The Best Digital Photo Frames of 2019 (Including Wi-Fi Frames)
After testing nine digital photo frames for over 50 hours and getting feedback from four testers, we have determined that the NIX Advance is the best overall device in our comparison. This unit is super simple to use, looks great and offers impressive picture quality so you can enjoy your loved ones' faces without having them be distorted by pixelation. The remote and interface are well made and easy to navigate, which makes this a great present for anyone who isn’t tech savvy.
The NIX Advance offers the best image clarity and photo accuracy of any device we tested. The interface and remote are simple, making them easy for anyone to navigate and use.
The Aluratek ADMPF108F does not use Wi-Fi. Instead, it gets photos from a flash drive or camera card, which is great for people who are wary of technology.
Nixplay Iris W08E
You can easily upload new images to your Wi-Fi enabled frame simply by using an app on your phone. This frame even comes with 10 GB of free online storage.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||User Experience||Specifications||Display||Versatility||Warranty||Overall Ease of Use||Setup Ease of Use||Internal Memory||Display Intervals Range||Number of Transitions||SD Card Slot||USB Flash Drive Port||Wi-Fi Connectivity||Photo Quality||Resolution||Screen Size (inches)||Screen Type||Phone App||Remote Access||Remote Control||Motion Sensor||Download from Social Media||Content via Email||Desk Display||Wall Display||Audio Messages||Audio Output||Video||Movies|
|NIX Advance||View Deal||4.5/5||5||3.8||5||1.7||1 Year||98||100||None||24 Hours||10||✓||✓||✖||100||1024 x 768||8||LED||✖||✖||✓||✓||✖||✖||✓||✖||✖||✓||✓||✖|
|Aluratek ADMPF108F||View Deal||4.5/5||5||4||4.2||1.7||1 Year||100||95||512 MB||1 Hour||11||✓||✓||✖||100||800 x 600||8||✖||✖||✖||✓||✓||✖||✖||✓||✖||✖||✓||✓||✖|
|Pix-Star FotoConnect||View Deal||4/5||4||4.8||3.9||5||2 Years||80||75||4 GB||12 Hours||12||✓||✓||✓||93||800 x 600||10.4||LED||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Nixplay Iris||View Deal||4/5||3.8||5||5||3.4||1 Year||75||75||8 GB||55 Minutes||16||✖||✖||✓||100||✖||8||IPS||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖|
|Micca NEO||View Deal||4/5||4.3||3.5||4.8||1.2||1 Year||75||100||None||1 Hour||5||✓||✓||✖||92||1024 x 768||9.7||LCD||✖||✖||✓||✖||✖||✖||✓||✖||✖||✖||✓||✖|
|Aluratek ADMPF310F||View Deal||4/5||4.2||3.3||3.8||1.2||1 Year||75||95||4 GB||15 Minutes||11||✓||✓||✖||89||1024 x 600||10.1||LCD||✖||✖||✓||✖||✖||✖||✓||✓||✖||✓||✖||✖|
|Digital Foci||View Deal||3/5||1.4||3.4||2.8||0.4||1 Year||25||30||4 GB||24 Hours||0||✓||✓||✖||58||800 x 600||8||LCD||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✖||✓||✖||✖||✓||✖||✖|
The NIX Advance has the best picture quality of any digital photo frame we tested. The images were displayed in vibrant color and there was no blurriness distracting from the family photos.
This device doesn’t offer any internal storage, but it does have both an SD card and USB slot. This means we didn’t have to connect the frame to a computer to download more images, which can be a real hassle. You can simply send an SD card loaded with new pictures in the mail to parents, grandparents or friends, and all they’ll need to do is plug it in to the frame. This also makes it a great choice for anyone who isn’t super comfortable with technology as they won’t have to do anything tricky in order for images to appear.
This device cannot be hung on a wall as it is meant to stand on a table, desk or other flat surface. Our testers thought it was the sleekest-looking frame of any we tested. We were happy to find that the remote it comes with is small and straightforward while the frame’s interface is super easy to navigate. You can select specific photos or view videos with just a couple button clicks. We were able to upload videos taken from an Android cellphone without any problems. The sound quality was excellent and the video itself played beautifully. This device does not connect to Wi-Fi like some others do, so you will not be able to access Facebook or YouTube.
