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The best digital photo frames aren’t just luxury gadgets—they give your memories a special physical place in the home for everyone to see and enjoy. With all the pictures and videos we’re able to take with our smartphones on a daily basis, it’s easy for them to get lost in the shuffle. Digital picture frames make certain your beloved captured moments don’t sit forgotten on your mobile device, hard drive, or cloud storage.
Sure, you could get your photos printed and put into traditional frames or albums, but today’s digital frames keep getting smarter and more efficient at what they do. Wi-Fi connectivity, automatic uploading, social media sharing, voice commands, and more are widely found features among the products on our list. Plus, even with all that technology, learning to use a digital photo frame is still pretty simple, making it a thoughtful and useful gift for any occasion.
Elegant frame design
Strong cloud-based features
Useful app/web controls
Display on the small side
Internet connection required
Picture frames are designed to be shown off in your home, and the Nixplay Iris makes you proud to do just that. It blends technology and visual appeal more compellingly than many digital displays do, starting with a frame that comes in classy metallic variations of burnished bronze, peach copper, and silver. The screen’s 8-inch diagonal is smaller than other comparable frames out there, but its 1024x768 resolution gives it more than enough pixels per inch to look sufficiently crisp. Our reviewer also appreciated the display’s ability to adjust its brightness automatically based on the lighting of the room. Add that to a deep selection of smooth transitions and slideshow options, and the Iris simply makes your photo gallery look great.
As smart as it is stylish, the Iris connects to your Wi-Fi network to power a number of convenient and effective features. Instead of plugging in physical media, you load photos from the cloud, either on the 10GB of online storage provided by Nixplay or from your own storage or social media accounts (like Dropbox, Google Photos, Facebook, and more). Your photo “playlists” are shared across any Nixplay frames you might have, and you can even get pictures sent over from friends. A small physical remote is included, but all functions and settings for Iris’s slideshow and display are accessed through the free Nixplay mobile app. This means you and other family members can control the frame from anywhere with internet access. If you’re at home, you can even issue voice commands to Alexa.
Dynamic video-calling features
High-quality photo frame
Serves as a large Alexa display
Pricey if you only want a frame
Calls only through Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp
Able to serve as more than just a static photo frame, the Facebook Portal bills itself as a smart video calling device. You can use it to video chat with your contacts on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, with a crystal-clear 4-microphone array and a 13MP camera covering a wide 114-degree field of vision. Making the experience even better is Portal’s ability to intelligently follow faces around the room, smoothly keeping people in the frame and letting you zoom in on subjects. On top of this are entertaining effects and games powered by augmented reality (AR). Along with a read-along Story Time mode, it’s handy for kids who might not otherwise have much to say on a video call.
The Portal’s bright, sharp display works wonders for both video chats and your photos. When you’re not interacting with the device, its “Superframe” slideshow mode kicks in, displaying your selected photo albums from Facebook or Instagram, or ones uploaded directly from your phone. It also has Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant fully integrated, letting you ask quick questions, get weather updates, set timers, and more. This does mean—even though there is a switch to block off the camera and mic—that the Portal is generally always listening and always connected to Facebook, leading to privacy concerns that could make some users uneasy.
The base Portal sports a 10-inch HD display, but there is also a Portal Mini at the 8-inch size, as well as a Portal+ with a 15.6-inch screen that can easily swivel from landscape to portrait orientation. Rounding out the lineup is the Portal TV, which uses your own screen instead of a built-in display.
Multifunction smart home device
Excellent for photos and video
Convenient voice assistant
Small 7-inch screen
No offline media support
With all the features that can be packed into a Wi-Fi-enabled display, it makes sense for modern frames to do more than show a few pictures. The Google Nest Hub is a prime example—it excels as both a digital photo frame and a smart hub for your connected home. The compact device serves as a dashboard for controlling smart home products like your thermostat, lights, or security cameras, whether they’re from Google Nest or other supported providers. And you can do it all with your voice through the very capable built-in Google Assistant.
