The SanDisk Photo Album is a small device that sits on top of the TV, offering the ability to watch photo slideshows, play videos and listen to MP3s, all without owning a PC. It's neatly made, offers good value for money and has a nice feature set.

Few families gather round the PC to watch slideshows, so the ability to connect a wide array of media to the TV is useful. It can be plugged into a PC via a USB connection, but this is probably surplus to requirements, since most users plug their digital cameras or portable audio players directly into their PCs. SanDisk has done the decent thing and bundled a fully featured remote control, allowing you to exercise your right not to have to get off the sofa.

Image, video and sound quality all depend on the quality of the original file – great hardware will produce great media. However, audio and visual playback is never going to be good through the tinny stereo speakers or screens on most people's TVs.

We found the Photo Album to be a slow loader when it came to pictures – and file format support is limited, offering compatibility for only the most popular extensions. The SanDisk gets minus points for not being able to play music and photos together from different media.

The device can read eight of the most popular storage card formats: CompactFlash (I and II), Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro, SmartMedia, xD, SD and MMC. But many DVD players and TVs supply built-in readers, rendering the Album somewhat redundant.

The SanDisk has a two-year guarantee, multilanguage support and plug-and-play accessibility. It can handle 16Mp (megapixel) Jpeg images, holds up to 2,000 digital photos on a 128MB card and allows you to select transition effects, slide intervals, rotation and zoom with that handy remote.

SanDisk Photo Album: Specs

  • CompactFlash I/II/Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro/SmartMedia/xD-Picture Card/SD/MMC
  • supports MP3, Mpeg and Jpeg
  • USB
  • for storing and playback, requires TV with RCA video (NTSC or PAL) and audio connection
  • for use as an 8-in-1 reader, requires PC with Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP2-year warranty
  • 187x66x20mm
  • 150g (remote 70g)
  • CompactFlash I/II/Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro/SmartMedia/xD-Picture Card/SD/MMC
  • supports MP3, Mpeg and Jpeg
  • USB
  • for storing and playback, requires TV with RCA video (NTSC or PAL) and audio connection
  • for use as an 8-in-1 reader, requires PC with Windows 98SE/Me/2000/XP2-year warranty
  • 187x66x20mm
  • 150g (remote 70g)

OUR VERDICT

The price tag is low; as an 8-in-1 card reader alone the SanDisk Photo Album is worth £30. Its specific functionality is likely to limit its appeal to a select few users, but we're sure they won't be disappointed.

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