It’s always great to have a photo you love framed, but chances are you have a lot of photos you love on your phone. This is exactly why digital picture frames are great—they can scroll through a large collection of your photos throughout the day so you don’t need to worry about getting photos printed. So, let’s look at the best of these frames so you no longer have to choose between the photos you care about.
Update, 9/11/21: Checked content for accuracy. Updated Nest Hub link
What to Look for in a Digital Picture Frame
Best for Most People: Nixplay Digital Picture Frame
A Larger Display: Pix-Star 15-inch Digital Picture Frame
Straightforward and Simple: Aura Mason Frame
A Mid-Range Pick: Dragon Touch Digital Picture Frame
Best Budget Choice: Aluratek Digital Photo Frame
Museum-Grade: Meural Canvas II
Bonus Option: A Smart Display
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to digital picture frames.
- Resolution: This is one of the most important parts of a digital frame because there’s little point if the images are going to look bad. We’ll mention the resolution of all the frames on this list, but remember, smaller displays can use lower resolutions and still look high quality. All the frames on this list feature HD displays that look nice for their size—but some still perform better than others.
- Screen Size: This is a matter of personal preference and budget. While naturally, a larger frame is going to be more expensive, you should also take into account how you want to use the frame. Something going up on the wall can be pretty big without causing issues, but if you just a frame to set on your desk, then a smaller frame is ideal.
- Storage and Uploading: Most of the frames on this list have some amount of internal storage for your photos. However, some of them also (or exclusively) feature cloud storage, which allows for more photos but at the cost of requiring an internet connection. There’s also the matter of actually getting your photos onto the frame. When it comes to internal storage, some frames have ports and slots for USB thumb drives and SD cards, which can both be used to transfer files and expand the internal memory. When it comes to Wi-Fi options, most frames work through their own app to get photos from your phone to the frame, but some can pull images from cloud-storage services like Google Photos, along with social media sites.
- Management Methods: Once your photos are in the frame, you’re going to need some options when it comes to managing what photos appear, how long they appear, and maybe even what transition occurs when photos change. This is usually done through an app, but some frames use touch screen controls or a dedicated remote control to configure these as well.
- Extra Features: Frames don’t have to stop at just displaying pictures, as some can show video clips (all the options on this list do except the Mason Aura and Meural Canvas II frames), display the weather, and even work with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The more the merrier when it comes to this type of stuff, as long as it doesn’t complicate the app or inflate the price too much.
When it comes to covering all the bases, the Nixplay Digital Picture Frame does the best job for the money. The 10.1 inches, 1200 x 800 ISP display looks great and displays your photos with accurate colors and crisp details. The frame can be oriented for either portrait or landscape photos and you can mount it on the wall with the included hardware. Through the Nixplay app (Android/iOS), you can add photos from your phone’s internal storage, social media sites, or Google Photos.
But that’s not the end of the smart features; you can create various playlists in the app and then use any Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device to choose which playlist the frame displays (a remote is also included). The app can create a private photo-sharing network so that other users can display photos on the frame as well, and the frame has a motion sensor so the screen is only on when someone is around. All of these great features, on top of a solid foundation, make Nixplay’s frame a great all-around option no matter how you want to use the frame—it’s also available in sizes ranging from 9.7-inches to 15.6 (although, the 15.6-inch model is pretty pricy).
The Nixplay features eight gigabytes of internal memory, but if you need more, then the Nixplay Plus service grants 50 GB of cloud storage for $4.99 a month (alongside discounts on Nixplay’s photo printing service and the ability to caption photos).
Nixplay Digital Picture Frame
A great frame with plenty of features to justify its price.
But what if you want to go a little larger? That’s exactly what Pix-Star’s frame can provide you, offering a 15-inch model for a reasonable price. The frame’s 1024 x 768 LED panel showcases your photos in a larger format excellently, and you can even connect up to 25 of these frames together to display images in sync. While there’s no voice assistant support, you can rely on the remote for managing playlists. The Pix-Star app (Android/iOS) is where you can add photos from your phone, social media platforms, or cloud storage. You can also have friends and family members send photos to your frame through the app or email. The Pix-Star has eight gigabytes of internal storage, but SD cards and USB thumb drives are both supported if you need more.
Pix-Star’s frame includes a couple of nice smart features as well. You can check the weather on the home screen, and it features a motion sensor so the screen will turn on and off as people walk near it. If you’re looking to get something a little bigger without the price increasingly dramatically, Pix-Star’s frame is a well-balanced option.
Pix-Star 15-Inch Digital Picture Frame
A larger display at a more reasonable price than other models.
