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Accessory Review: Pandigital Photo Frames
Seems like a no-brainer. Frame an LCD with a card reader slapped on the back and presto! you've got a digital photo frame. The idea isn't new. Early attempts like those from Ceiva Logic in 1999 even featured a built-in modem to dial into online accounts and refresh the subject matter nightly. But it's harder than it looks. Fortunately, Pandigital has managed to pull it off while keeping costs surprisingly low.

How good are they? Read our review for the full story...

Comments (11)

No wonder you complain of the "TV effect"60 seconds is the longest it can display a picture? That'd be annoying. I've had great luck with (laptop, so fully programmable) slideshows. A nice default wait is an hour: a low probability of seeing the actual switch does not excite that "what did I miss?" reflex. A day would be too long for collections like mine of about 350 images unless you really like those tear-off calendars. And of course the image switch time should probably be significantly faster than the rate at which you add images..

Comment #1

Well, that 60 second max just the slide show speed, Ben. You can leave an image on the frame forever. Or just use the remote when you're tired of what you're seeing. That's all a bit more interactive than looking at a framed print. And a framed print will talk to you when you least expect it, I've found. A TV will change what you're looking at every three seconds. And it won't say much to you at all...

Comment #2

There isn't any software for this frame, the site isn't offering any software and the company doesn't "offer" support, they hide it. For what it cost, the frame is great. But I wouldn't pay half of this price in the future if it didn't come with resizing software.

What about the admitted challenge this frame has with Dell hardware? Where is the patch that they claimed to be working on?.

Update the website, make it user friendly, offer patches and make software available for resizing to each frame model...

Comment #3

You can get a little help with connecting to a Dell here. The frame doesn't need a driver to be recognized as a removable device (well, several removable devices, one of which is internal memory). You really don't need resizing software to use the frame. And if you have a digital camera or scanning software, you've got more powerful resizing software than any digital frame company has the resources to develop for you. There are plenty of free image editors to do that job, too. But you're right about that Web site...

Comment #4

Hah, I was very surprised at the Pandigital President's comments about having no returns and having lousy reviews on Amazon. I'm not one of the reviewers at Amazon with nasty comments, but if I had taken the time, I would have probably written a similar nasty comment. I bought 2 of these, my father-in-law bought 2 and a friend bought 1, all within a couple weeks of each other. 2 of the units were dead-on-arrival, with smokes coming out of one. Another one died after 2 hours. We exchanged them from the store (local Linens and Things store).

Eventually, we exchanged them 4 more times until we could identify working ones. Meanwhile I kept on trying to get some tech support to solve the problem with one of the non-working ones. The PanDigital website doesn't have a support section, or any troubleshooting info whatsoever, so you're on your own until you contact them. I actually emailed them and got no response. So I called them several times until I could get a hold of someone to speak to (usually you get a voice mail).

So, essentially it was something unique to my configuration and not a fault with their product. Of course, the fact that I got the same error on three different computers, and the fact that many people complain about the same problem was irrelevant from their perspective. Eventually, I lost hope with tech support and replaced the unit at the local store. I think the reason why they get no returns is that no one can reach them and get them to admit that there is a problem with the unit to initiate a return. I don't know what happens with units returned to the stores (I saw several boxes that were taped over at Linens'n'Things, so I'm assuming they simply resell it to someone else until someone gets frustrated and just throws away the damn thing, taking it out of circulation).

Oh, and I never got any Canon or Casio videos to work. Surprisingly one from Kodak actually worked on the unit we have, contrary to the review posted here. Finally, a comment about resizing: I think resizing before uploading to the machine does make a difference: not only do you fit more pictures as the review indicates, I found that resizing on the computer leads to sharper images and less posterization (I think most good photo editing software have better algorithms for resizing than the internal algorithm of the frame). Also, the response time improves (photos load quicker). So, I routinely use a batch processor to resize all pictures to 800x600 before uploading them...

Comment #5

Yes, this is really a good idea for a product, but VERY poorly executed. The documentation that comes with the Pandigital disk is a joke, it tells you basically nothing when it comes to dealing with problems you will inevitably have it trying to get it to work with your computer. The instructions are so basic, they are useless. I can intuitively understand more than is explained in the documentation. Their web site is even less useful. If I can figure out how to get the damn thing to play music files, I may keep the one I bought, but I will NEVER by another Pandigital product!..

Comment #6

Peter, my powerbook G4 will not recognize the frame. I use a card reader to load up an SD card that I use in the frame...

Comment #7

Some pros and cons on my 8-inch PanDigital. The picture displayed - compared to a laptop - is really good. Since I have many many family photos, I loaded an SD card from my PC. To get some more density from what are 2-mnyte pictures (and overkill for the frame) I downloaded the nifty - and free - FSViewer. It allows batch converting files to a more condensed format. > My biggest complaint.

Nice not to have to seem them in chronological order. But I haven't been able to do that. ANY HELP? > And their help line is a joke. Without improving that, they'll be slow to build the momentum for any success at all...

Comment #8

Having the same trouble as HerbZ above. Can reset the time the image is displayed, the type of transitions to random but cannot get the shuffle to work. In addition to that, the slide show always starts at the last or highest number image and shows back to the first or lowest number image. any help would be appreciated...

Comment #9

This thing is a piece of junk. Photos loaded and started to slideshow then froze >Over and over. The "setup" button did absolutely nothing. Their phone line is 100% busy. I returned the frame and will never be a customer...

Comment #10

Not sure if you heard back on this or not, but I have the same prob and finally got thru to their lousy help line, and it turns out that the shuffle mode does not work. It is a known bug that they are hoping to fix via a firmware download that will be available via their website at "some point" in the near-future. I checked their web site and the link is indeed there with a Coming Soon disclaimer. Other than the shuffle mode issue, and their User Manual being almost useless, I am very happy with the product itself thus far...

Comment #11

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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