Being the nation’s least wanted gift item, digital photoframes (or makers of the rather) are in a odd position. Do they simply give up? Or innovate their pants off? Nix who we looked at earlier and Samsung have decided to throw technology at the problem and released feature-packed digital photoframes.
To even call the 1000p a digital photoframe seems to be doing it a disservice, the poor thing is working overtime as a movie player, music player and mini monitor. But more on that later.
Out of the box the 1000p has the type of high-end design that Samsung hopes you’d expect from them by now. The frame looks like a tiny version of a Samsung 8 series TV, which is pretty cool. The frame is attached to a stand (filled with speakers, ports and other electronics) and has an odd but relatively sturdy hinge to change the viewing angle. The buttons are discreet looking touch sensitive affairs, which light up when you touch them and generally add a touch of class to proceedings.
Photo transfer to the 1024 x 600 10″ screen is a pretty straight forward affair – makers of digital photo frames have all cottoned on that this is something they have to make as easy as possible. You can attach a USB cable (supplied) to your PC and drag and drop files across. Or you can pop a USB card in. Or a SD card. Or even Bluetooth a file across from your phone. The 2GB onboard storage is also pretty decent – and of course you can just whack a larger USB key or SD card in if this isn’t good enough for you. Pictures are automatically resized and generally look pretty good.
There’s also a cool looking blackboard clock (among other designs), video playback (divx included) and mp3 support. The inbuilt speakers won’t blow you away but are acceptable – especially to accompany a slideshow.
The USB connection also allows you to use the 1000p as a secondary monitor for your PC. And literally your IBM PC as this feature isn’t Mac compatible.
The Samsung SPF-1000P digital photoframe is a tad under £150
It’s becoming easier and easier to produce and share content online – good quality cameras cost a fraction of what they used to, decent editing packages can be had at low-to-no cost and you can distribute your masterpieces online for free. If you want to take your creative photos and videos to the next level you might want to take a look at Westcott’s Green Screen Kit. Green Screening is a visual FX technique for creating compositing effects. Basically you stand your subjects in front of a solid colour background and photo or film them. Then you remove the background and replace it with a background of your choosing – a Parisian café, an underwater kingdom or an explosion.
The Green Screen Kit provides you with a 5’ by 7’ green screen (and some wall hooks) so you can shoot your subject (little tip – keep them well lit if you can as this helps when pulling a clean key). The Green Screen is bundled with some PhotoKey Lite software, for one-click keys – no fussing about with garbage mattes and the like. The software works surprisingly well for a £69.99 bundled package. For someone used to working on high-end packages like Shake and fiddling with node based chroma keys, the software is a little on the simple side. However, it is amazingly easy to use and for people starting out with visual effects – or hoping to add a little something to their homemovies or YouTube videos there is a lot to like – including 100 pre-packaged digital backgrounds and the ability to add your own.
Edifer, makers of the Soundbar which we cast our watchful eye over here and the opera house-shaped Prisma which we reviewed here are back with the Breathe iF600. New iPod docks are a weekly happening in my inbox, so it’s a testament to the Edifier design team that I raised an eyebrow when I saw the Breathe’s dome like design, which literally caught my eye. Moving away from the classic boombox-style that most iPod docks seem to go for, the Breathe looks a little like the top half of an eggshell. Replete with control buttons, an Aux input (if you have a non iDevice PMP) and a Music Pause function that automatically detects when a call is incoming on your iPhone. On sale now at John Lewis for £169.
As someone old enough to remember and own VHS tapes, the MAGIX Rescue Your Videotapes system is a godsend. I have an old VCR kept in reserve just in case I ever want to watch some of my rare VHS-only films, TV shows I taped off air or home movies. MAGIX rescues my dusty tapes and puts them somewhere useful – my hard drive. An end-to-end solution, magic comes with all the cables you need to hook your VCR or old-fashioned camcorder into your PC. It also has digitization software that enables you to store the compressed files on your hard drive, burn them to DVD or share them to online sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, holding your hand through each step of the way. MAGIX Rescue Your Videotapes 3.0 is available from Amazon and PC world for £59.99
This Tuesday the international winner of the James Dyson Award will be announced. They received over 500 entries, which have been whittled down to 15. Dyson sent us this little video of the finalists and we thought you gadget fans might like to check it out. Our favourites include the Butterfly mobile, micro scooter, Move-it, a cardboard box to trolley convertor and Wanderest, a portable seat you can strap to lamp posts. Check it out.