Digital Photo Frames

Pandigital Pan80-1 digital photo frame

A Digital Photo Frame is like a picture frame, but instead of holding a picture it contains an electronic display that can show your photos. The photos are usually displayed as a slide show. Some allow you to select a specific picture and have it displayed continuously. Many can also show videos and play music files.

Digital Photo Frames come in sizes from about one and a half inches to 17 inches (measured on the diagonal). The size refers to the diagonal measurement of the display area unless otherwise specified.


Most photo frames have some built-in memory. You can usually add additional memory.

You first load the internal the photo frame with your photos, either by plugging a memory card (Compact Flash, SD, USB thumb drive, etc.) directly into the photo frame or by plugging the photo frame into a USB port on your computer.

The photo frame will then display your photos as a slide show, displaying each picture for the length of time you have specified. Some photo frames are capable of displaying videos, also, and some even include speakers so they can play audio.

Some photo frames have fairly elaborate setup menus, while others are quite basic. Check the features carefully before purchasing. Be sure it is capable of displaying the types of files you have. Aall photo frames can display JPEG images (at least I haven't found an exception yet). Additional formats that work with some photo frames are AVI (video), MP3 (audio), WMA (audio), and others. Many come with a small remote control. Some can run off batteries, while others must be plugged into a wall outlet.

I have purchased two photo frames, an 8" model and a 15" model. Both models work reasonably well. Features of the two frames are similar, and both came with remote controls.

My 8" digital photo frame is the Pandigital model 80-1. Its display is 800x600 pixels, and can display or play JPEG, AVI (limited types) and MP3 files. It comes with an interchangeable frame - black or silver.

My 15" frame is the Smartparts SP15MWA. Its display is 1024x768 pixels. It has a dark wood frame. It comes with software that will convert various files for display on this photo frame. I haven't tried anything beyond basic JPEG files yet, but website claims this software can help you display photos, Power Point slides and PDF files on the frame.

Which frame do I think is better? I don't know - all I can say so far is that they are different. :-). I haven't had time to do detailed comparisons yet. And the two photo frames I have represent only a small sample of the brands available, and of the models in these two manufacturers product line. As the Smartparts frame is larger, I think I'll hang it on the wall. The smaller Pandigital frame will probably go on a desk, maybe in my office.

The Smartparts frame has larger pixels, and up close I can see the pixels. But at normal viewing distance for a 15" frame, I cannot see the individual pixels. The Pandigital is a smaller display, and the pixels are a bit smaller, so it can be viewed at closer distances without the pixels becoming visible.