Digital pictures and sharing is the best way ensure those certain moments can be forever preserved, so its no real surprise that many would love to bring these two camps outside the cold world of keyboards and cameras and into one a little more personal. Kodak knows this and how important balancing the immediate joys of digital snaps with the social benefits of sharing them with friends and family, with ease being at forefront. After spending some time with the 7″ Pulse Digital Frame its easy to see how the appeal of having the ability to stream entire libraries into living rooms, office, and just about any WiFi-enabled place can be.
By just looking at the Pulse you’ll notice how fairly lightweight and small the frame is – it measures 6.25” x 7.5” x 10” with a 4:3 diagonal screen size of about 7” with an inch-thick bezel. The frame is fairly basic in design and sports a glossy black appearance, which is keeping in line with most digital frames. The theme continues on the back as this is where you’ll find its buttons (the only physical ones on this unit) that control the power and options/status menu and ports for external memory (SDHC/MMC/MS PRO DUO /xD) and USB options if networking isn’t you thing.
The Pulse is a fully wireless device and requires a short set-up process to help establish a connection between the frame and your computer, which thankfully only takes a few minutes to get you up and running. With its 800 x 600 resolution and relatively small 512MB internal memory, the 7″ Pulse may not be the definitive digital frame currently available, though each image it displays is automatically resized to fit properly in its 5.6″ × 4.2″ display area. Despite its relatively smaller size, the viewing angles weren’t the greatest, with noticeable degradation when looking at images from any angle other than head-on. Still, this is almost to be expected from a screen that outputs a 500:1 contrast ratio, and even this small issue can be ‘fixed’ if the frame is correctly situated.
The Pulse’s speed and performance was decent enough, especially when uploading and viewing images through the various networking and social-networking connectivity features. We found that images uploaded through Facebook or Kodak’s Gallery online services typically took anywhere between 2 – 5 minutes overall to make their way to the display, which isn’t bad if your not in a real hurry to enthrall the in-laws your latest vacation album or want to entertain some friends on a Friday night with more NSFW material (I’m pleading the Fifth on that last one…).
There are higher spec frames out there that can support video (which the Pulse doesn’t) and support higher quality images, but those offerings are also more expensive and come with less intuitive controls that might confuse most everyday users.
Minor adjustments can be made by navigating through the touchscreen menu system, and you’ll be able to arrange picture slideshows, transitions, and power saving modes. There really isn’t much to mess with beyond that and most probably won’t bother touching the frame since these same configurations can also be remotely done through the PC anyway. Still, it’s a small shame there’s not a remote control to help make minute changes while sitting on the couch or when a computer isn’t handy.
Another disappointment for those who live to share their photos was that uploading of images was strictly limited to Facebook and Kodak’s own Gallery application; quite scarce when other frames also include Twitter, Flickr, and Google Picasa support. data may also be an issue especially given the size of the 512MB internal memory is, some people can and will fill this easily despite the space-saving method implemented within and having to use external memory cards is your only other option on a purely WiFi device. As a consolation many of Kodak’s digital cameras are fully compatible thanks to their unique EasyShare button, though we didn’t get a chance to test this convergence for ourselves.
After spending some quality time with Kodak’s 7″ Pulse Digital Frame we found it a fairly straightforward digital frame and pretty versatile for something that is, in all honesty, a relatively one-trick pony. despite that it’s actually one of the more affordable and easiest-to-use digital frames currently available, with intuitive touchscreen controls and simple social networking integration with Facebook and Kodak’s Gallery most will be satisfied. We do wish that this frame wasn’t a step behind the competition with the lack of photo-specialty networks like Flickr or Picasa, and some issues with its display, namely resolution detail and viewing angles, do dampen the excitement somewhat. Overall those who want a good way to showcase their latest pictures in affordable style will do fine here, but for some who want to make a bigger impression they should opt for the 10″ model instead.
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