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Optex 15-inch Digital Photo Frame review: Optex 15-inch Digital Photo Frame

Despite claiming to have an extensive feature set, the Optex digital photo frame disappointed us with its lack of usable functions, and so-so image quality.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides
3 min read

Editor's note: Regarding the Bluetooth issues mentioned below, we have contacted the manufacturer and are currently waiting for our particular review unit to be analysed. We will update this review accordingly at a later date.

5.9

Optex 15-inch Digital Photo Frame

The Good

Support for MPEG, MP3, WMA and WAV.

The Bad

Heavy. Screen is a little dim. Bluetooth functionality appears to be present, but doesn't actually work.

The Bottom Line

The Optex digital photo frame disappointed us as many of its features that had the potential to set it apart from other models in its class didn't actually work.

Design
At roughly four kilograms without its stand, the Optex is a hulking beast by anyone's standards. Part of this weight is from the actual bezel frame that surrounds the 15-inch LCD screen. From the spec sheet, it's purported to be made of wood but feels more like plastic — if it really is wood, it's the most synthetic timber we've come across in a long time.

Unfortunately for the Optex its exterior does little to help justify the exorbitant asking price. The design of the frame itself is conservative and, at least from the outside, looks far cheaper than other models retailing for a similar amount (notably the 15-inch Kaiser Baas we recently tested).

Features
The main selling point of the Optex is its Bluetooth connectivity, which claims to be able to collect images from mobile phones, laptops and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. Unfortunately, the instruction booklet provided with the unit provided little in the way of clues — none at all, in fact — on how to operate this function. More on our battles with Bluetooth later.

The power cord is fairly short, something to keep in mind should you want to sit the frame on a ledge, a mantelpiece or even a wall. In terms of file formats, the Optex supports MPEG movie file playback, as well as MP3, WMA and WAV audio formats.

From the clues printed on the box through to the spec sheet that arrived with the frame, we were led to believe that the Optex had 1GB of internal storage. On plugging it into a computer to transfer some photos and verify this claim, we found that, in fact, the Optex only had around 512MB of internal storage.

Performance
Despite all its shortcomings so far, there was one last redeeming feature — Bluetooth connectivity. So it came as a surprise when we couldn't even access the Bluetooth functionality from the menu, and both the remote and the buttons on the frame itself refused to let us activate it.

In an even more confusing twist, a Bluetooth icon appeared on the start up screen, indicating that the functionality was on. However, the frame did not detect any of the phones we tried to transfer images from, or vice versa.

We thought that reading images off a USB stick would prove easier, except that the Optex refused to read the images from a Sony Memory Gate. Fortunately, our second attempt with a generic USB device worked better and the frame recognised the photos on it instantly.

Image quality when we did finally get pictures to display on the screen was good but not incredible. With a resolution of 1,024x768 we expected more, and it was a similar story on the viewing angle front. Despite Optex's proprietary Twin-Light technology, we found that the screen was still not as bright as we would expect from a frame of its size and price.

Conclusion
The Optex digital photo frame had such great potential to be a class-leading product: Bluetooth connectivity, 1GB of internal storage, and a large 15-inch screen. Unfortunately, the story ended up being too good to be true and the Optex fell short on most of these promises. If size is everything, we suggest that you take a look at other 15-inch frames, such as the Kaiser Baas digital photo frame which retails for AU$50 less.