View Your Photos with Stylish Borders

very good
key review info
application features
  • 25 borders available for framing photos
  • (2 more, see all...)

Pictures can be enhanced with lots of effects, stamps or filters, but a classical frame may sometimes be just what you need when you only want to look at them. With Free Photo Frame that is exactly what you get.

When it comes to finding means of embellishing digital images, a virtual frame is not always the first thing that comes to mind, but it is certainly on the list. The top spots are most likely reserved for color enhancements, image filtering and, in many cases, this job would be reserved to editing software that will change the original pictures and let you save it with the modifications you made.

If you don't have the time or simply can't be bothered with retouching photos in this manner, you can use a plain-old viewer. It will add the desired effect on the images while you browse through them, without altering the source files. A utility that was designed to fulfill this task is Free Photo Frame, a tool for whom the name says it all.

You can find quite useful this particular application especially if you like to have your most treasured mementos close to you. It will give you the opportunity of having your loved ones, for example, right in front of your eyes, onto your computer's desktop. And this as soon as the operating system boots up if the option to run at startup is activated. In case the window gets somehow in the way, you can right-click it and choose the hide function to send it in your system tray.

The tools of the trade are, obviously, the picture borders and all the work it does will cost you nothing, as it is freeware. The user interface is easy to operate, with clear-cut commands and no adornments, just a nice effect for the buttons that help you navigate between the two main tabs in the settings menu. The main window, the one that displays the photos, consists only of the frame and the image itself.

As soon as you install and run the software, you will come face to face with the options pane. It will enable you to define how the pictures will be shown and, most importantly, input the path of the location where they are stored. A welcomed feature will allow you to include the subfolders when the slide show mode is selected, but, on the downside, the application will only handle JPG files.

A word on the installation is needed at this time because during our test we came across an error on PCs running Windows 7. If the default parameters are kept, when you try to run Free Photo Frame, it will simply not open and a message appears to inform you about the mishap. To avoid this, all you have to do is modify the install path and things should go all right from there on.

You can opt for having a single photo on exhibit, but this means you'll have to manually change it when it becomes timeworn. There are some handy controls, nonetheless, that can be activated while running the software with the slide show function with a click on the current image. This will disclose the buttons for pausing, moving forward or to the previous photo.

There are some more customizations to be done here, namely the refresh interval and the order your photos will be revealed in. Thusly, in case you decide to put on display several images, they can be renewed in as little time as one minute, but, just as well, you can have them replaced hourly. Also, if you don't like to see the pics exactly how they are arranged in the directory that houses them, you can set off the random mode.

Now if the tinkering is done insofar as the photo selection is concerned, it's time for making the choice that really matters: the frame. This utility offers you a decent array of beautifully designed borders, 25 in all, with various themes like Christmas, coffee, seashells, Polaroid, flowers and many wooden frames. The details on each and every one of them are carefully and skillfully crafted and will surely complement the visual aspect of your digital images.

Unfortunately, there is a drawback that becomes immediately noticeable: their fixed size. You won't be able to increase or decrease the default dimensions; you can only move the picture on the screen and have them stay on top of all running applications if you feel like it.

If you are interested in the resource usage for this lightweight tool you will certainly be pleased to know that there are minimal amounts of system memory involved, fewer than 5 MB to be more specific, whereas the processor barely twitches. This is mainly due to the fact that all the images are downsized to fill a pre-defined space within the frame.


The Good

The available borders are of very good quality and will add a nice touch to any type of digital photo, like portrait, landscape or panorama. Another plus is the ease of use with which anyone can operate Free Photo Frame. This is doubled by the negligible usage of system resources and last, but definitely not least, by the fact that you can have it free of cost.

The Bad

On the downside, there are a few things to be mentioned. First off, there’s the limited support for graphical files. The only one you can use is JPG and this is a major disadvantage when you think of all the image types out there.

There is also the installation issue we encountered for systems running Windows 7 Professional that impedes the usage of the program and deducts some points. The impossibility of adjusting the size of the frame or of the picture can be quite bothersome as is the lack of a customizable time interval for changing the photos.

The Truth

At the end of the day, one thing is certain: Free Photo Frame is a very nice means of decorating your desktop. If you need more than a pretty frame for the images you want to have close to you, this is probably not it. On the other hand, it is exactly what this software is meant to do, give you the right frame to put on your pictures. The application does very well the task it is supposed to carry through and for that it is worth a try, so grab it now and enjoy it freely.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

 
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user interface 3
features 3
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 
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