Digital Frame Review
8" LCD Digital Frame with
128MB Internal Memory
The Frame Appearance of the Pandigital PAN80-2:
The Pandigital PAN80-2 is an 8" LCD Digital Photo Frame. This is an older model frame. I acquired it from a friend who had purchased it in 2007 and had never even opened the box! There is a newer model of this frame which can be found on this website by going to the top of the nav bar to My Digital Frame Store. It is listed under the Photos, Music and Videos page of the store.
The PAN80-2 comes with a beveled black wooden frame, a removable white bezel and an interchangeable clear acrylic frame, making it suitable for either classic or contemporary home décor.
The only problem I had was attempting to change out the black frame for the acrylic one. There are 2 screws that hold the black frame to the body. The information in the manual about changing frames was very vague. I assumed that the screws would be needed to secure the acrylic frame onto the body as well. But the acrylic frame did not have screw holes! Apparently, the acrylic frame is supposed to snap securely onto the frame but mine did not fit correctly. When I called Pandigital, they could not even find information on this frame because it is an older model. Interchangeable frames are a nice idea. I didn't particularly care for the look of the acrylic frame anyway so I just set it aside. (Let the buyer beware when purchasing older models which may no longer be supported by the company!)
There are 5 buttons on the top of the frame for navigation (also found on the Remote Control): Enter, Exit, Right Arrow, Left Arrow and Setup (which accesses the On-Screen Menu).
From the back, the left side of the body contains the memory card and compact flash ports and a USB 2.0 port for flash drives.
The AC adapter is plugged into the right hand side of the frame which also contains an earphone jack. This can be used as a line out to external speakers to amplify the sound. This could be useful if you wish to just listen to music on this frame, which is able to play music only without accompanying a photo slideshow. There is also a brightness control and the on/off switch on the right hand side.
A mini-USB host is located on the back of the frame to the left of the stand for connecting directly to your computer or camera(cable included).
The Frame Stand:
The frame stand folds flat to the back and there are 4 screw holes for mounting this frame on the wall. The stand seems a bit flimsy and looks like it could easily be broken if not pulled up slowly and carefully. Both the Quick-Start Guide and the User Manual warned that the stand should be pulled all the way out. It was not immediately clear to me how to extend the stand but after playing with it for a much longer time than I thought was necessary, I realized how to do it (as illustrated below). When fully extended, the stand appears to support the frame adequately but I would prefer a stand that had been constructed to hold the frame more securely.
IMAGE DISPLAY QUALITY
The aspect ratio is 4:3 or Portrait Mode.
Brightness, Contrast, Tint and Color:
These functions can be controlled from the Setup Menu, either from the frame or the Remote. Additionally, brightness can be adjusted from the button on the side of the frame.
The viewing angle is adequate.
Type of Screen Backlighting Display: TFT active matrix LCD. Note: Many models of Pandigital frames now have LED backlighting, which produces a much clearer, sharper image.
Screen Surface: The screen surface is glass. The 8" diagonal produces a viewing area of 4"x6.5".
METHODS OF CONNECTIVITY for TRANSFERRING IMAGES
USB 2.0 Type A host to connect flash drives and a USB-mini Type A to connect to a computer and directly to a camera. NOTE: when a regular size flash drive is inserted, it will extend out on the side of the frame and can be distracting. NOTE: If you would like to display photos directly from a flash drive, make sure it is a 1GB or less or the screen may freeze.
SUPPPORTED FILE TYPES
Memory Card Formats:
Secure Digital (SD) (will accept 4GB cards), Multi Media Card (MMC), Compact Flash I & II, xD Picture Card, Memory Stick (MMS), Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick Duo and USB Flash Drives (1GB or less).
Standard JPEG up to 16MP. The date/time information for each photo can be set to display in the bottom right hand corner of the frame, if desired.
MP3. The built-in speakers are small and the sound is okay, but a bit "tinny". At low volume, the sound is acceptable, especially as an accompaniment to a photo slideshow. The option is available to add external speakers and it is possible to listen to music only, without a slideshow, if desired.
AVI and MOV. The videos from my older Kodak digital camera played very well.
Text & Messaging Files:
PICTURE FUNCTIONS AND ADVANCED FEATURES
No PC is needed. A slideshow will begin just after inserting a memory device. Several memory devices can be inserted at the same time because the Setup Menu has the option to choose which one to display. Photos can also be displayed individually.
There is also an option to create a custom slideshow. The Remote is needed for this. Photos can be selected or de-selected to be displayed in a specific slideshow.
On Screen Menu System:
The menu interface is very user-friendly. The only problem I found was that after choosing the USB flashdrive and using it to display photos, the frame would freeze if I chose another memory device and then chose the flashdrive again. It would recognize the drive but would just freeze. I suspect this frame cannot handle a flash drive over 1GB.
UPDATE: I have to admit that my tendency to have little patience with things electronic got to me with this frame. I wanted to set it up for my husband to have on his desk. I happened to have an 8GB flashdrive with about 3000 photos on it sitting next to another smaller capacity flashdrive. I picked up the 8GB flashdrive and inserted it into the Pandigital frame. I had to leave my desk for a few minutes and when I returned, the frame was happily in slideshow mode displaying the photos from the 8GB flashdrive! I consider this a lesson well learned. Patience is indeed a virtue!
The Remote Control is needed to access this function.
