Philips Digital Photo Display (7"), model 7FF1CMI/37

Reviewed by: Jack Reikel, December 2006
Manufactured by: Philips
Requires: Digital photos; Windows 2000, XP or Vista for file transfer via USB connection
MSRP: US$199.00 (street price)

A digital camera with a 2GB storage card is a dangerous thing to have. The main reason is that we end up shooting thousands of pictures in a very short period of time. The problem is that none of us have even the faintest hope of ever displaying even so much as the tiniest fraction of the good photos we manage to take. The result? Most of what we shoot—landscapes, vacations, family, kids, and all the rest—never see the light of day. So what's the point of all that camera gear if nobody ever gets to see the photos? Traditional framing is out of the question and even if you do start framing dozens of photos, where are you going to hang them? Help is at hand.

The Philips Digital Photo Display is a 7" (diagonal) LCD screen mounted in a slim, attractive acrylic frame and integrated support. It's a freestanding device with a rear panel that includes a dual-slot multicard reader. The reader is compatible with Compact Flash I (CF) cards, Sony Memory Sticks (MS), Secure Digital (SD) cards and Multi Media Cards (MMC). We tested the device in a variety of domestic and office settings, in a wide range of ambient, artificial and natural lighting conditions.

The Philips Digital Photo Display has six control buttons along the top rear panel which provide basic functions for full screen browsing, slideshows, thumbnail browsing, file copy, file delete, photo rotate, show in slideshow, as well as brightness adjustment, language selection, slideshow command, status, and daily auto on/off timer. The LCD is bright and very sharp which seems to indicate a high density display, which makes sense considering the decades Philips has been in the display business. We loaded digital photos into the Philips Digital Photo Display in two ways: copying images from a PC via USB cable to the device, and direct loading by copying photos from a storage card inserted into the built-in multimedia card readers.


The best vote in favor of the Philips Digital Photo Display occurred during a brief business meeting in my office. There were three other people in attendance at a planning meeting. Everyone seemed to be participating in the meeting, but a few minutes after we got started I realized that nobody was looking at me when they were talking (or when I was talking). In fact, they were all staring over my shoulder at the digital photo frame. Although the 7" diagonal screen is appropriate for the equivalent of a 4"x6" image, it nonetheless caught everyone's attention from ten feet (3 meters) distance. That's quite an accomplishment in a brightly lit office.

At home (well, in the homes of several different Kickstartnews staffers actually) the Philips Digital Photo Display did even better. With less ambient light than the typical office, the device offers a lot of 'pop' in a living room, bedroom or kitchen. Even in areas that receive some direct sunlight, the display was often bright enough to be seen. For the record, it's never a good idea to allow direct sunlight to regularly hit an LCD (or any other display for that matter). Viewing the display at up to 50º off-axis presented surprisingly good detail and clarity.

Setting up slide shows is simple. All you have to do is load the device, select the photos you want to use, and press play. If you take a moment to set the automatic daily on/off timer, the Philips Digital Photo Display will turn itself on & off at preset times each day. If you don't want to wait for photos to transfer from a storage card, you can leave the card in the device and run the slideshow directly from the card.

Cons: Battery life is absurdly short at about 70 minutes—this unit it really meant to be used with the AC adapter. Built-in memory is much too small at 45-50 images at 800/720 x 480. Given the low cost of volatile and non-volatile memory over the past few years, Philips and other digital photo display makers should either increase the amount of built-in memory or make it user upgradeable. The AC adapter cable is too short for some living room setups—you may need an extension cord. The navigation menu is a bit fiddly. The contemporary styling may not fit into all decors. The built-in multimedia card reader cannot handle Compact Flash II or xD memory cards. It stands securely but we're still not crazy about the metal support bracket because it can cause minor abrasions on delicate surfaces. We applied a thin strip of self-adhesive rubber pad which also helped keep the unit more securely positioned. No image or slideshow effects. No transitions.

Pros: With a screen rated at 20,000 hours and a built-in timer, you can run the Philips Digital Photo Display 6 hours a day for about 10 years or more. That's excellent value for any device that works so well to entertain visitors, family and friends. The Philips Digital Photo Display is well made and the quality of the LCD renders decent photos quite well. Digital photo displays have come a long way over the past few years, mainly because good quality LCDs have dropped dramatically in price. Daily on/off timer function is the absolute smartest feature and it will help to keep the display bright and sharp for years. The contemporary, Apple-ish styling fits well in a wide variety of environments which means the device looks attractive in living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and so on. If you're fed up with regularly dismantling wooden and plastic picture frames, printing new photos and hanging stuff on your walls, the Philips Digital Photo Display is the answer to a prayer. Highly recommended.

KSN Product Rating:




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