Best Wifi Digital Picture Frame

Best Wifi Digital Picture Frame

Ever since we first saw digital frames the option to have thousands of images in one frame has been immensely appealing. Where once we were given the choice of looking at hundreds of smaller, cluttered pictures now we can take the time to appreciate each one for what it is.

The problem with the original picture frames is that they were either clunky, or you had to have cables or a great big flash stick sticking out the side. Technology has come a long way since then.

Wifi frames let you send images instantly and you can even have multiple frames hooked up at the same time so you’re never stuck looking at the same pictures or being forced to only use one frame per device. You can even see your videos! It’s a tough decision which one you need, especially when most of the devices do roughly the same thing. We’re going to look at the top 5 and see which one might work for you.

 

These marvels require no software downloads, no configuring, and no fussing with a computer to get your pictures on the screen. But are they really all that hassle free?

Our Favorite Wifi Digital Picture Frames

-Pix-Star 10.4 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame FotoConnect XD

-Nixplay Original 12 Inch WiFi Cloud Digital Photo Frame.

-Pix-Star 15 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame FotoConnect XD

-Nixplay Edge 8-Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame with Hi-Res Display

-Nixplay Original 15 inch WiFi Cloud Digital Photo Frame

What is a Digital Photo Frame?

A digital photo frame is a device that displays your pictures without the need to print them. You can find them in a variety of sizes and finishes to match your décor. This nifty and aesthetic way of displaying your images is the perfect way to save space and keep your memories alive. The difference with a wifi photo frame is that you don’t have to have a computer to enjoy your frame. The flexibility of sending your images direct to the frame cuts out the need for a computer and makes the transfer process much easier. Not only that but this is ideal for someone who isn’t necessarily tech savvy as they can upload and send pictures via an app the same way that many other photosharing apps work. A digital frame gives you much more flexibility and interest than a boring glass box that never changes.

-Pix-Star 10.4 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame FotoConnect XD $149.99

Pros:

This is one of the cheapest frames out there. The device is a pretty decent 10.4 inches which is well worth the upgrade from the smaller 8inch. It’s about the size and weight of your average tablet, and with the plain black border, it certainly looks like one. The 4:3 ratio display is pretty standard and the LED screen will help conserve energy if you’re planning on running it constantly. Probably the biggest perk of the Pix-Star is the fact that you can manage 25 different frames from one web-based account. This means that as long as you keep with the same brand you can manage every frame in your home (or your less tech-savvy relatives) from the comfort of your email account. The fact that this is also a free service with the frame is also appealing as well as not having to use any software. The frame actually checks it’s email automatically and adds any new pictures it finds. The frame also supports a USB input for additional pictures or you can upload straight from services like Facebook, Picasa, and Flickr to the 4GB internal memory. At 2.55lb, it’s one of the lightest frames, despite being a decent size. While this may not be considered a pro by some, the screen is not touchscreen and has to be controlled by a remote. This does mean that there’s no fingerprints on the screen and you don’t even need to touch it at all once it’s plugged in.

One of the coolest things about this frame is that it’s not just a frame. There’s an optional 3-day weathercast for cities and countries and if your city isn’t on the list you can email the company to add it. Not only that but with the remote there’s brain games like sudoku, 2048, mine sweeper, and sliding puzzles with your own photos. The frame can also play reminders and alarms and has 4 different modes and 14 different intervals.

Cons:

For those whose security and intellectual rights are a priority, the service agreement might make you pause. Pixstar doesn’t have a clear statement about who owns them after uploading while Nixplay does (and you own them). The frame and menus look a little outdated and the company isn’t particularly good about releasing updates (unlike Nixplay). Not only that but the “smart” device is listed as having one of the poorest security patches ever so it’s pretty easy for anyone to hack into and get your email and pictures.

The biggest downside to this frame is the quality. Even if your pictures are great quality before you upload them they go through a compression cycle to fit this frame which leaves them a little grainy and not as clean as you might like. The colors are washed out and the contrast is poor. There have been several noted quality control issues where frames are DOA or die within a matter of days.

