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Thursday, December 17, 2009

First Time Buyers Guide To Digital Picture Frames

By David Peters

Digital photo frames are becoming ever more popular - and it's hardly surprising when you look at what they have to offer. They have many more features than traditional frames which are only capable of displaying one photo at a time and - if you consider the cost associated with printing out hard copies of photographs - traditional frames begin to look like an expensive choice.

There are many digital frames which combine bluetooth, WiFi, video and audio - and even further options may be available in certain high end frames. The majority of these frames will let you make up your own slideshows which allows the display of all your photos using a single frame. Considering the cost on a per photo on display basis, digital frames can be significantly cheaper than static frames.

And, sticking with the subject of cost, the LCD technology used by these frames is reducing in cost which means that digital frames are now available at very reasonable prices. However, before you rush out and get one, here are a few pointers that you may wish to consider:

Consider The Intended Recipient When Choosing Your Frame: Many digital photo frames are bought as gifts - frequently for elderly relatives who will enjoy looking at photos of their family and friends. A lot of modern frames feature extras such as WiFi, news feeds, web browsers, weather reports etc. - all good stuff. In addition to providing increased functionality however, all of these add ons can lead to a user interface which is more complex - and downright confusing in some cases. Clearly frames with extra functions also tend to have a higher ticket price. Therefore, if the intended recipient of your gift is primarily interested in viewing family snapshots, you might be well advised to think about going for one of the more basic frames. Not only will you save some money, but the frame will be more likely to see regular use.

Remember: Brand Name May Not Be A Guarantee Of Quality: You would possibly be surprised at the poor quality images displayed by some of the base level models manufactured by some extremely well known high street brand names. On the other hand, you would probably be surprised (for different reasons) at the quality of some of the less well known brand names. Check out reviews - or see the frame in operation prior to buying.

Get A Frame With The Correct Resolution: The seven inch size is the most popular digital frame choice. It offers a decent size frame at a reasonable price - and it's also pretty similar to the size of many conventional frames. It's about the size that people are used to in other words.

For a frame of this size you probably need a resolution of not lower than 640 X 480 pixels. Anything less than this will give you chunky, pixelated, images. There's little point in saving money if the quality of the picture is too poor for your intended use.

Choose A Suitable Aspect Ratio: Generally speaking, digital frames come in two aspect ratios; 4:3 and 15:9. Digital cameras usually take photos which have a 4:3 aspect ratio - therefore a frame with this ratio will be well matched and ideal for displaying your snapshots. Choosing a 15:9 ratio will result in the top and bottom of your images being cropped in order for them to fit the display. Of course, you always have the option to manually crop your images - but choosing the correct aspect ratio will mean that this isn't necessary.

The Image Isn't The Complete Picture: Of course, a high quality image display is important - but you might have other requirements that need to be considered. Simplicity of use and functionality may be important factors for you. The user interface ease of use and the menu system can differ greatly from one frame to the next - so you may want to check those items out before making your final decision. You may even want something as simple as a timer which will power the frame down when not in use - or a frame with its own internal batter for use when travelling maybe.

These are just a few things to think about when choosing your frame. Keep the end user in mind and take a little time to consider the various options on offer. You will definitely be able to choose a good frame that will get your photos on display - in an economic manner - for years to come.

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