Nixplay frame

  • After our latest round of testing, the Aura Mason remains our top pick.

  • After our latest round of testing, the Aura Mason remains our top pick.

    The Nixplay 2K Smart Photo Frame 9.7 inch is now our recommendation for people who want to display photos from services such as Instagram and Facebook.

May 7, 2020

A digital photo frame can serve as a direct link between you and family members, letting you send new photos they can admire on their mantle—no matter how far away they live. Whether you’re giving a frame as a gift and plan to upload photos remotely, or just want a great frame for yourself, the Aura Mason is a fantastic option. Its 8.57-inch display is sharp, bright, and vivid, and in our tests it was the simplest frame to set up. On top of that, the design looks great, making it easy to bring into your home.

Out of all the frames we tried, the Aura Mason got the closest to being like a regular photo frame. The process of setting it up and remotely loading photos is a breeze (the free Aura app works with Android and iOS phones). Due to its dependence on Aura’s app, it’s not the best choice for those who want to upload photos directly from their preferred cloud storage and social media services—for that we recommend the Nixplay Smart Photo Frame. But what the Aura Mason lacks in functionality it makes up for with simplicity: From the intuitive design of the app to the frame’s pared-down interface, the Mason is straightforward to set up and use, and not just for the tech savvy.

If you want a larger screen or the flexibility of accessing your social media photos, the latest-generation Nixplay 2K Smart Photo Frame 9.7 inch is a great choice. Nixplay’s impressive software suite, combined with the frame's excellent, 9.7-inch high-resolution display, makes it a nice alternative to the Aura Mason. Although some of its features aren’t the easiest to access, it does let you grab photos from popular photo and social media services like Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr, which the Aura can’t manage.

Why you should trust me

I've been an enthusiast photographer and a writer covering consumer electronics and tech for the better part of a decade. I’ve worked for Wirecutter, Reviewed, and Wired, and I’ve done freelance writing for numerous other outlets.

While preparing for this guide, I consulted reviews both from owners and from trustworthy outlets such as PCMag and Digital Trends. Unfortunately for the layperson shopping for these devices, there are many SEO-driven clickbait blogs offering up zero-calorie or hands-on reviews. We ignored those websites.

How we picked

Before I started this guide, I did about four hours of research on the Amazon, B&H Photo, and Adorama sites to see what newer models were available. I also consulted the previous version of our guide to call back the models we liked in the past (if those picks were still available). I went through owner reviews, looked for top sellers in the category, and generally tried to suss out which frames and manufacturers were worth a closer look.

Previous research indicated that Wirecutter readers were most interested in digital frames measuring 8 to 11 inches diagonal. This display size makes the most sense as it’s significantly bigger than the average phone screen yet small enough for you to tuck the frame away in a corner or to set it atop a bookcase. Style is subjective, but it was also a factor, albeit a minor one, in our decision-making process.

A display’s aspect ratio is important to consider. For example, 16:9 frames are often too narrow for showing most digital photos without pillarboxing the image (putting black bars on either side). Additionally, we looked at each screen’s resolution: When even most smartphone cameras can shoot at least 10-megapixel images, it hardly makes sense for us to test anything below a 1080p display (which equates to a measly 2 megapixels).

We looked at more than a dozen of the top frames and then winnowed down the pool, according to the above criteria, to eight frames for testing: the Aluratek 7 Inch Digital Photo Frame, Aura Mason, Aura Sawyer, MRQ 10.1 Inch Digital Photo Frame, Nixplay 2K Smart Photo Frame 9.7 inch, Nixplay Smart Photo Frame 10.1 inch, Pix-Star FotoConnect 10, and Skylight Frame.

How we tested

We put each digital picture frame through a battery of tests. While examining everything from the setup process and display quality to the design, ease of use, and even the quality of automatic brightness adjustment, I took notes on each frame’s strengths and weaknesses. Then I uploaded to each frame an identical set of 86 photos from my library, from portraits to architectural shots, taken with phones and digital cameras.

In my own home, I installed the frames in a handful of locations to gauge the clarity, brightness, and glare in different ambient lighting. I also made sure to look at each frame both straight in front of them and at increasingly oblique angles to see if the contrast decreased or whether any of the colors shifted. This process also helped me gauge ease of installation and any possible snags with the required power adapter. Additionally, I installed the top two contenders at a family member’s home across town so that I could test remote control of the frames.

Our pick: Aura Mason

An Aura Mason photo frame that we recommend.

The Aura Mason combines attractive hardware and simple software to create a digital photo frame that is the easiest to set up and operate. You go through the entire process on your Android or iOS device, no clunky remote required, and setup includes the option of inviting family members and friends to view and upload pictures. If you’re primarily a phone photographer, you’ll have your pictures up on this frame in a relatively short amount of time.

Aura’s software helps you easily set up the Aura Mason as a gift. Using the app, scan a QR code on the box to pair it with your account. That lets you invite family members to contribute photos before the recipient unpacks the frame and plugs it in. You can also have the frame shipped from Aura directly and use the company’s email setup process to associate it with your account while it’s in transit. Though we didn’t try the gift-setup methods ourselves, we do appreciate Aura’s focus on the gift angle.

The back of the Aura Mason photo frame that we recommend.

Once you download the Aura app, pair your phone to your frame, and connect it to your Wi-Fi network settings through your phone, you’re set. Judging from our experience with the Aura platform, you won’t have to wait for updates to install (any updates occur overnight or when the screen is off for an extended period). In addition, you won’t have to do anything on the frame itself with a remote control, because there isn’t one—something that competing frames tend to require.

The Mason’s 1600×1200-resolution, 8.57-inch screen (which Aura sometimes rounds up to 9 inches in spec sheets) looks sharp, has excellent contrast, and displays colors well. We found its quality to be on a par with that of much pricier, bigger digital frames. Its automatic light sensor worked surprisingly well in our trial runs, cranking up the screen’s brightness to combat sunlight. It also reliably turned the display off at night and when no one was around using Aura’s “presence sensor”—a task that other frames struggled to manage.

A side view of the Aura Mason photo frame.

Compared with a lot of other frames in this category, the Mason has an aesthetic that mixes form and function quite well. The frame has nifty features such as touch-sensitive strips that let you mark favorite photos and advance forward and back with a swipe, but its grooved, textured plastic makes it look like a nice frame you might buy for a print photo. Instead of relying on a flimsy stand to prop itself up, the Aura Mason has weights in two sides, letting you position it in either portrait or landscape orientation.

Once it’s up and running, you have many display options to choose from. Working with its default settings, you get behavior that’s more suggestive of a real picture frame than a digital one. You’ll find no cheesy animations between photos, only simple fades and swipes. The Mason does a remarkably better job than competitors at automatically cropping photos that are in the wrong orientation for the frame. And in case it gets things wrong in that regard, a link in the app displays the photos it cropped automatically so that you can re-crop them if you want (which, based on my experience, you will do very rarely).

A nice surprise I discovered while testing is that the Mason and other frames in the Aura family are compatible with Apple’s Live Photo feature, and you’ll see such images come to life for an instant when they first appear on the display.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Aura Mason’s screen is a little smaller than that of our previous top pick, the Nixplay Seed Ultra, which has a 9.7-inch display, but at 8.57 inches on the diagonal, the Mason’s screen is still plenty big. Although the Mason’s automatic brightness sensor did a good job adjusting the screen’s brightness in our tests, it tended toward the dimmer side of things until light was pouring into the room. Unlike other frames, the Mason has no manual brightness control, being full automatic instead.

The list of Web-based services that Aura’s platform connects to is awfully short, limited to Google Photos. You can hook up a Dropbox folder in an officially sanctioned way using IFTTT, but that can feel like a bit of a hack and can make it difficult to get photos onto the frame from other sources. For example, to upload photos from my Flickr account, I had to download them from the Flickr app into my phone’s photo library, and from there upload them into Aura’s library.

Also great: Nixplay 2K Smart Photo Frame 9.7 inch

The Nixplay 2K Smart Photo Frame 9.7 inch shown on a green background.

The Nixplay 2K Smart Photo Frame’s bright 9.7-inch high-resolution display is larger than the Aura Mason’s and lets you upload photos from sources such as Flickr, Instagram, and Facebook. Compared with the Aura Mason, it’s typically a little pricier, but its stand is more stable than its predecessor’s, and its new look and wall-mountable design help it blend into any room’s decor. Add in Nixplay’s impressive customization features, and it makes for a worthwhile option.

In my testing, I found that the screen on the Nixplay Smart Photo Frame was as bright as that of the Aura Mason and easily visible through ambient light; plus, the Smart Photo Frame offers manual brightness control instead of relying only on sensors. Like the Mason, the Smart Photo Frame has a smart motion sensor that turns the frame off when nobody is around or the room is dark enough.

