Digital Photo Frame Review
Why Use a Digital Photo Frame?
The top performers in our review are the Sungale Cloud Frame, the Gold Award winner; the Pix-Star FotoConnect, the Silver Award winner; and the Nixplay Edge, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a frame to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of digital photo frames.
How to Choose a Digital Photo Frame
Everything is digital now, even memories, and not everyone is thrilled about it. Even though you can look at photos on your phone, computer and television, you may still save some room in your life for more tangible mementos, and a digital photo frame is a great option. It is a nice middle ground between traditional photo displays and purely digital picture collections stored in your phone or computer. An electronic photo frame means you can display hundreds of your favorites without the clutter that comes with sharing a large collection of printed photos. It can also be a great way to share photos with a grandparent or anyone who may not see them on social media.
An electronic picture frame is the perfect gift for anyone who is not particularly interested in the latest gadgets. It is accessible technology – digital with a tangible twist. You also do not have to direct everyone to a phone or computer screen to see the latest pictures of the grandkids. They are already on display with minimal initial effort. It also makes a great wedding gift. Your recipients can collect all the images from the special event in one place. It could also become part of the wedding reception, displaying many of the photos the couple has collected.
When you are ready to freshen up your photo gallery, you do not have to print and professionally frame everything after you edit photos to your liking. The mantel can be repopulated with hundreds of new photos at a time instead of a gradual rotation every few years.
Wireless digital photo frames that connect to the internet used to be pricey products. The ones that just play photos from physical storage like SD cards were the starter product. Now you can get a frame that uses both methods well for a relatively low price, but there is still a place for the plug-and-play simplicity of a non-connected frame. We looked at smaller frames that are a good value. Our review focuses on 8- to 10-inch digital photo frames, but you can also find 7-inch digital photo frames. You can get much larger, more expensive versions of the frames we reviewed for a wider resolution or bigger picture. Large digital photo frames are about 10 to 15 inches wide. For more information on these frames, take a look at our articles about digital photo frames.
Digital Photo Frames: How We Tested, What We Found
Our reviews revealed the best of the best digital picture frames as we lined them up in the same lighting and compared the quality of the picture we saw in each one. We tested each on the same set of photos and scored the frame based on how well it reproduced each photo on its screen. We looked for clarity and a screen that cuts down on glare as much as possible so the photo is visible from multiple angles. We found decent photo reproduction on all of the frames, but some offer a little crisper images, while others look somewhat grainy or have distorted colors. Our scores reflect these factors.
We also evaluated the picture on the screen when it was derived from different sources, whether a jump drive or the screen's internal memory. We used different types of photos too, including those taken on a cell phone, digital versions of old slides and a paper photo we scanned in.
We considered user-friendliness at every stage of our evaluation, recognizing that many people value the ability to simply plug in the frame, attach a jump drive and see great-looking photos almost instantly. Menus and remote controls should be easy to navigate, even for someone who has never used a digital photo frame.
What Else to Consider
As we researched digital photo frames, the smallest amount of storage we encountered was 200 photos. If you were to try to print and frame 200 of your favorite photos, that would take a lot of your time and energy, not to mention space on your walls. Most frames in our comparison can store and display many more photos than that – thousands of photos in most cases. You just plug in a memory card and enjoy. Some manufacturers make digital photo frames that also play music and videos along with still images.
One slight drawback of these frames is their use of electricity. Although relatively small, an electronic frame is just one more device that can expand your power bill. Some frames cut consumption with motion sensors or sleep timers so that the frame is not exhibiting photos to an empty room at all hours of the day and night. You can also find battery-operated digital photo frames if you don’t want to use your home’s power.
Since this is something that will become part of your decor, it is worth thinking a little bit about a digital picture frame's appearance. The range of electronic photo frame looks is not likely to accommodate all styles. There are really just a few types – some that feature plastic and look more like computer monitors, and others that have wooden designs, more like traditional photo frames. It can be difficult to find one that fits your specific tastes, but you can zero in on the one that comes the closest. The quality of the photo display is the most important thing, of course, so you may be willing to get a frame that doesn't perfectly match your home's aesthetic if it is excellent in all of the important ways.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
After our battery of tests, we found the Sungale Cloud Frame, Pix-Star FotoConnect and Nixplay Edge to be the best digital frames for storing and displaying photos. All of the frames in our comparison allow you to share hundreds of digital photos in a frame on your wall or table. The top three did an especially good job of that, though, standing out in photo reproduction excellence and convenience.
The Sungale Cloud Frame offers the best photo reproduction of your favorite shots from a variety of resources, including social media accounts and physical storage. The Pix-Star FotoConnect's photo quality is almost as impressive as the Sungale's and offers a lot of room for personalization in your slideshows. The Edge from Nixplay is another great option for a photo frame that honors your memories with mostly true-to-life color, though it has a somewhat awkward stand.
All of the frames in our review will help free your photos from the phones and hard drives where they hide without the clutter that comes with prints. The right digital photo frame can help you house all of your memories in one organized display.