The Aluratek ADMPF108F offers 512MB of internal storage, which isn’t much compared to other devices we tested. However, it also includes a USB and SD card slot so you can add as much storage space as you want.
Uploading images to the device requires that you have the frame plugged into a power source, while also plugging into a computer using a USB cable. This proved to be difficult as the power cord isn’t very long. If you’re simply relying on the camera card and USB slots, it will be easier to use.
Our testers said that this frame produced decent colors but that the photos sometimes appeared dimmer than other frames. But you wouldn’t notice it unless you were comparing side by side. Otherwise, the images came out clear with no pixelation. There is hardly any reflection on the screen so you won’t have to worry about positioning it a certain way to avoid glare.
In addition to photos, we were able to upload videos and music files without any problems. The videos played well, with no pixelation, and the sound quality was good. The remote only has a few buttons on it and is intuitive to use, so you likely won’t get confused. There is a hole on the backside of the frame so you can choose to either hang it on your wall or prop it up on the table using the stand. Setup is super easy; all you need to do is attach the cord and plug the frame in.
Best Wi-Fi Enabled Frame
The Nixplay Iris W08E is designed to look like a traditional photo frame. It comes in silver, burnished bronze or peach copper so you can find a style that looks best in your home.
The best part about this frame is its convenience. The Iris relies on Wi-Fi in order to view your favorite photos. It has 8GB of internal storage, but since it doesn't have SD or USB slots, you cannot add more storage space.
To use the Iris, you’ll need to download the Nixplay app on your smartphone and create an account. Once that’s done, you can share your photos with any family members or friends who own an Iris. Simply take pictures and upload them to the Nixplay Cloud and select the Nixplay devices you want them to show up on. Every Nixplay account gets 10GB of free cloud space and can connect with up to five frames. This way, Grandma doesn’t need to fiddle with the frame to get new images to appear. You can simply send new pictures to her whenever you want. This device does not come with a remote since you control it with your smartphone. The power cord comes with interchangeable adapters so it can be used in both Europe and America.
We found that this frame's display quality was one of the best we tested, with images appearing clear and true to color. The main things that kept this device from being the number one product was the high price – roughly $200 – and the fact that you cannot play videos. However, you can add photos to it from anywhere instead of toying with an SD card or USB, which makes this frame more attractive.
There is no hole on the back for hanging the Iris on the wall; it is meant to be placed on a flat surface. You can position the frame horizontally or vertically, and the cord doubles as a stand to help you save space and make the device look less cluttered. However, it felt less stable than many of the other stands. As far as settings go, this is a relatively basic device, but you'll find plenty of transition options in the menu to help spice up your slideshows.
Best for Email & Media
This digital photo frame is one of the most advanced units we tested. It operates more like a tablet in that you can access photo collections directly from Facebook, Instagram, Smugmug, Dropbox, Flickr and more.
This unit uses Wi-Fi and has a dedicated email address which allows you to easily send images from your phone. Additionally, you can send images to others using the frame itself. It offers 4GB of internal storage and you can add more using the SD card slot or a USB stick. Overall, the photo quality of this frame was really good, however our testers did notice that the corners of the screen sometimes displayed white at the edges of the pictures, which was distracting.
This photo frame is expensive, costing roughly $160 brand new. The frame is 10.4 inches wide and the device itself offers the most internet connectivity of any other unit we tested, which accounts for the additional cost. The featured motion sensor helps you save energy by only turning the frame on when someone is in the room. You can mount it to the wall or use the detachable stand to set it up on a hard surface. It features a large remote that you can attach and store on the backside of the device to prevent losing it and to save space.
The Nix Lux is an HD frame, and from the moment we plugged it in, it was apparent that it offers the best resolution and color accuracy of any frame we tested.
This frame comes in 8-inches or 10-inches and the frame has a textured faux wood facade that gives it a very pleasing look. We were surprised to find that the stand in the back doubles as a connecting cable for the power source. Plug one end of the cable into the wall and the other into the end of stand. The cable/stand is made of a flexible material so you can bend it one way or the other to hold your frame up in either a portrait or landscape position. Whenever we rotated the frame, the images rotated automatically to show them right-side-up. Unfortunately, there is no nail hole on the backside so this frame cannot be mounted to a wall.
