Digital Photo Frames have been the hot holiday gift for a several years now. But with so many on the market finding the ones with the best image quality, coolest features, and best price can be daunting. Here's how to find the best one for you, and eight that impressed us.
In the nearly five years since digital photo frames hit the market, the range of choices, styles and image quality options have expanded; in fact, as of this writing, there are exactly 99 frames available from the Adorama Digital Picture Frames and Accessories department. Sizes range from 1.5-inch keychain frames to 17-inch mega-frames with resolution that rivals a typical flatscreen computer monitor. Prices for smaller frames that are in the 5-7-inch range (diagonally measured) can be as low as around $25, while full-featured, high-resolution larger screen models can cost 10 times as much. While in most cases you pay more for larger monitors, there are other factors. More features and higher resolution bring the price up, but some models deliberately cut corners so they would be more affordable.
How to narrow your search: Start with Size
If you don't see exactly what you're looking for in the eight frames listed below, go to Adorama's Digital Picture Frames and Accessories department. If you know what size viewing area, click the appropriate diagonal measurement under Size (on the left-hand column). By default you'll get a listing of the most popular models, but by pulling down the "Sort By" menu (on the right side of the black bar towards the top of the page) you can sort the results by price (low to high, high to low). Once you've done that, here's are some key features to consider.
What to look for
Resolution: Less expensive models provide low resolution, measured in dots. A 360x240 dot monitor will cost less than a 640x380 dot monitor of equal size. Is it better to get the higher resolution? That depends on your budget and tolerance for lower image quality.
Memory Card Compatibility: To get images into a digital photo frame, you need to insert a memory card or connect to some other device via a USB port. Make sure the frame you are interested in has a port for your digital camera's memory card format. Most frames have SD ports, but many do not have ports for CF cards.
Design: This is a matter of taste. Digital photo frames come in a range from modern, plexiglas designs with edges that light up via embedded LEDs to traditional wood-grain frames.
Wall or desk? Some frames are designed only to sit on a desk, others only for wall hanging. Others go both ways. Check the feature list.
Multimedia features: Most frames let you create slide shows and control how long each image is on screen, and the kinds of transitions between images. Some let you add music from your own MP3 files, and a few models even let you play videos, although there may be limits on how long a clip it will play.
Internal memory: Some models have built-in memory, which may range from a few megabytes to 2 gigs. The low-cost models may not have any, and only display directly from your memory card. Again, you get what you pay for.
8 Top Digital Frames
These eight frames, all available from Adorama's Digital Picture Frames and Accessories department, are presented below from smallest to largest, so if you have an idea of how large an image you want to display, scroll down until you find it! Note: Pricing and availability is accurate as of November 16, 2012.
Audiovox 5-inch Digital Picture Frame
If you're looking for a low-cost digital picture frame, consider the Audiovox 5-inch Digital Picture Frame, which at the Adorama price of $39.95, offers a a 5-inch (measured diagonally) viewing space with a 4:3 aspect ratio and modest 320x234 dot resolution. It has 32MB of internal memory, has a 4-way memory card reader that supports SD/MMC, CF, Memory Stick and xD Picture Card formats. It supports JPEG images and comes with interchangeable black, white and wood grain frames. A nice stocking stuffer if your budget it limited.
Coby DP700 7-inch Widescreen
Going up a bit larger, the $27.95 Adorama-priced Coby DP700 7-inch Widescreen offers a 7-inch widescreen display with 480x234 dot resolution. The main advantage this has over the above is the 16:9 aspect ratio viewing area, for those who prefer that format. Designed to accomodate Memory Stick and SD memory cards, the Coby DP700 has no internal memory, but includes an integrated calendar and clock.
Viewsonic 8-inch Super Slim Digital Album Media Frame VFM82050
The Viewsonic 8-inch Super Slim Digital Album Media Frame VFM82050 , at the Adorama price of $44.99, represents a step up in both viewing area and resolution. The 4:3 aspect ratio, 8-inch diagonally measured monitor boasts 800x600 dot resolution, and the unit accepts SD, SDHC and MMC memory cards. You can program a slideshow with music in the background. The frame is a svelte 2.6 inches thick.
Jobo 8-inch Ultra Slim Nano Pro Digital Back Lit Photo Frame
With its 10-inch, diagonally-measured, 800x600-dot-resolution monitor and a slim profile (the entire thing measures about 1/3 of an inch thick), the Jobo 8-inch Ultra Slim Nano Pro Digital Back Lit Photo Frame is designed to be eye-catching whether mounted on a wall or sitting on a desk. The Jobo 10-inch Nano, at an Adorama price of $89, boasts eco-friendly low power consumption, accepts SD, SDHC, MMC and MS card formats, has a dual-mini USB 2.0 host so you can connect a card reader, and supports JPEGs. You can zoom and rotate images and program slide shows with controllable transition effects and time intervals via the remote control.
While the Sony DPF-XR100's screen measures a beefy 10.2 inches measured diagonally, this model is designed for quality-conscious viewers and boasts features that justify its $219 Adorama pricetag. Resolution is higher—1024x600—and it offers a 10:16 aspect ratio. It offers a whopping 192MP of internal storage—room for up to 4,000 photos—can back up to 2GB of video at a time, and is said to produce rich blacks and high contrast with reduced reflections, thanks to an LCD coated with TruBlack technology. It offers a variety of slideshow features including creative transition effects, thumbnail index views, and a way to view Sweep Panorama shots. It accepts all memory card formats.
Aluratek 11-Inch Hi-Res Digital Photo Frame
The Aluratek 11-Inch Hi-Res Digital Photo Frame, at the Adorama price of $99.95, offers larger-frame viewing at a relatively affordable price. It will play JPEG as well as MP3, AVI, BMP and WMA format video and music files, making it a true media center. It can store 1GB of internal memory and accepts CF, SD, MMC, Memory Stick and xD-Picture cards. In an attractive wood frame, it can also connect to other devices via a USB 2.0 port.
Impecca DFM-1512 15-Inch Digital Photo Frame
The Impecca DFM-1512 15-Inch Digital Photo Frame, available from Adorama for $139.99, is designed to deliver high-resolution images via its generously-sized 15-inch diagonal, 4:3 aspect ratio viewing area. It offers HD resolution at 1024x768 dots, enough to rival a computer monitor's resolution. OTher features include 2GB of internal memory, "Easy Insert & Play" feature, which simply starts playing the contents of a memory card or USB drive as soon as it has been inserted, numerous viewing and slideshow transition options, and the ability to accompany images with music via the built-in stereo speakers. Brightness is adjusted automatically to correspond with ambient light. This frame has ports for CF, SD, SDHC, MMC, MS and xD cards, and is wall mountable.
Digital Spectrum MemoryView MV-1700, 17" TFT Digital Black Photo Frame
With its huge 17-inch screen, the $259.95 Adorama-priced Digital Spectrum MemoryView MV-1700 provides the largest viewing area of any photo frame on the market, and it does so by displaying JPEG images at a high resolution of 1280x1024. Compatible with CF, SD, MMC, and MS memory cards, the MemoryView can also run slide shows accompanied by MP3 music tracks. It can also be used as a basic MP3 player, and can show MPEG 1,2 and 4 movie formats.