Digital Photo Frame Guide
Digital Photo Frames 101
- Make picture quality your top priority
- When choosing a gift, buy digital photo frames that have reliable help support and an easy-to-use interface
- If you have a normal point-and-shoot camera, stick to frames that have a normal 4:3 aspect ratio, LCD screen and 800 by 600 resolution for great-looking images
- Opt for Wi-Fi: you can share photos by email or upload them from your favourite social network sites without any plugs or cords
- Tech-savvy users might want to consider a mini digital picture frame that hangs off a keychain
- For easy uploading of images, make sure that your digital picture frame supports a variety of picture formats as well as USB, memory cards, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.
Digital Photo Frame Features
There are a variety of frame materials available to match your room’s decor. Some of the more common materials are plastic, Plexiglas, metal and wood. When buying a digital photo frame as a gift, try to take the décor of the recipient’s home into consideration. Some models even offer interchangeable face plates, so you can easily change the frame's appearance to suit the setting.
Image Quality +
The quality of your screen will affect the quality of your pictures. Most high-quality digital picture frames are made with liquid crystal display (LCD) screens and a matte finish to cut down on glare. A newer screen technology based on organic light emitting diodes (OLED) is also available. OLED screens are brighter and don't require backlighting, but they have a shorter lifespan and are more costly to manufacture. Most photo frames also have manual controls for adjusting the brightness and contrast levels of the screen. This allows you to compensate for the naturally changing light levels in your room.
Screen Resolution +
Screen resolution refers the number of pixels that your screen displays. To produce an image, the screen sends signals to the pixels, instructing them to change colours. Resolution has a direct impact on image quality. High-resolution screens display images that are crisp, clear and detailed. To do your images justice, shop for a screen with a resolution of at least 800 by 600 pixels.
Aspect Ratio +
Most digital photo frames have a traditional aspect ratio of 4:3 or a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9. For best results in displaying your photos, the aspect ratio of your camera and the digital frame should be identical. If they're not, then the picture frame might crop your photos or add black bars around the sides, top and bottom. Point-and-shoot cameras typically have an aspect ratio of4:3. Most DSLR cameras have an aspect ratio of 3:2, which is close to the traditional 4:3 ratio. If you shoot with a DSLR camera, a 4:3 frame is your best bet. Widescreen 16:9 photo frames are designed to properly display widescreen videos. If you plan to show a lot of widescreen videos on your device, then an aspect ratio of 16:9 is the way to go.
Many digital photo frames come with manual controls, either through buttons or a touch screen interface. Usually there are controls to adjust the brightness, colour and contrast of the picture. There may also be controls that allow you to select which pictures to display, choose landscape or portrait viewing or to set slideshow timings. Physical controls may be located on the front for easy access, or at the sides or the back to hide them from sight.
USB Port +
A USB port allows you to transfer image files from your computer onto your digital photo frame. Digital picture frames that support USB will come with a USB cord to connect your devices. You can also transfer files without the cord by using a USB flash drive. Simply load the images on the flash drive and plug it into your frame's USB port.
Memory Cards +
When your camera takes a picture, the image is stored on a removable memory card. All digital photo frames are compatible with memory cards. Since there are several types of memory cards, you should check to see which one your camera uses, then buy a digital picture frame that supports it. Memory cards are an easy way to upload pictures onto your digital frame directly from your camera.
Built-in Memory +
Most digital picture frames offer internal flash memory to store photos, videos or audio files. This can be a convenient feature to store your favourite photos. You can always expand your storage further by using memory cards, USB flash drives or a Wi-Fi connection.
You’ll have more file transfer options when you buy a digital picture frame with Wi-Fi. For example, you can send pictures directly from your computer or smartphone using email. You can also upload images from cloud storage services and from social network sites like Instagram and Flickr. Some models even let you stream music over Wi-Fi to work as a soundtrack for your pictures. Wherever you are, you can instantly upload your pictures to your digital picture frame, so your family and friends share in your newest adventures.
A Bluetooth connection will allow you to transfer photos wirelessly from your smartphone onto your digital picture frame. If you take more photos with your phones than with a camera, this is a useful feature to look for on your next digital frame.
Remote Control +
A remote control lets you control the playback of the images and adjust the other settings without touching the frame. This is a handy feature to have if the controls are difficult to use or if the frame is located somewhere that's hard to reach.
Viewing Angle +
Viewing angle is typically measured in degrees (°). Screens with a larger viewing angle are better because you can be farther on either side of the screen (as opposed to directly in front) and still see the image clearly. A viewing angle of 160° means the image remains clear at 80° on either side. OLED screens generally offer a wider viewing angle than LED screens.
Power Source +
The options here are batteries or electric cord. The benefit of a battery powered frame is its portability— which visiting family members will appreciate as they pass the frame back and forth. However, since digital photo frames typically run continuously, a model that plugs into the wall is more convenient. You'll never have to shop for batteries, nor will your batteries ever run out of power at the worst possible time.
Other Features +
There are a host of other tech-savvy features that digital picture frames are integrating into their new designs. Built-in photo editing software, video playback and photo printing are just some of the latest features.
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- Always put cleaning products onto a cloth vs. applying directly to the screen or frame
- Use cleaning products sparingly
- Use water or a cleaning product that does not contain ammonia or alcohol
- Avoid stronger household cleaners as they can be corrosive and damage the screen or frame
- Allow the screen and frame to dry fully before use
- Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for care and cleaning