Digital Frames

August 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
You'll find digital picture frames in more than 12 million American homes. Unlike traditional photo frames, these electronic ones display slideshows of lots of photos. And more and more are coming with added features.Two-year-old Eliza Schwartz loves her family's digital picture frame, and so does her mother, Jen. "I think it's great. I have 150 of my most favorite pictures that I can look at without having to clutter the house."

Consumer Reports' Rich Fisco tested ten digital picture frames. Some come with new features like the mustek's iPod docking station. "Most of the frames come with speakers. But it's not exactly what you'd want to listen to your I-pod on. They're small, they're tinny sounding, and there's very little base."

To use most of these frames, you insert your digital camera's memory card. The frames Consumer Reports recommends work with a wide range of camera memory cards. You always want to check if a frame is going to be compatible with your camera's memory card.

But there's an exception. Fisco says, "The Samsung digital frame's claim to fame is its wireless connectivity. If you have pictures stored on your computer, it'll be able to access them wirelessly and display them on the frame."

How do the photos look? Head-on, pretty good. But if you're looking at an angle, you'll have difficulty seeing the picture. And think twice about wide-screen frames.

"The 16x9 widescreen format can either leave black borders around the perimeter of the screen or it cuts off the edges of your photo. If you look at the frame over here with the 4x3 ratio, you'll see the babies look pretty good. With this one over here with the 16x9 widescreen ratio, you'll see this baby's head is almost all cut off, and this one's very elongated," says Fisco.

Consumer Reports recommends the HP DF800 for $170. It's compatible with windows if you want to take pictures off your computer.

The Smartparts Syncpix SPX8 for $190 is compatible with Macs. Both have very good picture quality.


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