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Lifewire / Danny Chadwick
Powerful HD display
Ready to use right out of the box
Simple user interface
No internet connectivity
Struggles with videos higher than 720p
No easy way to make photo “playlists”
The Nixplay NIX Advance X15D has one job to do: it displays your high-resolution photos the way they were meant to be seen. And while it doesn’t have the extra features other frames do, it’s definitely worthy of your consideration.
The NIX Advance X15D is a digital photo frame made by Nixplay. Its 15-inch display shows your images and videos with more clarity and detail than any other digital photo frame we’ve tested. It’s also the most low-tech device in the category, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The NIX Advance X15D is a dominating device. Other digital photo frames we tested could be placed discreetly on a shelf and blend in with the decor around them—not this one. The NIX Advance X15D will be the centerpiece of whatever surface you place it on, and the main attraction (or distraction) of any room it’s in.
The biggest difference between this digital photo frame and similar models we’ve tested is that the X15D is completely dependent on physical media. You’re limited to USB devices and SD cards, and that’s it. There isn’t a website where you can upload photos, no way to sync social media profiles, no email sharing, and no mobile app to manage your frame. This may be a turn-off for more tech-savvy users, but it will appeal to people who don’t need or want all their devices connected to the internet.
Because this frame has no onboard storage, the number of images you can display on this device is only limited by the size of your SD card or USB drive. The device comes with an 8GB USB flash drive that will hold thousands of photos, but if you spend a few extra bucks on a 64GB (or larger) SD card, you could load a lifetime of images to this device.
One note on USB devices: During our testing, we only were able to get USB flash drives to work with this frame. It failed to detect any external hard drives we tried to connect to it. It also failed to read any images, video, or audio on both a smartphone and an iPod that we connected via USB.
The NIX Advance X15D will be the centerpiece of whatever surface you place it on.
You control this device with the remote or the directional pad on the back of the frame. The remote is simple and responsive, but its form factor is a big problem—it’s square and perfectly symmetrical to the touch. We often found ourselves holding the remote sideways or backward and confused as to why it wasn’t working properly.
Like other digital photo frames, the X15D has a built-in motion sensor. If it doesn’t detect any motion in the room after a given amount of time, it goes into sleep mode and wakes up when someone enters the room again.
The Nixplay NIX Advance line also includes five other size options including 8-inch, 10-inch, and 17-inch models, and widescreen versions of the same.
There is virtually no setup for this device. Once we got it out of the box, it was ready to use in under a minute. All we had to do was attach the stand, plug in the power adapter, and push the power button. The main window of the interface popped up immediately. There were no setup wizards or prompts to enter your Wi-Fi password—it’s truly a no-hassle experience.
However, getting your pictures onto the NIX Advance X15D can be more involved. During testing, we already had an SD card and USB drive filled with images and video. But if you don’t have one of those lying around, prepare to spend some time manually loading your pictures from your computer to the included USB drive.
There is virtually no setup for this device.
We’d recommend working on putting together a folder of images right when you buy the device—if you have your photos picked out by the time your X15D arrives, then you will be able to upload them to the flash drive and use your frame more quickly.
Unlike most of the other digital photo frames we’ve reviewed, the NIX Advance X15D has an HD display with 720p resolution. This isn’t as good as your television set (and maybe even your smartphone), but it displays your high-resolution images with the most clarity, finest detail, and truest color of the digital photo frames we’ve seen.
While it displays high-quality pictures wonderfully, it’s worth noting that due to its size, lower-resolution images and those taken with older cameras may have a good amount of pixelation.
The number of images you can display on this device is only limited by the size of your SD card or USB drive.
Video playback is where things get dicey. It can smoothly play videos that are 720p and lower, but it struggles with videos that exceed 720p, resulting in near-constant pixelation. This is a big problem for videos captured with today’s digital cameras and smartphones that commonly shoot in 1080p or even higher resolution. It’s something to keep in mind if you have a high-powered camera and want to use your digital photo frame for video.
Like most other digital photo frames, the speakers on this device aren’t its strong point. It plays sound clear enough but lacks the muscle necessary for a truly enjoyable audio experience. It does have a headphone jack on the back panel if you need to hear the fine details of a video.
The user interface on this device is about as simple as it gets. The main window has three options: Play, Calendar, and Settings. It’s really easy to navigate.
In the settings, you get a good number of options to customize how your display works. It includes slide bars for image values such as brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue. Even if you don’t understand all these terms, it's easy to fiddle with the sliders until you get the look you want.
One point of frustration with this device is that you can only set it to display images randomly, by date taken, or alphabetically by file name. It has no ability to make playlists. If you want images to appear in a certain order, you need to manually rename your image files alphabetically.
The Nixplay NIX Advance X15D retails for $179.99. Considering all the high-tech features this device lacks, this seems a little too expensive. But after testing this frame, it’s really won us over. If you don’t mind its off-the-grid nature and value a big display with great picture quality, we think it’s worth considering (especially if you can get it on sale).
If you want the heft and quality this digital photo frame provides, plus the Wi-Fi connectivity, web management, social media syncing, and mobile app you’d get with a more connected device, you’ll want to look into the Nixplay Original W15A Wi-Fi Cloud Frame.
The W15A has the exact same hardware as the X15D but includes all those extra internet-connected features. And it’s priced accordingly: that model retails for $239.99.
A little pricey, but a great off-the-grid option for displaying your photos in HD.
The Nixplay NIX Advance X15D displays your high-resolution pictures with clarity, detail, and rich color. If you don’t mind the lack of internet connectivity—and are willing to manually organize and load your pictures—it’s a great option as a large digital photo frame.