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."