Best Digital Photo Frames of 2018

Rebecca Spear ·
Digital Photo Editing & Small Appliance Writer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

After testing 9 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 pixilation. The remote and interface are simple and easy to navigate, which makes this a great present for anyone who isn’t tech savvy.    

Best Overall
NIX Advance
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.
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Best Value
TENKER 7
This basic digital photo frame is small and doesn’t offer the best image quality, but it can help you play slideshows, music and video without costing an arm and a leg.
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Best Basic
Aluratek ADMPF108F
The Aluratek ADMPF108F does not use Wi-Fi; it gets photos from a flash drive or camera card, which is great for people who are wary of technology. You, and they, can still enjoy cherished photos and videos.
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Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Value
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
$79.99 Amazon
8.7 9.3 10 7.5 10 3.3
1 Year
98
100
None
24 Hours
10
False
100
1024 x 768
8
LED
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
$39.99 Amazon
8.6 10 10 8 8.3 3.3
1 Year
100
95
512 MB
1 Hour
11
False
100
800 x 600
8
LCD
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
$159.99 Amazon Warehouse
8.5 8 8 9.5 7.8 10
2 Years
80
75
4 GB
12 Hours
12
93
800 x 600
10.4
LED
$99.99 Brookstone
8.4 8 7.5 8.5 9.3 9.5
1 Year
75
75
2 GB
30 Minutes
4
88
1024 x 768
8
IPS
False
$129.99 Micro Center
8.3 7 7.5 10 10 6.8
1 Year
75
75
8 GB
55 Minutes
16
False
False
100
1024 x 768
8
IPS
False
False
False
False
False
$89.99 Amazon Marketplace
8 9.3 8.5 7 9.5 2.3
1 Year
75
100
None
1 Hour
5
False
92
1024 x 768
9.7
LCD
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
$39.99 Amazon
7.9 10 8.5 6 8.5 2.8
1 Year
80
95
None
15 Minutes
10
False
77
1024 x 768
7
IPS LCD
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
$62.99 Amazon Warehouse
7.5 9.5 8.3 6.5 7.5 2.3
1 Year
75
95
4 GB
15 Minutes
11
False
89
1024 x 600
10.1
LCD
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
$99 Amazon Warehouse
5.6 8.3 2.8 6.8 5.5 0.8
1 Year
25
30
4 GB
24 Hours
0
False
58
800 x 600
8
LCD
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
False
Best Overall
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 it 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.
Pros
  • It offers the best photo quality of any frame.
  • It’s super easy for people of any tech level to use.
  • It can easily play music and video.
Cons
  • There is no internal memory.
  • It does not connect to Wi-Fi.
  • You cannot hang it on the wall.
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Best Value
The TENKER 7 inch is the smallest frame in our comparison, which is one of the reasons why it was the least expensive.
The only bit of setup required out of the box was screwing the stand into place, which was super easy to do. This device doesn’t have any internal storage so you will need to purchase an SD card or USB in order to use it. At the same time, since it doesn’t have internal storage, we didn’t have to connect it to a computer to get images to play. This makes it a great choice for grandparents or anyone who isn’t comfortable with technology since you can simply send them an SD card filled with new images and all they have to do is insert it into the frame. Our testers told us that some of the images displayed properly, but others appeared heavily pixelated and distracted from the content. We were able to upload and play both music and video files without any problems, including MP4 videos taken from an android cell phone. The movie quality was really good, as was the sound quality. We found the interface easy to navigate, however, the remote control is over complicated, as it shoves 21 buttons into a three-inch space. The frame cannot connect to Wi-Fi so you won’t be able to watch YouTube videos or browse Facebook. All in all, this isn’t the easiest or best device we tested, but if you’re just wanting a basic frame that doesn’t cost much, this can be a great choice.
Pros
  • It is the least expensive frame we tested.
  • There is hardly any setup when you remove it from the box.
  • The menu is relatively easy to navigate.
Cons
  • It doesn't have the best photo quality.
  • There is no internal memory.
  • The remote control is unnecessarily complicated.
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Best Basic
The Aluratek ADMPF108F offers 512 MB 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. They went on to say that you wouldn’t notice it unless you were comparing side by side. Otherwise, the images came out clear with no pixilation. 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 pixilation 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.
Pros
  • It's easy to setup.
  • You can use a thumb drive or camera card.
  • It supports audio and video.
Cons
  • The colors can look a bit faded.
  • You must work a bit to load photos to the internal storage.
  • The frame's storage is only 512MB.
$40.99Amazon
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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.
Pros
  • This frame has the most advanced image sharing features of any device we tested.
Cons
  • It's expensive.
Amazon
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Most Internal Storage
The Nixplay Iris WO8E is designed to look like a traditional photo frame. It comes in silver, burnished bronze or peach copper to help you find a style that looks best in your home.
It has the most internal space of 8 GB, so you won't have to use a SD card or USB slot in order to view thousands of your favorite photos. There is no external SD card or USB slot so you cannot add additional memory to this unit. We found that this frame's display quality was one of the best with images appearing clear and true to color. The main things that kept this device from coming in as the number one product was the high price – roughly $200 – and the fact that you cannot play videos. There is no hole on the back for you to use to hang it on the wall, it is meant to be placed on a flat surface. The cord doubles as the stand to help you save space and make the device look less cluttered. However, we did feel that it was less sturdy than many of the other stands. You can position the frame horizontally or vertically. This is a relatively basic device overall, but you'll find plenty of transition options in the menu to help spice up your slideshows.
Pros
  • It has super good image quality.
Cons
  • It's the most expensive device in our comparison.
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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.

How We Tested

Testing numerous pictures on 9 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 different 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.


What to Look for in a Digital Photo Frame

Digital Photo Frames aren’t as popular as they were ten years ago, but this device definitely hasn’t bit 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 digital photo frames. 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 fames 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.

Photo Clarity
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 digital photo 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 off 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.




Design
You'll definitely want to consider the appearance of your digital photo frame before buying one. Bisais told us that Nixplay "builds digital photo frames that don’t look like digital photo frames." It’s best if you can find a sleek or stylish looking frame that doesn't draw the wrong type of attention to itself unlike some of the bulky plastic options on the market.

Memory
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’ll need the right amount of space to view the most images.

With a robust memory built into the device, you can store a greater number of images and other materials, which will add to your viewing pleasure. Some devices do not offer any built-in memory but they will offer USB and SD card slots. In this scenario you can determine how many images your screen can show based on the size of the storage device. A 4 to 8 GB 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 that much space while videos and music files take up a bit more.


Versatility
Some frames have extra functionality and let you include videos, a calendar or music. A few will even stream radio, TV or internet materials. You also can enjoy syncing with social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox and Photobucket with certain models of frames. With these options, you can share pictures and other materials with people across the country or even across the world. Typically, the devices that offer more of these features cost more.

More Guides for Sharing Photos: