The O2 Joggler is a digital picture frame that can also act as a family calendar and wireless music player.

By now, you may have seen the adverts for the O2 Joggler. It's the oversized fridge magnet that magically sucks in the PostIt Notes, musings on the backs of envelopes and calendar entries for the whole family. The O2 Joggler is an all-in-one calendar and 7in digital photo frame that also plays music and provides news and sports headlines, traffic alerts and local weather information.

A touchscreen device, the O2 Joggler sits atop a convenient surface where it can be easily seen and accessed by the family. A chunky silver metal stand prevents it from toppling over. There's no on/off button on the O2 Joggler as the idea is that it remains plugged in and is constantly available to serve up information whenever you breeze past and press one of its 2in square onscreen icons.

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If you want to conserve power you must switch it off at the mains; restarting the O2 Joggler supposedly takes 30 seconds though we found ourselves staring at the Openpeak welcome screen then the O2 splash screen for closer to a minute before we could start tapping around the Joggler's menus. (Openpeak OpenFrame is the name of the Ubuntu-based mobile internet device around which the Joggler is based.)

The O2 Joggler works over Wi-Fi and requires either a monthly O2 subscription, or can be bought outright for £149. You must register yourself at the O2 website and assign yourself a user name and password before you can start

Let's get ready to Joggle

Setting up the O2 Joggler is a matter of logging in to your O2 user account. If you don't already have a login name and password you need to enter your mobile phone number at www.o2.co.uk/joggler and register yourself. After that, you need merely enter these login details to the O2 Joggler.

The O2 Joggler then tries to access your calendar. You'll get a message if your wired or wireless network doesn't appear - we had to prompt the device to look for our Wi-Fi network by pressing the Home button at the top left of the screen followed by the Settings icon. A signal indicator at the top centre of the O2 Joggler's screen indicates the strength of signal.

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The O2 Joggler is a digital picture frame that can also act as a family calendar and wireless music player.

O2 Joggler: Getting your ducks in a row

As soon as the O2 Joggler is logged in to your network, you'll be able to start adding entries to your calendar - you can't do so without being logged in, though you can use other features including the memo pad.

The O2 Joggler settings menu lets you specify whether the screensaver is a static image or photo slideshow or one of two forms of clock. Of these, we preferred the Clock (with huge time display and smaller date details) to the O2 Clock which also shows a mini calendar.

Curiously, you need to set up the calendar in the first place via the O2 website. This is so you get a chance to read through and accept the usage terms and conditions and to discover that if you're adding a Family Bolt On you'll automatically be billed by O2 directly, even if you currently have a phone contract with Carphone Warehouse.

The Family Bolt On package (for up to five people) costs £7.50 a month while the Extended Family Bolt On package is £12.50 and covers up to 10 people. These buy you shared use and access to the O2 Joggler plus phone calls, text and multimedia messaging between you all.

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Having assigned a name to your O2 Joggler's calendar and to yourself along with an identifying colour, you can invite other people to be on your calendar buddy list. You need their O2 mobile phone number, their email address, and must indicate that you have their permission to enter these details. You can either invite them to share the calendar and see your activities or hide your calendar entries but be able to text them about events. Invitees receive their invitation by email.

Adding event entries is a little clunky on both the web calendar and the O2 Joggler. You can add multi-day events and have events repeat - we added a birthday but it would only let us list it for the next decade. You can assign special event animations to an event but the choice is limited to four: falling boxes, stars, hearts or a mixture of cocktails glasses and tennis racquets.

Oddly, the O2 Joggler uses an am/pm convention and has all-day event as its default. It also seems rather a shame there's no way of integrating your existing iCal, 30Boxes or Google Calendar with the Joggler's. There's a tutorial available via the Help icon if you need assistance with setting up your calendar preferences.

Other elements of the feature-heavy O2 Joggler are more successful. The digital photo frame and overall design of the unit are smart and stylish. Email and radio icons are displayed on the main screen but listed as coming soon.

NEXT PAGE: Use and abuse >>

The O2 Joggler is a digital picture frame that can also act as a family calendar and wireless music player.

O2 Joggler: Use and abuse

We were surprised by quite how quickly the O2 Joggler unit got hot, however, especially as O2's expectation is that you'll have the Joggler switched on most of the time. The accompanying power pack is huge, so you'll want to be able to put it somewhere out of sight - it's got a 50cm lead.

The O2 Joggler touchscreen is pleasingly responsive and we liked the amount of choice we had over what was displayed and for how long, at what brightness level and how loud we could play music.

General news and sports stories are served up by Sky and are shown as a headline that you can click on. You then get a static image plus a story you can scroll through vertically. To access the next story of the 10 on offer, you click the arrow on the far right of the screen.

The device can display JPEG images and MOV or WMV video on the O2 Joggler. There's no SD Card or other removable media slot, but there is a USB port - the icon above the image thumbnail library lights up when the Joggler recognises that a drive has been plugged in.

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Video clips displayed on the O2 Joggler aren't much to write home about and this is probably the least successful element of the device. Having admired the flawless way digital photo frames from the likes of Sony manage to make photos and video sharp and smooth, we can only shrug at the third of a screen allocation and slightly jagged resolution on show here.

What did impress us about the O2 Joggler, though, was the traffic app, which displays a flashing warning of traffic-congested hotspots and the direction of travel affected. You can drag around the map using your finger - at the extreme you can see the whole of southern England; at maximum zoom the major roads through London (or whichever city you need to pass through).

At 6pm on a Thursday, we established via a flashing red 5 icon that vehicles were progressing at only 5mph on the A4 outside Bristol while traffic departing Chester on the M56 heading towards Manchester was also at a crawl. Date provider Trafficmaster also offers live traffic info via your phone, though this can cost as much as 59p a minute depending on your mobile operator.

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O2 Joggler: Specs

  • 7in touch-sensitive digital photo frame
  • Openpeak OpenFrame MID with Trafficmaster traffic alerts, USB port
  • Ethernet and Wi-Fi streaming
  • JPEG image slideshow
  • MOV and WMV video playback
  • calendar
  • alarm clock
  • Trafficmaster travel alerts
  • weather, sports and news headlines
  • Sudoku game
  • O2 web portal
  • 700g
  • 7in touch-sensitive digital photo frame
  • Openpeak OpenFrame MID with Trafficmaster traffic alerts, USB port
  • Ethernet and Wi-Fi streaming
  • JPEG image slideshow
  • MOV and WMV video playback
  • calendar
  • alarm clock
  • Trafficmaster travel alerts
  • weather, sports and news headlines
  • Sudoku game
  • O2 web portal
  • 700g

OUR VERDICT

We were ready to dismiss the O2 Joggler as an expensive gadget that would do little more than collect dust and show off a few photos. As it is, with audio streaming, a reasonable photo display and a basic but clear calendar that can alert you to forthcoming appointments, it looks like being a handy addition to hectic households. You’ll need patience to get it all set up though.

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