I’d rather listen to nails on a chalkboard all day than review a digital picture frame. What’s the big deal with these things? It’s probably something I’d buy for my parents. That’s how I used to feel about digital picture frames until I got my mitts on the 7-inch Kaleido R7 from Ipevo . The Wi-Fi-enabled frame not only streams my personal photos from my Mac/PC, but I can also stream custom feeds from the likes of Flickr or Picasa, and get my news fix with RSS feed streaming. It also rotates from landscape to portrait mode.
• Screen: 7-inch TFT LCD with LED backlight
• Resolution: 800×480
• Brightness: 350 cd/㎡
• Contrast Ratio: 400:1
• Supported Image formats: JPEG, up to 10MB
• Built-in memory: 512MB
• Memory Card Types: SD/ SDHC, MMC, MS
• USB flash drive support
• IEEE 802.11b/g with support for WEP, WPA, WPA2
• Language Support: English, Traditional Chinese
• Size: 7.8×6.7×2.9 inches
• Weight: 2.05lbs
At $200 the Kaleido R7 doesn’t look like your typical digital picture frame. And by that I mean, it doesn’t look like a cheap piece of junk with faux wood accents. It has a nice modern looking design with a mix of glossy black and ivory accents. As I mentioned earlier the R7’s display can be rotated from landscape to portrait mode and adjusted for optimal viewing with 25 degrees of freedom.
The touch controls are surprisingly responsive and allow you to navigate through the menus without the use of the included remote control. However, I take my time with touch sensitive controls and others might be inclined to tap away at a frantic pace. The same can be said about the remote control. The on/off switch is located on the right side near the power button as well as a green/orange LED to indicate whether the display is on or off. What looks like a webcam in the upper left corner of the display is actually an IR port for the remote control.
On the back of the frame is a USB port for thumb drives as well as a miniUSB port. What’s nice about this particular frame is that it won’t automatically go into slideshow mode when a memory card is inserted, which is located on the left side of the display.
And the entire frame is more or less plastic with a heavy base that prevents it from being easily knocked over.
The 800×480 resolution LED display is vibrant and does a fairly good job of reproducing color accurately. With six levels of brightness you can easily adjust to compensate for changing lighting in the room. Direct sunlight will, however, wash the frame out.
Colors don’t change too much based on viewing angle but with all things, it’s always best when you’re looking at it straight on.
The menu system is bare bones and not overly complicated so it’s very easy to navigate. From the main menu you can pick from Live Channels that you’ve created, view your stored images, access images from memory cards or dive into the settings.
Firmware updates can be automatically downloaded when connected over Wi-Fi, which is a pretty big deal if you ask me.
To view online content such as your Flickr feed or a friend’s you’ll need to activate Live Channels by installing the EyeStage software onto your PC or Mac. You can also point to specific folders on your computer for the R7 to access. If you currently use an RSS reader then using the EyeStage software won’t be a challenge. The only caveat to viewing Live Channels is that your computer will have to be on so the Kaleido can communicate with the desktop software.
Viewing news from the likes of CrunchGear or Yahoo (which comes preinstalled) is hit or miss. The formatting just doesn’t look that great and slides are often repeated.
• Easy to use software that works with both PCs and Macs
• Menu system is painless
• Great screen
• Doesn’t support video or music playback
• Less than desirable RSS viewing
• Computer has to remain on for Live Channels
I was never a fan of digital picture frames until the Kaleido R7. Despite its shortcomings in a few areas I’d spend $200 because of everything else it can do. If Ipevo can fix the RSS output with a firmware update then the R7 is a must have digital picture frame. Of course, being able to watch videos would be a nice feature but it’s definitely not a deal breaker for me. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.