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Toshiba JournE M400

>> Friday, June 5, 2009

The arrival of digital photo frames allows you to display hundreds of pictures in the living room without having to make prints first. However, some consumers do not settle for slide shows with a preset interval between the pictures they like to have more possibilities with their picture frame. Toshiba meets this demand by launching the JournE series of digital photo frames. The Toshiba M400 supports video, music and even digital TV.

The first thing you notice about the Toshiba M400 is its appearance. The photo frame looks rather bulky and large, due to its dimensions of 12 x 8 x 1.7 cm. However, once you have found the stand on the back of the Toshiba, the device holds its own compared to other photo frames. The Toshiba M400 digital photo frame has attractively chic and durable looking edges. The media player uses a microSD memory card for storage and has a 3mm jack, an on or off slide bar and an expandable antenna.

Everything is well positioned on the media player. Upon activating the media player, a menu similar to that of a TomTom navigation system appears. Instead of routing options, the Toshiba media player allows you to take your pick from music, picture, video, digital TV and radio and settings. The interface is clear, partly thanks to the large buttons and the icons (whether or not clear).

Thanks to the clear menu, you hardly ever, if at all, have to touch the screen twice in order to get the desired action to take place. To my surprise, the operation through the 4.3 inch touchscreen is great, even from the very first touch. The screen feels soft, which makes it very pleasant to navigate by using your finger. Music gets stored on the microSD card and is displayed on the Toshiba the same way you have put it on there, with exactly the same file names etc.

There are two possibilities to listen to your music via the external speaker or via the 3mm jack. The external speaker produces a reasonable sound if you put the M400 on its stand. Naturally, it is impossible to produce a similar sound to that of a genuine speaker, but the M400's external speaker is well on its way. If you listen to the music through headphones or earplugs, you get a similar music quality. The music sound is pleasantly flat: kick, bass, snare and tone, it's all there, nothing more, nothing less.

No music effects that usually deform rather than improve the sound, no equalizer or other music technologies. In almost all cases, this is positive, with the exception of the lounge, soul or R&B genre. Sometimes, these songs sound as if they’re being sung a capella and for these genres, you could have done with music options. It is also annoying there is no possibility to rewind or fast forward your songs. It's not such a problem with songs that last 3 minutes but if you are listening to a mix which lasts for 30 minutes, it would be nice if this option was available.

When you are playing a song, an equalizer animation is played on the screen, but it only serves a visual purpose, nothing else. If you leave this animation to play with your screen on, you will have to recharge the Toshiba M400 very quickly, because it drains the battery faster than the song takes to actually play, as a matter of speech. The Toshiba JournE M400 supports the MP3 format.


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