Handsome frames and physical photo albums may still have their place at home, but now there’s a modern way to show your favorite images: the digital picture frame. These devices may use a variety of mechanisms to easily upload thousands of photos and videos, and then store and display them.
The best digital picture frame for you will depend on your desired screen size, screen resolution, and connection versatility, plus whatever extra features may be desired. A USB flash drive is typically required to load photos onto the digital picture frame, though some frames allow for uploading images through email, the cloud, and various apps.
If you own a quality camera and take high-definition (HD) photos, you’ll likely want a digital picture frame that displays HD images with the sharpness and clarity they warrant. However, if you only use a smartphone camera, an HD digital frame won’t improve the display that much, so a lower-resolution frame might be just fine.
Many of the best digital picture frames let you control music or video files through a touch screen or remote control as well. Rely on this guide to explain the factors and features to consider when shopping for a digital picture frame, and learn why the following models are among the best you can buy.
- BEST OVERALL: Dragon Touch Digital Picture Frame 10 inch
- RUNNER-UP: Skylight Frame: 10 inch Wifi Digital Picture Frame
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: MRQ 14 Inch Full HD Digital Photo Frame
- UPGRADE PICK: Nixplay Smart Digital Picture Frame 15.6 Inch
- BEST TOUCH SCREEN: Feelcare 10.1 Inch Digital Picture Frame Touch Screen
- BEST HIGH-DEFINITION: Atatat WiFi Digital Picture Frame 10 Inch
- BEST VERSATILITY: Pix-Star 10 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Picture Frame
- BEST REMOTE CONTROL: Powerextra 10.1 inch Digital Photo Frame 1280×800
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Digital Picture Frame
Digital picture frames are a cool new concept in home decor that can store and display a wide range of photos and videos. They work similarly to the way an e-reader stores hundreds to thousands of books. Criteria to keep in mind when selecting a digital picture frame include frame style, screen size, resolution, aspect ratio, and several other features detailed below.
A digital picture frame will serve as an aspect of home decor and, as such, should reflect your personal style. An extensive variety of frame styles is available, from slim black borders that enhance the picture on display to more striking wide and ornate frames.
The color and finish of the frame should also be considered as well as the screen appearance. Screens can have a matte, flat, or glossy finish that look different depending on exposure to direct light. A matte or flat screen is best for very bright locations, while a glossy finish allows the full light from the pictures to shine through, making it ideal for darker corners of a room.
The size of the screen is measured diagonally, from corner to corner, in inches. This measurement is generally provided in the product details or manufacturer’s information. The most common digital picture frame size is 10 inches, though frames can be larger, with some exceeding 20 inches.
To choose a digital picture frame size, measure the area where the frame will be displayed to ensure a good fit. Keep in mind that many digital picture frames can be hung on the wall and needn’t necessarily sit on a shelf or table.
Screen resolution can be an important factor, depending on the quality of the pictures and videos to be displayed. Pictures taken with a smartphone camera likely won’t benefit from high-definition resolution, while professional graduation or wedding photos would be diminished by low-definition resolution.
Resolution, determined by the number of pixels (p) used to make the screen, affects the clarity of the images on display. So, while a 480 by 720p resolution will suffice for frames that are 7 inches or smaller, as screen size increases, so should resolution. A decent resolution for a 10-inch screen is 1280 by 800p. For screens larger than 10 inches, 1920 by 1080p resolution will allow for high-definition image display.
Many people are familiar with the term “aspect ratio,” as it’s common on television settings menus and computer preferences. It refers to the ratio between the width and height of the screen. Aspect ratio can determine if a photo will be displayed properly or if the size will be adjusted, possibly cropping the edges.
- Standard digital picture frames have an aspect ratio of 4:3, which is ideal for the majority of photos and still images. With this aspect ratio, the picture fills the frame without being cropped.
- Widescreen digital picture frames, like modern televisions, have a 16:9 aspect ratio. This type of frame is a good option for showing both pictures and videos.
Digital picture frames can have both internal storage and external storage capabilities.
- Internal storage refers to the memory of the device, allowing pictures, videos, and other files to be saved directly to the picture frame. This type of storage can range in size from 512 MB (about 1,000 photos) to 16 GB (about 40,000 photos).
- External storage refers to USB drives, SD cards, and other portable storage devices that can be accessed from the digital picture frame when connected. These devices are used to transfer files to the digital picture frame as an alternative to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth transfer.
The best digital picture frame can quickly and effectively share an image through multiple frames by multiple people. Not all digital picture frames have this capability, especially those that cannot connect through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. While frames can copy images into external storage to share images, that isn’t quite as much fun as doing so wirelessly with others who have access to the frame.
Photo sharing allows users to connect through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth with a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Pictures can be quickly copied and shared, allowing, for example, an entire family to instantly enjoy holiday moments together.
Basic digital picture frames require an external storage device, such as a USB drive or SD card, to load photos, videos, and other files onto the frame. Files are typically moved from a computer to the digital picture frame, a potentially time-consuming process.
Digital picture frames that connect through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth communicate remotely through an app. This allows multiple users to quickly upload, copy, share, and remove photos, videos, and even music files. This also easily enables the creation of custom playlists, meaning there’s no need to hold the frame in your hands or use a remote when switching between, say, summer vacation photos and holiday pics.
Our Top Picks
The products below are selected based on screen size, screen resolution, and versatility. They also take into account extra features, such as remote or touch screen control and music, game, or internet access. These devices are among the best digital picture frame options for keeping an electronic photo album.
