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Philips SPF7008 review

Verdict:

An easy-to-use photo frame with Bluetooth for easy uploads from mobile phones, but it's let down by mediocre image quality.

Review Date: 26 Feb 2010

Price when reviewed: £119

Supplier: http://www.johnlewis.com

Reviewed By: Ben Pitt

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

Digital photo frames aren’t complicated devices but so often, the devil is in the detail. Thankfully, Philips has spent some time on the SPF7008 getting those details right. There’s a timer function to turn the frame on and off at certain times, and also a light sensor to switch it off when the room is dark.

Slideshows can be set to run at between five seconds and 24 hours per photo. Photos taken in portrait mode are rotated automatically, and all photos are rotated as appropriate when the frame is stood up on its end. Photos are resized as they’re copied from a card to the internal memory, and the 1GB capacity is good for around 5,000 shots.

The backlit touch-sensitive controls are responsive and the menus are well organised for simple operation. We particularly like the dedicated zoom buttons for magnifying photos. Video support is more comprehensive than most, with QuickTime, Motion-JPEG AVI, MPEG1 and MPEG4 listed as supported. This can be misleading, though. As usual, there are various limitations to its video support, such as the resolution and specific codec used. In our tests, very few digital cameras’ video files would play.

Our favourite feature is built-in Bluetooth. Digital photo frames need to be extremely low maintenance, and that includes getting photos into the internal memory. Bluetooth makes it extremely easy to do so from mobile phones. We haven’t seen many photos taken with a mobile that are good enough to put in a frame, though. The quality of these cameraphones is undoubtedly improving, and it’s a feature we can imagine seeing lots of use.

Sadly, for all its merits, the SPF7008 struggles with the most basic of requirements – image quality. It wasn’t terrible, but colours were a little washed out compared to the best frames. Bright red tones appeared a muted maroon colour, and skin tones looked pasty. This means we can’t recommend the SPF7008 unequivocally, but if Bluetooth is an essential feature for you, it’s a decent option.

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