Digital Picture Frame Buying Guide


With the rise of digital cameras, old fashioned print photos are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Why waste wall space on a frame that only holds one picture when you can have a frame that scrolls through hundreds? Digital picture frames are fun, space saving contraptions that offer the ability to constantly be reminded of your warm memories with a fun, twenty-first century twist. It’s the perfect gift for the grandfather who used to bore everyone with projector shows of his vacations, or the mom with too many memories to possibly frame them all. With the market constantly expanding and so many people scrambling to catch up, how do you know what to look for in digital frames? Here are some helpful hints to get you started.


Important Things to Know


While there obviously aren’t a dozen different kinds of digital picture frames, it seems that every model offers slightly different features and capabilities. When shopping for this item, you want to be careful to balance the level of technological features with the electronic savvy of the owner. It doesn’t matter if a digital frame offers a host of editing options with video and audio capabilities and music backup for slideshows if the person who is going to be using the frame can’t figure out how to use them. Being a relatively new technology means that there’s still a lot to learn, and sometimes, the plethora of features can be confusing and overwhelming. Make certain you know how to use the features and which ones will really be useful to you.


Also important are details like size and aesthetics. This frame is going to be a feature that people look at in your house, so you want to make certain that it fits in with your decor rather than standing out. Is it big enough to take up the space you imagine it for without being so large as to distract visitors? Make sure that the ratios are a good fit for your digital camera - most cameras shoot in a 4:3 ratio, and if you’re not careful you could end up with a frame that would either crop your photos in an unflattering way or add extra bars of blank space, marring the picture and your memory.


Important Features


  • Image Quality - It doesn’t matter if your frame can store a thousand pictures if they all look horrible when you want to look at them. Make certain that you’re not sacrificing image quality for a low price tag. Check details like whether the screen is reflective or matte, and exactly what the image resolution on your frame is. These specs will help you get the best viewing experience.
  • Controls - Many digital frames offer a simple, plug in and go option, automatically retrieving your images from a memory card or a thumb drive. Others offer more customization, but with that freedom comes controls and menus that can often be confusing for the shopper who is not technologically savvy. If you purchase a frame with more customizable options, make sure you know how to take advantage of them.
  • Versatility - You want a frame that can be used as you see fit. Features like battery life versus the need for power cords, the ability to hang on a wall or sit on a table top, and whether or not the frame can display landscapes and well as portrait photos all factor into the overall versatility of the product.
  • On board storage and Compatibility - It’s great to have a frame that can store at least a few of your very favorite photos all by itself, meaning that even when you have to reload a thumb drive or change up a slideshow, there are still some great shots to fall back on. What’s more, make certain that your frame is compatible with the file type that your photos are most often taken in. It’s the small details that can really trip you up when buying digital items.


See our list of top digital picture frames for specific recommendations.