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Published Sep. 27, 2021

In an era of ever-evolving technology, we’ve become accustomed to new gadgets replacing old habits. Smartphones supplanted flip phones; digital cameras took the place of film; free music on platforms like Spotify made purchasing music on CDs or cassettes almost obsolete. But here’s the thing: While it may feel like technology often requires us to abandon tradition, not all advancements do. Sometimes technology can actually put an even stronger emphasis on family and nostalgia, cementing the two as vital components of a life well-lived. What gadget, you ask, fits this family-first, home-is-where-the-heart-is bill? The digital picture frame. 

Created to both store your most cherished memories and put them on display, the digital picture frame exponentially increases how many photos you can showcase. For the indecisive among us, this is really good news. And for those of us who hate clutter, getting rid of 25-plus picture frames and replacing them with a single digital one is even better news. Which leads us to the most important question: How do you pick just one? Ahead, five digital picture frames you may find yourself wanting to purchase very soon. 

How We Picked the Best Digital Picture Frames

Methodology 

On the surface, a digital photo frame looks almost exactly like the traditional photo frame it was designed to replace. But with a number of hidden technological features and perks, it’s a whole new ball game. To make our selections, we honed in on the following criteria:

Storage: Whether in the cloud or on your USB flash drive, photos have to live somewhere. We looked at what kind of storage each photo frame provides and the pros and cons of each option. 

Design: If a photo frame is going to live in your home or office long term, it has to look good. All of the frames in this list are not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing as well. 

Usability: With any technological advancement comes the difficulty of adjusting to new tools and gadgets. We made sure to select picture frames that provide a friendly user experience. 

Size: Like traditional picture frames, digital ones come in different sizes. We included a number of different options in this category, and explained the benefits of each.

Customization: Looking at family photos can be an intimate experience; we made sure to include what level of personalization each picture frame provides. 

The Best Digital Picture Frames: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Aura Carver Smart Frame

Free Unlimited Storage

With unlimited storage and its very own app, the Aura Carver frame truly has everything you need.

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Why It Made The Cut: Aura Carver’s app enables anyone in the family with a WiFi connection and smartphone to add photos to the picture frame in seconds, making it the best choice for a household with lots of memories to put on display.

Specs:

  • 10-inch screen 
  • High resolution
  • Unlimited cloud storage 

Pros:

  • A sleek, minimalist design makes this frame appropriate for almost any room
  • Extremely high resolution (1920×1200) for an ultra crisp display 
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa 

Cons: 

  • Horizontal frame means vertical photos are displayed in pairs 
  • Automatically crops images if they don’t fit (no manual cropping option)

Aura Carver makes digital picture frames that stand out for their chic design and technological capabilities. With unlimited cloud storage, you could send tens of thousands of photos to any Aura Carver frame in the house and still not run out of space. Transfer your photos from an iPhone, iPad, or Android phone in seconds, with none of the hassle that comes with using email. Once the photos are in the frame, choose to display them in chronological order or randomly shuffled, and adjust the speed as you see fit.

Clearly, this is a convenient and beautiful digital picture frame that checks off every box we have in terms of usability, accessibility, and aesthetics. But don’t just take our word for it: shortly after launching in 2016, Aura Carver was added to Oprah’s Favorite Things list, in both 2016 and 2018.

Best Large Size: Pix-Star Digital Photo Frame

15 Inch Screen

An extra-large screen makes the Pix-Star one of the largest digital photo frames on the market.

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Why It Made The Cut: This extra-large photo frame from Pix-Star is best for displaying your loudest, proudest moments (in both photo and video form). 

Specs:

  • 15-inch screen 
  • WiFi enabled
  • Motion sensor activated 

Pros:

  • Share photos and videos via the Pix-Star app
  • 8GB internal memory
  • Motion sensor activated
  •  

Cons: 

  • Large display could make low-res images look pixelated 

Pix-Star made this photo frame with your biggest memories in mind: those moments that, even when condensed into a photo, seem to jump out from the screen. Think weddings, graduations, international vacations—the memories that really deserve front and center display are about to have a serious moment. 

Conveniently, Pix-Star has an app via which you can share images from anywhere in the world, meaning that even if you can’t be with your loved ones at the moment, you can still send them memories of a happier time. Pix-Star doesn’t have cloud storage though, so you’ll have to rely on the internal storage. But with 8GB (around 30,000 images), it’s unlikely that you’ll run out of room. Additionally, you can connect a social media account and share photos directly from your Facebook or Instagram profile, for example. Other ways to share include a USB stick, SDHC card, or SDXC card. Simply pick the 25 photos you’d like to display on this (huge!) screen and connect via whatever form is easiest for you.

Best Compact: Atatat Digital Frame With IPS Screen

Tiny But Mighty

This 7-inch digital photo frame is perfect for small spaces, frequent travelers, and anyone who doesn’t want to crowd their space.

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Why It Made The Cut: This digital photo frame allows you to add your own background music, adjust the brightness, edit the slideshow, and more, making it one of the most customizable picture frames around. 

Specs:

  • IPS screen 
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Background music

Pros:

  • IPS screen for optimized viewing
  • Comes with a remote control
  • Multiple slideshow modes
  •  

Cons:

  • No app or WiFi capabilities 
  • No cloud storage 

This digital photo frame may not have the bells and whistles of a more technologically advanced frame, but what it lacks in gadgets it makes up for in customization. Here you’ll get an alarm clock, calendar, personal music (uploaded via USB), multiple languages, a remote control, and adjustable slideshow settings, so you can create a truly personal viewing experience. 

