It seems odd that a category such as digital photo frames would have an entry level, but that's just what Hannspree's SD7021 7-inch digital photo frame is. You won't find a remote control, fancy slide show options, multimedia playback, changeable faceplates, Wi-Fi, or even an abundance of internal storage for photos. What you get instead is a rock-bottom sub-$40 price tag, a good-looking display and faceplate, and a modest feature set that does just enough.
With its stand attached, the SD7021 is just 2.5 inches deep--a pretty small footprint (it is wall mountable as well). The faceplate itself--a simple, glossy, black plastic frame that will work in almost any environment--is 9.1 inches wide by 5.4 inches high. The display is wide screen--7 inches diagonally--which means standard aspect-ratio photos will require cropping, either manually by you or automatically by the frame. The frame can be used in either portrait or landscape orientations; just stand up the frame and photos will automatically rotate appropriately.
On one side, there's a power switch, and on the other side are a three-in-one memory card reader (SD/SDHC, MMC, MemoryStick/MemoryStick Pro) and a full-size USB port. The SD7021 has only 8MB of internal memory. While it does an admirable job compressing images copied to memory, the quality noticeably degrades. You're better off investing $5-$10 in a dedicated SD card for the frame. Or you can pop in a USB thumbdrive, though it will stick out from the side of the display if you don't use a USB extension cable. Only JPEGs and BMPs are supported; you won't find any video or MP3 playback here.
A row of seven control buttons lines the top. Although they are labeled, the frame's menus and options are actually easier to navigate while looking at the screen, thanks to a navigation bar that drops down when you push the buttons. The SD7021's basic feature set leaves menus uncluttered with options. A Home screen lets you pick a source--internal, memory card, or flash drive--after which you can either view the stored photos; select and copy them to the internal memory; bring up a calendar view; or change setup settings for slide shows, the integrated calendar, or the frame.
Slide show options include a smattering of transition effects, slide interval (from 5 seconds to 3 minutes), and the capability to add a small, onscreen clock. You can view the calendar side by side with your photos or a clock. Text isn't very pleasing to look at, but if you're using this on your office desk, it's a nice option. The frame's system menu features adjustments for brightness, contrast, and saturation, as well as timed Auto Power preferences.