One of the other issues that some users have noted is that customer service is quite poor. Many have noted that they’ve been fobbed off and told to contact their ISP for tech help instead. The frame will also not connect to a network that requires an id/password combo, and no forthcoming support for such networks is in sight.

It seems that despite all the fancy functions the frame fails on actual quality and support more often than not.

-Nixplay Original 12 Inch WiFi Cloud Digital Photo Frame $169.99

Pros:  

With a much bigger storage cache of 30GB (10GB in the device and 20GB cloud), the Nixstar is certainly in a different league for the amount of pictures you can put on your devices. There’s a pretty cool motion sensor option that allows your frame to go to sleep when you do and then kick on once you get moving again if you don’t want to manually turn it off. This is also a great energy saver if you’re out of the room so it doesn’t just keep playing while no one is there. You can group your photos into albums or set playlists so that you only see certain pictures (cue embarrassing sweater pictures only during grandma’s visit). The mobile app is a nice and easy touch to send things immediately to your account and server, but that doesn’t mean they will instantly appear sadly. Despite having the physical reset to add new pictures it’s actually pretty easy to do so this shouldn’t be a setback as long as your relative can press a button. The resolution is 800 pixels which, while not being as good as true HD at 4:3, is still decent enough to see your pictures.  

There is a USB and memory card option but you shouldn’t really need it with this much cloud space. There is a remote for the usual skipping and pausing too. Still no need to connect to a computer or download software which is a bonus.

Unlike Pixstar Nix has a good reputation for customer service. Defective units are replaced promptly, and their products are updated for security issues and new software. Their blog has genuine responses to customer issues and updates that reflect the fact that the company is listening.

Cons:

There’s some very notable differences with the Nixplay, but most of these are software based. They only give you access to 5 frames (unlike the Pixstars 25) and have a much shorter list of available services to connect to (only 4). It’s also one of the more expensive of these 5 and it’s a heavy one at over a pound more than the Pixstar which is over an inch smaller.  There’s no random option for playback which means your photos will appear in the order you upload them. Not only that but you HAVE to go to the website and drag any new pictures into albums to play them and then play that specific album to see them. The interface is really where this frame falls flat, it’s complicated and definitely not for anyone who wants a hassle-free upload and forget about it. You have to physically be near the frame to reset it for new pictures, something that isn’t great if you want to manage a frame in another house or for less tech savvy relatives.

Another downside, when compared to the Pixstar, is that you don’t have any additional options. Photos and video are it. No games, no updates, no weather. If you really want all that extra stuff you won’t find it here. The software plays your memories, that’s it.

The frame isn’t HD. Despite saying it will play HD movies the resolution is only barely in the HD range (see the 800pixel). It’s rather like saying you have a 720 DPI television, it’s a matter of technicality. It does say 4:3 on the tech specs but I’d take that with a caveat because of this.

For very little difference in the price you’re getting a more secure device that doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary features to make it seem worth it.

-Pix-Star 15 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame FotoConnect XD $199.99

Pros:

Coming with the huge selection of compatible services this is a much bigger package than the 10”. The frame and it’s options however, are much the same. You’re still getting 4GB of storage, a USB and memory card option. You’re getting the same interface and email account as the 10” device. You’re still getting access to over 20 services to Nixplay’s 4. Understandably the device is heavier than the 10”, double in fact, at 5lb. Yet again, no touchscreen needed since everything is done by remote.

This frame also has the same added software for weathercasts, games, and alerts and you can listen to any web radio station while your slideshow is playing.

No complicated albums or drag and drop in the software, simply upload and go. This is a huge difference from the Nixstar, but you’re still dealing with the same 90’s-looking, Windows 95 style design in the interface. Plus there’s also that security issue to consider since it’s the same software as the 10”. You’ve still got the 4 modes and 12 interval options.

One thing to note is that this is the in-between model for the 10” and 18” and the 18” does actually have a lot more problems. If you want a larger screen with the best performance of the three models the 15” is the overall winner.

Cons:

Probably should have mentioned before that Pixstar only supports 2.4Ghz wifi and not 5GHz, so those on super high-speed internet or with newer routers might be disappointed with its performance. 5Lb is also a pretty hefty device, especially if you’re giving it to an older person, they may not be able to carry that around if they like moving the frame.

We’re already noted that Pixstar’s software is a bit sad. It’s dated and the security issue is a huge concern. Your pictures are still going to be compressed and adjusted to fit and the quality really suffers from their compression process. The screen also auto stretches so if your photo is not 4:3 or close to it the picture distorts to fit. Not an ideal thing when uploading from the Instagram square. If you want to guarantee your pictures fit you’ll need to resize them using other software first, which is a bit of a pain and negates the whole point of the wifi upload.

The remote seems to be the problem with this model. Lots of users note inconsistencies in performance, losing connection, and getting confused with other IR remotes that it accidentally picks up.

While you’re getting a bigger screen you’re still dealing with the exact same problems from the company and the poor software through Pixstar.

-Nixplay Edge 8-Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame with Hi-Res Display $129.99

Pros:

This is the cheapest of all the options, sadly it looks it. But, for image quality, this thing is impressive. 1028 DPI and HD720p playback means you’re getting a very good quality image for your device, especially for something so cheap. You can also upgrade for the same quality to a 13” for less than a $100 but that’s a lot of money for not a lot of inches. At just over 2lb and a slim build, this is an ideal frame for someone who wants the option to move it around. It’s light and very portable. It has a USB port but no SD option and still offers the Hu Motion sensor like the 12”. The device actually won the 2015 Red Dot Product Design Award.  

As with the 12” you’re getting the same quality support and software that Nixplay offers. The same drag and drop folders, and the same modern interface. You can still sync 5 frames and get a good amount of storage. Ratio is a standard 4:3 but the quality of the image is better, in fact for anything under 13” this is the best display of all the Nixplay models, with the 13” being the only Full HD option available.

Cons:

This thing looks like an outdated tablet. It’s a baby version of the original flat screen displays and while it isn’t as clunky as the original digital frames it’s not very nice to look at. In fact, the thick black edging is the first thing you see and it almost overpowers your pictures. Having to physically press play on the device to update it is also a little tiresome, especially if you’re managing frames remotely for loved ones.

The 8” model does seem to have some quality control issues. Unlike the 12” there’s a history of defective devices and some questionable “open box” arrivals. There’s also a known software glitch with the screen being defective or suddenly changing to a blank, albeit colorful, screen with no known fix. The freezing and screen issues are a problem, the fact that Nixplay admits they know about it but haven’t provided a fix shows that.

While you’re getting the best picture quality available, and good support the devices are hit and miss. If you’re lucky you’ll have a great (and really cheap) buy, but otherwise you’re going to be left with a fancy bookend.

-Nixplay Original 15 inch WiFi Cloud Digital Photo Frame $219.99

Pros:

For $50 more you’re getting an extra 3” of display from the 12” model. The same SD/USB storage options to expand the impressive cloud storage and the same connectivity and software of the other Nixplay devices. In fact, you can look over the 12” review again and just add 3” to it because it’s essentially the same device. The one major improvement for this is that the 15” model has a 1024×768 resolution over the 12”’s 800. This is a significant improvement but still falls short of the 13” HD for the same cost.

Cons:

By far the most expensive of the 5,you’re still getting very little extra for so much! In fact, you can get the 13” for the same cost and get a better display. You’re also going to be getting a hefty 5.65lb device, by far the heaviest too! You’re not getting any of the fun extras, and you’re still going to have to press that pesky play button to update. Still no random shuffle, no connection to Flickr, and still a limited display quality when even phone screens are now HD.

A unique problem with this model is that not all USB flash drives will work. No mention why just that apparently the software isn’t always compatible so don’t necessarily expect to rely on it for your photos.

Which is best?

If you want top quality images then the 8” Nixplay is great, the only problem is that it’s got quality control problems and it’s also really small.

If money is no object then go for the 15” version, but if you want both quality and size downgrading to the 13” will get you both at the same price.

For those who want seamless and hassle-free uploads Pixstar’s software may be outdated but it is super simple and can be updated remotely.

 

Overall, I would go with the Nixplay 8”. I would rather have a better quality picture than a blown out one and don’t need a big tablet device taking up space. If I had to buy one for my un-techy mother I’d probably go with the Pixstar since she doesn’t need to be pressing any buttons!

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