I have wanted a digital picture frame for some time now. Over the holidays I received a Best Buy gift card and decided now was time to start looking. I was unhappy with the poor selection at a couple of local Best Buys, so I took my research online. I didn't want to spend too much and I stumbled upon the Sony DPF-D710 7-Inch. It was exactly what I wanted at the right price, so I took the plunge.
What does it come with?
It comes with 128mb of internal memory. In order to copy pictures to it, you have to attach it to your PC via a USB cable, which is conspicuously missing from the box.
Also, you can't put in batteries, so if you decide to use the internal memory, you have to bring it over to your PC with the power plug, or bring your laptop over to it. Honestly, the internal memory is so little, it doesn't even make it worth the hassle. I dusted off an old 2GB USB stick which should suffice.
How do the pictures look?
The pictures are crisp and clear and displays in a 800x480 resolution with a 16:10 aspect ratio. You can configure it to zoom and fill the screen, or display the whole picture with black bars. It has an Auto Orientation sensor, so you if you flip it on horizontally, the pictures will rotate to fit the display.
Any other features?
It has a couple of neat features. For starters, it does audio. If you wanted to get fancy, you can play music while pictures are displaying. If, for some odd reason, you wanted to use this primarily as a clock, you can.
It has several views to display the calendar and time, but I didn't like any of them because they just cover the pictures. It might work better for a larger frame. My favorite view has to be the Time Machine, which displays a tiny timestamp on the lower corner. It's cool to see the deterioration of my friends at a New Years party, especially when the pictures go past 2am. Of course if you didn't properly set the date on your digital camera, the accuracy will be off.
I wish it had a motion sensor, a feature present in other digital picture frames, but fancy features usually come with a price increase. However it does have an advanced timer setting, which reminds me of the Symantec Backup Exec software used for backing up servers. Don't worry, you can change it to simple time management if the interface is too complicated. It also comes with slots in the back so it can be mounted on the wall, either horizontally or vertically.
I encountered a couple of issues. When I changed the timer settings, it didn't shut off at the specified time. This only happened once and this was resolved after manually shutting it off. Also, although all of the pictures I put on the USB key were .jpg, some of them displayed as a question mark. I get approximately 3 question marks for every hundred pictures. You can easily delete them through the digital frame interface.
It comes with a remote control which is a MUST. It would be a nightmare to use the buttons on the digital frame. I wish it had a slot in the back to store the remote, a feature I have seen on competitive products.
Was it worth it?
Yes, I am very happy with the Sony DPF-D710. There are some trade offs and minor annoyances compared to more expensive digital picture frames. The back light is LED powered, so you know it will last a long, long time. The frame is a little small and if you have a larger home, I would suggest a bigger model, perhaps a 12-inch or larger frame.