Updated: October 12, 2015

Digital Picture Frame Reviews and Buying Guide:

One of the hottest products this Christmas will be the new and improved digital photo frames. The latest digital frames are becoming larger in size and able to display better quality images on the LCD screens. Just a year ago you were lucky to get a 7 inch digital picture frame for $200 and now you can get most of the standard 7 or 8 inch digital frames for $150 or less. The larger 15 inch screens like the Pandigital PAN150 ($270) will deliver high quality pictures on an LCD screen that measures 15" diagonally across. The Kodak Easyshare P825 Digital Frame and the Philips 6.5-Inch Digital Photo Frame are both priced around $100 on Amazon.com and remain top sellers, but models like the 9 inch Sony DPF-V900 for $220 are slowly gaining sales. Which digital picture frame is the best? Which ones offer the best value? We did some research and came up with a few "top picks" based on customer feedback and expert opinions.
digital picture frame


Displaying Digital Photos:

Digital frames are a great invention since many people snap away with their digital cameras but rarely get all those photos developed. What happens to all those digital pictures? They stay on your hard drive and never see the light of day. Now, with the improved technology behind digital photo frames, you can display birthday photos, wedding pictures, vacation images, etc. right on your digital frame that sits on your wall or just on your desk. At a recent wine party I attended, the host had a new digital picture frame sitting on her kitchen island so that all the guests could see some of their latest family photos cycle through while we enjoyed the party. She had bought the 10 inch frame at Costco for around $170 and it looked great. Going any smaller than a 6 inch frame might leave you wanting more. With todays large screen TV's and big computer monitors, we have come to expect "more" and digital picture frames are no different.

I recently went into BestBuy to see what type of frames they have and the 6 inch digital frames were lacking. You could only make out the image when up really close and they just aren't capable of showing off the current 10 megapixel photos we all take with our digital cameras. I say get a minimum of an 8" digital photo frame but consider a 10 inch or larger depending on your digital camera megapixel count and where the frame will be displayed. Only look at picture frames with that will show a resolution of 640 x 480 or higher - preferably 800 x 600 pixels. The aspect ratio is somewhat important since you want the images to show up crisp and clear in the digital frame. Most frames come in either 4:3 or 15:9 aspect ratios. The 4:3 digital photo frames work great with most digital camera images. Stay away from electronic picture frames that feature wide-screen 16:9 ratios since several websites noted that these variety distort your pictures and ruin the overall effect. How do you transfer the images over to the digital frame? There are usually a couple of options - via USB, memory cards, or now with you can do it with wifi.

If you are going to buy a digital photo frame that allows you to download or transfer images wirelessly from your computer, you should have some technical know how. Many reviews on models like the Kodak EX1011 say the digital frame works great once it's setup, but the initial wireless transfer was not easy to do. Of course you can always just transfer images via USB or use memory cards. Most of the newer digital photo frames (DPF) let you use standard memory cards and the better ones have built in memory from 32 MB to 512 MB. Depending on the resolution of your photos, you will be able to store 50 to 1000 images on your photo frame. I usually take photos with my 8 megapixel camera and they are around 2000KB in size - I resize them at a smaller resolution and save them out at about 700 KB. That way I can store 100's of digital pictures on my frame. Some of the frames actually work on wireless networks and can display images from online photo sites. Although they can be a little tedious to setup, experts say they make a great gift for grandparents who want to see the latest photos of "little Johnny" but are savvy enough to download and view the images on their computer. When it comes to image quality, few models can compete with the Sony or HP listed below. Sure, features like touch screen controls and the ability to playback video are nice, but don't buy a unit based on those functions alone. You will end up paying more for a digital frame that may not show your images as clearly as other models. Most of the contorls are on the back of the frames but ones like the Sony DPF-V900 come with a remote so you can change or alter the settings without having to get up and touch the digital frame. The frames themselves come in various colors - black, white, brown, etc. and you can get wooden or glass frames to add a little style to the photo presentation.

