The advent of digital cameras has completely changed the perception of photography. In earlier times, photographers used to get a limited number of shots from film, but now they can take as many photos as they want. However, digital cameras do not provide the facility to obtain the prints automatically. This is where digital photo frames step in. It allows users to display photos in a frame without the need to print every photo. Most frames provide the facility to insert the camera’s memory card and choose the photos that they want to show. Some digital frames come with built-in memory that enables users to store photos in it.
Purpose of the Guide
It is a daunting task to choose a suitable digital photo frame from the different makes and models. This buying guide provides you an insight into the different features that are offered by digital frame. It also highlights its different uses and benefits.
What is a Digital Picture Frame?
A digital picture frame is a small LCD monitor that is designed very similarly to a conventional picture frame. It works the same as a changing digital photo album that can be set up in portrait or landscape orientation. These digital frames can be set up on a table or hung on a wall. Like a digital camera, digital frames offer some built-in memory and a memory card slot that offers the facility to increase its storage capacity. Digital photo frames then play a slide show of the various photos that are stored in it. They come with amazing features and serve as great gifts for friends and family. Users can buy a digital photo frame easily at an affordable price and load it with family pictures. There are many kinds of digital photo frames available these days. Some of them need to be plugged into an AC outlet while a few others can be AC-powered or come with an integrated rechargeable battery.
Features of Digital Picture Frames
Before choosing a particular digital frame, make sure that it has all the required features, including aspect ratio, image quality, etc. Let us check out the essential features of digital photo frames that are to be considered when buying it.
Usually, the size of the digital frame ranges from 3 x 5 to 10 x 12 inches. The best digital frames are the larger sized ones that have frame sizes of up to 7 inch and 8 inch. Like televisions and computer monitors, LCD photo frames are measured diagonally. So a 7 inch to 9 inch digital photo album matches the standard photo print size 4 x 6 or 5 x 7. However, there are also larger digital picture frames that have a diagonal size of 20 inches.
Display resolution determines the number of pixels, horizontally by vertically, that the frame can display. In short, the resolution is the size of the screen image measured in pixels. It is recommended that users should buy digital photo frame with a pixel resolution of at least 800 x 600 or 800 x 480 pixels. This display resolution produces pixel density of about 100 pixels per inch.
Aspect ratio determines the relationship between the height and width of the image. Most of the digital frames use a 4:3 or 3:2 aspect ratio. The dimensions of the digital picture frames differ as those of HDTV and computer screens. If the aspect ratio of a digital frame closely matches the dimensions of the photo then the image will fill the whole screen.
Most common aspect ratio used in digital frames
- Standard (4:3):
- It fits most of the photo print sizes. The typically sized photos will fill the entire digital photo frame.
- Widescreen (16:9):
- It is mostly used for movies and TV shows. It is ideal for those who are planning to display videos along with still photos on their digital frames.
The frame that surrounds the display screen is made using different materials, colors and styles. They can be built from plastic, metal, wood and also glass. Some types of digital frames also offer interchangeable faceplates that can change its look to fit the surrounding decor.
The image quality is a very important factor of a digital frame. The surface of the screen can affect the way the photo is displayed. Most of the best digital photo frames come with matte, non-reflective screens. However, there are others that come with a screen placed under a piece of glass. This creates a bit of glare, and in such cases an antiglare coating will be required.
Some digital frames offer built-in memory that allows users to store images. This becomes a convenient way for users as they do not have to use the camera’s memory card in the frame. The ideal memory size to look for in a digital frame is 512 MB.
Apart from internal memory, some digital frames provide memory card slots that allow users to add to the already existing storage space. The most common types of supported memory cards are SD, compactflash and memory stick. It is necessary to ensure that the memory card used in the frame is same as that used in the camera.
Some digital photo frames offer various connectivity options such as USB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Users can easily transfer digital images directly from the computer to the digital frame through a USB port. Some digital frames also provide Wi-Fi connectivity that allows users to download photos from computer’s hard drive and even connect to photo-sharing sites. Also, Bluetooth connectivity is offered in most digital photo frames. This feature allows users to connect the frame with their camera or mobile phone wirelessly to transfer photos.
Utilities of Digital Picture Frames
Digital photo frames are very useful for displaying JPEG images. However, some types of digital frames can also display BMP and TIFF images. There are some digital frames that come with built-in speakers, either mono or stereo. As such, they are able to play MP3 and WAV audio files when a photo slide show is going on. There are digital frames which allow users to use them as secondary PC monitors. Many of them also come with a remote control that allow users to operate them from a distance.
Top 5 Manufacturers
People who like to hang photos of their families and friends on their walls will find digital photo frames a perfect addition to their homes. Since digital frames come in a wide variety, it is necessary for them to determine which one is best suited. For this, let us check out some of the top manufacturers that offer the best quality digital frames.
Sony is one of the leading manufacturers worldwide that offers different photo-related and imaging products. Among these are Cyber-shot digital cameras, VAIO products, as well as digital photo frames with 7, 8, 9 and 10 inch displays.
Aluratek is a renowned company that manufactures sophisticated computer peripherals and consumer electronic devices. It offers products like smartphone and tablet accessories, digital photo frames, keyboards, gaming accessories, Bluetooth and audio accessories.
ViewSonic is a world leader in the visual display technology. It offers a huge range of products such as smart displays, touch displays, gaming monitors, digital photo frames, projectors and much more.
Sungale is a premium designer and manufacturer of digital products. Its huge range of products include the IP radio, e-reader, Wi-Fi series, digital photo album and DPF products.
NIX is a London based company that is well-known for designing and producing high-end digital frames. Its digital frames have ultra-modern features with the capability of playing JPEG, MPEG-4, AVI and MP3 formats.
It is necessary for non-technical people to know about the different technical terms that are associated with a digital photo frame before buying it. This will allow users to choose a suitable digital frame for their home. Let us check out some of these important terms and what they signify.
- Screen Size:
- It is the size of the digital photo frame. Similar to the televisions and computer monitors, it is measured diagonally. The typical digital frame size ranges from 3 x 5 to 10 x 12 inches.
- It depicts the number of pixels that create the image displayed on the frame. In short, it is the size of the screen image that is measured in pixels.
- Aspect Ratio:
- It determines the relationship between the height and width of the image. There are two types of aspect ratios namely, standard (4:3) and widescreen (16:9).
- The frame of the digital photo album is made using a variety of materials. These include plastic, metal, wood and glass.
- Image Quality:
- The image quality given by a digital frame depends on the quality of the surface of the screen. That is why, most digital photo frames come with matte and non-reflective screens.
- Built-In Storage:
- Some digital frames come with integrated memory that is useful for storing images.
- Memory Cards:
- Some digital frames have memory card slots for additional storage. Most common memory cards that are supported include SD, CompactFlash and memory stick.
- Many digital photo frames can be connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB. They allow to transfer the images from other devices easily.