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How to choose a Digital Photo Frame

Read here Best digital photo frames

or on PCmag

Plain old picture frames are so last century. After all, they don’t do much more than show off one shot. Snore. Digital photo frames, on the other hand, let you create slideshows with cool transitions to display all of your vacation pics. Some of these handy devices integrate video, audio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a host of other features, too. The best part? LCD technology is finally becoming affordable enough for these frames to be had at reasonable prices. We’ve reviewed a bunch of digital photo frames and have found that you can land a great bargain on an excellent one; but you need to know what to look for. So here are our rules for picking the perfect digital picture frame.

Rule 1: Consider the User
Some of the picture frames we’ve reviewed, such as the Sony VAIO Wi-Fi Photo Frame VGF-CP1 ($299 list), have fancy features like full Web browsers, streaming Internet radio, and text news feeds. With the exception of the $125 (street) Smartparts 8″ WiFi Digital Picture Frame (SPX8WF), Wi-Fi photo frames often cost quite a bit more than those that display only local content. Those features also add complicated menu options that may be confusing to novice users. And people on your gift list may just want to see their photos and little else, so it may be best to stay away if you don’t think you or the person receiving the frame will take advantage of the wireless features.

On the other hand, more sophisticated users will enjoy Web-enabled features, such as the ability to e-mail photos or see up-to-date weather forecasts. Features like dedicated e-mail addresses make basic Wi-Fi frames, such as the Smartparts model, a good fit for anyone with a wireless network.

Rule 2: Don’t Buy Based on Brand Name Alone
We had high hopes for HP’s first digital photo frame, the HP df750 7-inch Digital Picture Frame ($129.99 direct), for example, so we were surprised to find that the company built it around a dismal LCD riddled with scaling problems that produced jagged, grainy images. This frame also has a hard-to-maneuver menu system that makes it difficult to recommend.

On the flip side, the lesser-known Pandigital used an excellent display in its 8-inch PanTouch Digital Photo Frame ($169.99 list) touch-enabled frame that delivered quite good images. Our tests showed images with pleasing color accuracy, and the device offers picture adjustments for brightness, contrast, tint, and color for fine-tuning almost any photo to perfection. The bottom line: Always read reviews before you buy!

Rule 3: Never Settle for Resolution Below 640 by 480 Pixels—Regardless of Price
Rock-bottom prices on some frames, such as the $79.99 (list) Cenomax F7024B 7-inch Digital Photo Frame, may render them mighty attractive, but beware subpar images. This frame’s resolution of 480 by 234 pixels is too low to display details, so most of its images look boxy and pixelated—no bargain! Consider only frames with a resolution of 640-by-480 or higher.

Rule 4: Select Your Aspect Ratio
Photo frames typically come in one of two aspect ratios, 4:3 or 15:9. By default, most point-and-shoot digital cameras capture photos in 4:3. A frame with an aspect ratio of 4:3 will be the best fit for your photos, as 15:9 frames will have to crop a piece of the top and bottom of your photos to fit the image on the LCD screen. On the other hand, a 15:9 aspect ratio gives your images a pleasing widescreen feel, which might be a better bet for some. One of our high-rated frames, the Sony DPF-V900 9-inch Digital Photo Frame, displays in 15:9. That, together with its slick design and intuitive software, makes it look and feel like a mini HDTV.

Ashlee Simpson and family are having tough time selling baby photos

Ashlee Simpson and her new hubby, Pete Wentz, are having a tough time of it trying to sell photos of new baby Bronx Mowgli to celebrity magazines. Simpson’s overbearing father/manager, Joe, is demanding too much money, Perezhilton.com reports. A magazine insider says that covers featuring the pair don’t sell too well. And besides that, doesn’t Joe know we’re in the throes of a recession?

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