Though it’s on the small side with its 7-inch display and sub-HD 1024x600 resolution, the Nest Hub looks great as a picture frame. This is in large part thanks to automatic brightness and color adjustments that help the display blend into any room. (Google’s higher-end Nest Hub Max has a larger 10-inch screen and other upgrades, but the standard Nest Hub has plenty going for it at a notably lower price.) It displays photos straight from your Google Photos collection, which can include dynamically updated albums of any people and pets. You can also stream music from services like Spotify and Pandora through its small but capable speakers, as well as play video from YouTube and—more recently—Netflix.
Large, Full HD display
Powerful Bluetooth speakers
Extensive online features
Setup can get complicated
If you want the strong sound to go along with strong visuals, the Seed Wave from Nixplay is here to satisfy your eyes and ears. The 13.3-inch, the widescreen 1920x1080-pixel display is already among the larger and nicer-looking digital frames you can find. It then adds on a pair of very capable 5W speakers that can pump out the solid volume and bass output from behind the device. With the ability to connect it to your audio sources via Bluetooth, you have a picture frame that can easily fill a room with your tunes without bringing in a separate set of speakers.
Nixplay designed the Seed Wave with some high-quality hardware, and it doesn’t skimp on the software side, either. Once the frame is connected to your home Wi-Fi network and a Nixplay account, you can upload photos directly from your phone, from cloud storage like Google Photos and Dropbox, or from social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram. The frame itself can hold 8GB of pictures at a time, and a free 10GB of online storage comes with your account. You can also connect and play video files, but it’s limited to 15-second clips.
Nice, colorful display
Advanced Wi-Fi features
Rich slideshow settings
Internet and account setup required
Stand is unique but not super stable
With its understated black border, Nixplay’s Seed Ultra digital picture frame puts the focus on your photos. The 10-inch display is an ideal size for most rooms, large and with enough detail from its Full HD resolution to fully enjoy your best shots. And loading those shots is a snap if you already have a collection on Google Photos or other online storage and social media. The same powerful cloud features found on other Nixplay frames are put to good use here, giving you full control of your photos and your frames from a well-designed mobile app. You can set up custom timing and transition effects for your slideshows, as well as set preferences for options such as auto-off settings and automatic brightness.
Turn the Seed Ultra around and you’ll see even more going on to make the device work. Besides Nixplay’s signature honeycomb pattern weaving across the curved back surface, there’s a thick woven power cable sticking out from behind the frame. This semi-rigid, adjustable cord serves as an innovative stand to prop the Seed Ultra up in either portrait or landscape mode. Our tester would have preferred it to feel much more stable, and after months of use, a toddler did give the cable enough of a shake to send the frame toppling off the mantel, rendering the display unusable. The frame stands sturdily enough most of the time, though, especially if you take appropriate precautions for a pricey, breakable piece of technology.
Various online and offline upload methods
Nice frame design
Some tech effort needed for initial setup
The 10-inch Dragon Touch Classic combines modern Wi-Fi functionality with a lot of useful features that can make it perfect for many different kinds of users. The first is the touchscreen display hinted at by the product’s name. Other frames might shy away from touchscreens possibly to avoid fingerprints, but navigating a screen with your fingers simply makes the most sense for a lot of people. The display itself is clear with 1280x800 pixels of resolution and wide viewing angles. You can set it down on its stand or mount it on the wall, and the frame around the screen helps it look more like a pleasant piece of home décor than a high-tech gadget.
When it comes to transferring photos to the frame’s roomy 16GB of storage, the Dragon Touch Classic offers a variety of methods to suit your preferences and where you store your pictures. Plugin a USB drive or SD card to access offline files. Connect to Wi-Fi and transfer directly from your PC. Use the mobile app to upload from your phone or tablet. Multiple user profiles are supported, and each frame also has its own email address for anyone to send photos to. It may take a bit of effort to get everything set up and loaded properly the first time, but after that, it makes for a thoughtful way to share memories even with loved ones who aren’t quite as tech-savvy.
Large 14-inch screen
Broad file format support
No storage included
No Wi-Fi support
For those who don’t need cloud connectivity or other advanced features in their digital photo frame, the MRQ 14-inch model delivers a lot of frames for the money. It’s one of the bigger sizes you’ll find, with a Full HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. It can auto-rotate photos to portrait or landscape orientation, adding black bars to the sides as needed. This may shrink your pictures down a bit, but with the size of the screen, they still won’t be hard to see even across a large room. A motion sensor also turns the display on or off if it detects someone within range or not.
