Today's digital picture frames make it easy to keep loved ones and memorable events close by and visible. They come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, but are far from equal. Keep these important points in mind before you buy a digital photo frame.
Resolution: The higher the resolution, the better the frame will do in reproducing your images. At a minimum, we recommend a frame with 800-by-600-pixel resolution.
Aspect ratio: Some frames are 4:3, which more closely matches the image size your digital camera captures (how closely depends partly on the camera you use, and partly on how the frame scales your content, cropping an image so that it fills the screen). Displays with a widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio are handy if your digital camera captures 16:9 images, and they are an attractive, nontraditional way to display photos.
Built-in connectivity: Integrated wireless has become more common on digital photo frames, and, in the past year, more functional, too. Look for Wi-Fi capability if you want the frame to access content that lives on a PC or comes from the Internet, but also check the frame's specs to see what kind of access it supports.
Controls: Some frames have buttons that are difficult to reach while you're also trying to watch what's on the screen. Others have more convenient touchscreen controls, usually around the outskirts of the image.
For this roundup, we surveyed the landscape of digital photo frames. We ran the frames through a test script packed with content of varying sources and resolutions, and compared the frames' performance and features against one another. The ten photo frames presented here--listed in ranked order, along with our chart--are the best models that we've seen thus far. We also review four models that didn't make our Top 10.
On the chart:
- Kodak EasyShare W1020
- SmartParts SPX8WF
- Hewlett-Packard DF820A4
- Sony S-Frame DPF-D80
- Pandigital PAN1002W02T
- Transcend PF720
- D-Link DSM-210
- Ipevo Kaleido R7
- InTouch IT7150
- GiiNii GN-812
Not on the chart:
In addition, see our slide show, "The Best Digital Photo Frames to Showcase Your Pictures."