The modern home tends to have at least one of the following these days – the staple High Definition TV (with 3D capabilities for some), at least one video game console (take your pick between the Sony PS3, Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii), an iPad or equivalent tablet device, a computer, a notebook or netbook, and a portable media player of choice. Let’s see now, what else is missing?
Oh yeah, we forgot about the digital photo frame, since that is hardly mentioned and technology involving them tends to stay the same most of the time. Well, GiiNii’s latest foray into this department has resulted in the 8-inch All-In-One Digital Photo Frame, and we’ve taken a real close look at it to let you know what our thoughts and two cents are.
Digital photo frames do boast of one advantage over a standard one – you can update and change its photos according to your own whim and fancy without having to go through the trouble of processing all those films, choosing only one photo per frame. This model sports an 8-inch display, which is an inch more than what most of its competitors offer in the market, and to make it even more realistic, this puppy comes with a changeable bezel just in case you don’t like the one which it comes with.
What are some of the advantages of having the GiiNii All-In-One Digital Photo Frame sit in your living room? Well, it prides itself in being USB camcorder ready, which means you can watch your favorite videos from a plugged in camcorder (via USB, of course), without having to go through the usual file transfer processor with a computer acting as a go-between.
Among the features for images comprise of photo effects, categories, organization options and scrapbooking. Heck, if you think that there aren’t any good photos to share with your family and friends when they drop by, you can always switch its display to show off the current time, or a calendar if you intend to go fully paperless (remember those paper calendars for your home?).
With 2GB of internal memory (that’s the model we received, although the product page mentions just 128MB), you can further augment that through an SD memory card, xD, MMC, or the Memory Stick (Pro, Duo and vanilla) formats. Of course, those are much less unsightly compared to plugging in a USB flash drive at the back, which might be pretty fragile since there is the risk of it snapping off should someone knock over the GiiNii (this one has no magic carpet to fly on) by accident to the floor.
Audio and video formats supported include MP3, AVI, MPEG-4 and H.264, so you need not fret since those are more or less the more popular formats out there at the moment, and look set to be for some time to come.
We do find the user interface to be a bit sluggish, and it does take some getting used to. The scroll wheel located at the back of the digital photo frame doesn’t feel as solid as we would like it to be, but it isn’t going to detract from your overall user experience in the long run once you’ve gotten used to it. Most of the functions can be accessed on-the-fly, but if you want to do some digital scrapbooking, then you are required to log on to Giinii.com, but as for others who just want to use the GiiNii as a standard digital photo frame, it is a snap to copy over the images of choice into its internal memory or compatible memory card.
One more thing – you had better make sure you label its remote control, since with the plethora of devices that are already around in your home, having another remote added to the collection might just make life more complicated. Couch potatoes would be happy though, as they can always access the various functions without having to remove their butt from their favorite sofa.
Since the GiiNii All-In-One Digital Photo Frame needs to be plugged in at all times to display your favorite photos, will it do a number on the environment? Impact is minimized since this adheres to the Energy Star rating standard, which means Greenpeace activists won’t be knocking down your door anytime soon or lying prone in front of your driveway.
As with most digital photo frames, the display can be said to be one of the most important components, and we didn’t come away too impressed with it, compared to models from other manufacturers. If you look real close, you are able to notice all the screen lines, which isn’t desirable but at least the whole thing works just fine on average. Part of the reason could be because of the 800 x 600 resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio on its LED display – not exactly 2011 class specifications, don’t you think so?
There were also issues with video playback, with some files (MP4 format) being recognized on the list of titles, but upon clicking it, nothing happens. Zilch. Nada. At first we thought that this was a glitch in our video formatting, but doing a quick check on Google has proved that the same problem plagued other GiiNii owners as well. Not exactly a make-or-break negative since this is primarily a digital photo frame and not a flat screen TV.
Just in case you do not have any decent photos to display on this, at least it comes with a dozen pre-loaded images that showcase the best of America. Pricing wise, it hovers near the Benjamin mark, give or take a tenner depending on the retailer you’re prone to visit.