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Digital Photo Frame Buyer’s Guide

Friday, March 12th, 2010 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography, Hardware & Peripherals
 
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Are you running out of space to display your pictures? Do you want to buy a digital photo frame? If yes; read on and you’ll get an insight on the factors that you need to consider.

With the ever increasing number of Digital Photo Frames, it can be might difficult to decide on which one is most suitable for you. After all, Digital Photo Frames are priced anywhere between $60 and $300.

So, how do you go about buying a Digital Photo Frame? Let’s start by first asking questions.

How do you intend to use the Digital Photo Frame?
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Some Digital Photo Frames have basic image displaying features, while others have a variety of high-end features, such as the ability to connect to the Internet and display images from your Facebook account. Usually, the features and Digital Photo Frame size drive up the price. If you don’t want the high-end features, choose a Digital Photo Frame that provides clear images only.

What screen size is suitable?
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Digital Photo Frame screen sizes are measured diagonally. The screen size drives up the price quite a bit. For table top viewing, you might want to get a 7 or 8 inch screen. However, for a Digital Photo Frame, which you will hang on a wall, a larger screen is more desirable. It should be at least 10 inch.

What screen aspect is best?
image
Screens display images in two aspect rations 4:3 or 15:9. From a viewing perspective, a 4:3 is fine, unless you want the widescreen HDTV feel (15:9)! In addition, most point-and-shoot digital cameras capture photos in the 4:3 screen aspect ratio. For such images it is best to go for a Digital Photo Frame with 4:3 aspect ratio. A 15:9 screen will have to modify your photos so that they can fit. The modification is automatically done by the Digital Photo Frame.

What screen resolution are you looking for?
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Image clarity depends on the screen resolution. Typically, your Digital Photo Frame should have at least a resolution of 640 by 480. An 800 by 600 resolution is way better. Anything below 640 by 480 is not worth it as the basic purpose of displaying clear images will not be met.

How does it power-up?
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This question is commonly overlooked. Unlike traditional photo frames, Digital Photo Frames require power, which in turn requires a source. Some Digital Photo Frames only have a power cord, while others come with battery and power cord options. Always go for a Digital Photo Frame that offers both battery and power cord options. For frames that only have a power cord option, you will need to place the frame near an outlet. This restriction can be very annoying!

What is the memory requirement?
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Digital Photo Frames store images in memory, which can be built into the Digital Photo Frame or plugged in as extendable memory. Always opt for one that has extendable memory. Also, select the one that supports different memory types, such as CompactFlash,  MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, xD Picture Card, Memory Stick, and USB drives. With 4 GB of memory, you can store thousands of photos.

What additional features are you going to need?
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Like I said earlier, there is a lot more to Digital Photo Frames than simply displaying images. For example, they can be used for a variety of other actions, such as:

Music Support: To set photo slideshows to music

Bluetooth Connectivity: To transfer images straight from your mobile

Wireless Capability: Transfer images from laptop to the frame and even display images from the Internet, such as Picassa and Facebook. Your home needs to have a wireless network for this feature.

Video Support: Apart from capturing images, digital cameras can also capture videos, which you might want to display on your Digital Photo Frame.

TV Out Port: To display images from the frame to your TV

Make a list of features you don’t need and then look for an appropriate frame. The more features, the more the cost!

Does brand really matter?
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Brands give a sense of credibility and security to a product. Therefore, in an ideal world a branded product is usually better than a Digital Photo Frame from a yet-to-be-established brand. Though this is usually true, it is not written in concrete that branded products are indeed better. It is best to go for a branded product if it gives value and you have heard rave reviews about it. Reviews are an excellent way to determine the quality of non-branded product too. Trust me there are many Digital Photo Frames from unheard of brands that give excellent value. They are also usually cheaper!

Why should it look good?
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A Digital Photo Frame is usually placed in a bedroom or lounge. Therefore, it should blend into the décor. It shouldn’t stand out like an ugly duckling, unless of course you want it too! Look for a sleek design. Some Digital Photo Frames also allow you to change the frame body to suit the decor. This can be useful if you change your décor often.

Are there any great Digital Photo Frames out there?
There are many! It all depends on how you answered the preceding questions and what your budget is. You might want to consider the following:

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Pandigital 8″ PanTouch Clear Digital Photo Frame: Under $ 100 and has an excellent display.

Sony VAIO Wi-Fi Photo Frame (VGF-CP1): Over $200 of sheer Digital Photo Frame brilliance!

~Rupen Sharma

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