Digital Foci Pocket Album Deluxe OLED 2.8 Digital Photo Frame

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Ginny Mies
PC World
Monday, February 16, 2009; 12:19 AM

The Digital Foci Pocket Album Deluxe OLED 2.8 will make your photos sparkle on its gorgeous (though smallish) OLED display, but getting them onto the frame is harder than it should be. With no memory card slot available, you can transfer pictures only via the included software--which can take some extra time to use.

OLED displays are a relatively new feature for digital photo frames to carry. OLED pixels emit light directly, permitting a greater range of colors, brightness, and contrast than LCD displays; and if this frame is any indication, the results are stunning. Unfortunately, the larger OLED frames currently on the market are quite pricey, like Kodak's 7.6-inch OLED frame ($1000). At $90, the Digital Foci Pocket Album Deluxe OLED 2.8 is ideal for consumers who want to sample the high quality of OLED digital photo frames without paying an exorbitant price.

One reason this frame is so inexpensive is that its display size is small: The 320-by-240-pixel OLED display measures only 2.8 inches diagonally, so you won't be able to view your photos from across the room. And at 3.3 inches by 2.7 inches by 0.6 inch, it isn't quite as pocketable as the name suggests. But weighing a scant 3.6 ounces, the Pocket Album Deluxe goes easy on the bulk. The frame is available in three attractive colors: red, sky blue, and charcoal.

The frame has 128MB of internal memory (enough to hold about 4000 photos) and supports JPG, TIF, GIF, PNG and BMP image formats. Unfortunately, there's no memory card slot on the frame, so you can't transfer from camera to frame. And much to my chagrin, you can't simply drag photos from a folder and drop them in the frame when it is connected to your PC. Instead, you must use the included Photo Manager software (which runs on both Mac and Windows operating systems) to handle photo transfers.

Photo Manager has three main sections: the Browser Window (which displays the photos stored in your computer's folders, using Windows Explorer), Collection Panel (where you can prepare photos for transfer to the digital frame) and the Device Window (which displays the photos that the device currently contains). The software's biggest drawback is that it doesn't let you add multiple photos at once. As a result, you have to transfer them from the Browser Window to the Collection Panel one by one. If you plan on filling the frame to its 4000-photo capacity, be prepared to spend some lengthy sessions at your computer.

Another problem is that a lot gets lost between the original photo and what appears on the Pocket Album Deluxe. The Browser Window shows a thumbnail preview of how the photo will appear in the frame; if the photo doesn't have a 4:3 aspect ratio, you can select 'Fit for Display' to crop it. Nevertheless, some of my photos that did have a 4:3 aspect ratio displayed incorrectly in the frame anyway. For example, in a photo of a row of houses in Prague, the windows of the last house on the end got cut in half in the frame. In a photo of a row of Blue Angels jets, the lowest jet in the group is almost completely cut off. You do have some control over what the frame will display in the software, however: You can edit and crop your images before converting them, but you still won't be able to view the full original photo in the frame.

Despite these shortcomings, image quality is stunning. The Pocket Album Deluxe renders action shots, angles, and details beautifully. Colors were rich and accurate, and contrast was close to perfect. Viewing angles were good, too, and I could easily view photos in bright fluorescent indoor lighting as well as in various outdoor conditions (from bright sunlight to overcast).

The Pocket Album Deluxe has an easy-to-follow menu and navigation system. Four buttons (Power, Esc, Menu, and Hotkey) are located at the top of the frame, along with a lever that you move left and right and push down to select a menu item. The plastic lever is quite small, however, and feels a bit flimsy. Using the level to scroll through multiple photos is uncomfortable and sometimes less responsive than it should be.

If you can get used to transferring images with the included software, the Digital Foci Pocket Album Deluxe OLED 2.8 is a solid buy. There's no denying the high quality of OLED technology and I look forward to seeing larger (but still affordable) OLED frames from Digital Foci.


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