Electronic Photo Frames - Buyer's Guide

Digital photo frames are becoming more and more popular, and it’s not difficult to see why. They have much greater functionality than old fashioned frames which are only capable of displaying one photograph at a time and – when you think about the cost of printing out hard copies of photographs – are a more expensive option.

Some digital photo frames integrate video, audio, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and other functions may well be included. All digital frames let you create your own slideshows, usually with transitions, which will let you show off all your photographs using one frame. On a cost per photograph, digital frames are much cheaper than conventional ones.

And, on the subject of cost, the LCD technology utilised by these frames is also reducing in price which means that the digital frames can now be found at very reasonable prices. However, before you rush out and buy one, here are a few pointers that you may wish to consider:

Select Your Frame To Suit The User
A high percentage of digital picture frames are bought as gifts, often for elderly relatives who will enjoy viewing images of their children and grandchildren. Some digital frames have advanced features like full web browsers, web radio, text news feeds, Wi-Fi etc. Apart from increasing functionality, these extra features can also mean that the user interface is more complex – and perhaps more confusing. Clearly these extra bells and whistles also lead to a significantly greater price tag.

So, if your intended gift recipient is simply interested in looking at pictures, you might be better to go for a simpler frame which might not only save you money but be more likely to be used on a regular basis. More technologically savvy users might enjoy web enabled features of course.

Remember: Brand Name Might Not Be A Guarantee Of Quality
You would quite possibly be surprised at the low quality images displayed by some of the basic level models marketed by some extremely well known high street brand names. On the other hand, you would perhaps be surprised (for different reasons) at the quality of some lesser known brand names. Check out reviews – or see the frame in operation before you buy.

Go For The Correct Resolution
The most commonly chosen frame size is 7. It’s a good compromise between size and cost – and it also corresponds with a typical traditional frame or photograph size. It’s what you expect to see in other words.

For a frame of this size you should be looking for a resolution of no less than 640 X 480 pixels. Anything less than that will give you blocky, pixelated, images. There’s no point in saving money if the quality of the photo is too poor for your intended use.

Choose The Correct Aspect Ratio
Digital photo frames typically come in 2 aspect ratios; 4:3 and 15:9. Most digital cameras produce digital images in 4:3 ratio so a frame with this aspect ratio will be the best for displaying your images. If you use a 15:9 frame then the top and bottom of your images will be cropped so as to fit on the screen. Alternatively you can manually manipulate your images before displaying them and crop them to suit.

The Image Is Not The Whole Picture
Top quality image reproduction is important but you might have other considerations that require to be taken into account. Ease of use and functionality may also be key items for you. The menu system and user interface ease of use can vary a lot from one frame to another and you may want to think about that before making your final decision. Integrated Wi-Fi, which permits you to transfer pictures via your home wireless wifi network, may consider worthwhile. If you are technically aware then you could consider installing a frame at your parent’s home which has the facility to download images from file sharing sites on the internet. You may just want something as simple as a timer which switches the frame off when not in use or a frame with its own internal power source for use when travelling perhaps.

These are just a few suggestions for you. Consider the end user and the most likely application and take some time to consider your options and you’ll be able to select a good, value for money, frame which will display your images in a economic manner for a long time to come.
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