Aluratek 10 Inch Digital Photo Frame review: Aluratek 10 Inch Digital Photo Frame

If music's your thing, the ADMPF210 can play back MP3s, though the built-in speakers won't do your music justice. To say that they're tinny doesn't even start to describe their inability to reproduce a wide range of tonal frequencies. Put simply, if you want your music to sound like it's being played on a cheap boombox blaring in the backyard, then try playing it on this frame. Like the video playback, though, this is typical of digital photo frames, so you can't blame Aluratek too much here, despite the fact that it'd be nice for a frame to be able to play back some soft music during a photo slide show.

One feature I did find nice is the calendar and clock, which let you set times for the frame to turn on and off. Since most people use too much electricity as it is, it's nice to be able to set the frame to shut off at night, when you won't be awake to look at it anyway.

The most important part of a digital photo frame, in my opinion, is the screen. In this case, it's a 10.5-inch, 1,024x768-pixel LCD screen. With brightness and contrast set properly, the screen can display a wide range of colors and grayscale, though I did notice some banding in photos that have subtle gradations from color to color. By banding I mean that a photo that includes a smooth movement from a bright yellow to a dark orange doesn't make that transition in a smooth way. Instead this transition appears as jumps in brightness similar to stair steps. In the case of the ADMPF210, this stair stepping is subtle, so it's not nearly as bad as I've seen in some frames.

One more thing to note is that when copying files from a card or USB drive to the frame's 256MB of internal memory, the frame doesn't size the images down. While I didn't notice any real slowdown in slide shows because of large image files, you'll have to size images down in your computer if you want to be able to store a large number of images in the frame itself. On the other hand, if you plan on sharing your images with friends by letting them copy images from the frame to their own memory cards or USB drives, you may not want to size them down too much, and you definitely shouldn't size them below 1,024x768 if you want to maintain the pleasing image quality that this frame's screen can deliver. Also, if you plan to print directly from the frame, you'll have to make sure that the image files have enough pixels to make the size prints you want.

As a basic digital photo frame, the Aluratek ADMPF210 doesn't disappoint. It does a very nice job of reproducing digital photos and can present slide shows with pleasing transitions and even multiple images on the screen at the same time. But, like so many frames, it has trouble playing video clips from still cameras and the speakers don't do justice to MP3 music files. What's worse, it doesn't include Wi-Fi, which means that the frame is an island unto itself. Kodak's EasyShare EX1011 offers a 10-inch screen with similar image quality and is able to link to a free online EasyShare image gallery, making it simple to update the images that appear on the frame from anywhere that you can access the Internet. While Kodak's frame doesn't have quite as nice of a wood bezel as this Aluratek, it still offers a better value in my book, thanks to the versatility of its wireless connectivity. Of course, if you don't have wireless Internet access at home, then the Kodak's wireless advantage becomes moot.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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