When digital photo frames reared their pixelated heads more than a decade ago, they were novelty items capable of showing a collection of blocky images that looked as if they belonged in Minecraft.
But they have come an incredibly long way and deserve a place on your carefully curated bookshelf or sophisticated mantelpiece, because they look good, and work better.
- Best digital photo frames: connected frames for your pictures
Here are five reasons why the investment is worth it.
1. Showcasing your memories
How many photos do you have stored on your phone right now? If you’re like us, it’s probably hundreds, if not thousands. You probably haven’t looked at milestones like a wedding or a child’s first steps, or revisited favourite holiday destinations for a while, so investing in a digital photo frame is a great way to free these memories and show them off in your home.
The best bit is, that unlike printing photos at home, digital photo frames show your pictures in great detail. Most new frames boast HD screens - at least – with some even better. For example, Aura’s Sawyer frame is its most advanced in the marketplace and boasts ‘unparalleled image quality’. The 10-inch frame has an eye-catching resolution of 2048x1536, making it the highest in the industry, according to the company.
While most digital frames have screens measuring 10-inches, Nixplay offers one with a supersized 15-inch screen, which would make a great frame for a photographer for whom size matters. As you might expect, large and super-clear frames don’t come cheap. But having photos professionally printed is pricey too, and digital frames make showcasing memories much easier.
2. Changing up pictures
The biggest advantage of going digital is the ability for your frame to change constantly, and cycle through images, as well as being able to effortlessly add new ones to the frame. If that isn’t a reason to upgrade from one static image, we don’t know what is.
When it comes to adding new photos, the vast majority of frames offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing users to add images to playlists via their phone, tablets or laptop. Of course, different frames have different methods for doing this, but they are also designed to be intuitive and make it simple to swap images.
Some frames, such as Nixplay’s Smart Digital Photo Frame, allow users to source pictures from Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms and these frames would likely be incredibly popular with teenagers. Whether you choose to source your images from your phone or a website, or a website, changing up images on a digital frame is certainly much easier than schlepping to the chemists and having photos printed.
3. Looking great
There’s no denying that photo frames can add a personal touch to your home, but there’s no reason why they can’t be hi tech. Early digital photo frames tended to feature a lot of Perspex and plastic to look futuristic, but thankfully today’s offerings are more stylish and varied, so there’s a frame out there to suit the style of any home.
For example, KODAK offers various designs that mimic traditional wood frames, making them the perfect present for traditionalists. There’s even a mid-century modern inspired design for owners of 50s and 60s furniture that’s particularly in vogue. In contrast, Nixplay’s frames would look great in more modern homes and feature a mixture of sleek and textured surfaces.
As well as style, frames can be wireless, which would suit homeowners who like to keep things flexible, and come in different sizes. So, if you have an enormous mantelpiece, you might want to plump for Nixplay’s 15-inch monster. Whatever the size or style of your home, there’s a frame out there to match.
4. Easy sharing
Almost all digital photo frames tap into Wi-Fi networks, allowing photographers to access photos from their computer, tablet, phone or the cloud or social networks. This is a big plus as it means you will be more likely to refresh your photo selection than if you had to plug it into a computer and find a lead in that terrible drawer in your house with all the other mysterious wires and defunct chargers.
Some frames even come with cloud storage. For example, KODAK Classic Digital Photo Frame comes with 5GB of cloud storage for two years, which is handy for showing off extra shots on the frame’s 8-inch HD screen.
Some makes, like Nixplay, allow owners to connect to dedicated apps, while almost all of them allow people to make playlists and invite others to share or contribute photos too in a secure network, which is great for families scattered across the country, or world. For example, owners of multiple Aura Sawyer frames can send photos to all the connected devices on their network. This frame, as well as others even allows users to share photos or control their frames via Alexa.
Easy sharing is a huge advantage to digital frames and a game changer when it comes to managing, displaying and sharing photos.
5. Additional features
Many digital photo frames don’t just show your pictures but offer lots of other features too. For example, KODAK’s has a calendar. But devices like Facebook’s Portal are in a different league.
Primarily designed for connecting families via video calls, Messenger and WhatsApp, it boasts a smart camera that can zoom and widen automatically, plus Smart Sound that reduces background noise. Alexa means users can control music, news, timers and all sorts with their voice too.
But the Portal can also be used as a digital photo frame. Its resolution is as good as many competitors and it boasts the standard 10-nch screen. What’s more, it’s a hit with heavy users of social media as it’s incredibly easy to show photos stored there. If you think that traditional photo frames take up the same amount of room on your mantelpiece and display just one image, multi-tasking digital frames certainly earn their space.
But which one?
If you were on the fence about swapping that chunk of wood or metal and glass on your shelf for a smarter option, the question you’re probably asking yourself is probably not whether to invest in a digital photo frame, but which one to choose.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up the best digital photo frames to help you make a choice as hard as curating your first photographic selection. Better snap to it and get shopping.