Long before we had cameras that fit into our pockets, my father was an avid photographer. He was more than willing to carry his big Canon camera seemingly everywhere, from family vacations to the beach to trips to my grandmother’s for the holidays. And that was just the start of his process. Once home, he’d take the film to be developed and then carefully select a few of the best shots to enlarge and display in frames around our house. Every wall became a gallery of our lives.
I miss those days. Don’t get me wrong—I love my compact camera (a.k.a. my smartphone) that allows me to take beautiful, crisp photos with very little effort (and to delete the many less-than-beautiful ones just as easily!). And being able to share those photos instantaneously with friends and on social media is certainly fun. But I realized lately that I miss the joy I experienced as a child of walking into a room and seeing pictures of some of the best moments of my life.
I’d heard about digital photo frames for years, but friends’ stories of clunky interfaces and time-consuming uploads dimmed my interest. Until now. You see the technology for these frames has improved dramatically, making it super easy to create a slideshow with hundreds of images in a matter of minutes. Some of them even allow the photo transfer to happen wirelessly—meaning straight from your phone into the frame! The frames themselves have gotten more beautiful too, which is kind of important if it’s going to be part of your decor 24/7. We tested a bunch of the highest-rated and -reviewed frames out there, and rounded up the seven best digital frames you can buy today. All you have to do is make your selection, and get ready to relive some of your favorite memories at the touch of a button!
1. Aura Frame
This may be one of the most advanced frames on the market. It’s controlled completely from an app and has a sleek, elegant design in beautiful color combinations such as ivory/rose gold, charcoal/ black, and crystal blue/silver. The frame has all sorts of cool features such as gesture control (swipe your hand in front of it to advance the photos), facial recognition (automatically creates collections of people), and sensor technology (adjust brightness based on light in the room). The frame has unlimited photo storage and you can even invite friends and family to transmit photos into your frame!
2. Nixplay Iris Wi-Fi Digital Frame
I wish I had started a timer when I set up this frame—I honestly think it was no more than 5 minutes from unpacking to watching a slideshow of dozens of photos scroll before my eyes. And the frame is not only easy to use, it’s got a beautiful, sleek design too. I chose silver, but it also comes in peach-copper and burnished bronze. The eight-inch high-res display has an auto-dim function and an activity sensor, meaning it will automatically turn on when it detects sound in the room and turn off when the room goes quiet. Transfer images into the frame using the Nixplay app or via email—you can also add captions!—and invite friends and family to do the same.
3. Pix-Star Wi-Fi Digital Photo Frame
When you set up this frame, it creates a dedicated email address that you can use to send photos directly into the frame. You can also access more than 20 online providers to pull in photos, including Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Smugmug and more, or access photos from USB stick, SDHC and SDXC cards The frame has 4 GB of memory, allowing you to store up to 20,000 pictures! And it comes with an easy-to-use remote control and has controls on the back, so you never have to touch the screen. And if you purchase multiple frames, you can manage all of them (up to 25!) from one account.
4. Sungale Cloud Frame
Use Sungale’s free cloud storage space to create albums in the cloud and then send them to your frame or those belonging to friends and family around the world using the product’s “grouping” function. The frame also has 8 GB of internal memory and an SD card port to expand the memory up to 32 GB. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Dropbox are pre-installed so you can quickly access photos from those accounts too. And it’s not just for photos—the frame can also be used to watch videos from popular services such as Netflix!
5. Micca Neo-Series Digital Photo Frame
If you’re looking for super easy set-up, this is the frame for you. Inset an SD card or USB drive, turn the frame on and the images appear on the high-resolution 12-inch LCD screen. Choose whether to view them in random or sequential order and select from a variety of transition styles. The frame can also be used to play MP4 and MKV videos and MP3 music files through a speaker or headphone jack. And a convenient slot on the back stores the remote control.
6. Philips Home Essential Digital Picture Frame
Here’s an affordable option to show off all of your favorite photos in a clear, eight-inch LCD display. The brown wood frame has a sensor that automatically displays each photo in its proper orientation—landscape or portrait. Store images in the frame’s 128 MB of internal memory or use the multi-format card reader to load images from a memory card or a USB drive.
7. Vera Wang Wedgwood Grosgrain Digital Photo Frame
If you are using a traditional camera with a memory card or have photos on a USB drive, this frame is a great display solution. It has a built-in memory card reader, remote control, and can be programmed to turn on and off. The eight-inch screen displays JPG, AVI, and MP3 files in 800x600 resolution.
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