This newer Smart Photo Frame improves upon our biggest pet peeve from the previous Nixplay Seed Ultra version—it now has a thicker, more stable stand. The stand is still where you need to plug in the power adapter, but when you set the frame upright, it stays in place better. You can also remove the stand and use the included screws and stencil to measure, drill, and then hang the frame on the wall.

As a piece of home decor, the 2K Smart Photo Frame is an improvement over its predecessor thanks to a new beveled design that makes it look more like a “real” photo frame in use. If you’re willing to shell out an extra $50, you can even get the Smart Photo Frame in a metal finish, which, while expensive, is a nice option. The back of this frame sports a wavy texture just as other Nixplay frames do, but it now gives you a spot to stick the magnetic remote control so that a pet, say, can’t knock it under the sofa (maliciously or not).

One of the biggest drawbacks of this Nixplay frame has to do with setup. From the moment you open the box, you’ll need to rely on the remote control to get the Smart Photo Frame running, typing in your home Wi-Fi password with a directional pad. This initial experience foreshadows the way that Nixplay’s frames operate: as standalone devices, rather than as gussied-up smartphone accessories. That also means you’ll find some settings, such as the automatic cropping mode, on the device itself, while other features are spread out across the Nixplay app and Web interface.

Between its app and the Web interface, Nixplay gives you a gaggle of options to upload and organize your photos for a frame at home or one that’s installed remotely at a relative’s house. People who want a lot of customizable options on a digital photo frame will appreciate the comprehensive software. But if you just want to get pictures off your phone and onto a digital frame, all these features won’t make a difference to you.

(Potentially) free alternatives

People have a lot of screens in their lives. Some of them are big and some of them are small, but if you’ve upgraded from an older tablet recently, you might consider using it as a digital photo frame. For this use, I’d recommend using an older Retina iPad, since Apple’s displays offer good viewing angles and are bright enough to fight glare. The iPad’s built-in Photos app has integration with iCloud and will remain synced to your phone’s pictures if you choose to use iCloud. Plus, it has a nice slideshow mode that shuffles, crops, and animates your pictures.

You might be tempted to try using one of Amazon’s cheap Fire tablets as a makeshift picture frame, but my advice is not to bother. Even though these tablets have IPS screens and are certainly affordable (especially around the holidays), their screens are too dim and offer poor viewing angles. I currently have a 7-inch Fire stuck to my fridge as a persistent weather display, and when the sun is out, I have to get really close in order to see what’s on the screen.

Another option, if you want to use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, is to use a smart display as a photo frame, though this might end up being more expensive.

The competition

Nixplay’s Smart Photo Frame 10.1 inch takes the past Nixplay design and improves on it. Unfortunately, on this model and previous 10.1-inch Nixplay widescreen frames, we’ve found that the display is noticeably worse. Not only does the screen have a less natural aspect ratio for traditional photos, but its lower resolution (1280×800) and less punchy colors make it less compelling, too.

The Pix-Star FotoConnect 10 has a ton of overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, and its features are impressive: In addition to photos, it displays weather and email, and it even plays Internet radio. But its ugly design, clunky software, and low-res, 1024×768 screen negate anything good. Simply put, its price ($155 at this writing) just doesn’t feel right for what you get.

Aura’s Sawyer sports a larger, higher-res (9.7-inch, 2048×1536) screen and a design that’s more subtle than that of our top pick, the Aura Mason. However, along with the Sawyer’s bigger size comes a significantly bigger price tag: The Sawyer frames start at $300, about $100 more than the Mason. That makes the Mason a far better value in our eyes for what essentially amounts to almost the same overall experience. If the money isn’t a problem for you, this model is one to consider.

Even though the cheap Aluratek 7 Inch Digital Photo Frame was labeled “Amazon’s Choice” at the time we tested it, we strongly recommend that you steer clear of it. This frame is made of cheap plastic and has a dim, low-res (800×600) LCD with terrible viewing angles. Unlike some of the other frames we tested, which have IPS screens, this Aluratek display uses TN technology, and it is nigh unviewable unless you put it right at eye level. Even at its usual impulse-buy price of $30, this frame is just not worth it.

The MRQ 10.1 Inch Digital Photo Frame comes close to our old non–Wi-Fi pick, the Nix Advance. Sporting a 10-inch widescreen display, it has features that are similar to those of the Advance, but it’s saddled with worse software and a cheaper remote control. It also doesn’t come with a USB flash drive in the box, though there is a mail-away offer to get one for free when you register the frame for its warranty coverage. Its screen is much like what the Advance offers, too, with similar colors and an identical resolution, but the better interface of the Advance makes it the model to pick between these two, if you can still find it in stock.

The Skylight Frame, which is highly rated on Amazon, is a mixed bag. Although it looks well designed from the front, has a touchscreen that makes setup a snap, and even has an affordable $160 price at this writing, there’s less to this frame than meets the eye. Its disappointing 1280×800 widescreen IPS display makes photos appear softer than they are and makes colors look less than lifelike. It’s also a dim and glossy screen, so it’s hard to see in a bright room. It lacks advanced sensors, such as for ambient brightness or motion. And it doesn’t even have an app, unless you pay for Skylight’s Skylight Pro service, which is nearly $40 a year. The only way you can put photos on the Skylight Frame by default is via email, a process that just felt clunky compared with those of our favorite frames. Finally, the lack of a standard one-year warranty was a shock to us; Skylight says that although it will send replacements to new buyers who receive faulty units, there is no protection after that point.

About your guide

Brendan Nystedt

The digital picture frame market got off to a rough start; early frames were clunky, had tiny screens, very few features, and required you to manually update the pictures. Read on as we review the Nixplay, a next generation digital picture frame with Wi-Fi connectivity, cloud-based photo sharing, and a pile of user-friendly features.

What Is The Nixplay?

The Nixplay is the first Wi-Fi enabled digital picture frame from the Nix company (although their first networked offering, they’ve been in the digital picture frame business for quite awhile). As of this review, the Nixplay lineup consists of one model, the W08A which sports an 8″ 800×600 pixel screen; the company has plans for additional Nixplay units with larger and higher resolution screens.

The frames support JPEG/JPG images and video in the H.264 format. The frame is a matte black rubber and the screen surface is matte. There are two visible protusions on the front of the frame: the larger dome on the left hand side is a motion sensor (used to turn the frame off when no one is in the room) and the smaller centered plastic window is the IR receiver for the unit’s remote control (seen in the photo below).

Although every Nixplay unit has an SD card slot and USB port for local file loading, the frame’s killer feature is the cloud-based photo management. Each Nixplay unit comes with a free standard Nixplay account that allows you to upload photos, import photos from Facebook, Instagram, and Picasa Web albums, as well as accept photos via email (each Nixplay account has a custom email address). The free standard account is good for one frame, up to 5,000 photos, and 10 unique slideshows (essentially the Nixplay equivalent of categories/albums).

Users who want to manage multiple frames and/or increase their storage can subscribe to the Nixplay Plus plan for $3.99 a month, which will allow for up to five frames per account, 30GB of cloud-based photo storage, 50 unique slideshows, and all photos will be stored in their original resolution. Given that nearly every internet-enabled digital picture frame requires a paid subscription for full functionality, we’re quite pleased to see that the Nixplay only requires a paid subscription for users who actually, well, use the service a lot. It’s perfectly reasonable to have a small fee when the bandwidth and storage demands go up.

So how does the Nixplay work? Let’s take a look at the setup required, how to send photos to the frame, and then get down to the good, the bad, and the verdict.

How Do I Set It Up?

Setup is very straight forward and should take less than ten minutes (most of that time will be spent letting the device boot and update its software). We suggest setting it up at your computer (or have a laptop handy to finish the process if you wish to place the unit where you want it right out of the box).

Unpack the unit, attach the frame easel piece, plug the unit in, and unwrap the remote. Press the power button on the remote or the back of the unit to start it. Once the unit has finished booting, you’ll be presented with a list of available Wi-Fi nodes. Even if you have no intention of using the cloud-based service, you will still need to connect to the servers at least once to initialize the unit and check for updates.

After your Nixplay picture frame is connected to your Wi-Fi, it will download any available updates, apply them, restart itself, and then present you with a simple white screen with a 16 digit serial number. Take that serial number and head over to the Nixplay website.

Click on Activate Frame in the upper right corner and follow the activation instructions. You’ll need to supply the 16 digit serial number, your last and first name, a valid email address, and then you’ll select a username for the Nixplay service (this will be the email address that people can send photos to so pick a practical one like firstnamelastname). Once you’ve provided all the necessary information, the Nixplay servers will send a confirmation word to your Nixplay frame which you then enter into the sign up page. Ours was, rather cheerily, “Happiness”.

