Toshiba's Digital Media Frame: Not Just for Pics

PHOTO The Toshiba Digital Photo Frame is shown.

Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was first posted on Nov. 30 to include new information about how to transfer photos to the frame using a memory card.

Toshiba's new digital media frame, the DMF82XKU, has great gift potential -- but be prepared for some complicated on-screen navigation.

Listed at $179.99, the eight-inch frame has slots for SD, SDHC, Multi Media, xD-picture and Memory Stick cards on one side. USB and mini-USB ports and a headphone jack are on the other.

What gives the frame its versatility is its ability to make a Wi-Fi connection. It takes less than five minutes to set up, and gives you access to a Web site called FrameChannel.com.

"In general the product is designed to take photos from various online sources," said Louis Masses, director of product planning at Toshiba.

Once you have set up an account (it's free), you will receive several "channels," turning your picture frame into a Web browser or small television, making it possible to see not only your own photographs but also social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Other channels offer news, sports, business, education and entertainment.

Aesthetically the frame has a sleek design free of the buttons that crowd other digital frames.

If you don't want to use the remote that's included in the package, on-screen touch-sensitive navigation buttons light up for use.

Unfortunately the looks are the better parts of the frame. The navigation buttons lack a calibration feature, so the frame can't be programmed to recognize your personal touch.

The buttons don't react to touch as quickly as most touch-sensitive products do; neither pressing them lightly nor mashing them down seemed to work very well. The wireless remote turned out to be easier to use.

While the online features are impressive, the instructions that come with the frame don't explain how to use the Frame Channel Website, so programming the various channels to your frame can prove difficult for the less-than-tech-savvy user.

A detailed description about how to use framechannel.com and how to upload pictures can, however, be found on Toshiba's Web site in the online owner's manual.

Upon reading the online manual, it becomes apparent that both the SD memory card and USB options will allow you to transfer pictures to the frame. The frame has 1 gigabyte worth of space to store photos.

To transfer from a memory card requires inserting the card and going through a series of menus to view the thumbnails of each picture on the card. When at the thumbnail screen you'll need to use the remote in order to select which pictures you want to transfer to the frame.

A user can also utilize the USB ports to transfer files from a USB flashdrive or by connecting their personal computer to the frame through a USB connection.

Although linking a digital media frame to the Internet is a promising idea, the instructions on how to do so are not conveniently located within the original packaging the frame comes with -- it's necessary to consult the online manual.This is a great gift for the tech-savvy person on your list with time and patience, but for the average user it has potential to frustrate.

The frame is available online at Toshiba.com and other online retailers and also comes in a 10.1-inch size listed at $229.99.

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