The Dragon Touch Digital Picture Frame has 16 gigabytes (GB) of storage, which amounts to space for about 40,000 photos of approximately 300 kilobytes (KB) each. The 10-inch screen has a 1280 by 800p resolution to display photos and videos up to 30 seconds in length. Photos and videos can be uploaded via email, the cloud, and the OurPhoto app.
The frame can receive photos any time it is connected to Wi-Fi, and users can also employ a USB port or SD card. Use the touch screen or accompanying smartphone app to choose images for display or change various settings. The frame can be positioned horizontally or vertically and is suitable for hanging on a wall. An auto-rotate function ensures photos are shown in the proper orientation.
The 10-inch Skylight frame takes just a minute of setup time before digital photos are ready for display. Simply plug it in, connect it to Wi-Fi, and upload. The Skylight has 8GB of memory, and while the manufacturer states this will store about 8,000 photos, this amount of space may be able to handle as many as 30,000 images.
Wi-Fi is required to load photos, and the frame comes with a unique email address to access them. The Skylight’s intuitive touch screen display allows you to change settings, and photos are displayed in 1280 by 800p high resolution.
Load the budget-friendly MRQ Digital Photo Frame via a USB port or SD card rather than Wi-Fi. The digital picture frame displays images and videos directly from external storage instead of taking up an internal storage system’s processing power.
The MRQ frame displays pictures in 1920 by 1080p resolution on a 14-inch LED screen. A motion sensor turns the display on when a viewer walks within about 8 feet of the frame and automatically turns off when no one is nearby, conserving energy. This affordable frame cannot be wall mounted, but it comes with a remote control and can play music during picture slideshows.
The Nixplay Smart Digital Picture Frame displays 40,000 images on a high-quality screen and boasts 16GB of internal storage space. The frame is WiFi-enabled and can be populated with photos from the Nixplay app, your email, or other online sources, including Dropbox and Instagram. While an app and a small remote are included, the Nixplay is also Amazon Alexa compatible, allowing voice command operation.
Photos and videos are displayed on a 15.6-inch screen in 1920 by 1080p high-definition resolution. The frame can be positioned vertically or horizontally while displaying images in the correct orientation. The Nixplay Smart Digital Picture Frame is also available in 10- and 13-inch sizes.
The intuitive touch screen of the Feelcare Digital Picture Frame Touch Screen makes it easy to set up and accurately adjust settings for videos and photos. Use the Frameo app, a micro USB port, or a micro SD card port to upload photos and videos up to 15 seconds long on this WiFi-enabled device. The app allows the frame to connect with more than 500 contacts, so family, friends, and others can drop new images into the digital frame with Wi-Fi.
The Feelcare digital picture frame has an 800 by 1280p resolution and an internal storage capacity of 16GB (about 40,000 photos). The 10-inch frame can be placed vertically or horizontally and will automatically rotate images to the correct orientation.
For fun and easy sharing of a whopping 50,000 crisp, clear images, the Atatat WiFi HD Digital Picture Frame is a solid choice. It displays photos and short videos in up to 1920 by 1080p HD resolution, and users can even include a short caption on images.
This WiFi-enabled frame accepts images from the OurPhoto app, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Uploading is also supported by a USB port and SD card slot. An auto-rotate feature ensures that images are displayed in the proper orientation whether the frame is positioned vertically, horizontally, or hung on a wall.
This Pix-Star frame offers lots of ways to import images, plus it has other cool features for versatility. The WiFi-enabled digital picture frame accepts photos from the Pix-Star app, the user’s email, a local USB drive, and an SD card. It also allows uploading from popular social media websites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr. The digital picture display measures 9.7 inches, and an internal memory of 8GB means a storage capacity of about 30,000 images. Images are displayed in 1024 by 768p resolution.
Beyond photo display and storage, the Pix-Star frame also offers hundreds of preprogrammed radio stations, and the user’s own music can be uploaded through the USB or SD port. The frame is loaded with brain games as well, and users can schedule calendar reminders that appear on the screen.
Those who like the convenience of a remote control to operate a digital picture frame without connecting to a smart device may appreciate this Powerextra model. The remote allows for quick and effective control of the 10.1-inch digital picture frame from across a room. While the frame does not have Wi-Fi, it supports USB drives, multimedia cards, memory sticks, SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity), and Secure Digital (SD) cards up to 32GB in size.
The screen has a 1280 by 800p resolution to display stored pictures and can play videos with up to 1920 by 1080p high-definition resolution. The unit also boasts built-in speakers for background music and a motion sensor that turns the screen on when someone approaches within about 6.5 feet.
FAQs About Digital Picture Frames
If you want a bit more information before investing in a digital picture frame, consider the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Q. How do I choose a digital picture frame?
Selecting a new digital picture frame is largely a matter of personal preference. Find a model that’s large enough for the pictures to be seen easily from where it will be set up or hung. Also, decide on screen resolution. If the majority of your photos are taken with a high-resolution camera, consider a frame that can accurately and clearly display the pictures.
Q. Can you leave a digital photo frame on all the time?
Yes, a digital picture frame can be left on all the time. To save energy, a motion sensor frame is ideal. These screens automatically start displaying when someone walks within range, then power down when no one is around.
Q. Can you send pictures to a digital frame?
Some digital picture frames have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities that allow pictures to be sent directly to the frame without having to connect a USB drive, SD card, or any other external storage device.
Q. Do you have to have Wi-Fi for a digital picture frame?
No, Wi-Fi isn’t a prerequisite for a digital picture frame. These devices can store and display photos and videos with a USB drive, SD card, MMC, MS, or an SDHC card. But Wi-Fi capability makes it easier to send photos to the frame.