Once you enter the word prompt from the Nixplay screen, you can hop over to your Nixplay web account and start loading pictures. Before we do that however, we want to point out one of the fantastic little touches that really sells the Nixplay photo frame as the photo frame to get for all those aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great grandparents in your life: they included a remote management tool for all the settings. From the unit itself, you can go into a settings menu to adjust things like when the unit sleeps, how the motion detection works, whether or not the unit should display the most recent photos or start from the beginning each time, etc. Realistically, if you’re giving this photo frame to a relative specifically because they’re not heavy social media/computer users and you want a way to share digital photos with them, it’s great that you can also remotely manage the device. When you’re logged into your Nixplay account, all you have to do is click on Frames and then the specific frame you want to manage and you’ll see this panel:

That’s every single adjustable option sans the Wi-Fi settings and the screen brightness. We can’t tell you how pleased we are that they included a way to adjust the frame remotely; this way when Great Grandma calls and says the pictures are changing too fast, we don’t have to walk her through navigating the menus, we can just adjust it and ask if she likes the new speed.

Now that we’ve drawn your attention to that great feature, we’re ready to start putting pictures on the frame.

How Do I Use It?

At this point, you can return to the main Nixplay page and log into your account for the first time. You’ll be greeted with an empty control panel. On the left hand side of the screen you’ll have shortcuts to albums, slideshows, individual frames (these are the physical frames you’ve activated with the service), and general settings and subscriptions. By default, you have one empty “demo” album. We’ll return to that demo album in a moment. Now remember, the Nixplay unit does have an SD card slot and a USB port so you can always just load pictures on some flash media and stick it into the picture frame; what sets the Nixplay apart is the cloud-storage, however, so that’s what we’re focused on.

On the right side of the screen you’ll have a list of all your slideshows. Don’t be confused here by the fact that they named the sample photo album “Demo” and the sample slideshow “Demo”, albums and slideshows are separate things.

Just about everything in the Nixplay control panel is drag and drop friendly. If you want to get started right away, you can drag some sample photos from a folder on your computer right onto the Demo album, then turn right around and drag the Demo album right over to the Slideshow column:

At this point, you should notice a little cloud icon blinking in the upper corner of the display on your Nixplay picture frame; the unit is communicating with the servers and downloading your photos. Because there were no photos to display when you first set it up, the unit should still be idling at the menu screen like so:

Press the “slideshow” button on the remote or use the arrow keys located on the back of the frame to select slideshow and click OK. Your photos should load up:

At the very start of the slideshow, a little box displays at the bottom which indicates how many new files have been added to the slideshow that day. That’s a nice little touch, especially if you’re setting up the picture frame for a relative; they’ll be notified that new photos will be appearing in the slideshow that day.

In addition to manually uploading images to Nixplay, you can also have Nixplay automatically pull photos from albums you’ve created on Facebook, Picasa, and Instagram. For example, let’s say you use Facebook primarily as a tool for keeping up with friends and family via sharing family pictures and you want to share those family pictures with an older relative who isn’t on Facebook. You could simply add either your Timeline Photos album or a specific album of family photos to your Nixplay picture frame by clicking on Albums -> Facebook and logging in to authorize Nixplay to access your photos.

Once you’ve authorized Nixplay to access your Facebook photos (or Picsasa/Instagram photos), it’s the exact same process that we outlined above. You simply drag and drop the whole photo album from that service (or open the album and select specific photos), over to the Slideshows sidebar just like we did with the Demo album (keep in mind that if you want automatic updating between your photo account and the frame, you need to add the whole album and not just some pictures from the album):

The final way to add pictures from the cloud is to use email. By default, Nixplay has an email filter enabled; only those email addresses you whitelist can send pictures to the frame. While you can turn the filter off, we think whitelisting addresses to allow them to automatically send pictures is a wise idea. To enable email sharing, click on Albums -> Email Albums. At first, you’ll have nothing to look at as there are no albums; click on “Manage Settings” in the corner of the Email Albums pane to change that:

Click on “Add New Contact” and add any email addresses you wish to whitelist. At minimum we’d recommend whitelisting your own, even if you don’t intend to enable other friends or relatives to use the feature, simply so you can always use the email gateway to upload pictures. It’s super handy, for example, to be able to BCC: your Nixplay address when sending vacation photos to your mom or brother so that those photos also end up on Grandma’s Nixplay frame.

When you enter a new contact, including yourself, you have the option to have the photos either sit in a holding pen waiting for you to sort them, or automatically send them to a slideshow. The email function is a great way to extend the reach of the picture frame to many relatives, while having one person do the actual management; if you give a frame to Great Grandma, for example, you can add the email addresses of grand children, great grand children, etc. and have all of them send photos to the frame.

The Good, The Bad, and the Verdict

We’ve played with it, we’ve emailed it photos, we’ve dumped social media albums onto it,  we even took it over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house and left it with her. What’s the verdict at the end of the day?

The Good:

  • Multiple methods of sharing photos with the frames; you can share them via the Nixplay webpage, via email, and from Facebook, Instagram, and Picasa albums.
  • Includes both an SD card slot and USB port for fast local loading (and with those external slots, even if the company folds you can still keep using the frame sans cloud-sharing functionality).
  • Motion detection and time-based-sleep minimizes power use and keeps the frame on only when someone is around to look at it.
  • Simple setup and remote album management makes it perfect for less–than-tech-savvy relatives.
  • The $99 price point is very reasonable for the quality of the product and the number of features included; it’s currently the best value in the Wi-Fi enabled picture frame category and offers so much more than other email-only picture frames; the free-for-the-first-frame business model is also superior to other companies that require $5-15 accounts for even a single frame.
  • It’s fast; photos sent by email or transferred from the web portal appear on the Nixplay unit within around 5 seconds.

The Bad: 

  • While adequate for the task, the 800×600 resolution screen is rather low-resolution in the age of retina display tablets and razor sharp computer monitors.
  • The screen is 4:3 ratio, but most digital camera photos are 3:2; as such there is a black band at the top and bottom of photos that aren’t manually cropped. The picture frame does include a function, found within the settings menu, that allows you to switch from shrink-to-fit to fill-the-screen, but the fill-the-screen function isn’t a crop-to-fit but a fill-and-pan function. This is an awkward solution when it would be more appropriate to simply not crop vertical shots and crop horizontal shots just enough to remove the letterbox effect.
  • We’d asking for extras now, but we’d love for the the ability to append photos with a short 160 character Twitter-style text tag. We’ve already seen that the frame can overlay a message in a light gray box (like it does when it tells you that there are 20 new photos from that day, for example). It would be great if we could hijack that function to add a small meta-data text overlay so that we could add information for those relatives we’re sharing photos with like “John tasting ice cream for the first time” or “First trip to the county fair”.

The Verdict: Despite our complaints about the lower resolution of the screen and the slightly kludgy built-in cropping, the Nixplay’s benefits far outweigh the minor problems. It’s a great value at $99. You get free everything for a single frame and a very reasonable $3.99 a month for multiple frames. The Nixplay web portal is very user friendly and it is very easy to set up automatic picture sharing via email and Facebook/Picasa/Instagram albums. It’s a near zero-configuration/zero-fuss photo frame that’s perfect for giving to relatives so you can share photos with them automatically. And, as we mentioned earlier in the review, we’re thrilled with the remote-management functionality where you can adjust the actual frame settings from afar. To date it’s our favorite digital photo frame and we’ve already planned to purchase one for all the grandparents and great grandparents that need their grandkid-photo-fix every day.

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In light of the coronavirus epidemic, we’re all trying to find new ways to reach out and stay in touch with our loved ones. With social media and the internet, staying connected is now easier than ever.

But what do you do if your loved ones don’t have smartphones, avoid social media, or live in an area with limited internet access?

I’ve heard many stories of millennials who want to share pictures of their life achievements and growing families with their older relatives, but are hamstrung by grandma or grandpa’s lack of online presence. This is where Nixplay comes in.

Nixplay makes a series of wi-fi enabled digital picture frames. These are not the digital picture frames of the past that required you to upload photos to the frame itself; by downloading the Nixplay app, you can send pictures and videos to any Nixplay frame, as long as the frame is connected to a wi-fi network or hotspot. This technology represents a real game-changer when it comes to keeping the internet-averse in the loop.

I got the chance to try out the 10.1-inch Nixplay W10F-HD smart photo frame. Even better, an older relative of mine was recently gifted one of these smart picture frames, so I was able to gain some insight into how people actually use these picture frames on a daily basis.

How does Nixplay work?

In your Nixplay albums, you can easily add, remove, and rearrange photos.