It comes with a small, square-shaped remote control that is less complicated than most of the other ones we tested. The remote responded very quickly in our testing without any lag. The only problem we potentially see with this remote is that it’s so small that it might get lost easily. This digital photo frame does not have Wi-Fi, but it comes with an 8 GB USB so you can add images to it right away. There is also an SD card slot so you can hold even more images. This frame only supports JPEG and PNG image as well as MP4 video files. Brand new, these frames run about $150, which is on the high end for non Wi-Fi frames, but isn’t surprising considering it’s one of the only HD frames.
Why Trust Us?
After checking out the range of digital photo frames that are available and sought after by consumers, we ordered the top performers and most popular models for testing. We set them up side by side, showing the same photos in the same lighting to our four experts. Each tester has an understanding and appreciation for what constitutes a good photograph, and some have had formal photography composition training. To get better digital photo frame insights, we spoke with an employee at a local camera and printing service. We also contacted Beatrice Bisais, Social Media Manager of Nixplay, to ask questions about their products.
We spent over 50 hours researching digital photo frames and had four people test the devices. Each person examined the photo displays and gave ratings for clarity, color and overall aesthetic quality. We averaged those scores to obtain an overall quality score for each frame. We used photos from a mobile phone, images from an SD card, and vintage 1970s paper photos that had been scanned onto a thumb drive to see how well each electronic picture frame displayed each type of photo.
We also looked for such things as the amount of glare from the frame, the overall functionality of each frame, how easily photos can be accessed, and the amount of internal storage in frames that do not use Wi-Fi. We also evaluated how difficult it is to set up the frames right out of the box, how easy they were to use, how long you could display a photo slideshow, and the effectiveness of such things as remote controls, among other metrics.
How Much Do Digital Photo Frames Cost?
Digital photo frames usually range between $40 and $200, with more expensive devices having larger screens – 10 inches or more – and Wi-Fi connectivity. The most expensive devices will give you additional internet options and allow you to send and receive images using your smartphone. Cheaper units tend to have little or no internal storage, so you might need to purchase an SD card or a USB thumb drive in addition to the frame. 16 GB SD cards are often as cheap as $16 and 16 GB USBs can be bought for as little as $6. These storage sizes are equipped to hold hundreds if not thousands of images.
How We Tested
Testing numerous pictures on nine digital photo frames was a visual treat. Our well-prepared testers all have worked in areas where they had to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of photography and overall image aesthetics. They not only issued numerical scores for various characteristics but also wrote comments and observations about each. The wording of our judges’ comments influenced, to some degree, the written reviews of each frame. The number grades, once averaged and scored, directly affected the ranking of the frames.
Each judge acted and evaluated independently using his or her own judgment and relying on their individual capabilities with a camera and their personal ideas of aesthetics.
The Perfect Christmas Present
It can be hard to find the perfect gift for your parents, grandparents or other family members. Luckily, digital photo frames are thoughtful and easy gifts. With a digital frame, your loved one can see pictures of you and your family, even if they live in a different state. Start the gift off right by including either an SD card or small USB loaded with hundreds of carefully chosen photos. If you purchase a Wi-Fi enabled frame, connecting it to your loved one’s network is a must. This is a great gift to go in on with a family member. For instance, you and your siblings can purchase one together for your parents and pull together images from each person's family.
If you’re on a budget, we recommend looking for a non-Wi-Fi device. The price goes up significantly when HD screens and internet come into play. Plus, devices that don’t use Wi-Fi might be easier for people to maintain, especially if they aren’t comfortable with technology.
Wi-Fi Enabled Frames
For the most part, digital photo frames are pretty similar, with the biggest difference being whether or not they allow you to connect to the internet. Not all Wi-Fi frames are the same, however. Usually, the more expensive models resemble tablets and let you access online games or allow you to pull images from Facebook and other social media sites. Some can even be used to play YouTube videos. The best part is most Wi-Fi frames come with an app you can use to send and delete photos remotely, without using a USB drive or SD card. This means you can send a group of new photos to Grandma’s digital photo frame, even if she is a few states away. Just make sure to set up Grandma’s device with her home Wi-Fi first. If she needs to make space for more photos, she can use her own phone or the physical buttons on the device to delete any of the images currently on the frame.
Why Not Just Buy a Tablet?
