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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Frame has its own email address
USB and SD expansion
Not battery operated (limits portability)
App could be more feature rich
The Brookstone PhotoShare frame offers solid performance and an elegant design, but it could benefit from a more feature-rich app.
Brookstone provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for the full take.
The best digital photo frames let you put your memories on display using a convenient and easy-to-setup device. With the increasing popularity of smart displays like the Echo Show that offer digital photo display along with a slew of other features, digital photo frames have to provide a truly simple and seamless experience to compete. I tested the 10.1-inch Brookstone PhotoShare Friends and Family Smart Frame to see how it stacks up against other digital photo frames and smart displays, paying close attention to its design, setup process, audio and video quality, software, and price.
Durable and attractive, the PhotoShare frame comes in either matte black or espresso. It also comes in 8-inch, 10-inch, or 14-inch size options. For this review, I tested the 10-inch matte black frame.
You can feel the quality when you pick up the PhotoShare frame…the durable wood frame doesn’t easily scratch or smudge.
The package includes both a white and black matte, so you can change the aesthetic based on your home decor. You can feel the quality when you pick up the PhotoShare frame, as it has some weight to it. Clocking in at 2.61 pounds, the durable wood frame doesn’t easily scratch or smudge.
On the back of the PhotoShare frame sit the power button, speaker, a keyhole mount, and slots for SD card and USB expansion. The frame auto rotates, so it would be ideal if the frame had wall mount holes for both landscape and portrait orientations, but it only has a wall mount hole for landscape. The included stand is also designed for landscape orientation, but it slides easily on and off, allowing you to move the frame from a table to a wall in seconds.
One major downside is the power connection, as the frame is powered with an AC adapter and it doesn’t take batteries. The cord is a bit short too, so you can’t hang it high up on a wall or far from an outlet without an extension cord. If you’re hanging it on a wall, you’d also have to find a way to hide the cord (think cable raceways). It would be nice if they included a solution for battery operation.
The setup is relatively painless, as it simply involves connecting the power adapter, powering on the frame, connecting it to your Wi-Fi network (2.4GHz networks only), and downloading the companion PhotoShare frame app. Once you have the iOS or Android app, you’ll need to create an account and add the frame to your account.
You can add up to 10 frames to your account if you wish. You can then give the app permission to access some or all of your library photos. The app also provides you with an email address for your PhotoShare frame. You can also share Facebook photos with your frame, or take advantage of USB or SD card expansion.
Photos display clearly on the PhotoShare frame. The high-definition touch display shows enough detail to let you see individual hairs, highlights, and background details. You can see seagulls in the background in pictures of your trip to the beach, or the details of holiday ornaments on your tree. On the frame itself, you can zoom, change transition effects, change slideshow intervals, or enable background music. You can display videos as well for that Harry Potter/Hogwarts vibe.
The high-definition touch display shows enough detail to let you see individual hairs, highlights, and background details.
The PhotoShare frame has a built-in speaker for locally adding background music or playing the audio from your family videos. To add background music, you use the SD card slot or USB slot to locally add music, and then play that music along with your slideshow.
The PhotoShare frame has a built-in speaker for locally adding background music or playing the audio from your family videos.
The frame has Wi-Fi, so it would be better if you could stream music, but at least the option for background music is available. Don’t expect booming bass or super high-res audio, but the music is clear and loud enough to hear from a distance. The frame also plays tones when you click through the menu options, but you can disable the sound if you prefer a silent digital frame.
The PhotoShare app is basic, and it doesn’t include a ton of features. You can add photos, add captions, add additional frames, and invite people to connect to your frame, but can’t do much in the way of editing photos, or changing your slideshow’s features.
You perform many of the other functions directly through the onboard menu. The PhotoShare device itself runs a very trimmed-down version of Android, and you can use the interface to do things like add local music, customize zoom settings, change the frame’s clock settings, and set an alarm clock.
The frame’s onboard menu is relatively basic too, and while you can customize a few options, you can’t seamlessly do everything on the frame and the app individually. It feels like you have to use both the frame and the app to get the most out of the PhotoShare. Even when you take full advantage of all of the features, it doesn’t come close to what you’d get from a more advanced digital frame interface or smart display.
You can find 10-inch digital photo frames for as cheap as $50, but you usually get what you pay for. The main difference between the $160 PhotoShare and cheaper digital frames is the build quality, as the PhotoShare looks and feels expensive. Other frames have a cheap plastic border, while the PhotoShare has a wood frame and high-quality aesthetic. You likely won’t get much more in terms of features when compared to a cheaper frame, but you will get a better design.
The 10-inch Nixplay Seed typically sells for around $165, and it’s comparable to the Brookstone PhotoShare. It’s also a Wi-FI capable frame, and it includes an email address for sending content. However, the Nixplay Seed offers Alexa compatibility, easy Google Photos sharing, and a more comprehensive companion app. The PhotoShare frame has a cleaner, more elegant design though.
A tasteful Wi-Fi digital frame that you’ll be proud to display.
The Brookstone PhotoShare looks amazing and works well, but it doesn’t have as many technical bells and whistles as you might get with other options. Regardless, it’s a classy option to display photos and videos in your home.
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