Like most wireless devices, to get the Nixplay smart photo frame up and running, you have to create a Nixplay account, connect the frame to a wi-fi network, install a couple of updates, and then pair the device to your new Nixplay account.

There are a few different Nixplay pricing options. With the Nixplay Standard package, you get 10 GB (or about 2000 photos) of storage for free. These photos and videos can be shared between up to five different Nixplay frames. If you need more data storage, or want to manage more than five Nixplay frames from your account, you’ll need to upgrade to the Nixplay Plus package, which offers 30 GB of cloud storage for $1.99 per month or $19.90 annually. There are additional options for up to 1 TB of cloud storage.

Once you’ve settled on the amount of storage you need, you can start adding pictures to your Nixplay frame. From your phone, it’s easy to add, remove, and rearrange the pictures and videos uploaded to your Nixplay account. After the photos have been uploaded to the cloud, a little notification pops up in the Nixplay picture frame screen that tells you that some new photos have arrived (which is a nice touch that will definitely get those using the picture frame excited). Beyond uploading or removing photos, it’s pretty much set-it-and-forget-it from there.

The best part, though, is that it’s very easy for other friends and family to upload photos to your Nixplay frames; all they have to do is create their own Nixplay account, send a friend request to your admin account for a given Nixplay frame, and start uploading pics. Pulling in photos from social media is also a breeze—by adding your account information from Facebook, Google, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, or Verizon, you can easily import whatever photos you want and add them to the Nixplay’s playlist. If your friends don't want to create a Nixplay account, they can just email photos directly to the Nixplay frame.

These tasks are pretty straightforward to those used to dealing with this kind of gadgetry, but it might be problematic for those who don’t have a lot of tech know-how. If you’re getting the Nixplay with an older relative or tech minimalist in mind, I recommend doing the setup and photo uploads before handing the frame off to its new owner.

What we like about the Nixplay smart picture frame

You can select different settings and options on the Nixplay frame itself, using the included remote control.

Credit: / Julia MacDougall

There is so much to love about the Nixplay frames. It is clear that a lot of thought went into the tech, features, and design of each frame. There are a veritable cornucopia of photo display options and settings that you can adjust, including the time each photo is displayed, the pattern in which the photos play, whether the frame focuses showcasing only the most recently uploaded photos, the type and time duration of the transition from one photo to the next, and so much more. Even better, while the high-quality screen in the picture frame does a great job of showcasing the photos and videos, you can apply different filters to the screen to create a different aesthetic. If you're giving a Nixplay frame to more tech-savvy folks, this smart picture frame can also be controlled via Amazon Alexa.

With each Nixplay frame, there are tons of options and settings you can adjust according to your preferences.

Some other really helpful features include a remote control, sleep scheduling, the ability to connect via a public wi-fi hotspot, and the motion sensor. In my experience, these features are what really allow the Nixplay to fit into the user’s everyday life. When I was at my relative’s house, the Nixplay was set to continuously cycle through the available photos as long as the frame was plugged in. I wouldn’t recommend this setting for most people for one simple reason: if each picture was displayed for 10 seconds, and you had 600 pictures uploaded to the playlist showing on that Nixplay frame, then you’ll start seeing the same pictures again every 100 minutes. Imagine doing an all-day Netflix binge in that scenario; over the span of 6 hours, you could see the same photo three or four times.

Here’s where sleep scheduling and the motion sensor come into play: if you activate either of these options, the frame shuts off automatically either at a specific time or if the motion sensor isn’t triggered, allowing the user to sample the photos in bits and pieces, rather than getting sick to death of a given photo in a few days. Furthermore, this will save you from the heart palpitations I experienced when I heard videos playing on the Nixplay at odd hours of the day and night, which convinced me we were about to be robbed or haunted by ghosts.

If you’re considering a Nixplay for an older relative who doesn’t have a wi-fi network in their home, then the ability to set up and run the Nixplay via a public wi-fi hotspot (if one is available nearby) is a real boon. There are also security features that you can engage in this setting that will make this option as private as possible.

Most Nixplay frames have bendable posts on the back that allow you to make sure the frame sits upright in a portrait or landscape orientation on many different types of surfaces.

Credit: / Julia MacDougall

The Nixplay frames are very cleverly designed. Some of the frames can be wall-mounted or freestanding, while others are only freestanding. However, the bendable post at the back of the picture frame, which doubles as the charging port, means that it can sit stably on a variety of surfaces.

What we don’t like about the Nixplay smart picture frame

You can upload photos to your Nixplay account from your computer or smartphone.

During my time with the Nixplay frame, I ran into a few issues. Originally, I experienced some confusion when photos I uploaded to a given album did not show up on the Nixplay frame. As it turns out, albums are where you store the photos you upload, but the Nixplay frame only displays photos that are in the playlists. You can either upload photos directly to a playlist or to an album, or you can move photos from an album to a playlist. This makes sense in retrospect; with multiple people funneling photos into a single smart picture frame, this gives people the option to share and download photos amongst themselves without tweaking the Nixplay’s current playlist.

One minor complaint I have is that, from your smartphone, there’s no easy way to add photos to a Nixplay playlist or album in bulk. On my iPhone, I had to tap each photo one-by-one to select it and add it to Nixplay’s cloud storage. On a computer, it’s very easy to add an entire folder of photos to your Nixplay account, but in my experience, it couldn’t be done on a smartphone. If you’re going to be adding photos piecemeal, then the smartphone app is fine, but for bigger photo projects, I’d recommend logging in online from a computer and doing it there.

For iPhone users, just a heads up: some of the photos on my iPhone are .HEIC files that had filters applied or that had been otherwise altered. It took a couple of tries for me to actually upload the .HEIC files (they had to be uploaded separately in smaller batches with other .HEIC files, and not mixed with the other JPEG or PNG files I was batch uploading). While I’ve had success with other photo formats, Nixplay says that the uploaded photos should be JPEGs.

Lastly, if you can, do your best to ensure that most of the photos you upload to the Nixplay cloud storage are in either landscape or portrait orientation, and then position the Nixplay frame in the same orientation. The Nixplay frame can easily display both portrait and landscape photos, but depending on how the frame is positioned, it shrinks the photos in the opposite orientation to make them fit on the screen.

Again, these are small problems that do little to diminish the overall amazing experience of having a Nixplay smart photo frame.

Should you get a Nixplay smart photo frame?

Nixplay's high-quality screen reproduces your photos and videos in great detail.

Credit: / Julia MacDougall

Yes, especially if you have friends and relatives that don’t want to engage with social media or the internet, or if you’re just trying to connect with people in the age of social distancing. With a couple hours of setup, you can easily share new photos with loved ones, even when you can’t be there in person.

Get the Nixplay 10.1-inch Smart Digital Picture Frame for $148.99

Get the Nixplay 15.6-inch Smart Digital Picture Frame for $259.99

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.


In the past I have reviewed the Nixplay Seed digital picture frame and found it to be a good, but not quite perfect product. Recently Nixplay launched a new frame called the Smart Photo Frame, and they asked me to take a look at this next generation of the frame, teasing that it fixed some of the things I wasn’t so happy with on the Seed frame.

Quick review: They weren’t wrong. This is a fantastic digital frame, and a big step forwards from the one I last reviewed.

In this review, I am specifically looking at the 9.7-inch version of the Smart Photo Frame, and I would probably suggest that you do too if you are an avid photographer. Although this frame does come in three other sizes, the important thing to know is that the aspect ratio of the 9.7-inch frame is 4:3, the same as many digital cameras, the same as the iPhone camera and not far off the 3:2 aspect of all other digital cameras. On the other hand, the other three sizes of the frame (10.1″, 13.3″, 15.6″) are a much wider 16:9 aspect, the same as your TV.

In my review of the previous Seed frame, the 16:9 was my biggest bugbear because it meant that I either had to crop my images significantly to show them on the frame, or I had to have huge black borders on either side. As someone who spends an awful lot of time getting my photos framed “just so” in the viewfinder, I found this annoying. It wasn’t limited to Nixplay, either, I had the same reservations about the much more expensive Meural digital frame, too.

This issue is all but solved with the introduction of the 9.7″ Smart Photo Frame with its much more suitable-for-photographers 4:3 aspect ratio. Thank you for listening, Nixplay!

Yes, with my images from cameras that shoot 3:2 images, there is still a little bit of cropping required, but it’s not nearly as dramatic and I’m perfectly happy with it. I understand that Nixplay can’t offer every aspect ratio under the sun, and I totally get why they went with 4:3 instead of 3:2, which is of course, because of the popularity of smartphones like the iPhone.

The 9.7″ version also has a higher 2k (2048X1536) resolution than the larger versions of the same product, and having all those pixels packed into the small 9.7″ size makes for a beautiful, crisp image. This makes the 9.7″ version the most expensive one, at $329.99, but if you are really into your photography then it’s well worth the small premium over the other lower-resolution frames that also have the less suitable aspect ratios.