Tablets and digital frames are similar in size and shape, but they certainly differ in price and purpose. Clearly, tablets have more functionality, like the ability to play games, watch streaming services and surf the net. But keep in mind that most people purchase digital photo frames for their parents or grandparents. If Grandma is comfortable with a tablet or small computer, definitely go that route. She'll get plenty of use out of it. However, if you’re purchasing for someone who isn’t tech savvy, a tablet will be difficult to learn and frustrating to use. A digital photo frame is more straightforward and doesn’t include as many confusing features. Plus, they usually come with a remote, so Grandma can control it from a distance without needing to get fingerprints all over the screen. When it's time to update images, just send her a new USB or SD card. She can plug it in and have access to the most recent photos.
What to Look for in a Digital Photo Frame
Digital photo frames aren’t as popular as they were 10 years ago, but this device definitely hasn’t bitten the dust. Despite no longer being in the limelight, you can still see them used on office desks or prominently displayed in your grandparents’ house. If you’re planning on purchasing one of these devices either for yourself or as a gift for a family member, there are a few things you should look for.
Ease of Use
If you are purchasing a photo frame for anyone who isn't super comfortable with technology, you'll want to find an option that will be easy enough for them to use. The camera and printing service employee we spoke to noted that these devices were once a hot item but that his store no longer sells them. He believes that the decreased popularity is due to how complicated these devices can be, especially for grandparents who aren’t comfortable with technology.
Setting up a digital photo frame and then using it should be relatively simple tasks, and they generally are with the highest-quality models. Some allow you to play images directly from an inserted USB while others require you to upload images from your computer. Many digital photo frames include apps so you can easily send photos from your phone. Some frames, like the Nixplay Lux line, are even integrated with Amazon Alexa, which allows you to control your frames with Echo devices. If you’re purchasing one of these devices for someone who isn’t comfortable with technology, it might just be easier to upload images onto a USB or SD card for them so all they have to do is plug it into the frame instead of wrestling with a computer.
Many of the newer digital photo frames come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so you can upload images directly from your phone. Some models even come with simple video games and apps making them a little more tablet-like. It isn’t uncommon for them to even be equipped with a remote control, which can be quite helpful for anyone who has mobility issues or if the frame is displayed high on a wall where it's awkward to reach. The best digital photo frames should make it easy to add new photos.
The very purpose of a digital photo frame is to constantly show pictures of people, places and things you love, so you naturally will want the sharpest, clearest images possible. Even lower-priced digital photo frames can offer impressive images if they are well designed. It's best to look for a frame with a high resolution, since this will provide the best photo display. As the printing service and camera sales employee told us, most smartphones and simple digital cameras have the ability to take pictures that have the perfect resolution for 5 x 7 photo frames. Even the images you can pull from social media sites like Facebook should be high enough resolution to look good on one of these screens so you shouldn't worry about needing an expensive camera.
Like Bisais told us, these devices are perfectly suited for “everyone who wants to share their special moments with their loved ones, especially those who live far away from their families.” It can be delightful to watch the faces of your loved ones or beloved vacation spots on your digital photo frame, but you need the right amount of space to view your images.
With robust memory built into the device, you can store lots of images and other materials. Some devices have no built-in memory and instead include USB and SD card slots. With these frames, you can decide how many images display based on the size of the storage device you use. A 4GB to 8GB SD card or USB thumb drive is a good starting point for showing off a large number of photos. Images typically don’t take up much space, while videos and music files take up a bit more.
If you plan to store image files directly on your frame, you’ll likely run out of room pretty quickly. Most digital photo frames have buttons on the back that allow you to delete images, which is convenient in certain instances – for example, if your son breaks up with his girlfriend and you think it would be better if her face didn’t show up on the slideshow any more. However, the process of erasing photos differs from one device to the next. You must plug some frames into a computer to do so, while others let you select photos in the menu. If you solely use a USB drive or SD card, you need to plug it into a computer and erase the photos there.
Skylight Frame: Touchscreen Digital Photo Frame
The Skylight Frame is one of the only digital frames with a touchscreen display – you adjust and swipe through settings by interacting with the screen's surface. Its 10-inch screen is the perfect size for showcasing family photos. The frame comes with a stand and is designed to sit on a flat surface, such as a desk or table, rather than be mounted to a wall.
At 1024 x 600 pixels, this frame has good resolution. It’s not as nice as an HD screen but shows your images off to their best advantage. The Skylight Frame also connects to Wi-Fi, and you can add more images by emailing them from your phone or computer. It has 8GB of space, which is enough room to hold thousands of photos.
