With so many different digital photo frames available, what makes Kodak believe it has the right one for you with the EasyShare W1020? We load up some "magic memories" to find out.



The Kodak EasyShare W1020 offers an 800 x 480, 16:9 aspect ratio digital display with a screen size of 10-inches in traditional screen (monitor) terms. In photography terms you get an image around 5 by 9 inches, big enough to show off your images clearly without the need to squint.

The frame itself is fairly modern with a white inset. A further red border comes in the box for you to swap and there is nothing to stop you using the red border as a template to make further frames yourself to match your décor.

You can stand the photo frame either portrait or landscape however without an accelerometer the photos won't auto rotate - still it's a nice feature and the stand is sturdy enough to cope either way.

While everything is controlled via a touch interface built-in to the frame there are still some controls and features tucked out of the way around the back. Volume controls, the power switch, two card slots and a USB socket for loading in pictures are all present. Between the two slots you get support for SD/SDHC, MMC, xD-Card, MemoryStick, Compact Flash, and USB flash drives via a USB socket. The W1020 also comes with 512MB of storage on-board and that's before you start thinking about connecting additional storage (like your PC) via Wi-Fi.

Sporting wireless capabilities the W1020 allows you to connect the photo frame to your home network and then stream photos to it either from the Internet or your PC.

Interacting with your frame isn't the easiest of tasks. It involves you pressing the frame to activate the touch-enabled buttons that glow orange. Buttons are arranged at the bottom and right-hand side of the frame and because the functions change depending on what menu you are in the buttons themselves aren't labelled.

To scroll through menus involves a gliding/swishing movement that is a bit hit and miss. The experience is like the Samsung NV series of cameras and you'll either get it or not. If you don't then you'll find using the W1020 a chore rather than a pleasure.

So what features does the frame offer? Well there are plenty, they just come with issues. The main one is that to do all this streaming you'll need to install some software on your PC to manage your frame (there isn't a Mac version). While it makes everything easier to manage like setting up photo RSS streams, (more on that later) it does mean that you will need some knowledge before you start.

So what can you do with the frame? Well aside from viewing and managing the photos you've loaded via a card or stored on the frame itself, you can stream photos from any folder on your PC (as long as it's on) over your wireless network.

Furthermore you can connect to a Kodak EasyShare Gallery and stream images directly from your online account to your frame.

If you haven’t got an online Kodak EasyShare account not to worry - you can still stream images from any Flickr tag or account whether they are your pictures or not. Finally you can choose to stream any photos from any properly formatted photo RSS feed.

This might be a photo frame but that doesn't mean it can only stream photos. Kodak has teamed up with a company called FrameChannel that delivers news to your photo frame. Offered across a number of different topics like news, sport or the weather, it's a nice free feature. Of course the catch is that it's ad supported so you'll be bombarded with silent picture ads all day in the FrameChannel mode - not great.

Get past the photos and the FrameChannel stuff and you even get to watch movies and listen to music. We're not sure why you would want to do it - isn't that what a TV is for? - but if you're planning on using this as a promotional aid for your shop or something maybe it has merits.

Verdict

The capabilities of the EasyShare W1020 are plentiful. It allows you to stream photos from your computer or the web and the picture size and quality is very good.



So why aren't we as excited as we perhaps should be? Well to get the most from the frame you need a PC to set it up and even then the buttons on the unit are fiddly to say the least.

If you plan to sit this in your home and never touch it thereafter then this might be worth considering, but only after you've faffed for 30 minutes beforehand.