The Frame In Use

The Smart Photo Frame is a little more expensive than the Seed frame, but once you get the box you can see that Nixplay has really endeavoured to make a more premium product. Even the packaging rivals that of an Apple product, and the frame feels beefier and much more high-end than the cheaper Seed model.

Unlike the Seed frame, the Smart Photo Frame also has the ability to be mounted on the wall by removing the rear stand. The frame ships with the mounting hardware you need, as well as a hole pattern template for putting the screw in the wall. The hole pattern on the rear of the frame is also VESA standard, so you can use it with readily available VESA mount accessories.

When you first turn it on you will be guided through a setup process which requires you to select your home’s wireless network and input the password using the remote control. Once that is done, it will check for new firmware on the frame, and instruct you to download the Nixplay app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. With the app installed on your phone, connecting the phone to the frame is as simple as clicking “add a frame” and following the prompts. The whole setup process takes less than five minutes, and it was as simple as I could ever hope it to be.

Once you are connected to your frame you need to create your first playlist. This is essentially a gallery of photos, and you can create as many playlists as you want, to organize different sets of photos. Once the playlist is created you can add photos to it from your phone, from Instagram or from other cloud services such as Dropbox. You can create as many playlists as you want in the app, and once a playlist is ready you can send it to your frame.

What’s cool here is that if you have multiple frames, you can assign different playlists to different frames, and the frame doesn’t even need to be in your house. They could be anywhere that has an internet connection. Once a playlist is sent to a frame, any additional photos that you add to that playlist via the app will get automatically sent to the frame.

I found this whole process to be smooth and simple. Nixplay has clearly spent some time working on the user experience for this whole process, and I honestly could not come up with any way in which I would like to see it change. You can easily manage a whole host of different frames from the app, as well as huge collections of playlists containing hundreds of photos that are populated from multiple cloud platforms or apps. It just works!

Remote Control

The Smart Photo Frame comes with a remote control that has enough buttons to allow complete control of the frame. Although you will initially need to use the Nixplay app to upload some photos to the frame, once you have it set up, there’s no need to use the app again until you want to add more photos.

With the remote you can, at any time, use the directional buttons to advance the photos. This comes in handy if you want to show someone a selection of photos in your gallery, but you have the automatic slideshow advancement set to some longer duration. Personally, I set mine to change the image every hour, for example.

The remote control also gives you full menu access to select different playlists, change the interval duration, change the sort order of the photos, change the transition type… the list of features is long, but that’s a good thing. I love that you do not necessarily need to interact with the application once you have it all loaded up with photos. It’s nice for me, but it’s also nice for less technologically advanced people. I don’t know about you, but my parents can use a remote control to flip through photos, but asking them to always use an app would have resulted in it just gathering dust. Overall, the whole remote control experience is more responsive and more useful than the previous Nixplay frame that I reviewed.

Ideas for using the frame

One of the most enjoyable things about this frame is that I can put my latest images on it in my office, and live with them for a few weeks. Sometimes this causes me to go back and make slight tweaks to the edit that I made in Lightroom or Capture One, and sometimes I find that it inspires me to get right back out with the camera again so that I can create the next image to put in my frame. All too often, digital photos are created and never seen again. Sometimes I will take a photo and it disappears onto a hard drive for years before I sell it and have cause to dig it out of the archive again. And you know what? With a digital frame like this one, that doesn’t need to be the case, and that’s really cool.

At the moment I keep a pair of playlists loaded into my frame. One of them is a playlist of my favourite photos from the last decade+ of my career, while the other is my favourite photos from the last month or so. Using the Dropbox connection feature, I can even set up an automated process to get these new photos onto the frame. In Lightroom I have an export preset called “Nixplay” and the export destination is simply set to a folder in Dropbox that is synced to my frame. Once I have edited a photo in Lightroom, all I have to do it run the export preset and it shows up on my frame as part of a playlist in a few minutes.

Something I also talked about in my last Nixplay review, is how cool these things are if you give them as a gift to someone in your family. In order to control the photos on the frame, you just need the PIN from the frame when it is first started up. If you give someone this frame as a gift, your parents, for example, you can then get the PIN from the frame and use an app on your own phone to push photos to the frame that is now in their house.

Imagine being able to instantly send photos of your family or children, right to a frame in your parent’s house!? Cool, huh? I live on the other side of the world from my parents, and I know that would really appreciate waking up to new photos of me and my family on the frame in their house.


The Smart Photo Frame from Nixplay is a fantastic digital photo frame that has already given me a lot of joy during my test period. I intend to continue to use it in my office for viewing my latest images and inspiring me to get out on my next adventures.

The 2K resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio of the 9.7″ version of the frame make this the clear choice for discerning photographers, and the additional cost over the cheaper models is well worth it in my opinion.

Nixplay has clearly spent time refining their ideas from older products and improving the user experience to create this new model. I get the sense that they really read the reviews out there, and this has made a really positive difference. Currently, the frame has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon after over 1500 reviews. That is no mean feat, so I’m clearly not the only one that is enjoying this product!

Where to buy + Discount

At the time of posting this review, there is a 30% sale on the frame for Fathers Day. Even better!

The 9.7″ Nixplay Smart Photo Frame is available directly from the Nixplay website or from Amazon.

Categories Gear ReviewsTags digital picture frame, nixplaySours:

Frame nixplay

Nixplay 10.1 Inch Smart Digital Picture Frame Review

Nixplay Delivers A Smart Photo Frame that Actually Works!

Are you looking for a last-minute Mother’s Day gift? How about a digital photo frame that displays all your latest pictures and videos for your Mom of Grandma to enjoy? We all take a zillion pictures and video clips to cherish special moments and the Nixplay 10.1-inch smart photo frame will allow them to be displayed in your home or office. It is a simple solution on how to display your favorite photos without having to get them printed out. How do the images get displayed? You install the Nixplay app and then email the frame your memories or even send directly from Instagram and Facebook so you can virtually update it for them from afar.

The Nixplay 10.1-inch smart photo frame is currently in-stock for $159 on Amazon and has free 2-day Prime shipping. This means that there is a good chance that it will arrive in time for the holiday! It also just happens to be the best selling digital photo frame with over 12,500 user reviews and a 4.8-star our of 5 rating. Nixplay says they have sold over 2 million frames over the past 10 years and are the number one seller in America. So, even if you are reading this review after the holiday there is a good chance that this is a product that you’ll want.

nixplay 10.1-inch smart digital photo frame

Nixplay sent us the Nixplay 10.1-inch smart photo frame to review. This model is $159, but there for a $20 annual subscription you can get the optional Nixplay Plus upgrade.

Nixplay Plus Subscription Plan is Optional

nixplay standard versus nixplay plus

This optional subscription plan gives you expands the storage capacity from 10GB to 50GB and allows you to play 60-second video uploads instead of 15-seconds. It also lengthens the warranty from 1-year to 5-years and gives you substantially more shared playlists and paired frames. Our review sample came with just the free sample plan and the only thing we really wished we had was longer video playback. Being software limited to just 15-seconds on videos is pretty short.

Nixplay 10.1 Inch Smart Digital Picture Frame Accessories

Inside the box you get the photo frame with removable support arm, wall power adapter, infrared remote control, user guide, and wall-mounting installation kit. Everything you need comes with this kit for it to be displayed on the wall or by itself.

Nixplay 10.1 Inch Smart Digital Picture Frame Back

Looking at the back of the Nixplay smart photo frame you’ll find the removeable support arm that has the power plug port located at the end of it. If you want to wall mount this frame you can simply slide this arm off and reveal the wall mounting screw slots. There is a recessed area that the power plugs into without the arm. This is not a battery powered frame, so you’ll have to deal with routing the power cord if you want to wall mount it. There is also a hard reset button located under the cover if something goes wrong and the unit can be reset.

Nixplay App Controls The Albums

Nixplay App Menus

There is also no memory card slot on this model, so you’ll need to use the Nixplay app for iOS or Android for full control of the frame. Setting up the frame involves connecting it to your local Wi-Fi network and installing the Nixplay app on your mobile devices.

Once the app is installed you can connect it to Google Photos, Dropbox, Flickr, Facebook and/or Instagram to to ensure your frame is always up to date with your latest photos and videos. All the photos are stored on the cloud and you control the albums and playlists. Fuji prints is linked in the Nixplay app if you’d like to use that service to print anything out.

Don’t Lose The Nixplay Remote!

Nixplay 10.1 Inch Smart Digital Picture Frame Remote

Nixplay includes a remote control with this picture frame and it is amazing. For starters it is magnetic and can be stored on the back of the frame or anything magnetic in your home or office. This means it will be tough to lose this remote even if you have kids! The responsiveness of the remote is impressive and it makes navigating the on-board configuration menus simple. The Nixplay remote uses a CR2032 battery, which is super common and can be easily found online at Amazon.

Remotes might seem old school to some of our readers that have grown up with voice assistants. Thankfully, the Nixplay Smart Photo Frame is truly smart and supports voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Nixplay 10.1 Inch Smart Digital Picture Frame IR Sensor

There are two sensors embedded in the ABS plastic frame, so don’t block them or think they are physical buttons to press. The sensors are clearly visible, but don’t look terrible. The angular frame should blend in nicely in most locations and measures in at 10.55″ x 7.36″ x 1.22″ in size. It weighs about 1.3 pounds, so hanging it on the wall or setting it up on a flat surface is easily a one person job.

Impressive Viewing Angles From IPS Display

Nixplay 10.1 Inch Smart Digital Picture Frame Picture Quality

Image quality is actually really food for the 1280×800 HD IPS display with 16:10 aspect ratio. This sounds low resolution when most of us have 1080p or 4K televisions, but it looks good as this is only 10.1″ in size. A 178-degree viewing angle ensures that your digital content will look great from just about everywhere in the room. Video clips play nice and a pair of 2 Watt speakers handle basic audio duties.

One of the other really nice features is that this frame comes with a built-in motion sensor that will turn the frame on or off automatically. You can disable this feature if you like, but it is a pretty useful feature that will reduce power usage and ensure a long life for the display. Advanced users can dive into the settings menu and create a custom on/off schedule. This would be ideal for 9am to 5pm office situations!

Final Thoughts

The Nixplay 10.1″ Smart Photo Frame delivered better than expected image quality and responsiveness. We’ve seen plenty of bad display panels in our years of reviewing, so it is always a pleasure getting a product that uses a good one.

The Nixplay 10.1-inch smart photo frame runs $159 on Amazon and is backed by a 1-year warranty. We wouldn’t call that inexpensive by any means, but you are getting cleverly designed frame with a refined interface that is easy to navigate and use. If you are buying one of these as a gift just make sure the person has a Wi-Fi network with internet access!

Legit Bottom Line: The Nixplay 10.1-inch smart photo frame makes a great gift, but you’ll end up wanting one for yourself!


Fifteen years ago when my children were very young, I gave my mother-in-law a digital picture frame. At the time we did not live close by and it was a way for my in-laws to see a variety of photos of my children and other family members. However, there was a catch. They could only see the photos that I had pre-loaded onto the frame and because we lived far away, I could only update the photos once or twice a year.After a few visits, I noticed the frame sat on my mother-in-law’s desk, unplugged and unused.

Fast forward to three years ago, now I was working as a personal photo organizer and in love with everything photo-related. Sitting with a group of colleagues at a photo organizing master class in Nashville, I wished out loud for a wi-fi-enabled digital frame.That’s when one of my colleagues said there was such a magical picture frame that she loved.It was called Nixplay. Of course, I wrote the name into my notes to be researched later when I returned home. By this time, my father-in-law had passed away and my mother-in-law’s memory was starting to fade. I didn’t want her to forget our faces since we now lived even farther away. A wi-fi picture frame seemed to be the answer.

The Nixplay Digital Frame: A Digital Picture Frame for the Modern Age |

Our Nixplay Iris in Peach Copper

Sharing Photos with a Nixplay Digital Frame

Let me tell you that I loved what I found out. I quickly bought a frame to give to my mother for Christmas (she’s always my guinea pig). I created a Nixplay account, loaded photos through the website and voila, there they were on her frame. This was definitely a digital picture frame for the new age! The Nixplay frames were so much easier and so much more convenient to use than their predecessors.

Since that day I have given a variety of Nixplay frames to many family members in addition to setting them up for several of my clients. Everyone loves them.

Let me share with you how I use the Nixplay for my mother-in-law.Several years ago I convinced my husband and his siblings to give his mother a Nixplay Seed 10 inch for Christmas. I had the frame shipped to me and I went through the setup process including adding her frame to my personal Nixplay account. This allows me to have complete control of the frame even down to the smallest setting like how long a photo displays on the frame and when the frame goes to sleep at night. This is helpful in case of a technical glitch when the frame is 300 miles away.

Using digital photos that I already had, I created a playlist for her and uploaded the photos onto the frame using the wi-fi connection. The frame was repacked, wrapped, and mailed to my mother-in-law to be opened on Christmas. On the other end, my brother-in-law was responsible for connecting the frame to her assisted living home’s wi-fi network. After just a few minutes of setup, her frame was up and running and Mema was enjoying her family photos. Even today the frame sits on the table next to her recliner and she spends a large part of her day watching the photos.

The Nixplay Digital Frame: A Digital Picture Frame for the Modern Age |

As much as my mother-in-law enjoys seeing our pictures, we enjoy seeing hers on our Nixplay Seed.

My Favorite Features of Nixplay Wi-Fi Cloud Frames

One of the features that I really like about the Nixplay system is that I am not the only one who can add photos to the frame. Within my Nixplay account, I can add/invite family members to become friends. Friends can either set up a Nixplay account (it’s quick and free) and send their own photos through the app directly from their phone or they can simply email the pictures to a special email address that is generated specifically for your account. When inviting your family members, you get to choose which playlist the photos go to. This is helpful when you have several different frames on your account.And no more messing with SD cards and USB drives. Also, the photos show up almost instantly, depending on the wi-fi connection.

The Nixplay Digital Frame: A Digital Picture Frame for the Modern Age |

Photos can be contributed by many friends and family.

This has worked out well for our family. In addition to me, my husband, my sister-in-law and her sons and their girlfriends/fiancees all share photos with my mother-in-law. Now Mema can keep up with the activities of her children and grandchildren. Recently we had a little snafu when one of the grandson’s girlfriends was sending some photos to my mother-in-law and somehow they ended up in my playlist. One evening I was sitting on the couch and looked at my frame to see a picture of Jake and his girlfriend Brandy who was flashing an engagement ring. That is how we got the news of the impending nuptials. How exciting is that!

The Nixplay Digital Frame: A Digital Picture Frame for the Modern Age |

Inviting family and friends to contribute photos to your Nixplay frame is easy.

Another feature that I really like is the ability to add captions to the photos when they are uploaded. For someone like my mother-in-law who had memory issues, it’s very helpful to have a name and description on the photos when they show up on her Nixplay frame.These little notes help jog her memory or clarify points of confusion like the fact that at a certain again all the males in their family look alike.

The Nixplay Digital Frame: A Digital Picture Frame for the Modern Age |

Adding new photos and captions is easy through the Nixplay app.

One of the greatest features of the Nixplay frames is the ability to quickly change out the photos on the frame. For example, at the beginning of December, I will remove my main playlist of favorite photos and replace them with my Christmases Past playlist for my own Nixplay frames. I love seeing holiday pictures throughout the month and using my Nixplay frame for this is perfect. I also change my mom’s Nixplay Seed to the same Christmas playlist at the same time. What fun to revisit those older photos again. I have even surprised a client who had just returned from an African safari with a new playlist of their great animal photos. She hasn’t stopped talking about it yet.

The Nixplay Digital Frame: A Digital Picture Frame for the Modern Age |

It’s always fun when a new photo arrives on the frame.

In conclusion, when I am asked for a unique gift idea, I always suggest the Nixplay Wi-Fi Cloud frame. They are truly a gift that keeps on giving every day.

You can get your own Nixplay frame from the Nixplay website or from Amazon.

Visit my Ultimate Photo Gift Guide for more gift ideas.

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More to Know

If you want to work with a photo organizer near you to help you organize your photos, visit The Photo Managers to find one in your area.

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase from a link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business! See my disclosure policy for full details.

The Nixplay Digital Frame: A Digital Picture Frame for the Modern Age |

Posted in Digital Photo Organizing, Product Reviews, Sharing Your Photos and tagged digital picture frames, Nixplay, Nixplay wi-fi cloud frame, picture frames, product review

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The best digital photo frames of 2021

The best digital photo frames will be easy to set up and convenient for showcasing all of your favorite vacation pics. The displayed images will look crystal clear and the colors should pop, whether shot late at night or with a sunny background. The photo frame should have a user-friendly design as well, with a simple method for uploading photos.

Some of the best digital photo frames come with apps which are compatible with popular photo storage services, such as Google Photos, Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox. Some of the apps can even connect to multiple frames at once, so others can contribute to your photo reel and upload new photos using email or Wi-Fi. 

