Published on October 6th, 2009 | by Greg0
Kaleido Digital Frames: Your Pictures Just Got a Lot Sexier
This new Kaleido R7 from IPEVO is the one of the best new digital photo frames out there. It has a 7-inch frame with a very excellent 800 × 480 resolution — higher than the standard image on the Internet, that’s for sure. The device comes with built-in wireless, which allows for continuous streaming; built-in memory; and slots for memory cards (SD, MMC, and MS) as well as USB sticks.
It can display RSS feeds and photos from Flickr, Picasa, folders on your computer, and even Lightroom. The device is also PC and Mac compatible, with a sexy design and a screen with orientation that’s adjustable, allowing for either landscape or portrait viewing. The internal memory holds 512 megabytes, which is a bit of a limitation for me, as I consistently take 4-5 megabyte photos. It means I can upload between 100 and 130, but at a recent wedding I attended, I easily took 150 fantastic photos, not discounting the number of just-OK-but-fun photos. However, the emphasis of this device seems to be reading files over the network, through USB and through the SD card, which are then only limited by the capacity of your computer or other device. And I agree that those methods are much better, much easier and allow for more variety.
The device has a lot of cool features, including transitions, like one would expect with a presentation or slideshow. While eye-catching, it only works with certain inputs. It worked for me with internal memory and the SD card, but did not work with photos streamed from the network. There is also no support for video or audio, a definite limitation, but not a big deal if you are simply in the market for a good photo frame.
I encountered a few odd glitches in the system after playing around with the R7. Specifically, the software could not read image orientation from my SD card, meaning that even if I flipped the device to portrait, all my portrait photos would display as landscapes. No such problem occurred with images from my computer or Flickr, so I assume it just was not able to process Nikon-specific orientation information. Also, I pressed pause once and it the frame temporarily malfunctioned, showing weirdly negative colors and with the image doubled. Not sure how that happens, and we could not reproduce the error, but it luckily corrected itself immediately upon resuming playback.
Though it has a USB slot, the frame cannot connect directly to another camera through USB, nor to USB hard drives. Since it can read from a standard SD card, that was not an issue for me, but it may be for some. Firmware updating is unnecessarily difficult as the updates have to be downloaded from a card or flash drive — they cannot be installed over the network. Professional photographers may want to note that RAW images are not supported. In fact, only JPEG photos under 10 megabytes are allowed, so some of us may have to create separate photo albums for use with the device.
There were a lot of cute features I would not have thought of on my own. I especially liked the simple ability to pause on a photo or go back to previous one with great ease, and the interface is reasonably intuitive once you realize that it doesn’t offer touchscreen functionality. The buttons are touch sensitive, but offer no real differentiation, so it can be a bit hard to navigate. There were also plenty of features I desired that were not available. I could not figure out how to pull images off of the device, for instance. Unlike iPods, which have specific reasons for not wanting songs to be taken from their gadget, this seems to just not anticipate the need for it. I can adjust the brightness of the screen, but not the contrast, which is a feature common on most monitors. As mentioned before, the resolution is excellent for this 7-inch screen, but some of my photos looked just a little washed out and I think that would have only needed a little contrast adjustment to fix it. Additionally, color or tint adjustments would be a nice extra. I mean, hey, being able to automatically put everything in black and white would be a great add-on to a pretty great product.
One last note is that it is not too complicated, but it is not greatly user-friendly either. It took some finagling to figure out how to get rid of the folder information displayed on the bottom of the screen. I went to menu and looked under settings, when it’s actually the ‘mode’ button that you need to use to switch between display styles.
Overall, I would say this is an excellent display screen for the living room or the office. One of my friends borrowed the screen for a greeting table at their wedding and it was a huge success. I have even seen it at an art gallery opening. It has a very sleek and professional look and is quite portable. At just $150 through Amazon, this device is a pretty great value, just in need of some tweaks to make it a must-have photo display.