The frame comes with remote control and a power adapter but no internal storage capacity or included memory cards. You’ll have to insert your own SD card or USB drive to load photos. The lack of Wi-Fi functionality limits your options, but it does keep setup, management, and troubleshooting simpler for users wanting a straightforward digital frame experience. It still supports a wide range of image formats, as well as video, audio, and TXT files for reading.
Easy to set up and use
No online features
No internal storage
Only landscape orientation
Since digital picture frames are simple gadgets at their core, you can find very capable gems for very affordable prices. The BSIMB 8-inch digital frame isn’t big, flashy, or fancy, but it does the job of showing off your photos on a clear, Full HD screen. You can even view video files or play audio as background music behind your slideshow. It can also display a clock and calendar, issue reminders, and save energy with its motion sensor and on-off timers.
You can control the BSIMB frame using the included infrared remote or the buttons on the base behind the frame. That’s also where you’ll find a headphone jack and the USB and SD card ports you’ll need to use to connect your photos and other files—no internal storage or internet support is built-in. You won’t get these sorts of frills at the low price point, but you do get a bit more peace of mind with the one-year warranty and 24-hour online customer support that comes with the product.
Very easy setup and use
Designed for sharing photos
Few additional features or settings
No video support
The makers of the Skylight Frame are well aware that digital frames make great gifts, especially for older family members who aren’t up to date on social media or the newest devices. The 10-inch frame is designed to be foolproof for essentially anyone to set up and to use—installation involves just plugging it in and connecting it to Wi-Fi. It doesn’t need to be online to display photos already loaded to its 8GB of internal storage, but it does count on the cloud to receive those photos. Each Skylight device is assigned an email address than friends and family can send pictures to, and the frame’s owner will be able to see them almost immediately.
Using the Skylight is similarly meant to be as user-friendly as possible. The touchscreen display lets users navigate their collection much like a social media feed, swiping to browse photos, deleting unwanted ones, and even clicking to send a thank-you notification for any shots they like. The downside is there are minimal settings available to adjust, even if you wanted to. That means no brightness controls, slideshow customization, or power-saving settings. It’s a streamlined product that doesn’t do much more than it needs to, but in that sense, it does its job very well.
The Nixplay Iris is an 8-inch digital photo frame that shines at what most users want their frames to do—display beautiful photos and look beautiful in your home. It also benefits from Nixplay’s robust suite of cloud-based features that let you upload photos and manage your collection from anywhere in the world. The Facebook Portal is another very connected display, serving as an excellent picture frame with the added features of smart video calling and convenient Alexa integration.
Display – Display size is likely a personal preference, with models measuring as small as seven inches and as large as 21 inches. This decision is largely based on your interior design and how much room you have for the frame. Resolution, though, is less negotiable. Some of the best frames out there offer 1920x1080 16:9 IPS displays that will be visibly sharper to the naked eye than lower-resolution models.
Memory - The more memory a digital photo frame has, the more photos (and even videos) the device can store. Most offer between 4GB to 32GB of storage, with some even offering additional capacity via USB, SD, and SDHC memory cards. Still, 4GB of memory can hold about 20,000 pictures, so that should be ample unless you’re uploading large videos.
Cloud features - Higher-end frames today can connect to Wi-Fi and take advantage of a wide assortment of cloud-based functionality. This can include everything from uploading pictures through a computer or mobile device to social media integration and sharing to remote control via a mobile app. Such features can add a lot of convenience and flexibility, but at the same time can make installation and use of the frame much more complicated than some users want to deal with.
Anton Galang is a Lifewire writer with a background in journalism and more than 12 years of experience in the areas of tech and education. He tested several digital photo frames for Lifewire and ended up keeping a few for his home and giving others as gifts.
Andy Zahn is a Lifewire writer and reviewer with expertise in all sorts of consumer technology—with the added bonus of photography experience that helped inform his testing of the Google Nest Hub and other digital frames.