The best digital photo frames, which are listed below, vary in price, size, resolutions and features. Because of these, you need to consider what you want before you pick your favorite. We assessed a number of digital photo frames, taking into account image quality, ease of use, storage, social media integration, value and more to help you find the best. 

The best digital photo frames for going back to school

Based on our testing, the Pix-Star 15-inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame is the best digital photo frame for most people and perfect for college students going back to school. At $199, it's not cheap, but you get a big, bright, clear display. You also get handy email features and integration with all the major social networks. Plus, you can stream music broadcasts directly from the frame to set a soundtrack for your slideshow. 

For the aesthetically inclined, we recommend the 9-inch Aura Mason Frame. It’s the same price as the Pix-Star, but it takes a completely different approach to the digital frame concept. The frame’s focus is on super high resolution images and the solid beauty of the frame casing as opposed to bells.

An all-new digital picture frame is an excellent premium option, too. Netgear's 15-inch Meural WiFi Photo Frame is a smaller take the Netgear Meural Canvas II, but with a stronger emphasis on personal photo albums. It costs $299 and is available now.

The best digital photo frames you can buy today

1. Pix-Star Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame

The best digital photo frame overall


Resolution: 1024 x 768

Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 1.2 inches

Wi-Fi: Yes

Touch screen: No

Remote: Yes

Built-in storage: 4GB

Motion sensor: Yes

Music player: Yes

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: Yes/Yes

Cloud Services: Google Photos, Facebook, Flickr, Smugmug, Instagram, Dropbox, Shutterfly, OneDrive, Photobucket, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+Handy email features+Photos look sharp and clear+Connects with major social networks+Facilitates multiple frame accounts

Reasons to avoid

-Low-resolution video playback

The best thing about the Pix-Star 15-inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame is its stunning photo quality. With the 4:3 aspect ratio on a 1024 x 768-pixel screen, images look crisp, bright and clear. You can make adjustments to the LED backlit screen for brightness, hue and contrast depending on ambient lighting.

The Pix-Star has many smart extras. You can stream broadcasts from a number of international radio stations to play music over a slideshow, and there are many transitions available to customize image presentation. You can also set reminders, use the built-in calculator and play simple puzzles, Sudoku and other games.

This gadget lets you link up to 25 frames from a single account, where you can send and receive images and audio messages directly to and from connected frames. You can also view pictures from web albums, including Google Photos and Facebook. The frame has 4GB of onboard memory and supports USB thumb drives and SDHC/SDXC camera cards.

Overall, the Pix-Star is the best digital photo frame you can buy.

Read our full Pix-Star Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame 15-inch review

2. Aura Mason Frame

The best looking frame and images


Resolution: 1600 x 1200

Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.6 x 1.9 inches

Wi-Fi: Yes

Touch screen: No

Remote: No

Built-in storage: No

Motion sensor: No

Music player: No

Video: No

USB/SD slots: No/No

Cloud Services: iCloud, Google Photos

Reasons to buy

+Gorgeous high-resolution screen+App controls image posting and other features+Compatible with Apple’s Live Photos+Integrates with Google Photos and iCloud

Reasons to avoid

-Ambient light sensor can be finicky-Does not play videos-No ports or internal storage

Many digital picture frames promise clear and bright images, but there is a profound difference when seeing your photos on the Aura frame, which is 9 inches with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Colors are vivid but realistic, and the 224 ppi resolution screen displays the depth of color as well as exquisite detail.

The Aura relies on its iOS and Android app more than most other digital frames. That’s because the frame accepts only cloud input – no SD cards or thumb drives. The Aura Mason also features a Smart Suggestions feature that helps choose images from your gallery.

An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the display’s brightness and an auto function turns off the frame when it’s dark in the room. There’s no touch screen – and thus no finger smudges to mar the view. Instead, the frame operates via two touch bars: one on top and the other on the side of the unit.

The Aura Mason Frame comes in two colors – Graphite and White Quartz – and it sits on your table in either landscape or portrait orientation. The frame is a work of art from the outside in. 

Read our full Aura Mason Frame review

3. Nixplay Smart Photo Frame 10.1 Inch Touch

The best touch screen digital photo frame


Resolution: 1200 x 800

Dimensions: 10.55 x 7.4 x 1.53 inches

Wi-Fi: Yes

Touch screen: Yes

Remote: No

Built-in storage: 8GB (minus pre-installed software)

Motion sensor: Yes

Music player: Yes

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: No/No

Cloud services: Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, Google Photos

Reasons to buy

+Excellent high resolution image quality+Touch screen makes navigation easy+Good online/social media image access via apps+Includes a motion sensor

Reasons to avoid

-No onboard SD cards or memory sticks

The Nixplay Smart Photo Frame 10.1 Inch Touch is the latest addition to company's range of digital frames. It offers a compact midsize design which will fit in to most rooms and the display is bright enough to add character to your images and really make the landscapes 'pop'. It won't waste electricity, thanks to the voice and motion activated sensors, and it couldn't be more easy to use with the touch screen navigation. Because of this, it would suit those who are new or experienced with this kind of product. 

Friends and family can easily upload photos to this frame from their own Nixplay account or email them in directly. There's great social media image access as well, including Facebook, Google Photos, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, and Verison. There's very little to complain about this frame, other than the lack of onboard SD cards or memory sticks. There's no remote to lose, it's intuitive to operate and design is simple, yet sophisticated. 

Read our full Nixplay Smart Photo Frame 10.1 Inch Touch Review


4. PhotoSpring 10 Digital Photo Frame

The most versatile digital photo frame


Resolution: 1280 x 800

Dimensions: 13.1 x 9.9 x 1.6 inches with outer frame/11.1 x 7.9 x 1.1 inches with inner frame

Wi-Fi: Yes

Touch screen: Yes

Remote: No

Built-in storage: 16GB

Motion sensor: No

Music player: No

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: Yes/Yes

Cloud Services: Google Photos/Flickr/iCloud

Reasons to buy

+Clear, bright screen+Touch screen facilitates access to photo/video playlists+Platform stand offers sturdy base for landscape or portrait viewing+Accepts media from a variety of sources

Reasons to avoid

-Peg leg stand fits poorly-No motion sensor-Separately purchased hardware needed for wall mounting

PhotoSpring 10 has the unique advantage of two different visual frame modes: a traditional matted look with a black, gallery style outer frame or a streamlined modern look. After removing the top black frame, it’s easy to see how superior the plain white frame looks and how nicely it sets off your images, but it’s your choice and switching modes is easy. This frame is for tabletops only for now — no wall mounting unless you purchase a power cable with a 90-degree magnetic connector, which the company says will be available as an accessory.

PhotoSpring’s flexibility extends to its mode of input. You can send up to 30MB of photos directly to the frame via email, proprietary app, text, photos app share button, or from a browser. All media uploaded to the frame is automatically stored on the device. High-resolution videos of up to five minutes in length (or 1GB file size) play automatically in an integrated slideshow, though the frame does not recognize Apple’s Live Photos as videos, only stills. 

Various onscreen controls are accessible via a subtle green dot at the upper right corner. It’s hard to discern at first — you may have to consult the instructions unless you find it by chance while poking around the screen — but once you discover and tap it, the current image zooms out to reveal on-screen controls that let you delete, hide, favorite, alter rotation, add to an existing album, adjust formatting, or mail images to or from the frame. A settings menu facilitates the management of cloud accounts like Google Photos for sync or backup or Flickr for sync. 

The interface also lets you invite friends to upload images to your frame, change brightness and volume levels, schedule the frame on and off, and set up parameters for viewing slideshows and onscreen EXIF info for each image. We tested the Premium version of the frame, which features four hours of battery life, as opposed to the standard version, which you must keep plugged in. 

PhotoSpring is easy to use with most tasks accomplished with a quick tap and simple on/off switches — ideal for its non-technical target audience. Image quality is high resolution for the frame’s size, and because you can schedule on-off intervals, a motion sensor is not sorely missed. 

Read our full PhotoSpring 10 Digital Photo Frame review

5. Nixplay 10.1 inch Smart Digital Picture Frame

Best midsize widescreen connected frame


Resolution: 1280 x 800

Dimensions: 10.55 x 7.36 x 1.22 inches

Touch screen: No

Wi-Fi: Yes

Remote: Yes

Built-in storage: 8GB (cloud)

Motion sensor: Yes

Music player: Yes

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: No/No

Cloud Services: Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, Google Photos

Reasons to buy

+Good online/social media image access via apps+Alexa integration+Built-in wall mounting+Magnetic remote attachment

Reasons to avoid

-No USB or SD slots-Requires subscription for all features

Nixplay's 10.1 inch Smart Digital Picture Frame, with its 1280 x 800 pixel display, and wide 16:10 aspect ratio, makes your photos and videos pop with dazzling color and detail. Watch photos and videos a part of a playlist and set up slideshows with multiple timed transitions for endless entertainment in either portrait or landscape orientation.

