Smartphones have turned all of us into amateur photographers, snapping pictures of anything and everything around us. But unless you have a nostalgia for the 90’s, you aren’t likely to print them. The photos might be great but stuck on your phone or computer they aren’t getting the exposure they deserve. That’s where a digital photo frame comes in. Announced at CES 2018, the HP DF1050TW Digital Photo Frame promises to bring new life to those previously buried digital photos.
- Display: 10.1 inch touchscreen, 1280 x 800
- Storage: 8 GB internal, 10 GB cloud
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Media Slots: SD (SDHC) card, up to 32GB; USB Flash Drive
Design And Hardware
The HP DF1050TW sports a 10.1 inch HD screen, which makes it ideal for displaying all those high-resolution smartphone photos. The aspect ratio is 16:10, which does mean that if you want to view any photos taken on your DSLR, they will have black bars around the side to compensate for the different aspect ratio.
There is a lot of dead space around the screen, which could have possibly been better used, or removed entirely. That said, most traditional photo frames are designed to be decorative in themselves, so perhaps the blank space is to highlight the DF1050 TW’s aesthetics. There is a small sensor on the top right of the screen that looks ominously like a camera, but rest assured, is only a light sensor for monitoring the ambient light conditions.
The 10.1-inch touch display with 1,280 x 800 resolution offers beautiful images that are true to the originals. There is a power button and volume control; you can choose a song to play in the background of a slideshow; on the back of the frame, but otherwise, the touch display is used to navigate. The glossy display will need a wipe if you want to do much more than tap a few times, and you’ll also want to keep it out of direct sunlight. Glare is definitely an issue, though adaptive display brightness helps.
Inside, you have 8GB of internal storage on which you can store photos sent from your phone or transferred from USB drive or SD card. Up to 20 different devices can be synced with the frame, and moving images over (in the form of adding them to favorites) from a USB stick is simple. Just don’t try using an external hard drive, as it won’t be recognized.
Finally, the extra goodies aren’t plentiful, but they are thoughtful. An alarm is perfect if you keep your frame next to the bed, a screensaver can be set up to run between two specific times of day (like overnight), and a calendar can be displayed on its own or over slideshow images. You can’t add appointments or events to the calendar, but it makes a nice addition if you keep your frame on an office desk.
One thing I have noticed is that when the time on the display is something like 12:43 AM/PM, the display doesn’t show the full time. It will be displayed as 2:43 instead of 12:43. I’m sure this is something that could be easily fixed in a quick software update but it’s something to note for those that will also be using it to view the time on occasion.
Things Not To Like
Compared to plenty of options out there, HP’s frame has a more modern look that I imagine might be polarizing. To me, it looks like a tablet propped up on my table, with the glossy touch display and black finish. Below the screen is an HP logo on a button that takes you back to the top menu (very handy), and there’s also a wide blue LED that stays lit whenever the frame is on. It seems unnecessary and detracts a bit from the images on display.
Because of the 16:10 aspect ratio, my phone photos and DSLR photos are displayed with black bars on either side, something that again will likely disappoint a lot of people. Going with the black finish option at checkout helps a little bit, though not that much. I could see where having the white version of this frame could really make this part something to not make you want to look at very often.
There are some smart settings you can tweak to get your slideshow perfect; like transition effect and timing; but I couldn’t seem to get images that displayed on their sides to rotate and stay rotated when they came back around. This no doubt has to be taken care of with other editing software on a PC.
Finally, there’s no built-in battery here despite the rather large rear end, but that’s not such a big deal. The short cable (about five feet), however, means you’ll need to keep it close to an outlet or you’ll need to invest in an extension cord.
HP’s 10.1-inch digital photo frame took me under five minutes to get set up and displaying images, and there are a decent amount of tweakable settings to get your slideshows looking how you want them to look. The phone app is likewise easy to use, and you can also quickly add images to the 8GB of internal storage from a USB thumb drive.
The touch display’s 1,280 x 800 resolution makes pictures look crisp and natural, but the 16:10 aspect ratio means you’ll probably be seeing a lot of black bars, which are very noticeable if you get a frame with white finish. I don’t necessarily mind the modern tablet look of the frame, but if you’re in the mood for something a bit more traditional, there are certainly plenty of other options out there.