The Philips AJL308 7 inch Digital Photo Frame and Clock Radio
came out of left field for us. It is the first digital photo frame that tries to also be an alarm clock. Can you imagine the challenge for the Philips engineers and design team: How do you create a user-friendly alarm clock, while also being a sexy photo frame.
For the most part the Philips AJL308 delivers on this challenge. It looks both like a photo frame and a high-end alarm clock. Part of the reason this device gets away with it is because it has a piano black face. This allows the buttons (also in piano black) to blend with the rest of the face. The button labels are in small white type so they are barely noticeable from far, but legible up close. Of course, if you are not a fan of black, this will automatically disqualify this frame from your list, and we wish Philips would offer a few other color choices like white or brush nickel.
The interface of the Philips AJL308
is slick and one of this device's highlights. Picture Mac OS X widgets and you'll have a good idea as to how this frame displays typical calendar and time information. What you find useless as a computer widget, on this device it makes perfect sense.
You also have the ability to customize the display by choosing from four different wallpapers: red, blue, green, and purple offering a nice variety to coordinate with your existing room decor. Additionally, you are able to chose which image is displayed as your default for the alarm clock display by clicking through your images in your USB/Media Card device. There are a few things we would like to see improved though. One of those things is the ability to set tell the device to randomly select a different picture each day for the alarm clock display. Two, it would be nice to open up the image browser to select the picture for the display.
One of our fears with the Philips AJL308 was that the display would be too bright during the night time in a bedroom setting. To combat that, the Philips AJL308 allows you to set auto dim settings. We set the machine to auto dim at 11:00pm and come back to life at 8:00am. It worked flawlessly. You also have the ability to dim the device at any time by pressing the dim button at the very top. Fears vanquished. On a side note, we cleverly came up with another use for this feature: If you have the AJL308 in your living room, you can set the auto dim to activate and save electricity while you are away at work.
The sleep feature is also very useful since it will play relaxing music for a pre-determined amount of time that you select. There are a total of four pre-set sleep tunes in the machine.
As a digital photo frame the Philips AJL308 is average. The resolution and picture display should be better for the price range. The lack of WiFi connection is also a disappointment for us. Imagine the ability to play slideshows from an RSS feed
from your Flickr account. That kind of functionality would have made the Philips AJL308 the most versatile digital photo frame on the market.
Other features in the Philips AJL308 include: solid audio support (MP3, WMA, JPEG, DivX and MPEG4 file), FM radio (though we wonder why this device is not showing AM some love), two alarms, and SD/MMC media support.
Retailing for $139.99 the price is a bit steep, but the concept is refreshing. Although this device receives high marks from us, we recommend you wait for version 2.0 of this device. By then, we hope they Philips provides more color options for the display, improves the device's display capacities, and introduces more flexibility. However, for those not willing to wait, this photo frame is as feature rich as it currently gets and it performs surprisingly well.
- Loaded with options
- Greatly designed and engineered
- Awesome user interface
- Great concept
- Display is average at best
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