The PU-8W sold by Portable USA
is an elegant wooden frame. The frame features speakers for music playback as well as a remote to guide you through the menus.
The construction of the frame is solid (we feel better than the WB models) and the display is protected by a glass over a matted frame that hides the infrared sensor for the remote. The frame accepts SD/MMC/MS/CF cards.
THE SET UP
As far as simplicity the frame passed the test. When the unit arrived for review we plugged it in and inserted an SD card with some MP3 files and some jpg image files of our Service Villa annual picnic and instantly the pictures started to display. MP3's didn't start playing immediately, but according to the manual it is all based on the file name. The digital frame sorts your media in alphabetical order and plays it like that in auto mode. Although this feature is not a default feature, you can select an mp3 to play via the audio screen.
The 8 inch display is really bright and clear.
The test images we used were all taken with a 12 megapixel Nikon D300
, so they were high resolution to begin with. We enjoyed the quality of the pictures being represented as they appeared with little or no distortion. The colors were actually better than we had expected, with nice saturation and decent blacks. Unfortunately the audio playback failed to impress us as the quality of the speakers was not great.
These pictures don't do the frame justice as it was hard to capture a screen shot that would show the quality of the display when showing off the pictures. If you are interested in purchasing I would get a memory card ready with some of your favorite pictures and take it to BJ's Wholesale club, Ritz Camera or Circuit City. All three of these stores carry the Portable USA line of digital frames. Once you have decided which one you like, go to Amazon and purchase it there since it is much cheaper.
The frame can also play videos of the following formats MPEG1, MPEG2, and MPEG4 If you really wanted to you could probably watch a full length film as long as it fits in your memory card.
Looking deeper into the frame's inner workings we found ourselves looking at a not-so-nice user control panel. The menu offers you all the necessary controls such as speed for slide show and transition type selection. You can choose transitions that range from: slide from the top towards the bottom, fade in and out, open like a door, or random, which is what we used to make use of all the transitions.
And the following are accessible via the remote only.
Here are the menu buttons on the unit.
They don't give you freedom from the remote. These buttons are strictly for volume and display setup such as brightness and contrast. If you want to go to the actual setup for your media you are forced to use the remote provided.
We tried putting the frame in portrait view but there is no option in the setup to do this. You can have all your pictures in either portrait or landscape but your menu will always be in landscape. This makes it a bit hard to see the menu.
The PU-8W has a list price of $199.00, but we have seen them on Amazon
for about $129.99.
- Bright 8" diagonal TFT Active matrix LCD display
- 640 X 480 resolution
- Compatible with CF, SD, MMC, MS, XD
- No PC needed to enjoy pictures
In the Box
- Digital frame
- AC power adapter
- Remote control
- User's manual
- Nice bright display
- Speaker to listen to audio mp3 files
- Full function remote control (priceless)
- Somewhat easy to use (if you use the remote)
- Good price in comparison to similar models
- Can't get to menus if you loose the remote. Only display settings can be changed with on board menu.
- Sound from speakers is not so great.
- No ability to make menu display in portrait mode.
WHERE TO BUY