When you consider all the money you may spend on having your favorite digital photos developed, it's not a bad idea to put out the money on a digital photo frame and have the images displayed in your home for FREE. Just slip in the memory card and watch a nice slide show of your latest vacation. We found excellent online reviews of digital frames at CNET.com, PCMag.com, Amazon.com, and Digitalpictureframereview.com. Magazines like Consumer Reports also review digital picture frames. In all the reviews we read, the most important thing to look for is "ease of use" and then "picture quality". A digital frame is a technical device and like anything else related to computers or digital cameras, you need to have a little technical knowledge to set it up. The better reviews were for models that allowed for easy setup and displayed the images clearly. The top brands include HP, Philips, Westinghouse, Kodak, Sony, Coby, Axion, Aluratek, Piximodo, Pandigital, Smartparts, Royal, and VuePic. Expect to spend at least $75 on the cheaper digital frames and up to $300 on the more expensive frames that are 15 inches or larger. Browse the bestselling digital photo frames here.

Best Digital Picture Frame:

Sony is a leading manufacturer of high quality television sets and countless other electronic devices so it only makes sense that their digital picture frame that displays photos would rate very well. The Sony DPF-V900 Digital Photo Frame ($199) offers a 9-inch digital frame that will show off your latest images in high contrast color and superior detail compared to the other brands. It supports most memory cards and you can also transfer images over using a USB input and cable. The 512 MB of internal storage capacity lets you save 100's of high quality digital photos on the frame itself. The images can be displayed on the LCD screen as a slideshow which cycles through all the images or you can select just a few using the thumbnail searching capability. The Auto Correction feature actually improves the quality of the photos by reducing red-eye issues and correcting over/under exposure problems. Another cool feature is the Auto Orientation sensor which "automatically selects portrait or landscape view depending on the horizontal or vertical placement of the frame" (per the Sonystyle.com website). The remote control is a bonus as you can quickly jump around the menu and setup the frame in seconds. Amazon sells the Sony V900 as well as camera stores like Ritz Camera.


8 Inch Digital Photo Frame:

Looking for a solid, 8" digital frame, consider the HP DF820 which is currently selling for around $150 to $170 (all HP digital frames here). The image resolution is 800 x 600 and teh DF820 gives you 512 MB of internal memory. An added feature on the Hewlett Packad photo frame is that is plays back MP3 files on the internal speakers while the slide show of images is being shown. The aspect ration is 4:3 which is perfect for all of you using a digital camera and the contrast ratio is 400:1. You get USB connectivity so you can quickly transfer over 100's of image from your computer hard drive to the internal memory. The DF820 also comes with auto image compression and digital matting. The wooden frame is wall mountable and easy to setup for those that aren't so technically saavy when it comes to electronics. The HP DF820 received high marks on several sites for ease of use and picture quality.

Wifi Digital Picture Frame:

Ok, so you want to be really and transfer images to your new digital picture frame without all the wires and memory cards. The Kodak EX1011 ($175) is a good wireless digital picture frame with a 10-inch viewable LCD display. The wireless capability is sometimes problematic - but that is reported on all the wifi digital frames. Owners report frozen transfers and some glitches, but overall the EX1011 is a good product that features excellent photo quality. CNET mentions that setting up the wireless connection can be a bit tricky but once configured works fine. Another option is the Digital Spectrum MF-8104 Premium ($260) which gives you 256 MB (double the Kodak) and it displays JPEG, PNG, GIF and BMP image files. It also supports MP3, WMA, WAV and WMV audio and video file support. Comes with a remote control as well.

15 Inch Digital Frame:

Most of the 15" frames we found online all feature a 1024 x 768 TFT Color LCD. The Pandigital PAN150 is still pretty pricey at $270 but you get 1,024 x 768 pixel HD resolution with 4:3 aspect ratio. The built-in 512 MB flash memory will handle all your photo and video storage and it's Bluetooth and wifi compatible. It's easy to use and image quality is top rate on this model. Reviews are all over the board on the PAN150, some say it's video playback mode is less than impressive while others note that the color and contrast ratio make for great image viewing. There are literally dozens of manufacturers that produce these 15 inch digital picture frames and we see some shakeout in this industry during the current recession. For the consumers sake, buying a larger digital frame may not make sense financially. Many LCD and plasma tv sets allow you to hook them up via an HDMI cable and display photos right from your computer or you can also insert a memory card (like I can on my Panasonic 50" Plasma). No need to buy a new digital photo frame when I can view my photos on an HDTV that is way bigger than 15 inches. Sure you aren't going to leave your tv on all day with photos cycling through it, but for parties and other events it's not a bad idea.