So that cheapo tablet you bought didn’t really work out.…
This is an update of a review I wrote last year, which focused on the smaller, 7-inch version of the Kodak Pulse.
In my 20-plus years as a tech writer, I’ve owned or reviewed about a zillion gadgets. Some were good, many were forgettable, and a few were downright dreadful (I’m looking at you, Microsoft Spot Watch).
But a select few gadgets earned a special place in my heart, just by being insanely cool, insanely practical, or both. On this very exclusive list: the Apple iPhone, Palm V PDA, Roomba robot vacuum, TiVo DVR and, most recently, Kodak Pulse digital photo frame. It’s available with two screen options: 7-inch and the newer 10-inch. Wait a minute–a photo frame? Those things have been around for years. So what’s so great about this one that it deserves a place on my all-time-greatest-gadgets list? Simple: It has its own e-mail address. A custom one that you get to pick. That means you, your friends, and your family members can e-mail photos right to the frame, where they’re automatically added to your existing slideshow.
That may not sound like a big deal, but it changes everything. It not only greatly simplifies adding new pictures to the frame, but also creates the surprise factor of seeing unexpected additions. Think: snapshots of the new baby arriving daily on Grandma’s Pulse.
The frame relies on Wi-Fi, of course, as all photo frames should. Setup requires just a few taps of the touchscreen and a visit to Kodak’s Pulse Web site. That’s where you’ll choose your e-mail address, tweak the frame’s settings, and start adding photos.
Notice I didn’t mention anything about plugging the frame into your PC. That’s because it’s not necessary! The Pulse slurps up pix wirelessly via e-mail, Facebook, Kodak’s Gallery service, and/or selected folders on your hard drive–all blissfully easy options. Or, in more traditional photo-frame style, you can pop in your digital camera’s memory card or a USB flash drive.
The glossy, stylish Pulse can store up to 4,000 photos in its half-gigabyte of internal memory. Large snapshots are automatically re-sized to conserve memory and fit the frame’s bright, 800×600-pixel display.
I was also impressed by Kodak’s attention to little details, like the programmable timer that shuts down the frame at night to save electricity. And the touchscreen interface, while occasionally confusing owing to some hard-to-decipher icons, is leaps and bounds ahead of the clunky, button-driven interfaces found on most frames.
My only functional complaint is that you can’t set a custom time for photo transitions. Options include 3, 10, and 30 seconds, but I’d like to choose my own duration. Also, while it’s neat to get a choice between fade and zoom-and-pan transitions (the latter’s a Ken Burns-style delight), why is that option available only for the 10-second setting?
Having fallen in love with the Pulse myself, I purchased a few more for family members–and they’re just as over-the-moon about it as I am. Seriously, it’s that good.
Get one. You will not regret it!
Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently, “How to Do Everything: Palm Pre.” Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.