While as a free-standing frame, it’s compact enough to sit nicely on a desk or living room mantle, it’s also specifically wall mountable by removing a small cover from the back and re-attaching the cord. On the tabletop, Nixplay’s remote can magnetically adhere to the back of the frame so it stays securely within reach.

The frame’s mobile app lets you lets you connect to and control your frame from anywhere, which is especially useful for elderly or non-technical family members. Because it works via Wi-Fi, there’s no physical input, such as SD cards or USB sticks, but the frame does have 8GB of onboard memory for direct storage of photos and video.

This frame was recognized in the 2021 Tom's Guide Awards for Smart Home.

Read our full Nixplay 10.1 inch Smart Digital Picture Frame review. 

6. Meural WiFi Photo Frame

The best digital photo frame that's also an at-home art gallery


Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 1.68 inches

Touch screen: No

Wi-Fi: No

Remote: No

Built-in storage: 4GB

Motion sensor: Yes

Music player: No

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: No

Cloud Services: No

Reasons to buy

+Stunning display+Motion gestures work well+Expansive fine art library with membership

Reasons to avoid

-Gesture performance varies-Requires subscription for all features-No motion sensor or physical inputs

The Netgear Meural WiFi Photo Frame is a more compact, photo-focused version of the museum-worthy Netgear Meural Canvas II. While the Canvas II excels at bringing art from the louvre to your living room, the charcoal grey WiFi Photo Frame drops the mat framing for a homier look. 

Of course, to maintain a gorgeous 1920 x 1080-pixel display the WiFi Photo Frame is rather large compared to many of the best digital photo frames. As a result, it might not fit well on some side tables or desks. But if you have the space for this 15.6-inch full HD display, you won't be disappointed. 

The Meural WiFi Photo Frame's anti-glare coating holds an impressively clear picture from any angle, while responsive gesture controls let you navigate your photo albums and settings. Or you can control the frame with the Meural app, which offers both Meural's expansive library of art and a suite for creating collaborative photo albums for your frame.  

Read our full Meural WiFi Photo Frame review

7. Facebook Portal

Best for video calling and Alexa integration


Resolution: 1280 x 900

Dimensions: 10.2 x 7 x 0.8 inches

Touch screen: Yes

Wi-Fi: Yes

Remote: No

Built-in storage: None

Motion sensor: Yes

Music player: No

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: Yes/Yes

Cloud Services: Facebook, Instagram

Reasons to buy

+Excellent at video calls through Facebook and WhatsApp+Innovative camera-tracking feature+Displays photos from Facebook and Instagram+Alexa is integrated

Reasons to avoid

-Facebook voice assistant not as good as Alexa-Ongoing privacy issues with Facebook

The Facebook Portal displays your photos from Facebook and Instagram on a 10-inch touchscreen that's easy to use. But you can also use this device to make video calls using Facebook or WhatsApp. The Portal's smart camera is smart enough to follow you around (by panning and zooming) as you move. Plus, you can apply fun filters to add some personality to your chats.

The Portal also has Alexa built in, so you can can ask the assistant anything you would ask one of Amazon's smart speakers or use the Portal to check who's at the front door. When you're not viewing photos, making calls or chatting with Alexa, the Portal can stream music from several services, including Pandora and Spotify.

To help protect your privacy, the Portal comes with a switch to shut off the camera, and you can delete any recordings the Portal has heard. Or you can just have the portal not save any of your recordings. Overall, the Portal is a pretty good deal given everything this device can do.

Read our full Facebook Portal review.

8. Atatat Digital Photo Frame

Great for non-technical users


Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.42 x 3.43 inches

Wi-Fi: No

Touch screen: No

Remote: Yes

Built-in storage: No

Motion sensor: No

Music player: Yes

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: Yes/Yes

Cloud Services: No

Reasons to buy

+Beautiful high resolution matte screen +Easy, non-connected set up +Supports images, movies, and music over a slideshow 

Reasons to avoid

-No internal memory -Strict specifications for SD cards and USB drives -Remote is slow 

The Atatat Digital Photo Frame impressed us with its visual quality, offering a vibrant display without artificially punching up the colors. While it’s a small screen, the widescreen format gives the impression of shots being bigger than they actually are. It’s quite a versatile design too, with calendar utilities and the ability to play images, movies and music over a slideshow. 

This model comes with a separate remote control, rather than a touch screen — so you don’t need to worry about marring the screen with fingerprints. It’s also very easy to set up and intuitive to use, as there’s no software or app connectivity necessary; simply plug in a memory card or USB drive, and it does the rest. It would appeal to a non-technical audience for this reason. 

Bear in mind that there’s no internal memory though, so you’re limited by what your SD card or USB thumb drive can hold. Having said that, at less than $70, this is a great entry-level digital photo frame which will cover the basics and do it well. 

Read our full Atatat Digital Photo Frame review.  

9. Aura Carver

The best looking widescreen digital photo frame


Resolution: 1920 x 1200

Dimensions: 10.63 x 2.6 x 7.45 inches

Wi-Fi: Yes

Touch screen: No

Remote: No

Built-in storage: No

Motion sensor: No

Music player: No

Video: No

USB/SD slots: No/No

Cloud Services: iCloud, Google Photos

Reasons to buy

+Gorgeous high-resolution screen+App controls image positioning and lighting+Integrates with Google Photos and iCloud

Reasons to avoid

-Does not play videos-No ports-No internal storage

Aura’s Carver Frame is, in many respects, similar to another of the best digital photo frames, the superlative Aura Mason Frame. It has many of the same characteristics, such as the 224 ppi screen resolution and an exterior that exudes minimalist chic – available in either Charcoal or White Chalk. There are a couple of differences, though. The Carver is designed as a landscape-only frame measuring 10.1 inches diagonally, offering a larger, more cinematic HD image presentation. 

The Carver Frame delivers outstanding rendering of both colors and photo detail — and is bound to be the best image you will see of your photos. It accepts only cloud input from iCloud, Google Photos and your Camera Roll, meaning there’s no storage limits and all uploads to your frame cycle through the Aura app for iOS or Android. You, friends and family can, via the app, contribute photos to the frame from anywhere.

While the frame is limited to landscape orientation, because of its widescreen display, it can pair two vertical photos side by side, and does so automatically. There are no physical inputs on the frame, so to change which photo to view at will, you can use the touch bar at the top of the frame. This is an elegant solution, because it keeps the glass pristine, as opposed to other touch screen frames marred by icky fingerprints. An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the display’s brightness and an auto function switches the frame off after dark. 

For the best quality widescreen frame to complement any home décor, the Aura Carver is a fine choice. 

Read our full Aura Carver Frame review

10. Dragon Touch Classic 10 Digital Picture Frame

Best midsize connected frame


Resolution: 1280 x 800

Dimensions: 11.40 x 8.2 x 1.50 inches

Wi-Fi: Yes

Touch screen: Yes

Remote: No

Built-in storage: 16GB

Motion sensor: No

Music player: Yes

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: Yes/Yes

Cloud Services: No

Reasons to buy

+Multiple ways of adding photos and videos to the frame+Has a headphone jack+Plenty of built-in storage +Home screen has the date, time, weather, and an alarm function

Reasons to avoid

-Frame case damages easily-No motion sensor-App can be glitchy

The Dragon Touch frame’s 10.1-inch, 16:10 touch screen lets you view everything from static images and slideshows with special effects transitions to 30-second video clips complete with a headphone jack for audio. There’s also multiple ways to input images into the frame, including an SD card, USB thumb drive, and Wi-Fi uploading.

The OurPhoto app is the easiest way to upload photos to the frame. You can also add remote users to the frame to let friends and family upload images via the app.

Image quality is top notch with bright detail and vivid colors. The Dragon Touch has some cool goodies, including video with sound, an alarm, calendar, and local weather. While there is no motion sensor to power down the frame when there’s no one in the room to view it, you can set a schedule. 

The frame casing does not seem especially durable, as the paint started to chip on our model. And many frames shipped to addresses in the U.S. arrive with European or Asian power connections that do not fit into wall sockets. I received one of those for review, but was able to use it with an adapter that I had on hand. 

Read our full Dragon Touch Classic 10 Digital Picture Frame review

11. Feelcare 7-Inch Smart WiFi Digital Picture Frame

Great connected touch screen small frame


Resolution: 1024 x 600 IPS Panel

Dimensions: 7.99 x 5.59 x 0.87 inches

Wi-Fi: Yes

Touch screen: Yes

Remote: No

Built-in storage: 8GB

Motion sensor: No

Music player: No

Video: Yes

USB/SD slots: Yes/No

Cloud Services: No


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