“a consumer reports for the cheap” — the new york times

Digital Picture Frames Features

The more expensive wireless digital picture frames let you transfer files from a PC, Mac, smartphone, or camera without having to bother with attachments and cables. Other wireless digital photo frames let you email photos directly to the frame and get updates on news, weather, and sports.

These and other features, such as phone-charging outlets and picture-editing software, don't affect the quality of the picture display and usually knock the frame out of the Cheapism price range.

Still, you'll find some cheap models equipped with extra features. The Pandigital PAN7000DW, for instance, comes with a remote control that earns high marks in digital frames reviews on Amazon. This frame also lets users create slide shows, set a timer, and use the frame as a clock, calendar, and alarm clock. One reviewer especially likes the easy-to-use remote control and says the timer option is a plus when giving this frame to an older relative. (Tip: Set the timer so the gift recipient doesn't have to remember to turn on the frame).

The budget-priced Sony DPF-D710 functions as a clock and/or calendar and comes with a timer and remote control for the frame's varied functions. According to digital frames reviews on Best Buy, shoppers particularly like the slide show feature with its creative transitioning effects and the ability to adjust the time between photos. Users also appreciate the option to create multiple slide shows and then choose which to present to that day's audience. The Kodak EasyShare P750 also wins rave notices at Best Buy for similar extra functionalities.

Digital Picture Frames Ease of Use.

While you won't need an engineering degree to figure out how to use a low-cost digital picture frame, managing your pictures can be very frustrating if the frame supports only one or two formats that happen to be incompatible with your digital camera, computer, memory cards, or flash drives. But for ease of use, the Kodak EasyShare P750 is certainly well named. This model wins high praise from consumers posting digital picture frame reviews on Amazon for its straight-out-of-the-box operation. The EasyShare P750 supports just a few image formats, and with no involved set up, you plug it into an electric outlet, pop in your memory card, and you're set. One user's review reports that it needed just a quick 30 seconds to upload 129 photos.

Users' experiences with the Pandigital PAN7000DW are mixed, according to reviews at Amazon. Several say the directions are a bit tricky to understand unless you're tech-savvy (if you are, you might consider setting it up yourself before passing it along to someone on your holiday gift list). On the plus side, notes The Tech Check, it's compatible with numerous file formats, including music and video. That review also mentions Bluetooth capability, but Digital Frame Reviewer points out that you need a separate adapter to wirelessly transfer pictures from a smartphone or camera.

The Aluratek ADMPF108F (starting at $49), on the other hand, barely registers with consumers, whose reviews on Amazon refer to it as very user-unfriendly due to directions that are hard to decipher and the length of time it takes to upload images (eight hours in one case). In digital picture frames reviews on Newegg, consumers gripe that some computers don't recognize the Aluratek ADMPF108F's software, while others say the frame doesn't remember changes users make when trying to format pictures. For example, one user tried to rotate pictures to the upright position and the digital frame didn't get the message.

Review continues below

Digital Picture Frames Durability.

How well do cheap digital picture frames stand the test of time? That can be determined by both the manufacturer's warranty and user reviews. Both the Sony DPF-D710 and the Kodak EasyShare P750 carry a one-year manufacturer's warranty, while the Aluratek ADMPF108F is only under warranty for 120 days. Purchasers of this model may have thought the wide range of supported file formats, video and audio capabilities, high internal memory, and remote control included with the frame were worth the price, but several reviews on Amazon and Newegg report that the frame stopped working after just a month or two. While the Pandigital PAN7000DW doesn't carry a warranty of any sort, experts at Digital Frame Reviewer don't seem to find this a problem, saying that the company has a record of producing cheap digital picture frames of high caliber quality and design.

email Sign up for our
Free Newsletter
Cheapism.com on Facebook