When it comes to simplicity, no one beats out Aura’s Mason frame. While the frame lacks internal storage, it comes with unlimited cloud storage for you to upload photos to through the Aura app (Android/iOS)—which in it itself, is designed to be as easy to use as possible. You can invite other users to upload photos to your frame, use the virtual remote inside the app to manage the frame, and you can preload a frame with photos if you want to gift it to someone. The 1600 x 1200 display looks great and you can orient the frame in either vertical or horizontal formats.
While there may not be any in-depth features on display here, the excellent execution of what is here makes the Mason frame worth considering. The nicely styled exterior also elevates it above other options, looking more in line with a normal picture frame. However, one thing you must be aware of with this frame is it does not support video clips of any kind—a major letdown considering the price.
Aura Mason Frame
An easy-to-use digital frame with a nice-looking exterior.
Dragon Touch’s frame brings just enough features to justify its price. Notably, this is the only frame on this list to feature a touch screen instead of the remote most other frames include. While the touchscreen does require you to get up to interact with the frame, it’s intuitive to use, and you can always rely on the OurPhoto app (Android/iOS) to manage the frame as well. You can also use the app to send photos to the frame’s internal memory (16 GB), alongside USB thumb drives and an SD card.
The 10-inch, 1,200 x 800 IPS display does a good job at showcasing your photos, and you can use the frame for a few additional actions as well: You can check the weather, set alarms, and look at a calendar. The frame itself can be oriented horizontally or vertically, hung on the wall, and uses a simple but nice-looking design.
Dragon Touch Digital Picture Frame
A middle-of-the-option which balances a decent amount of features and a more affordable price.
While Aluratek’s frame does nothing to blow you away, except maybe keep the price low. This frame is considerably less expensive than other frames on the market, and while that does come with sacrifices like a lower resolution (800 x 600) and smaller size (eight inches), it’s still a solid option. The LCD panel does a fine enough job for the money, and while four gigabytes of internal memory is pretty limited, you can always use a thumb drive or SD card to expand. (You can get the frame for an even lower price if you get it without internal storage.)
There’s no app to speak of, but the included remote does a good enough job at allowing you to manage the frame—it even lets you open a simple calendar. Overall, while the Auraltek frame lacks any fancy features, it makes up for that by being so affordable.
Aluratek Digital Picture Frame
A simplistic photo frame at a low price.
Jumping up in price considerably from everything else on this list, the Canvas II from Meural is a massive frame (21 inches) that displays your photos at a crisp 1920 x 1080 resolution on its LCD screen. While this frame is designed to display paintings, it’s also great for uploading your own images as well, whether that’s a high-quality family portrait or even your own artwork.
You can also link the Canvas with a Google Photos account through the Meural app (Android/iOS), alongside uploading photos directly from your phone, and use voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to operate it. The main feature of the Canvas II is its high-quality display, so make sure the photos you want to upload are high-resolution images, otherwise, they’ll appear blown up and blurry. Unfortunately, the Canvas II cannot display video clips, but considering its main focus is high-quality photos and artwork that’s somewhat understandable—still a bummer though.
Meural Canvas II
A massive, high-resolution display for your favorite photos and artwork.
To round off this list, we wanted to give a quick mention to smart displays. While these products aren’t dedicated digital photo frames, they can offer a lot of bang for the buck when it comes to additional features.
- Google Nest Hub (2nd gen): Nest’s offering in the world of smart displays is a solid contender, especially if you’re already a user of Google Photos. The Hub can easily pull images from Google Photos, and you can use Google Assistant to choose which album to play. On top of that, the Nest Hub is just a great smart display in general; you can watch stuff on Netflix, view recipes or the weather, and also manage other smart home devices. But if you want to go a little larger than the Nest Hub’s seven-inch screen, the Nest Hub Max bumps that up to 10-inches and can handle video calls.
- Echo Show 8: The Show 8 can display recipes, the weather, manage your smart home devices, and make video calls, all alongside displaying your favorite photos. You can upload images from your phone, pull them from Facebook, or upload them to Amazon Photos (which if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you already have unlimited storage for). If you have any other Alexa devices, then we’d definitely recommend picking up the Show 8 over other smart displays.
- Facebook Portal: While the Portal is mainly designed for video calls, it also does a great job at displaying photos from your Facebook, Instagram, or photos you upload through the Portal app (Android/iOS). The 10-inch, touch-screen display looks great, and you can use Amazon Alexa through the Portal as well. There’s also the Portal Plus and Portal Mini, which feature a 15.6-inch and 8-inch display respectively.