Westinghouse Digital Photo Frame DPF-0701
Westinghouse offers what it describes as a "suite" of digital photo frames, the smallest of which features a 3.5-inch (diagonal) LCD; the largest, an 8-inch (diagonal) LCD. The model reviewed here, the Westinghouse Digital Photo Display DPF-0701 ($200 list), has a 7-inch display and looks similar to its siblings on the surface, but this is Westinghouse's first wide-screen digital photo frame. It's also the first to offer MosaicView, a mode that allows you to display multiple images simultaneously.
While the screen measures 7 inches diagonally, if you put a ruler to it you'll find that it specs out at about 6 inches wide and 3.5 inches high, which roughly--though not exactly--translates to a 16:9 aspect ratio. The DPF-0701 has a flip-out stand on back that supports the frame horizontally; sadly, it can't be propped up vertically. There's also a keyhole slot for wall-mounting options, as well as a threaded hole for a tripodlike stand. A nine-volt AC adapter plugs into the back of the unit and powers it.
The overall look of the black frame is understated and elegant, but there are a couple of drawbacks. First, since the display is wide-screen and is really designed to show multiple images, standard 4:3 photos displayed in their original form end up with black bars on either side. Secondly, the resolution is middling, and our pictures didn't look nearly as sharp or as detailed as they did on Philips's similarly sized photo frame, the Digital Photo Display 7FF1. If you view your photos at close range, you'll notice visible space between the pixels, creating the effect of viewing your images through a screen door. On a more positive note, colors seemed reasonably accurate and the picture is bright--you can adjust the brightness setting, but you'll most likely leave it just below the highest setting.
The interface isn't terribly slick, but once you figure out the nuances of tapping the menu button or holding it down to switch between the main menu and the submenu, navigation is fairly straightforward. Accessing images and video files from a memory card--the slots on the side of the frame accept almost all major formats--as well as a USB thumbdrive, was simple enough.
You can also transfer images to the frame via USB, as well as copy them from a card to the frame's 16MB of internal memory. Some transition effects are available for slide shows, but the real distinguishing feature is indeed MosiacView. Having multiple images on the screen at once--they change out one at time--is an interesting effect, but it's worth mentioning that, since your images are usually displayed at one-quarter their usual size in this mode, you can't always tell exactly what's in the photo if it's not well composed. Also, in order to display four images within the confines of the screen's aspect ratio, the frame automatically crops your photos to what it determines to be the optimal size to fit them all in. You can adjust a setting to leave your images as-is (4:3 is the standard ratio), but when four "original" images are on the screen with large spaces around each one, it doesn't look too good.
A few words about playing video on the frame: This is an intriguing feature and comes in handy if you have digital camera that offers video-capture. AVI, MPEG-1, and MPEG-4 file types are supported, though we noticed that, when we played back a 320x144 MPEG-4 file, the display squeezed the picture, and we couldn't find a way to display the video in its correct aspect ratio. And in case you're wondering about sound, there is none.
What's this all add up to? Well, we could be more forgiving of its flaws if the Westinghouse Digital Photo Display DPF-0701's price was closer to $100 than $200. But as it stands, while the MosiacView has its appeal, we recommend taking a look at competing options, such as the Philips frame, before making a purchase.