Let's get this out of the way: Kodak's OLED Wireless Frame costs $1,000. Who the heck would pay that much for a 7.6-inch digital frame that usually costs closer to $200? Well, Kodak would be quick to say that this is more about proof-of-concept than creating a mass-consumption product. The company developed the technology behind OLED (organic light-emitting diode), which has come to embody the future of flat-panel display technology. And this little photo frame, like Sony's $2,500 XEL-1 OLED TV, are at the cutting-edge--and you usually have to pay a serious premium to play there.
Whenever people talk about OLED, the first thing they mention is how thin the display is, and this frame measures only about 0.4 inch at its thickest point. But the base, which measures about an inch high, extends about 3.5 inches back, so some of the thin factor is lost. That base houses much of the electronics: built-in speakers (yes, there's sound for MP3 files and video), a multiformat slot for adding photos (no CompactFlash, though), and both mini and standard USB ports. There's also an audio input and output, both of which accept mini jacks.
OLED is also known for delivering a bright picture with eye-popping color and deep blacks. And in this regard, the Kodak frame lives up to the hype. While the image quality isn't perfect, it's probably the best we've seen from a photo frame to date. Pictures appear sharp, the color is rich and well saturated--and also very close to accurate--and the contrast is excellent. The one issue is that the frame isn't very high resolution; it's 800x480, so you will see some slight stair-stepping on curved edges, like on the ears of the dog in the test images that Kodak included with the frame. To notice the flaws, you do have to move in very close to the frame; from a few feet away everything looks great.
We also noticed another small flaw: ghosting of images when playing a slide-show image with a lot of white in it (like the aforementioned Dalmatian) transitioning into a darker picture. For a moment, you can see the faint outline of the brighter image before it quickly fades. Kodak says this shouldn't happen, and we're awaiting a second frame to confirm its claims.
As for features, the frame is loaded. For starters, it comes with 2GB of internal memory and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. This frame, like several other new frames, is a touch-border model, which means that you touch the bezel of the frame to access menus and settings. The various touch points along the bottom and right side of the frame light up when you touch the bezel; unfortunately the finish of the bezel is glossy, so it's a fingerprint magnet. We're not sure about the whole touch-panel concept, but this is one of the best implementation we've seen of it, particularly because the touch points are sensitive and the frame is very responsive.
That's another one of the frame's strong points: the performance is quite good. Pictures and movies, even those with large file sizes, load quickly, and menus open and close with limited lag. This is a zippy frame.