HomeSmart HomesAre Cordless Digital Photo Frames Practical?

Are Cordless Digital Photo Frames Practical?


What are the pros and cons of cordless digital photo frames?

Cordless digital photo frames are fantastic for a minimalist appearance. The lack of cabling helps the digital frame closely mimic a normal picture frame. It is clean and fits comfortably into a sleek and modern house with a classy appeal. You can put the digital frame on a standalone table and not have to worry about cables ruining the clean aesthetic.

Other advantages include mobility and safety. If you have children (especially babies and younger kids) or pets, cables can be a potential hazard. Cordless digital photo frames can be put in high traffic areas without worrying about your kids tripping over it – or your cat shedding it! You can also pass it around at family gatherings or easily change its location often.

One of the main negative aspects of cordless digital photo frames is the lack of choice. Truly cordless options are hard to find. They’re usually more expensive and often lack the versatility and features of their wired competitors. This means you might have to sacrifice some important features and versatility to go cordless.

Charging time and battery life is another major concern with cordless digital photo frames. If the frame has to spend most of its time charging or being connected to its charging port (the more common type of cordless digital photo frame) – it levels out the “cordless” advantage.

Another big drawback is that many non-cordless digital frames have been intelligently designed to hide the cabling. For example, Pix-Star’s digital photo frame comes with a stand that doubles as a cover that hides the cable and power inlet. If you place the photo frame in front of a wall or on a mantelpiece, the cabling is very tough to spot. This makes cordless digital photo frames a little redundant, though not completely useless.

Are there any cordless digital photo frames?

There are two main types of cordless digital photo frames: truly cordless; and cordless design. Truly cordless digital photo frames are hard to find and your choices are severely limited. This lack of choice, combined with fewer features and versatility, means that most people end up making the switch to the second type – the cordless design.

Cordless designed digital photo frames still have cables as they aren’t battery-powered (which has quite a few benefits of its own). These types of digital photo frames use smart design to mask and hide the cabling and the power inlet. Some use the stand to double as a cable-hider (Pix-Star) and others use cable-clips to keep everything looking clean and tidy.

How long do cordless digital frames last?

Truly cordless digital photo frames don’t have excellent battery life – and this is one of their main drawbacks. Their battery life ranges from 2 hours at the low and 5-6 at the higher end – though even 5 hours isn’t a lot of time.

You’ll find that you need to keep the charging cable or charging port/bank nearby. This kind of negates the benefit of going cordless – especially if you want to have your pictures and videos displaying throughout the day. You will most likely need to limit your usage time, or sacrifice the cordless aspect of the digital photo frame and keep it near the charging cable.

Depending on how often you use the cordless digital photo frame (and how you use it), 5-6 hours of battery life between charges might be enough.

Can you use a tablet as a cordless digital photo frame?

Yes, you can – but it comes with a lot of limitations. The main advantage of dedicated cordless digital photo frames over tablets and TVs is their ease of use. If you set up a tablet as a digital photo frame, you will most likely only be able to play slideshows via your gallery or a third-party app.

This also means you will have to manually download and select the photos and videos you want to display – and you will lose access to features like emailing photos for automatic display and syncing up with web-albums.

There are also various compatibility issues as an iPad won’t be able to connect to as many devices like an Android tablet. Similarly, Android tablets will struggle to sync easily with iPhones.

On the plus side, you will have high-resolution photo viewing and video playback as most tablets (especially Samsung tablets and iPads) have stunning displays. All-in-all it probably isn’t worth the loss of features and versatility (and the much higher price) you’d have if you used a proper cordless digital photo frame.

How to set up a cordless digital photo frame?

Make sure your digital photo frame is charged and turned on. If this is the first time you’re using the digital frame, you’ll be guided through the setup process by the setup wizard. If this isn’t the first time using the frame, start by connecting to a good Wi-Fi network (if the frame supports Wi-Fi).

Use the touchscreen/controls to select your Wi-Fi network, input the password, and let it get connected. You need to check that the frame is registered and online. Each brand has a slightly different process here, so make sure you check your digital photo frame’s setup guide.

For reference, Pix-Star’s frames are ready to use once they’ve been registered via the web interface. Once the digital photo frame is connected to Wi-Fi and registered, it shows as being “online” on the web interface. You can then start sending photos and syncing up with your social media and web albums.

How do cordless digital photo frames work?

Most cordless digital photo frames have a charging port and an in-built battery. The charging port sits on a table or mantelpiece and doubles as a stand for the digital photo frame. You can manually lift the frame off the port and move it around (at a family gathering for example). When the digital frame is put back on the hub/port, it continues charging.

Other cordless digital photo frames simply have a charging cable (like your phone does) that you’ll use to charge the frame when the battery is low.

Aside from batteries and charging cables, cordless digital photo frames work more or less the same as standard digital photo frames – just with fewer features.

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