Many of the more advanced features in digital frames are usually only found in more expensive and possibly more complicated models.
It is always advantageous to know what advanced features are available when comparing prices and features of digital frames.Once you have a clear idea of what you are looking for, it is possible to find one or more desirable features in a more moderately priced model. Listed below are some examples:
Simple function models of digital frames usually do not come with a remote control. They can be be operated by buttons on the machine itself.
Just make sure these buttons are easy to operate and that there are not too many of them.
Please also be aware that remote controls can sometimes be difficult to operate. A big problem with a lot of digital frames is that the buttons on the remote (or even on the frame itself) may not be as responsive as expected, leading to a lot of frustration for the user.
Also, if there is no place to insert a remote control back into or onto the frame (on a magnetized area), they can be easily lost.
Nonetheless, a remote control that works well can usually make changing images and settings less of a chore and can be one of a frame's important advanced features.
Touch Screen Display Menu Interface
Touch screen menu interfaces can be found today in a wide range of electronic gadgets, most notably cell phones and tablets, airport kiosks, bank ATM machines, grocery store self-service and payment screens and many digital photo frames. These products allow the user to access on-screen menus just by pressing with a finger or a stylus.
All of these screens require a microchip (known as a controller) to work. There are two types of technology used with the majority of these screens. They are resistive and capacitive. Each one has its pros and cons.
Resistive TechnologyResistive technology is best for devices that use one finger or a stylus to press on a screen. Simply put, this technology uses two layers which are electrically conductive and are separated by air.
Pressing a finger or a stylus on the screen compresses the layers together which changes the electrical current. This is how the screen recognizes a touch. Resistive touch screens do wear out with time and they cannot be used with more than one finger or more than one touch at a time.
Capacitive Touch TechnologyCapacitive touch screen menu technology is best for electronics that use more than one finger. Capacitive touch screens are sensitive to the body's electrical system. With a capacitive screen, a uniform electrical field is formed by electrodes installed around its edges.
A finger touch will draw current from each corner of the screen. Then the controller can measure the electrical current flow from the corners and instantly calculate the location of the finger. Some of these screens are so sensitive they can detect a finger that is close to the screen, even if it isn't actually touching it! However, the capacitive touch screen cannot actually detect pressure.
The capacitive type of touch screen is very popular with iPhone users who are able to use their thumbs and index fingers to perform certain functions on their phones. Eventually, we can expect advances in this technology to enable all ten fingers to use a screen! This opens up amazing opportunities, especially in the fields of music and art.
Other Types of Touch Screen TechnologyThere are other touch screen menu interfaces, such as ones that use sound waves to recognize a touch and others that use infrared light-emitting diodes, and when the light is interrupted, photo sensors detect the touch. This is a field that is still very young but shows promise of expanding rapidly in the future.
Both resistive and capacitive types of touch screens do have 2 major problems. They are not glare-resistant and they tend to collect scratches and fingerprints on their screens. Scratch and smudge resistant as well as anti-reflective coatings are currently being developed by consumer electronics companies to solve these problems.
Higher end models of digital frames may use a touch screen display menu interface as one of their advanced features. This feature should be user-friendly and easy to operate with or without a remote control.
One problem that can occur with screens that have this interface is apparent when the frames also have a zoom function. The zoomed picture will probably be obstructed by the zoom button or other menu buttons that are on the screen.
Most stands can be adjusted into different positions, depending on how you want the frame to sit.
Make sure they are sturdy and have a wide enough angle to accommodate the frame horizontally and vertically (if your frame has a self-orienting function from portrait to landscape view and back). The same can be said about the stands that are built into the frame itself. These tend to be more sturdy.
Another good point to consider is the inclusion of a wall-mountable option. (Those frames with stands that are part of the frame itself cannot be mounted onto a wall).
For digital frames that are portable (have rechargeable batteries), a stand that can easily be adjusted to be flush with the frame is one of those advanced features that adds to the usefulness of these frames.
