Plenty of highly customizable display modes. Display is detailed, sharp, and large. Remote control is a nice add-on. Possible to send pictures to the frame from anywhere in the world via app. Can display social-media photos.
Pricey, but you are paying for a very rich feature set.
Rustic distressed-wood frame. Available in multiple sizes. Easy to use. Upload images via USB port. Sharp and bright display. Clock and calendar apps. Affordable. Available in several finishes.
Just shy of Full HD resolution.
Available in multiple sizes. Motion detector turns photo frame on. Upload photos and video from its companion app. Wall mountable. Stylish frame. Simple setup. Quick and easy to load many images at a time.
The 2K-resolution version is particularly pricey.
Stylish stainless steel frame. Attention-grabbing 2K resolution. Unlimited free cloud storage for uploading photos. Quick setup. Anyone on your account can upload photos to the frame.
This premium offering from Aura is especially high-priced.
Has 16GB internal memory. App is compatible with most smartphones running Android and iOS. Offers expandable storage with micro USB port and micro SD slot. Touchscreen lets users scroll through images.
Can only upload 10 pictures at a time. Occasional connectivity issue with WiFi.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Everyone loves to capture unforgettable moments with their smartphone or digital camera, but openly sharing your favorite photos can be a pain. Few want to take time out of their day to have personal photos printed in that dusty “Photo Center” corner of your local pharmacy, and the high cost of photo paper and ink makes printing them at home fairly expensive.
We’ve found that a digital photo frame is an excellent solution for a number of reasons: all of your favorite photos are on display where everyone can see them, swapping them out for new pictures is incredibly easy, and a nice digital frame will pay for itself in no time. After uploading our own images to a few models, we’re happy to explain what you should look for when buying a digital photo frame.
If you’re considering a digital photo frame purchase and want some help sifting through the jargon, please continue reading this shopping guide. When you’re ready to choose a product, please see our product list, above, for our selection of the five best photo frames on today’s market.
A digital photo frame is a 21st-century take on the standard photo frame. In essence, it's a small screen surrounded by a frame that can store and display digital photographs.
The pictures may be stored in the frame’s internal memory, on an SD card, or on a USB stick. Some WiFi-compatible frames are able to retrieve and display photos from your online albums.
A digital frame allows you to display your photos in a number of ways. There's the option to choose one photo (or, on some models, a collage of photos) and change it manually when you want to display something new. Another option is to program the frame to cycle through your collection of snaps. If you choose the latter option, you can set the interval between photos, which may be as little as two seconds or as much as twelve hours.
Digital photo frames offer many advantages over traditional photo frames. Here are just a handful:
We can’t tell you which photo frame is best for you, but we can we can help you narrow the field by guiding you through the following considerations.
Digital photo frames range in size, from the compact 7-inch model to the 15-inch behemoth frame.
Based on where in your home or office you’d like to place the frame, you might already have a rough idea what size you want. But if you're not sure, we recommend opting for a mid-sized frame. A frame that’s too small may seem hardly worth it; a frame that’s too big might sacrifice some of its resolution quality for size — unless you pay top dollar, that is.
A photo’s resolution reflects its image quality. In general, the higher the resolution, the better the quality. We recommend a frame with a resolution of at least 800x600 pixels to get a good image.
Most digital photo frames come with some internal memory, which allows you to store photos in the frame itself.
The more internal memory you have, the more photos you can store. This varies quite a bit from model to model. For instance, the Pix-Star FotoConnect XD comes with a generous 4GB of internal memory, whereas the Micca M703 and NIX Advance have no internal memory at all.
However, all digital photo frames come with an SD and/or MicroSD slot which you can use as part of your photo storage system.
A photo’s aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationship between its width and height.
Digital photo frames usually display photos in one aspect ratio only, so you must choose wisely. Check the aspect ratio of the camera that most of your photos will be coming from before you pick your digital photo frame. Why is this important? If the aspect ratio of a photo doesn't match the aspect ratio of the frame, it will automatically crop or stretch the image to fit the frame, causing distortion.
The average smartphone camera takes photos with an aspect ratio of 4:3. Higher-end cameras, including DSLR cameras, normally shoot in an aspect ratio of 16:9.
Some digital photo frames have WiFi capability, which means they can connect to the internet through your home wireless network and download or display photos directly from your storage accounts, such as Google Photos, Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa.
The Pix-Star FotoConnect XD even gives you a dedicated email address so that you can receive emails with photos to be displayed on the digital photo frame.
All of these features are pretty cool, but those who aren't particularly inclined toward technology might still prefer the simplicity of a more basic model!
Some digital photo frames allow you to display your photos in landscape orientation or portrait orientation — but not both. This is extremely limiting. We prefer frames that allow you to alternate between landscape and portrait orientation.
Since some digital photo frames come with little or no internal storage, they'll need to be compatible with SD or MicroSD cards to use as storage.
Check that the photo frame that you choose is compatible with the kind of SD card you most regularly use.
While you might think touch screen controls are handy, one issue with them is that you're always having to wipe fingerprints off the screen. A touch screen can be tricky to keep clean.
We prefer those that are either controlled with a remote — such as the ViewSonic VFD1027w-11 — or by buttons on the edge or back of the frame.
Although most digital photo frames allow you to select a certain photo and display it until you decide to change it, most people set their frame to rotate photos at regular intervals.
The timing of these intervals varies from model to model, but it usually starts at a quick two- or three-second interval (ideal for slideshows) and goes all the way up to a slow interval of 12 hours or more. This longer interval suits people who want their digital photo frame to act more like a regular photo frame — with a bit variety.
Digital photo frames range in price from about $50 for a small, basic model with a high-quality display to almost $200 for a large, WiFi-compatible model with all the bells and whistles.
You could spend as much or as little as you like within this range, depending on your needs and requirements. However, we wouldn’t recommend paying much less than $50 on even a basic digital photo frame. What you save in price would probably be sacrificed in the quality of the photo display and the durability of the product.
Q. How many photos will my digital photo frame hold?
A. This depends on the amount of internal storage your frame has, the amount of extra storage you buy in the form of an SD card, and the file size of your photos.
Bear in mind that 1GB of memory will hold about 450 6MP JPEG photos. From there, you can calculate approximately how much storage space you have. Caveat: if you have larger or higher-resolution photos, 1GB may hold significantly less.
Q. Do digital photo frames need to be plugged into a wall outlet?
A. Yes, almost all digital photo frames need to be plugged into an electrical socket. The only frame we found powered by rechargeable batteries was the Kodak Easyshare, but the batteries last only a few hours at a time, so you can't really rely on battery power alone.
Q. Can digital photo frames be mounted on the wall?
A. Some models come with a kit that allows them to be mounted. However, as previously mentioned, the frame needs to be plugged into a wall. If you were to mount the frame, you’d still have to deal with an unsightly power cord running down your wall.
Q. Where's the best place to display a digital photo frame?
A. LCD screens don't work well in sunlight, as the glare makes the picture difficult to see. A digital photo frame should be displayed in a relatively shady part of the room, out of direct sunlight.
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