Digital Picture Frames
I want to give my mother a digital picture frame, but she's a senior citizen and not so tech savvy. What do you recommend that works well and is easy to use?
Which Digital Picture Frame Should You Buy?
Digital picture frames are growing fast in popularity, as prices come down and cool new features are added. You can buy one frame and display any number of pictures in it easily. Load digital images into the frame's flash memory. Just touch a button to change the picture. You can even buy a digital picture frame with a WiFi connection and it will display images that are somewhere else, on the Web. Digital picture frames can do even more.
But consider who will use the digital picture frame before you buy a fully tricked out one. Grandma probably just wants to see the grandkids; she doesn't want to surf the Web looking for new pictures to display. So there should be just one button that lets her change photos, not a bunch of menus and submenus to figure out.
Some digital frames have a built-in clock, calendar and alarm. Some can print photos to PictBridge enabled printers, or turn off automatically at night. And a remote control can be a nice feature, too. If you want to get really fancy, streaming Internet radio is a feature found in some high-end digital picture frames. You can hear a symphony while images that complement the music rotate through the frame. There are services like FrameChannel that combine libraries of images matched to tunes, and also let you specify your own pictures from Facebook, Photobucket, Picasa, and other online sources to be displayed when specific music plays.
What About the Specs?
Display resolution is critical in digital picture frames. Nothing below 640 x 480 pixels is acceptable, and realistically you want much more. Also consider the aspect ratio: 4:3 will be best for photos, while 15:9 is widescreen HD format. Displaying a standard 4:3 photo in a 15:9 frame will crop part of the image's top. Incidentally, a good frame should be able to display a photo right side up in either portrait or landscape mode.
If you want to watch videos in addition to viewing static photos, be prepared to pay a bit more for high-performance electronics. Test any picture frame in the store to see how fast it can change from one picture to another; some low-end frames take 9-10 seconds to do this simple task!
Visibility is the essence of a picture frame, so you really should view a digital picture frame's performance in person before buying it. Look at viewing angles; how far to either side can you stand and still see the picture clearly? Check the vertical viewing angles, too, by looking down on the frame and holding it up above your head.
You can expect to pay $69 or more for a basic 8-inch digital frame. Kodak, Phillips, Sony and other well-known electronics companies make good quality models. You might want to stay away from the no-name brands unless you can check it out in person first.
Usability is not an issue with traditional frames but it is when you have buttons to push on a digital frame. Check out the controls around the frame's edge or in its base. Are they easy to identify? Can you press, slide, or tap them easily?
And how easy do they make it to add pictures to the digital photo frame? Some allow you to connect the device to your computer, then transfer images via drag & drop. Others let you insert a USB memory stick or a digital camera memory card. Even easier, eStarling TouchConnect lets you email photos directly to the digital picture frame, which takes all the hassle out of it for the non-techie users.
Got something to say about digital photo frames? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 5 Jan 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Digital Picture Frames (Posted: 5 Jan 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved