Lenovo’s Smart Frame Might Be the First Digital Picture Frame That Doesn’t Suck

The Lenovo Smart Frame displaying a family photo and hung in a modern living room.
Lenovo

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is your entire photo album worth? Having all your favorite snapshots on display is the key selling point of any smart picture frame, but if we’re being honest, most of them suck. Lenovo hopes to change that with its new $400 Smart Frame.

Digital picture frames sound neat on paper. Instead of seeing the same image every time you enter a room, digital frames can cycle through all the images you put on them. But most of them don’t make it especially easy to load them with new pictures, and they often have sub-par displays that spoil the whole point of admiring picture in the first place. Smart displays like the Nest Hub are better about that, but they don’t look the part of a picture frame.

A close-up of the Lenovo Smart Frame, displaying a picture of a mother and daughter on a couch.
Lenovo

Enter Lenovo’s new Smart Frame. It looks just like a framed picture and features a 21.5-inch, 1080p display that uses IPS panel technology for great viewing angles and image quality. It’s also equipped with an RGB ambient light sensor that can automatically adjust to the color temperature of your room and it has an anti-glare coating to help reduce the amount of light that gets reflected. You’ll have to plug it in, of course. Lenovo likes to hide the cord in its images but it’s there.

According to all the hands-on accounts we’ve read from CES, people are pretty impressed with how great the Lenovo Smart Frame looks. So that’s one box checked. Along with making your photos look good, the Lenovo says you’ll be able to load the frame with images from your preferred cloud service using the Smart Frame’s companion app. However, the company hasn’t specified which cloud services will be supported. Google Photos, iCloud, OneDrive, and Dropbox would make the most sense to see. Don’t screw this up Lenovo!

Three Lenovo Smart frames with a shared ocean view over a blue couch.
Lenovo

With the basics covered, we can talk about the built-in motion sensor that lets you stand in front of the Smart Frame and air-swipe your way down memory lane. You’ll have to be within 50 centimeters (19.6 inches), though. Of course, the Smart Frame can also rotate through the images on its own, and Lenovo has even baked in some form of “AI” that only shows your highest quality images. There’s also talk of a collage feature that displays multiple images at once, and a “look back” feature that takes you back to pictures you took years ago.

You can rotate the Smart Frame and the display will automatically snap from landscape to portrait mode. And if you’re running a little short on photos worth displaying, the companion app has hundreds of art pieces to choose from. Thinking ahead, Lenovo also made sure to include a pair of two-watt speakers so the Smart Frame might eventually gain support for showing short videos, while an integrated mic could pave the way for integrating with smart assistants.

A Lenovo Smart Frame displaying a desert scene, hung over a modern tv stand.
Looks great, right? Keep in mind that there’s a power cord you aren’t seeing here. Lenovo

Need we say more? Oh yeah, the price. There are different style options. The base Smart Frame with a metallic look goes for $400 but you can swap that metallic frame out for a wooden one which comes in different styles and finishes that will cost $40 each. This isn’t exactly the cheapest digital picture frame around, but you have until August to save your allowance because that’s when the device is expected to arrive.

Source: Lenovo via Engadget

Matthew DeCarlo Matthew DeCarlo
Matthew DeCarlo has been in digital publishing for more than a decade, during which time he has authored and edited thousands of technology articles including industry news, hardware and software reviews, product buying guides, how-tos, editorials, in-depth explainers, trivia, and more. Read Full Bio »

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