Frame Orientation (Rotate):
The Remote Control is needed to manually rotate an individual photo to its proper orientation (which is usually best done on the computer before viewing on the frame and necessary for any permanent change to the orientation of a photo).
The Remote Control accesses the same functions as the buttons on the frame but in addition there is a volume control and zoom and rotate buttons and the ability to copy and delete photos. The range of the remote is at least 8'. The buttons are very responsive.
The On/Off function is controlled by a slider switch on the side of the frame. Note: The Remote Control CANNOT turn the frame on and off. If this frame is wall-mounted, the On/Off switch may be difficult to access. However, there is an option to have the frame turn itself on or off at scheduled times or at specified intervals. This is explained below under Auto Power On and Off and may eliminate the need for using the manual On/Off switch. There is no place on the frame to insert the remote control to prevent is loss.
Slide show transitions include normal, random, fade, curtain, open door and cross combination. Intervals between photos can only be adjusted to slow medium or fast. Playing music with a slideshow can be set to repeat continuously or play once. There is also a slide show Shuffle function that can be turned on or off which displays photos randomly. Video and Audio playback can be set to repeat a single file, all files or none. The time and date the photo was taken can be set to display in the right hand corner of the frame, if desired.
Recognition of Files and Folders:
The Thumbnails screen is used to view all photos on the selected memory source, select a single photo, multiple or all photos to display in a slideshow, choose photos to include in a custom slideshow and to copy photos from external memory to the internal, built-in memory. (See Copy below).
Delete and Copy Images:
The Remote Control can be used for these functions. Photos can be copied from a memory card to the internal memory one at a time or in batches.
Photos can be deleted from the internal memory one at a time or in batches using the Remote Control. NOTE: there is no "confirm delete" so it is best to keep copies of photos that you copy onto the internal memory. Photos cannot be deleted this way from memory cards.
The frame can also be connected to a windows or Mac computer to copy files to the internal memory. Files can also be copied from a USB flash drive connected to the port on the frame. DO NOT unplug or switch off the frame when files are being transferred from a memory device or a computer to the internal memory.
This digital photo frame is able to optimize photos sent to its internal memory for display. The choice in the Setup Menu is for Original or Optimal. However, it would still be wise to resize all photos to 600x800 through a photo-editing program before transferring them to the frame. This will also allow for more space for more photos to be stored and minimize any cropping of photos or black bars. It may be possible to store over 1500 photos in the internal memory in this way.
Auto Power On and Off:
The Programmable Time On/Off feature is very easy and intuitive to set up. This frame allows you to schedule on/off times for the frame and separate them into weekdays and the weekend. An additional power savings option allows for the frame to be set to turn itself off after 2 hours, 4 hours, 8 hours or set to no power savings.
An interesting feature is available that makes it possible to set the frame to display slideshows at predetermined times. This is done from the Calendar and Clock Display Menu.
Setting up the clock, calendar and alarm is very intuitive. The clock can also be set to display in a digital form at the top left of the frame during slideshows, if desired.
This frame could easily be used as a very functional desk calendar with a real-time clock and a continuous photo slideshow, with or without accompanying music.
AC Power Adaptor, 2 interchangeable frames, USB cable, Remote Control, Quick Start Guide, User Manual, Warranty Card.
Windows and Mac operating systems.
90 day limited warranty.
Kudos:Bright, sharp and clear pictures. Intuitive navigation. User Manual well-written and easy to follow (except for how to change frames!) Videos from my camera played very well and the sound was good. Many nice features such as being able to select specific photos for a slideshow and being able to schedule slideshows for specific times. Clock, calendar, alarm features and the ability to display these with a slideshow extend the functionality of this frame. Has good power-saving features.
Caveats:Frame stand not constructed well enough to hold the frame in a totally secure position. No place to put Remote so it could be misplaced and it is needed for certain functions. If using the internal memory, it is best to resize the photos to 600x800 to be able to fit as many pictures as possible into the frame. (128MB is relatively small and most digital cameras today take rather large photos.) Transition effects are pretty ordinary and the intervals between photos could use more choices other than just slow, medium or fast. Cannot use the Remote to turn the frame on or off. Must be done with the sliding switch on the side of the frame. This could be a real problem if the frame is mounted on the wall (unless the Programmable On/Off feature is utilized). The frame does not offer automatic orientation of photos so it may be desireable to run photos through a photo-editing program first to make sure all photos are in correct orientation before displaying on the frame. The 90 day warranty is not long enough. The support people who answered the phone for me didn't seem to possess a good deal of knowledge about the company's products and I was put on hold for quite awhile during each phone call for "research."
CONCLUSION:This digital frame is capable of displaying photos very well and has many features comparable to current frames. It offers slideshows with music or just listening to music alone (with the addition of external speakers) and the ability to play videos taken by a digital camera or camcorder. For the technically challenged, it will play an automatic slideshow after insertion of a memory device and not much more needs to be done (if photo display only is desired). The other options, including slideshows with music, music alone, videos, copying, deleting files, etc. are not necessary for satisfactory enjoyment of this frame for just photo displays. Not being able to turn the frame on and off from the Remote could make it difficult for a mobility challenged viewer to fully enjoy this frame. I am disappointed with the plastic frame stand which does not equal in any way the quality of the rest of the frame and I would be very careful where it is placed if it is not going to be wall-mounted.
Since this is an older model, there is no support for it from the company. It should still be available, especially on the Internet, and at a good price. I would also suggest looking at the newer model of this frame.
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