This frame is on the expensive side because it includes internet uploading and a touchscreen. However, the company covers it with a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee, so you can feel more confident in your purchase.
Digital Smart Art Frames
Companies like Meural have found ways to broaden the scope of digital photo frames beyond sharing family photos. Many digital art frame companies let you pay for a monthly or annual subscription to access billions of art pieces you can display on the screen. This is also a great gift for artists who want to display their own work.
Meural's Canvas frames include swivel mounts that make them easy to hang. Also, the frames' motion activation feature lets you swipe through artwork and photos simply by waving your arm in front of them. We especially like that you can interact with the art on the frames to learn more about each specific piece – this info includes the artist’s name and the date of creation.
Meural’s frames are available in two types of wood and three finishes: black or white poplar and a walnut brown, all very chic. You adjust settings and displayed images using the accompanying app on your phone. Amazon Alexa also works with these frames, which makes them truly modern, smart devices.
Digital art frames are much larger and much more expensive than regular-size frames. In fact, some digital canvas companies require you get a quote. On average, expect to pay about $500 for the least expensive art frames, but prices can go higher than $1,000. EO1 makes a digital art frame you can either place on a shelf or mount to a wall, so you have a few displaying options.
Interactive Magic Mirrors & the World of Tomorrow
Even seemingly non-technical objects, such as pens, can access the internet these days. And whether it’s the device of a bright future or simply a physical manifestation of society’s dystopian destiny, magic mirrors are coming. In many ways, they are the digital photo frames of tomorrow. These smart mirror platforms allow you to access the weather, your calendar and photos, all while gazing at your reflection. Some, like the Loft Mirror, can even play videos.
Beauty and clothing companies are currently making smart mirror devices to help you apply makeup, get beauty and fashion suggestions, and make purchases. One such beauty mirror is the HiMirror Mini, a standing smart mirror with 16GB of storage that helps you keep track of your skin condition. There are also wall-mounted smart mirrors you can install in place of your bathroom vanity or on your living room walls.
Since these are relatively new inventions, their capabilities and features have not been standardized. As such, there is a variety of options on the market. However, their newness means smart mirrors haven’t saturated the market yet, so they are usually very expensive.
DIY Smart Mirror/Digital Photo Frame
If you’re comfortable with technology, you can make one of these devices using a Raspberry Pi 3, a monitor and a two-way glass mirror among other things. Just make sure you figure out how big you want the mirror to be before purchasing any monitors or glass. There are plenty of forums and online groups like Magic Mirror Central that specialize in building smart mirrors. Share ideas with other builders and get tips for how to spice up your own project. The Raspberry Pi 3 allows you to connect your creation to Wi-Fi. That way you can access news updates, weather widgets, your Google Calendar and the time. If you choose, you could make your mirror display family photos as its default. Some people are even making magic mirrors that respond to voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Home. As long as you have the idea and the drive, you can make the magic mirror of your dreams.
The Instacube Scandal
Back in 2012, avid social media users were very interested in a digital frame known as the Instacube. However, the product has a shaky history and still hasn’t made its way onto store shelves, leaving thousands of Kickstarter backers angry. Some have even responded vindictively.
According to an article on Consumerist, even though Design to Matter (D2M) – the company behind the Instacube – raised three times the money it asked for on Kickstarter, it ran into numerous manufacturing issues. These hold ups included software changes, hardware changes and D2M underestimating the cost of manufacturing the hardware in China. All together, these complications brought Instacube production to an indefinite standstill. Angry backers responded by sending hate emails to D2M employees. Some backers even tracked down specific employees and posted their personal information online.
So why were people so interested in the Instacube? The idea was that photos from your Instagram and Facebook accounts would connect wirelessly to the frame. D2M stated that Instagram photos would display at three times their size. The frame would run on the Android OS, so it would be somewhat familiar to use for people with smartphones. In addition, it was planned to run on an internal lithium ion battery, making it wireless. This meant two things: One, you wouldn’t have to worry about hiding cables when it was on display, and two, you could pick it up and take it anywhere you wanted without having to set it back up. You can see why this was such a hot item in 2012.
Will the Instacube ever be realized? After its rocky start and D2M’s five-year silence, it’s unlikely the Instacube will ever become a household item. But stranger things have happened. At the time of this article, you could still see over 3,400 backers with more than $620,000 pledged to the project on its Kickstarter page.
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