Calendar, Clock, Alarm or Voice Recorder
These examples of advanced features can be found in a variety of forms, shapes and levels of operating use. You will have no problem finding most of these advanced features incorporated into a digital frame software program.
Auto Power Savings
Of all the advanced features of digital frames, this is the one that gives it the "green" advantage over a lot of other electronic products.
Does the frame have the ability to set a "power off and on time" so it doesn't run 24 hours a day?
As with all electronic products, non-stop running could lead to overheating.
This feature reduces power usage and adds to the safety of the product. It will not only prolong the life of the frame but will protect the screen as well.
Is there a sleep function so you can turn the frame off temporarily?
This goes along with "power off and on time" and, as with that feature, adds to more control over the power consumption of any electronic product.
Motion or light sensors that can be found in some digital frames are very important advanced features which can result in power savings as well. The screen will dim or turn itself off and on depending on whether anyone is in the room or whether the lights are on or off.
Revised Software Downloads
Will it be possible to download revised software from the manufacturer's website to upgrade the frame when improvements are made?
If you or the recipient of a frame has computer access, this is one of the advanced features that is important to consider if you want to be able to download the latest versions of your frame's software.
Wireless, Blue-Tooth, Web Browsing, Streaming Internet Radio, Text News Feeds
Frames that transfer photos directly from a computer without touching the frame are now available.
Advanced features such as this may require the setup of a home wireless network and may involve a monthly fee.
But, please be aware that even the truly computer savvy can sometimes have trouble getting these frames to communicate with a home wireless network! Make sure the company that manufactures the frame you choose is available to provide excellent customer service at reasonable hours.
As an added note, frames with more elaborate technology such as wireless, blue-tooth, full web browsers, streaming Internet radio and text news feeds, etc., may have very complicated menu options that may be confusing, especially to novice users.
On the other hand, they may be an excellent choice for more sophisticated users!
Please see wireless digital frames on this website for what to look for in a "wireless" digital frame.
Another of the advanced features that can be found in certain frames is the ability to connect to TVs and DVD players to display photos on larger screens.
Built-In Photo Printing
Frames that come with built-in photo printing options have the ability, at the push of a button, to instantly create a 4x6 color print to share with friends or family.
These printers are usually supplied with one cartridge that will produce 36 4x6 glossy prints.
Additional cartridges can be purchased in retail stores or on the Internet.
All of this is possible without having to boot up a PC, locate the photo and use a large, bulky printer!
Copying, Transferring and Converting with Photo Printing Enhanced Frames
An advanced feature of some frames with built-in printers is one that enables the user to copy photos, which will then be optimized and transferred to the frame or memory card.
Some also give the user the ability to convert and transfer PowerPoint slides, PDF files and most picture and graphic files directly to the frame. This is a useful feature, especially for business or retail applications.
Please be aware that this print feature may not work as well as intended in certain frames, so be prepared to test this function before purchasing a frame if this is a desired option.
Frames of the Future with Built-In Camera Options!It is always interesting to see what new options the manufacturers of digital frames may offer!
Although, it may never reach the general market, there is a concept on the table for a digital frame that will have a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front for self-portraits and a 2 megapixel camera on the back with a flash.
This type of frame is aimed at the older generation or those who do not wish to transfer pictures at all. After shooting, these pictures would go straight to the frame and start rotating in a slideshow.
No matter what style or type of digital photo frame, in whatever form you choose, they are all meant to enhance the experience of enjoying photos and connecting with family and friends.
Types of file formats available in digital frames such as memory cards, pictures, audio, video, and text and messaging can be found in the next section.
If you've come this far and knew little or nothing about digital frames before, you should now be able to feel a bit more comfortable about purchasing these products. I certainly hope so!
Please remember that it is my sincere intention to help make your purchase not only an informed one, but a pleasant one as well!
I also want to make sure you fully understand how to use your new purchase, especially the advanced features. Please contact me with any questions about your individual purchase or about any topics covered in this website.
I will make every attempt to find answers and get back to you as soon as possible.
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SUPPORTED FILE TYPES for DIGITAL FRAMES