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Digital Photo Frame Buying Guide : 5 Factors to Consider

Updated on August 1, 2017

What can you find in this Article?

You can read about the major factors to consider when buying a digital photo frame for home use or business use or as a gift. Starts with memory, aspect ratio, screen resolution, image quality, size and other features like WiFi, compatibility of file types, power source, controls and user interface and much more. List of the best digital photo frames available now are also produced. You can buy online at discounted price.

What is a Digital Photo Frame?

Digital Photo Frame is a picture frame that displays photos (by photos, I mean digital photos) without the aid of a computer. A digital photo frame may look like a tablet, but the purpose is different. It is mostly used as stationary aesthetic display of photographs. The technological advancements greatly influenced the 'evolution' of photo frames such that some digital photo frames can even play videos and music as well as photos. For the above stated purposes, a digital photo frame mainly require the following features:

  • Good Memory
  • Good Image Quality
  • Good Screen Resolution
  • Suitable Display Size
  • Eye Catchy Design

If you're planning to buy a digital photo frame, take these features into consideration.

Sony Digital Photo Frame
Sony Digital Photo Frame | Source

Memory

Today, as the picture quality and MegaPixels are increasing at a rapid rate for every new devices, memory should be one of the main concern. Digital Photo Frames from 8 MB internal memory to 8 GB are available in the market now a days.

All frames are compatible with memory cards. Quality and proportionally, size of images also will increase in the near future. So buying a suitable memory card is equally as important as buying a digital photo frame. Find out how to choose the best memory card for your need.

Image Resolution Vs Number of Jpeg Pics in a 1 GB card

Image Resolution
2MP
3MP
4MP
5MP
6MP
7MP
8MP
Number of Photos
1140
850
510
410
320
260
230
The table above gives a rough idea of how many photos can you store in your memory card.

Image Quality

This is another important factor. It is a measure of "how well you see the picture on your frame". Screen surface greatly affect this feature. Some models have matte finish non reflective screens, while others may create a bit of glare under sunlight. Matte finish screens are good in eliminating glare but clarity is reduced.

How do you feel about Digital Photo Frames?

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Screen Resolution

Screen Resolution is the number of pixels that the frame can display. For example: a resolution of 800x480 produce 100 pixels per inch (PPI- pixel density). As pixel density increases quality of image also increases.

"IPhone 5 has a pixel density of 326 PPI on a 4 inch screen. Look at the clarity. That is what we are talking about."

Coming back to the point, I recommend a minimum resolution of 800x600. But choice is yours.

In a high resolution display, your favorite images turn out crisp clear and detailed.

ViewSonic Digital Picture Frame HD
ViewSonic Digital Picture Frame HD

Make yourself familiar with digital photo frame

Aspect Ratio

It is the relationship between height and width of an image. It is selected normally based on the camera you use. Most common aspect ratios are 4:3 and 16:9. Former is more common in low end point and shoot cameras and latter in high end DSLR cameras.

So.. Why is the selection of proper Aspect Ratio is important?

Because if chosen wrong, the frame may leave black bars along both the sides of images or may crop off image at the sides. Both are not at all desired. So be sure to select a good aspect ratio that suits your camera.

My personal opinion: 4:3 will be perfect for most of the photos while 16:9 gives you an appealing widescreen feel.

Bad Aspect ratio produce black portion on each side of the frame
Bad Aspect ratio produce black portion on each side of the frame
Wrong aspect ratio crops your picture
Wrong aspect ratio crops your picture

Size

The size can vary from small to medium, large sized photo frames are not so common. Most popular sizes ranges from 7 to 15 inches.

Other Features to Consider

Portrait or Landscape

Some frames may display only in portrait or landscape mode. Therefore we must choose photos accordingly which is very annoying. So it is best to buy photo frames with built in accelerometer which automatically switches from portrait to landscape according to the image.

Bluetooth Functionality

Allows you to send photos directly from laptop or mobile to photo frame.

Built-in Photo Editing Software

Some photo frames offer their own photo editing functionality with the aid of an image editor.

Slideshow Functionality

Most of the digital frames have this inbuilt. You can set the speed and transitions for each image.

Cellular Connection

A frame with sim card compatibility can send and receive files via email, MMS or web upload.

Video Playback

Some frames offer video and music playback. Such frames have inbuilt speaker system.

Printing Functionality

Some high end frames offer pictures to be printed directly from the device. For example: Kodak PictBridge

WiFi

Most of the new digital photo frames offer WiFi. You can send files over WiFi to other computers or mobiles and can also download from the internet (mainly photo sharing sites such as Flicker)

File Type Compatibility

Before buying frame, make sure it is compatible with popular formats like jpg, bmp, png, mp3, wmv, mpeg, mkv, avi etc..

Screen Type

OLED>LCD>TFT

Most of the frames comes with LCD screen.

Power Source

Yet another important factor. Ask yourself what type do you want? Battery powered (portable) or electricity powered (efficient)?

Controls and User Interface

You insert your memory card loaded with your favorite photos to frame and watch them slide. This happens with most of the frames. But how about if you want to adjust brightness and contrast or select a few pictures only or set slideshow timings and transitions? For this you may need a remote for the ease of use. Fear not! Most of the frames comes with a remote. If the one you are going to buy doesn't have a remote, make sure it have controls on the front itself because its better to control than to reach for buttons at the sides or back.

USB Port

If you want to transfer files directly to the computer, opt for one with USB port.

Compatibility with Windows and Mac

Some frames may not be compatible with windows and some with mac. So choose accordingly.

Taking Care of your Picture Frame

Heat, Dust and Sunlight are the main villains of digital photo frames. What can you do about it?

  • Clean your photo frame using lint free cloth
  • Do not place under sunlight
  • LCDs can fade out if exposed to sunlight
  • Switch off your photo frame it it gets too hot
  • If you take care of your digital photo frame properly, it will last years or decades.

Conclusion

A digital picture frame is not just a display screen showing some pictures but it holds valuable memories. It is one of the most common gift items these days. Every one loves to gift some good memories to their loved ones.

Since you know how to choose the perfect digital photo frame now, why not buy one?

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