iPad Photo Frame Is Hit and Miss

Geek Culture

(Image Credit: Flickr/Derek E-Jay)(Image Credit: Flickr/Derek E-Jay)

(Image Credit: Flickr/Derek E-Jay)

We don’t record video of our family all that often, but we do take pictures — a lot of pictures. The problem is that, as with many people, they are locked away on the computer and rarely seen. I’d been planning to buy an electronic picture frame for some time but it wasn’t until I started looking that I realized how much choice there was.

NIX 8 Inch Hu-Motion Digital Photo FrameNIX 8 Inch Hu-Motion Digital Photo Frame

NIX 8 Inch Hu-Motion Digital Photo Frame

At the lower end there are some great value options. The NIX Hu Motion frame ($69.99) ticked our boxes of having a motion sensor to turn it on and off and using SD cards (as we have a bunch of these around the house we could use).

However having to hardwire the frame to a power source meant unsightly leads. The Deluxe NIX ($129.99) frame may cost a bit more but offers the option to use rechargeable batteries and control your pictures with a set of touch inputs on the right of the frame.

Measuring up on the wall I realized that although this was easily big enough to stand on a coffee table it would get lost when hung up. This led me to consider the larger 15 inch frames. The NIX High Res frame ($169.99) offers more real estate for your pictures while at the same time adding video and music options into the mix.

Digital Spectrum MemoryVUE Gallery MV-1700Digital Spectrum MemoryVUE Gallery MV-1700

Digital Spectrum MemoryVUE Gallery MV-1700

I took my suggestions to my wife (always a good idea, I find), who quite rightly noted that they all looked like gadgets rather than frames. A bit more hunting then threw up a beautiful Digital Spectrum ($287.99) frame.

Rather than black plastic it houses its electronics in a wood style surround. My wife agreed that this was more like the picture frames we already have hanging around the house. While it is a more expensive option it does offer an impressive 17 inch display and a 5-in-1 card reader.

After deliberating all this for a week or so my son came over and asked what the flower button does on the iPad. “That lets you view and edit your photos.” I told him, not seeing the connection.

“No, the one when it’s locked, dad.” He had a point, I’d not realized that button was even there. Much to my surprise, and slight embarrassment, I realized that this effectively turned the iPad into just the sort of picture frame we’d been looking at.

LapWorks iPad Space DockLapWorks iPad Space Dock

LapWorks iPad Space Dock

I ordered a portrait stand ($39.99) for the iPad (as most of our pics are this orientation) and a long 3M iPad charging lead ($19.99) and was good to go. Problem solved, or so I thought.

After playing with the built in photo app for a while I realized it was a little limited. Both the duration of pictures and style of transition can be controlled via the Settings panel, but not as much as a dedicated picture frame device.

No problem, I thought, there will be an app for that. However, I’ve been surprised not to find an iPad slideshow app that would turn on and off when there was movement in the room. Also the majority of apps wanted me to upload my pictures to an online service before they could be viewed — which, call me a Luddite, but seemed a bit ridiculous considering they were already on the device itself.

That’s as far as I’ve come in my iPad Picture Frame journey, and I’m half hoping that I’ve missed something obvious that will solve the last few niggles I have with our iPad picture frame setup.

Regardless of this though, the iPad has proved to be a more than worthy (and much cheaper if you already own one) competitor of dedicated picture viewing gadgets. The main thing is that the family can now take a stroll down memory lane whenever they want.

[Header image credit: Flickr/Derek E-Jay]

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