The Good Built-in wireless connectivity allows you to tap into your home wireless network and stream images from your Windows PC or the Kodak EasyShare Gallery online photo-sharing service. The frame has a bright, relatively sharp 8-inch diagonal display, 128MB of built-in memory, plus slots for virtually all memory card types, as well as USB connectivity for computers and thumbdrives. The EX-811 supports MP3 and video playback (with sound), ships with a small remote control, and is compatible with PictBridge-enabled printers. Lastly, it's easy to set up and has a well-designed interface.
The Bad The built-in speakers sound very tinny; when transferring photos to the display's internal memory, images aren't automatically resized to the size of the display to reduce file sizes. Music playback controls could be more straightforward.
The Bottom Line While it has a few minor flaws, Kodak's Wi-Fi-enabled EX-811's strong feature set, good image quality, and online integration with the company's free EasyShare Gallery online photo-sharing service, make this frame a top choice in the digital photo frame category.
Kodak EasyShare EX-811 (Black)
We've had high expectations for Kodak's EX-811 8-inch digital photo frame ever since we got wind that the frame would have built-in wireless connectivity that would allow you to tap into your Windows PC, and more importantly, the Kodak's EasyShare Gallery online photo-sharing service. While the EX-811 is also loaded with features such as MP3 and video playback support, the real key feature is its Kodak Gallery integration, because that takes away the main competitive advantage of Ceiva's photo frames, which incorporate an online component to automatically push images onto your frame. The big difference is that Ceiva's service costs money, while Kodak's is free.
With some wireless photo frames, setup has been arduous, and we've run into trouble trying to connect them to our wireless network. We're happy to report that the setup for the EX-811 went smoothly. You first install the company's EasyShare Gallery software (it's a special version designed for Kodak's wireless photo frames) on your Windows PC, enable Windows Media Player 11 to share media, sign up for a Gallery account if you don't have one already, then fire up the photo frame, and run through the setup for wireless networks. The frame automatically detects nearby available networks and asks you for a security key if you're trying to connect to a secure network. You input the code via a virtual keyboard (we navigated the virtual buttons using the included remote control), and while it's a little tedious, it is a one-time setup.
After you've hooked into your wireless network, the frame will go out and look for compatible streaming devices and find your PC on the network. We tested the frame with a PC running Windows Vista, and everything worked quite well, but you can also run it with Windows XP so long as you've installed Windows Media Player 11. Streaming photos from our test PC to the frame worked flawlessly, and you also have the option of copying photos from your PC to the frame's 128MB of internal memory.
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