Back when digital frames didn’t exist, I remember having seven photo frames on my old bed’s cabinet-style headboard.
On one hand, it was comforting to see photos of cherished family and friends. But it also made me feel a bit like Damocles, worrying about getting my noggin buried in an avalanche of falling frames if I happen to move the wrong way in my sleep.
Fast forward to today and consumers now have the option of displaying a gajillion photos in one device thanks to digital frames. Here’s a look at one of them, the GiiNii 8-inch (GH-8DNM/ADNM) All-In-One Digital Frame.
Lots of options: The GiiNii sports several features for images including photo effects, categories, organization options and scrapbooking. There’s also a clock and calendar function. Compatible memory card options include SD cards, Memory Stick and USB flash drive.
Plays video and music: In addition being able to play MP3 files, the GiiNii GH-8DNP can also play a nice selection of video formats such as AVI, MPEG-4 and H.264.
On-the-fly operation: While extra features such as scrapbooking require you to log on to Giinii.com, folks who simply want to display photos or play media don’t need to connect the device to a computer if they have the requisite files on a compatible memory card.
Remote: The GH-8DNM comes with a remote for folks who want the option to operate the device from a distance.
Energy Star rated: If environmental consciousness is one of your things, then the GiiNii’s Energy Star rating and features are another plus.
So-so display: Maybe I’m spoiled from the excellent displays I’ve seen in some of the devices I’ve reviewed before. But the GH-8DNM doesn’t quite have the same pop compared to say, displays from Sony. Screen lines are also pretty noticeable on the device up close.
Doesn’t play all video: The device didn’t recognize an MKV-formatted video that I put inside an external memory card. In one case, one MP4 file I put in was recognized and showed up on the list of titles but the device wasn’t able to play it when I clicked on it.
Slideshow quirks: When I put in an external card that had photos, music and video, the slideshow function always started with one of the music files instead of cycling through the photos only. You basically have to organize your files or just take out the music or videos if you want to just quickly insert a memory card with pictures and display a slideshow off that.
Erasing hiccups: I tried erasing photos straight from the device but couldn't. Same deal with doing a factory reset (pressing yes just kicked me back to the menu). Had to connect to my PC to erase photos.
Other cons: It would’ve been nice to be able to connect external speakers to the GiiNii during the times you use the device to play music or video. And while it isn’t a complete necessity, it would’ve also been nice to be able to stream photos from, say, Facebook or some other online site. The internal memory of 128 MB is a bit piddly but the external memory options help make up for it. The device also has a bit of lag when cycling through menus.
The GiiNii GH-8DNM is a solid digital frame overall that features some rough spots. The interface isn’t the most intuitive and may take a while to get used to for some consumers. I’m also not entirely comfortable with the fact that the device can alter metadata on photos I sync via an external memory card, so make sure you have original backups elsewhere. Still, its selection of extra features helps smooth out some of the GiiNii’s shortcomings. If the quirks could be worked out, then this device has potential.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Cost: $89.99 to $109.99 depending on retailer