Digital Photo Frames Buying Guide

Advances in technology have meant that you can do much more with your digital photo collection. Gone are the days when you could only display one picture on a frame. With the advent of digital photo frames, a whole new way of displaying those special moments in life has been born. No matter how big a collection of pictures you have, with the right storage drive, you can display them all on a digital photo frame, with your own slideshow of pictures to show off to visitors or customers if your photos are work-related.


What to consider when buying Digital Photo Frames.


Screen Size

Depending on what you will be watching, the size of the photo frame may make a difference. Some frames are big enough to make watching movies on them comfortable, while others are small enough to be carried as key holders !  Generally, what will determine the size of frame to purchase will be space and also distance from which the photos will be viewed (note that larger screen sizes may come with a higher cost !). Generally,  wide-angle screens will enable viewing from different positions. Some manufacturers denote screen size by using the outer dimensions of the digital photo frame.


Memory Storage

Some photo frames come with in-built memory that could be as small as a few megabytes or as large as a few gigabytes. If you find that the internal memory is not big enough to contain your collection of photos, videos and audio files, an external memory may be required. Since there are different types of memory card, it's worth knowing the types that are compatible with your photo frame of choice. Most SD cards that work in digital cameras can also be used on digital photo frames.


Data Transfer Cables

The most common way of transferring files between computers and digital photo frames is through the use of USB cables. However, most digital photo frames have memory card slots. Some photo frames use Ethernet and Firewire cables for connecting to computers.


Type of Frame

Frames that surround the screen are usually made of plastic or metal (or a combination of both materials). For some frames, the material can even be changed to match your existing d├ęcor!  The position where the frame will be placed will also determine the type of frame, since the frame may need to plug into a power-point, this should be taken into consideration when buying. Frames that have removable face plates will allow them to be used in different areas.


Audio and Video Files Format

Although they're called digital photo frames, recent technological advances have meant that audio as well as video files can now be enjoyed on these digital frames, with some frames having audio-speakers for this purpose. The file formats for audio that can be supported include MP3, WMA, and WAV files.  Not long after they were introduced, other features were added to enable playback of videos. Some video formats that are supported include, AVI, MP4 and WMV. When buying digital frames to use with audio and video files, ensure that the files formats of your file is supported by the frame.


Bluetooth Capability

Digital frames with Bluetooth capability will help facilitate the transfer of data between your phones and the frame itself.


Aspect Ratio

The match between the dimensions of the frame and that of the picture will ensure that there is no black space created when photos are displayed. If you intend to watch only standard photos on the frame, then a ratio of 4:3 is fine. If you intend showing movies using the frame, then widescreen with a ratio of 16:9 is better.


Resolution

Since the size of a digital photo frame is relatively small, very high resolution may not be necessary. Nevertheless, as the screen size gets bigger they become necessary.  It may be tempting to go for low-resolution digital frames because of their lower price, but this should be avoided where possible. The most common resolutions include VGA, SVGA, WVGA, XGA and WXGA. VGA may be a good resolution for small screens, but as the screen gets bigger, SVGA may be more suitable. XGA and WXGA are more suitable for widescreen.


User Interface (UI)

Most user-interfaces come with the ability to control how and when pictures are displayed. Over the years, user-interface for digital photo frames has improved, and there are now models with touch-screen capabilities. Some digital frames will come with a remote control function that permits controlling the frame remotely (such as starting/stopping etc) from the other side of  the room without the need to touch the settings on the photo frame.


Other functions

There are frames that come with in-built Wi-Fi that can be used in conjunction with the internet. There are also those that may come with web storage.


Please note - it is very important to know whether the digital photo frame you're considering uses electric power or operates using replaceable or rechargeable batteries.