Digital Photo Frame Trends: Connectivity, Versatility & Style

Digital Photo Frame Trends: Connectivity, Versatility & Style

They’re a great way to display and share your images and videos!

© Simply Smart Home

Digital photo frames tap into the dynamic nature of digital imaging. They offer a convenient and satisfying way to display, store, switch out as well as share pictures. Today, digital photo frame trends include connectivity, versatility as well as style.

Deriving their physical form from traditional, static framed photographs, paintings and prints, current Wi-Fi-enabled models take the picture frame concept to new level. They use Internet connectivity, storage media as well as social media to create a multifaceted visual interface. Consequently, you can create slideshows of pictures that are transferred from a smartphone or memory card, or loaded directly from the Internet, and change them out as often as you like. In addition, digital photo frames with sound capability let you watch videos on their handy midsize screens.

Moreover, a crucial aspect of photo frames that’s often understated in the promotional literature is privacy. Most models let you create an invitation-only, mini social network for sharing images without putting them on the Internet where they’re accessible to virtually anyone, including scammers and trolls. digital photo frame trends- Aluratek-Susan-G.-Komen-Frame-front

Some analysts have conjectured that young people in the hallowed ages of 18–35 demographic see digital photo frames as passé. However, the market appears poised for a resurgence among all demographics. Indeed, with the emergence of AI-enabled frames, this expansive category could become the latest example of retro cool. Only time will tell. For now, it’s a smart idea for retailers to stay well informed on what could be an additional revenue stream.

The Overview

Digital photo frames are basically dedicated screens with framed borders that display images, slideshows, etc. They all rely on a standard complement of components. These include an operating system (OS), such as the PSOS used in personal digital assistants devices (PDAs); a CPU for downloading images from a dedicated website or server; controls for the unit itself (the bare minimum are an on/off switch and a screen brightness control); memory (typically ROM memory for the OS and flash memory for storing settings and downloaded images); as well as a modem that enables the Wi-Fi that allows you (or your mini network) to upload photos to the screen provider’s server or website and then download them onto the digital photo frame.

The frames themselves are usually thin, lightweight and portable. They are also easy to position or hang, and they’re available in roughly the same sizes as tablets.

How to Choose the Right Digital Photo Frame

To make sure you pick the best frame for your needs, here are some of the characteristics and features worth considering.

Size Matters

Most frame screens fall into the 7- to 10-inch range measured diagonally. However, there are some as large as 15 inches or more. Further, the size of the frame sets limits on the aspect ratio and the visibility of the photos. So, all things considered, bigger is better, providing you have the space. However, smaller digital frames work quite well in smaller spaces, are more discreet and may fit in better with your home decor.

Pick a User-Friendly Interface

In general, the easier the user interface, the greater the user satisfaction. Most screens provide buttons on the back that allow you to maneuver through the menus easily and save personalized settings. Some pricier models offer touchscreen control at the front of the screen. Simple plug-and-play frames with basic features often work better than full featured ones for kids, seniors as well as technophobes. And if you want to create the illusion of displaying a traditional photo frame, make sure to pick a model with a realistic picture frame look and concealed control buttons.

Benibela-Smart-AI-10.1-right-digital photo frame trends
Benibela Smart AI
High Res Works Best

Furthermore, the resolution a photo frame can handle is crucial if you expect to display crisp, detailed images that are free of artifacts. A low-res, 600×900-pixel frame can result in pixelated images lacking clarity. Thus, it’s better to select a high-res frame that handles resolutions of 1080p and higher. High-resolution frames not only display sharper, more satisfying pictures, they’re also easier to work with and set up. Such frames typically cost more. However, they’re well worth the difference.

Aspect Ratios Make a Difference

The aspect ratio of a digital frame determines how shots taken with a particular digital format look on the screen. It also affects how much non-image space appears above and below the picture The most common aspect ratios are 4:3, 16:9, 16:10 and 3:2. Further, the best compromise for a series of images in unspecified mixed formats is 4:3 unless you’re displaying odd-shaped sizes. Generally, photos shot in the 16:9 aspect ratio need to be cropped to fit within a typical photo frame. However, many cameras offer in-camera cropping options that let you match the captured images to your frame’s aspect ratio as you shoot. As a result, you don’t have to crop them afterward. Moreover, most cameras and many photo frames also provide manual or automatic portrait and landscape options that eliminate the worry of fitting them optimally within the frame.