With only 7 inches of screen, this is also one of the most compact digital photo frames around. And though it’s physically small, it has tons of storage: 128GB, to be exact. What’s more, an IPS screen makes for a much better viewing experience compared to an LED screen, so every photo you upload will look its best. Take this frame with you wherever you go, or find it a permanent home in your space. With a small, portable screen like this one, the options are endless. 

Best Touch Screen: Sammix Digital Picture Frame

IPS Touch Screen

Maximum usability is the name of the game with the Sammix digital picture frame, which boasts touch screen capabilities, motion sensor activation, and more.

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Why It Made The Cut: It’s never been easier to set up, share, and enjoy a digital picture frame. Sammix’s laundry list of capabilities empowers every user, and a separate app means you can share photos from anywhere in the world. 

Specs:

  • 10-inch IPS touch screen
  • 16GB of storage
  • WiFi enabled

Pros:

  • Easy setup with an IPS touch screen
  • Turns on and off via motion sensor
  • Built-in 16GB storage

Cons: 

  • Instant sharing only works with a 2.4GHz wifi network 
  • No built-in battery

Sammix makes sharing images with loved ones easy; it’s as simple as downloading their app, Ourphoto. With a 2.4GHz WiFi network, adding photos to the frame can happen in seconds. Other features include a motion activated on/off switch, so that the slideshow automatically starts up when you walk in the room; a user-friendly touch screen interface; and a sleep mode for evening or naptime. 

This Sammix frame isn’t perfect; the instant sharing only works with a 2.4GHz network (so if you have a 5GHz network, this may not be the frame for you). And the frame won’t work unless it’s plugged in, since it doesn’t have a built-in battery. Otherwise, Sammix does an excellent job of making the user experience accessible, and the IPS screen keeps things looking crisp. Lastly, additional features like background music, video compatibility, an alarm clock, a calendar, and daily weather reports make this digital picture frame a winner, though not quite top of its class.

Best Value: Aluratek Digital Photo Frame

Affordable USB Slideshow

Just plug in your USB full of photos and watch a slideshow of memories come to life.

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Why It Made The Cut: Though Aluratek lacks a lot of the fancier features seen in other products, it’s much better priced than those items, and still performs the most important duty of a photo frame: displaying your photos!

Specs:

  • 7-inch screen
  • Automatic slideshow
  • High quality wood frame

Pros:

  • Compatible with both USB flash drives and SD cards
  • Various display and transitions options for your slideshow
  • Frame adjustable for both horizontal and vertical orientation 

Cons: 

  • No built-in battery
  • No remote control
  • No touch screen 

It’s back to basics with the Aluratek digital photo frame. It’s wallet-friendly, but there’s a price: It doesn’t boast many of the features that come standard in other frames. There’s no battery, no remote control, no touch screen, and no built-in memory. However, let’s not be deterred by the overt simplicity of this frame. For a very affordable price, the Aluratek frame performs the same basic function as the pricier frames. And without all of those gadgets, you may find it’s much easier to use, too. 

As far as storage, no built-in memory means that capacity will depend entirely on the size of your USB or SD card. Further, you’ll have to keep this frame plugged in in order for it to work, so be sure you have a spot in mind to display it that’s near an outlet. Choose from landscape or portrait orientation, select from a number of slideshow options, and you’re all set to enjoy this frame.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Digital Picture Frame

Unlike traditional photo frames, purchasing a digital picture frame isn’t necessarily a small expense. So it’s important to be intentional about what features you prioritize, and whether or not there are features you can live without. And as technology continues to advance, we should all be conscious of what gadgets could become obsolete in the near future. For example, will you really still have that SD card in 10 years, or will everything be on the cloud? Here are some more considerations:

Essential Features

Ask yourself: Are you OK with a digital picture frame that requires an outlet, or would you pay extra for a built-in battery? Same goes for features like motion sensor activation, wifi capabilities, and the like — do you need them, or are they irrelevant? 

Style

You won’t be able to change out the color or size of your frame, so make sure it’s timeless. 

The Little Extras

When so many digital picture frames boast almost the exact same set of tools, it’s the additional features that really start to stand out. Think about those little extras— the motion-sensor activation, the background music, the weather reports—and decide which ones are make-or-break for you. Understanding your own preferences and priorities is the easiest way to weed out imperfect options and find the right frame for you. 

FAQs 

Q:  Are digital picture frames worth it? 

In a word: Yes! These days, we take photos of almost everything we do, but most of our documentation never sees the light of day; rather, images sit hidden on cell phone albums, forgotten or ignored. Purchasing a digital picture frame is the easiest way to put these images on display and remember important moments that, though long passed, still carry immense importance. That, then, is the true worth of a digital picture frame: The ability to hold onto precious memories and display them almost without limits is the true worth of a digital picture frame.

Q: What size digital photo frame is best?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it depends on your space and preference. Do you have a huge hole in your gallery wall that is just begging to be filled? Or are you planning on squeezing a frame onto your already crowded desk? Take some measurements and shop accordingly.

Q: How many photos can a digital frame hold?

A whole lot! It depends on the frame’s capacity (or, if it doesn’t have in-frame storage, on your flash drive’s capacity), but generally speaking most photo frames can hold tens of thousands of photos.

Final Thoughts

After looking at each of these five digital picture frames, we can clearly see that there are a number of options and priorities to consider prior to purchase. The capabilities and perks run the gamut, and so do the prices. But, compared to the other four options or simply viewed as a standalone product, the Aura Carver Smart Frame is unmatched. Combining high-tech features with an easy user experience and a chic design, this photo frame will stay useful—and beautiful—for years to come.

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