Digital Picture Frames

December 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Digital picture frames have been hot sellers. Maybe you're considering giving one as a holiday gift. More and more digital picture frames are showing up on store shelves. They're enticing.

Consumer Reports tested nearly two dozen digital frames, both seven and eight-inch sizes. Some display short video clips, too. Prices on frames tested range from 120 to 250 dollars.

Rich Fisco, Consumer Reports, says "A couple of the frames have some new features. The GE specifically also doubles as a cordless phone." The phone can be set up to display who is calling you.

"For the money, you could probably buy yourself a good quality cordless phone and a good quality digital picture frame," says Fisco.

A couple of the frames tested, like this Samsung, offer wireless connectivity, a real plus. But testers found the wireless option on this e-starling frame too limited. You can e-mail photos from your computer or cell phone. But the frame cannot access photos directly from your computer.

This new Smartparts frame lets you print out photos. But tests found the prints are expensive and the quality isn't the best. Fisco says "The most important feature in digital picture frames is, of course, the picture."

Unfortunately, many manufacturers still haven't fixed the "sideways" problem. Notice how the picture fades when you look at it from an angle.

When all the tests were done, testers found this eight-inch Westinghouse digital frame offers very good picture quality. It costs 120 dollars.

There are a lot of digital frames being sold that go for less than a hundred dollars. But Consumer Reports says these usually aren't large enough or don't have high enough resolution to adequately display photos from today's digital cameras, so you want to avoid those.

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