A Digital Picture Frame with a Non-Digital Benefit

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I recently received an HP Df820 8″ Digital picture frame and I love it! I have to admit that I never really wanted a digital picture frame. My house has a rather European and Traditional décor, lots of antiques and a digital picture frame just didn’t seem to fit into any of that.

But there it was — I received it as a gift and I’m not one to turn down gifts. So I kept it. It sat on the floor of my office for a few days — mainly because I thought it was going to be hard to assemble. The box was big, it had some cords and an installation guide — I mean, when was the last time you bought a picture frame with its own installation guide?! See. I just wasn’t as enthusiastic as I should have been — given the generosity of this gift (and the fact that I’m a tech widget junkie).

So, on a Saturday night, while we were watching TV, I pulled the frame out of its box. “Uuugh,” I thought.”

I have to get into the computer to select pictures that I want on the frame.” Not just one, but lots of them. What a pain. Even though this particular frame has about 512mb of internal memory, I decided it might be easier to use my SD flash memory card.

Getting Started is Easy

I may have already mentioned that I’m a dive-into-it user; meaning that I don’t read the directions unless something goes really wrong. Well, I did read the quick start guide just to see where all the features were that they mentioned. But just about everything was intuitively obvious, so I put the book down.

It turned out to be easier than I thought. In about 10 minutes, I had selected a series of pictures from the last few months and even changed them all to black and white (just to be more artistic). I put the SD flash memory drive from my camera into the easy visible slot, plugged the thing in and that was the end of that. Voila! I had a digital slide show running. That was really easy.

What I Liked Best

Remember I said that I had this “traditional” home? Well, the cool thing about this frame is that it has a traditional-looking black frame AND it comes with 3 color mat inserts to easily match your décor. That was really really cool.

But wait — nothing I’ve written so far is the real benefit I’ve gotten from this gift. And this one is so unexpected and so wonderful, that I spontaneously wrote this review — no one asked me. I just had to tell everyone about this hidden benefit that has brought more smiles to my family than a year’s worth of ice cream, or in my son’s case, a free Wii J.

I set the frame to change pictures about every 30 seconds. You can set it to change from as frequently as a few seconds to never — and anything else in between. I put the frame in our foyer, so when you walk in through the front door, it’s the first thing you see.

Guests get a quick glance at our family and what we’re all about. But WE see all these pictures change and they remind us of how much fun we’ve had together all year long. I included pictures from our family vacation, from our day at Kennywood Park and even silly fun we’ve had at home. When we come down the stairs and go to get our coats — it’s what we see. It’s the first thing we see when we walk into the house and the last thing we see when we walk out. It’s done something magical to our already happy family — reminded us that no matter how hectic life is, we have each other.

Here are some other options which you might choose to use:

You can set it to view in 4 quadrants where you can see small pictures, a calendar and a digital clock. That way it can be displayed on your desk at work, and it looks like this:

Some other settings include showing videos or even having music (yes, it has audio) play along with your pictures. Then there are the matting options. My favorite are the colored mats they’ve included in the package or you can choose digital mats that you pick in the program menu.

Who The Digital Picture Frame is Best for

This makes a good gift for business or personal purposes. I would encourage you to consider this as a gift for just about anyone. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles will love having the most recent pictures of family fun. Give this to those special people in and around your business; bosses, clients, or employees. It’s an easy way to build fun and loyalty – not to mention standing out in a sea of gift cards.

I didn’t expect to write this review. I wrote it because it isn’t often that a product so thoroughly surprises me and brings a smile to my day. And I wanted to share this with you. If you’re stuck for a gift idea, consider this frame — the real gift will be in the smiles and memories you share.

Where to Find More

To find out more about the HP 8-inch digital picture frame, go here.


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

20 Reactions
  1. Interesting new photo product.

  2. Wow.. I would love to have that… Nice one, Ivana!

  3. Thanks for this review, Ivana! I recently wrote my Top Ten Tech Tools you can’t live without in 2009 article for Inc Technology. One of my picks was a digital picture frame – although a different model.

    I think it’s a smart way to display photos and I love that this one even displays video clips and plays music.

