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Buyers Guide: Digital Photo Frames - With Digital Photo Frames becoming ever popular and the market increasing rapidly, it's hard to know which one to choose, so we've devised this guide to let you know exactly what you need to look for.
There are several things to consider when buying a digital photo frame – firstly screen size and resolution. What size is the screen and what is the maximum resolution of image the frame is capable of displaying? The bigger the screen, the more impact it has while the higher the resolution, the more detailed it will appear. Secondly you need to consider the design of the frame, is it something you would want to display on your mantelpiece, and thirdly, is internal memory available or do all images have to be viewed direct from memory card?. Here's a round up of the latest frames on the market to help you decide.
The most expensive but most stylish looking
At first glance the 7FFIAW looks exactly the same as the Summit Frame, but when switched on, the difference is obvious, both in image quality and menus, which are much easier to use on the Philips frame. With 800 x 480 pixel resolution images displayed are crisp and clear, and the menus are clearer with higher quality graphics. Capable of displaying images up to 12Mp in size, the 7FFIAW has the added convenience of being powered by battery as well as by mains, meaning it can be used anywhere, not just where there is a plug socket.
Maplin 7" Digital Photo Frame
The Maplin 7" frame is cheap and cheerful frame, with 480 x 234 pixel resolution, and reasonably good colour and quality of images. Menus are easy to use and there are several viewing modes that can be selected from. Music can also be played either on its own or alongside image viewing. Another interesting feature is that when the frame is turn sideways into landscape mode the image automatically adapts to match it. There is also a small amount of internal memory built into the frame meaning you can store up to five images separate from those on the memory card. With an array of features the frame is good value for money, and better quality than you might expect for something of this price. Additionally, the frame isn't at all cheap looking as you might expect, and is well built with an attractive looking frame. Also features alarm clock and calendar. Can be controlled via remote control or panel at the back of the frame.
At £49.99, the Libra QS700 is Reddmango's most basic frame and the lowest priced frame of the range tested here, and is a basic frame.
With 480 x 234 pixel resolution the frame accepts a wide variety of memory cards including CF, SD, MS Pro MMC and XD, and images can also be downloaded from a camera or PC via USB cable. The frame can also be rotated for either landscape or portrait orientation. Image quality is good as is the colour and the frame will support images of up to 11Mp with a choice of nine different transition modes.
Can be controlled via remote control or control panel on side of frame.
Kodak EasyShare SV811 8"
With its own unique design, the Kodak Easyshare SV811 boasts 800 x 480 pixel resolution, plus 128Mb of internal memory, allowing a lot of images to be stored without the use of a memory card or USB connection. The quality and colour of the images were high. While the frame is quite stylishly designed, I couldn't help but feel that the size of it was a bit unnecessary for the 8in image displayed, which becomes slightly drowned in the mass of black plastic, and that it may have looked better with a slightly smaller surround. Accepts a variety of cards including CF, MS, MS Pro, MMC, SD, and also has a built in music player allowing a soundtrack to your slideshow.
Summit 7" Digital Photo Frame
In my opinion, at £109.99, you would expect a higher pixel resolution than 480 x 234. Controls on the top of the panel are slightly fiddly to use and the frame could benefit from the addition of a remote control. Having said that, the Summit frame is stylishly designed, and there are nine slideshow modes that can be selected meaning it can be customised to suit the individuals taste. Changeable colour inserts are included giving further scope for personalisation, and allowing the frame to be co-ordinated with the decor. However, as one of the higher priced frames of the test, I would definitely expect more features. Compatible with SD, MMC, MS, SM, CF and XD cards and features auto image scaling which adjusts the image to fit the screen.
Afga 7" Photo Frame
The Afga 7" frame is mains powered, connects via USB or memory cards and is compatible with SD, MMC, MS and CF. Although the picture quality is fairly good and the menus are relatively well laid out, the frame itself is not the most attractive and doesn't exactly scream quality. It has somewhat of a plasticky feel, looking almost like something your child might bring home from technology class. With 480 x 234 it is not one of the highest resolution screens of the test, and at £99.99, I feel that it's not the best value for money either.
Strawberry multimedia 8" Deco
The 8" Deco from Strawberry Multimedia is a traditional looking frame with a high screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. It is easy to use and is compatible with a wide range of cards including SD, MMC, MS, MS DUO, CF and XD. On the down side, there is an unsightly screw hole down the right hand side of the display which could have easily been concealed, and the frame itself seems rather exaggerated in size considering the size of the actual image displayed. Maximum image size is 10Mp, and with 800 x 480 pixel resolution, image quality is good. There is also the addition of a music playing function which can be used alongside the same time as viewing a slideshow.
|Strawberry||Kodak ||AG Neovo ||Philips ||Red Mango||Maplin||Afga||Summit|| Edge |
800 x 480
|800 x 480||800 x 480||720 x 480||480 x 234||480 x 234||480 x 234||480 x 234|| 640 x 480|
|Remote control||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|| Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Built in memory||No||128Mb||128Mb||Yes||No ||No||No||No|| No|
|Compatable cards||SD, MMC, |
MS, MS Duo,
CF, CF XD
SD, MMC, MS, xD, CF, MD.
|SD, MMC, MS, CF, M||CF, MS, MS Pro, MMC, SD|
CF, SD, MS Pro MMC and XD
|SD, MMC, MS||SD, MMC, MS, CF||SD, MMC, MS, SM, CF, XD||SD, IBM, CF, MMC, CF, MS, MSPro|
|Music||Yes||Yes|| No||No||No||No|| No||No||Yes|
|Power supply||Mains||Mains||Mains or battery||Mains or battery||Mains ||Mains||Mains||Mains||Mains|
| EPZ Score||3/5||4/5||5/5||5/5||4/5||4/5||3/5||3/5|| 4/5|
The products featured in this review can be pucrhased from the following companies: