A stylish addition to the market with a wealth of features
When digital photo frames first arrived they were seen as an expensive luxury item and were fairly limited in what they could do.
As well benefiting from a much-needed drop in price, the latest frames now offer a host of additional features that, in some cases, reduce photo playback to almost a secondary purpose.
The new Linx Ality range, the 8in model of which we have on test here, is one of the most feature-packed we've seen. With a slim design, it houses stereo speakers and a rather attractive piano black finish.
A chrome docking stand allows the frame to be set up in either portrait or landscape mode, while an autotilt mechanism automatically rotates photos to suit.
Some rather dramatic touch-sensitive controls greet you on startup and the initial menu goes to highlight exactly how many features it houses. There are options to view video, audio and of course photos from files stored either on the 512MB built-in memory or an inserted memory card.
Although stylish, the touch-sensitive controls can be a little unresponsive at times. To make things easier you’re supplied with a remote that has a far wider range of controls.
In terms of its primary purpose there is support for both Jpeg and Bitmap image formats, which can be viewed either individually or by creating a slideshow with a range of built-in transitions. Image quality isn't superb though - in some cases colours seemed a little muted and pixelated. The extra large bezel also tends to reduce the impact of the photos on show somewhat.
Media support is good though, with mp3 and Wav for audio and Mpeg1/2/4 for video. In practice we found almost everything we tried to play worked perfectly. In addition, you’ll find a clock/calendar display and a scheduler for setting up slideshows at specific times, however it's questionable quite how useful the latter is.
The last feature worth noting is the AV-out socket. With the supplied cable, this allows you to send music, video and photos direct to a TV or stereo.
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Pros: Excellent media format support; AV output; stylish design; built in battery and hard drive; easy to use Cons: Extremely large bezel; display quality could be better; limited mobility once mounted Overall: The Ality’s high price is justified somewhat by the features on offer and range of media it supports, but unless you’ll take advantage of these you should opt for one of the cheaper frames available
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