to play the photos, it automatically plays them sorted by their name. The sorting is numbers first and then letters, and any folders you have are also thrown in the mix. It is actually a pain to organize the photos if you want them to play in a particluar order because even if you number them all they don’t always go seqentially. For example, if you have photos numbered 1 through 20 they will go in this order: 1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 2, 20, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. While this may seems a bit odd it is actually sorting numbers exactly like it sorts letters, sorting the first number first then when it finds matches it sorts by the second number. So you have to outsmart the frame with your numbering, but the problem here is when you view the same pictures on your computer they will not be sorted the same way because more operating systems are smart enough to use the whole number when sorting.
While the menu system on the PF-A01 is not the slickest or the most feature rich, there are some features that make life a little easier. From the menu you are able to set the slide, multislide and sleep intervals, music repeat, volume, and time and date.
One feature I do like is the auto on and off. This feature was not part of my frame to start with, but I was told there was a firmware upgrade that would add it. I downloaded the firmware on the Genius website and it worked out great. I now have it set to come on when I get to work and go off when I leave.
I was very impressed with the PF-A01s color and all the features worked great. I even loaded up some really large (3072 x 2304) pictures and there was no delay when displaying them.
Warranty and Support
The Genius PF-A01 digital picture frame comes with a 1 year parts and labor warranty. Because this is an LCD display it is possible to get dead or stuck pixels and if you do you should immediately get a return on it.
There are a few parts of this frame that are not as good as others, but I can easily look past the lack of features and the text based menu system because of how great the pictures look. If those things are important to you then you will want to look at another frame, but I cannot imagine anyone that would give up picture quality for a few extra features. I am very happy with the frame and I do recommend it to anyone that is looking for a large frame and has about $200 to spend. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|