Three best digital photo frames
With smartphone cameras becoming increasingly advanced and the price of digital cameras dropping, capturing memorable moments has never been easier. But in an age when most photos are taken digitally and stored on smart devices, computers, memory cards, or in the cloud, most of us end up seeing a lot less of our favorite pics than we'd like.
While getting your digital photos printed is always an option, owning a digital photo frame is a far more convenient alternative. Depending on the model, digital photo frames can store and display a wide variety of photos via internal memory, USB sticks, or SD cards. Certain models even boast WiFi compatibility, allowing you to access images from online albums. If you need a little more clarity on choosing the right digital photo frame, this guide is for you.
Considerations when choosing digital photo frames
Digital photo frames are available in an array of sizes. When choosing a size, take a moment to consider where the frame will be placed. While a smaller frame can be ideal for a desk or nightstand, larger models tend to work best in open living areas. A digital photo frame shouldn't be so small that it's dwarfed by its surroundings, nor should it be so large that it ends up looking out of place or--as is often the case with budget-priced models--sacrificing image resolution.
Display resolution will have a direct impact on the quality of your images. For photos that are crisp and clear, we recommend choosing a digital photo frame with a resolution of at least 800x600 pixels. The higher the display resolution, the better your photos will look.
Although most digital photo frames offer at least some internal memory, that isn't the case with every model. If internal memory is important to you, be sure to check exactly how much onboard memory the frame offers. While some frames boast a generous 4GB of internal storage, others may have significantly less or even none at all. The good news is that all digital photo frames come with SD card slots or USB ports so you can expand your frame's memory as needed.
Because the vast majority of digital photo frames display images in only one aspect ratio, it's a good idea to check your favorite camera's aspect ratio before you buy. If the aspect ratio of your frame doesn't match up to your camera, your photos will automatically be cropped or stretched to fit the frame.
Most smartphone cameras have an aspect ratio of 4:3, while more advanced cameras and DSLR cameras typically have an aspect ratio of 16:9.
While selecting just one image to display until you choose to change it is always an option, setting your digital photo frame to display different images at timed intervals is a great way to showcase your collection. Timing can vary from model to model, but most digital photo frames allow you to choose short, slideshow-like intervals or longer settings that change every few hours.
A great power-saving feature, digital photo frames with motion sensors can be set to automatically switch off after a certain period of detecting no motion. Motion sensors will signal your photo frame to switch back on again upon sensing movement.
WiFi-compatible photo frames allow you to download and display images from various online storage accounts. Many even come with their own email address, so you can send images directly to your digital photo frame. This is a worthwhile feature if you'd like to share photos with family members who might not be tech-savvy.
On average, digital photo frames cost anywhere from $50 for a compact model with basic features to $200 for a medium to large model with all the frills.
Other important details
Touchscreen controls might seem like the most convenient option. However, when it comes to displaying your prized pictures, the last thing you want is a screen that's covered with fingerprints and smudges. Unless you aren't bothered by the prospect of having to repeatedly wipe down the display, we recommend choosing a digital photo frame that comes with a remote control or even one with buttons on the back of the frame.
Although many digital photo frames offer both portrait and landscape orientation, some models have a fixed viewing angle. If you want to be able to display both portrait and landscape images, remember to check for viewing angle adjustability before you buy.
Q. How many images can I store on my digital photo frame?
A. The number of images a digital photo frame is able to hold is determined by a number of factors, including internal memory, SD card storage capacity, and image file size. On average, 1GB of memory holds approximately 450 6MP images. However, keep in mind that high-resolution photos require more memory.
Q. Are digital photo frames wall-mountable?
A. Certain models can be hung on a wall using the included wall-mounting kit. But while the idea of mounting a digital photo frame on the wall can seem appealing, especially if it's a large model, most frames need to be plugged into an outlet and finding a way to disguise the power cord might require some creativity.
Digital photo frames we recommend
Best of the best: Pix-Star Digital Photo Frame
Our take: With a crisp display and just about every feature you could ask for in a digital photo frame, this premium option is hard to beat.
What we like: It boasts advanced features, including WiFi connectivity, a dedicated email address, and unlimited online storage. The frame is a good size with a clear, vivid display.
What we dislike: It's a bit pricey, but the quality and features are fantastic.
Best bang for your buck: NIX Advance Digital Photo Frame
Our take: With a quality display and some excellent features, this digital photo frame offers big value at a low cost.
What we like: This frame has a high-resolution display and features a host of customizable photo display options. The USB/SD card storage options are straightforward and easy to use.
What we dislike: It has zero internal memory.
Our take: This digital photo frame is ideal if you're in search of a crisp display at a good price.
What we like: It has a good amount of internal memory for its low price. The bright screen makes every photo pop.
What we dislike: At seven inches, this frame is smaller than other options.
Erica van Blommestein is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.