    I’d love to have more product reviews of products useful to and that appeal to small businesses. Hint hint …. 🙂

    — Anita

  4. Great review. I have considered buying one of these picture frames even though I am not a big picture taker. However, I have seen some smaller versions that I could use for all my pet pics. I think I may buy one to put on my desk so I can smile at all the goofy kitty pics while I work.

  5. I love how you made the pictures B&W, I think that translates better to a digital display than color, which can be a little off sometimes.

    The one thing that’s kept me from using a digital photo frame myself is the power cord…all the places that I would WANT to display a picture frame are not near an outlet, and all the places near an outlet would be akward places for me to put a picture frame.

  6. I’ve been wanting one of these myself for a while now. Recently I was at a store and saw some really large ones, too. I believe an 11×14 size. I have so many pictures and this is a great way to display them all.

    I’m curious, though . . . I imagine it’s running off of batteries? I’ve heard some of them can only last hours if running continuously. How is your holding up?

  7. Hi Amanda – I had the choice of a smaller digital frame that you could display or carry with you — and it was a tough choice. The little one didn’t have some ofthe high-end features like video and music, but the portability was great. I’m one of those people that NEVER has pictures of my kids – and everyone wants to see them. The small frame would have done the job.

  8. Wow. Cool. I hope I could have this one too… Btw, I’m not sure if I missed in the post but do you have to plug this in an electric outlet or battery operated? Hope it’s not battery operated.

  9. Ivana, nice review!

    When I saw such a digital wireframe, I fell in love with it (and not so much with the price tag 🙂 ) It’s just wonderful. I still haven’t bought it but I will do that soon!

    A positive feature this has is the ‘surprise element’ built into it. If you just dump your pictures into it, you never know which picture will pop up! It can trigger a number of memories and discussions.

    Bianca, the one I saw had a power cord. It usually comes with a power cord, has a slot for your USB pen drive, flash memory etc.

    YFNCG, too bad. Your desk is a great place to put the frame though it could be disturbing.


  10. Hi Everyone – there have been a few questions about whether this was a plug in or battery opperated. It’s a plug in. The reason you don’t see it in the picture is because I wound it up aound the base of the plug (it’s a plug like you’d get with your cell phone or camera). In some of the comments above – they say that the batteries don’t last too long. I don’t know. If anyone has a battery opeated one – let us know. I had no idea there WERE battery operated ones.

  11. I had been looking at a few online a couple of weeks ago and one of them stated that it will last 9 hours on batteries if left on continuously. It was a smaller one designed for office use I believe. I don’t think it had a cord because it was meant to be displayed on a desk.

  12. Great to see the Digital Picture frame featured here. My mum bought one about half a year ago and we have been loading up on it with our travel pictures.

    I really love the idea of having “moving memories” and wrote about the Digital Picture frame some time ago as a good small business idea in my blog too.

  13. Ivana and Community:

    A great use of these frames for businesses is create and add a few marketing messages about your business. These can be educational tips on uses for a product or service that your firm sells inserted in between some photos of clients, family and other images.

    Once you have your image sequence built put the frame in your office lobby, at your or your assistant’s desk (customer-facing)…you can even have your business partners (CPA, your lawyer, etc) feature a frame in their office (of course with some images that have mening to them).

    Another way to passively market your business while you entertain people.

    John Easton
    Follow Me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeaston1

  14. Another way to passively market your business while you entertain people — Ooh wow, nice one John! Well, I saw it here in one of our shopping centers and is really head turning.. I should say. 🙂

  15. Hey John – what a terrific business and promotional application! WAY cheaper than a giant LCD and just FUN. Thanks!

  16. I recently saw this in Sony’s shopping center here in PH. They’re cool. Perfect gift to give this holiday season! 🙂

  17. Hi Ivana,
    Loved the review, and I actually had the same thought as some earlier posters: This type of technology is starting to pop up by cash registers just as often as by living room end tables. Buehler’s grocery store has one literally next to the register at their in-store restaurant, slowly dissolving mouthwatering specials of the day. I also know of car dealerships using them at their service advisor desks — as customers sit in the guest chair for the paperwork to process on their oil changes, chances are the digital photos of all the cool available accessories for their vehicles will (subconsciously, even!) resonate.

  18. Ivana
    I have not wanted a digital picture frame until i read your review! Great job.

  19. That’s just cool, and in time for Christmas!

  20. Awesome blog, I love Original Movie Posters 😀