Connectivity Rules

The connectivity of a digital photo frame has a significant effect on how you use it and how you source your images. Many users find connecting the frame to a PC via a USB port inconvenient, but others don’t mind. Nevertheless, frames with 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity are today’s hot tickets. That’s because they make it so much easier to move images from one device to another, and to share photos with others across different platforms. Simple frames with USB connections are okay for displaying simple slideshows. They’re also less expensive than those with multi-platform Wi-Fi options.

Aeezo-Portrait-back-digital photo frame trends
Aeezo Portrait
Make a Fashion Statement

A well-made digital photo frame that looks good and complements your décor is always in style. Picking a frame that matches or enhances your color scheme is quite easy today, given the range of choices currently available. What’s more, a well-chosen unit can even become the centerpiece of your living room or family room. It’s also worth mentioning that digital photo frames—especially when they’re preloaded with images the recipient can relate to—make great holiday and special occasion gifts for friends, family as well as business associates.

Go for Value

As with most things, the size, features and quality a digital photo frame delivers are usually commensurate with its price. However, it’s seldom a good idea to compromise on value. It’s almost always better to spend a little extra to obtain a unit that really showcases your pictures, even if it lacks a few of the latest bells and whistles.

Savor the Irony

The ironic thing about digital photo frames is that having your images on more-or-less permanent display in your living space motivates many folks to finally print out their best shots and hang them on the wall the old-fashioned way. Or to dust off their shoeboxes and have their analog prints, negatives as well as slides scanned so they can show them off digitally. Perhaps it’s not too surprising that a digital device with deep analog roots would have these unintended consequences. Regardless, it sure is a gratifying paradox, and savvy dealers should do their best to encourage their customers by offering top-notch scanning and restoration services.

Generative AI Photo Frames

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all around us. It enables interactive apps like Siri, Alexa as well as Google Maps. It’s embedded in our iPhones that compile galleries of “favorite pet portraits” or “having fun at the beach” and automatically sends them to us.

Indeed, you can even find basic AI in some current digital photo frames. For example, the Benibela 10.1-inch 1200 AI Smart frame provides AI facial recognition. It can identify and upload images of a specific person and has memory as well as museum filters that select and display old pictures to take you down memory lane. Additionally, the Aura Mason Luxe provides an AI-powered colorization app that you can apply to printed photos.

These current systems all use basic AI, but future digital photo frames my well employ generative AI. It uses algorithms and accesses a huge database to create unique images based on text or spoken commands. These might include such commands as “make the person in this portrait look 20 years younger,” “remove most of the wrinkles and all the age spots on grandma’s face” or “show my family having seaside fun on a secluded beach along the Riviera.”

The Future of Digital Photo Frames?

Moreover, the AI Art frame by High Intensity Labs, a 2022 start-up founded by Jason Hejna, may give you a glimpse into the future of digital photo frames. The frame is aimed at artists and innovators who want to create and display AI artworks. The AI Art frame generates unique images using Open AI’s DALL.E 2 “to create original, realistic images and art from text descriptions.” Moreover, it “can combine concepts, attributes and styles.” While not designed for uploading/displaying your existing photos like current digital photo frames, that may be an option with future models.

Netgear Meural Canvas II

The first and only AI Art frame features a 12×12-inch frame and a 5.9×5.9-inch touchscreen display (1,280×1,280p at 220ppi). It also features Wi-Fi 6 IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax connectivity compatible with 2.4GHz/5GHz; over-the-air (OTA) updates; 10-point multi-touch; and a 1,500:1 contrast ratio. Other features comprise a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen covering; Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 615; a Dual-Core Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y processor; and a 64GB eMMC storage drive. It sells for $797, which includes 20 years of AI-generated art.

“We currently support Open AI’s DALL.E 2 AI model, and we plan to expand to new models in the next few months,” says Hejna. “Many of our potential customers have asked for a cheaper model. We’re working on a new one slated to go on sale at under $400.”

Does the AI Art frame have any competition? Yes. Jess Farber’s ingenious Pycasso uses an energy-efficient color-compatible E Ink display and DALL.E and/or Stable Diffusion deep learning AI. Combined with in-house-developed software, it “creates pseudo-random prompts by selecting words following a structure that usually produces good results.” The Pycasso generates a new piece of AI art every day depending on the words it picks up. However, it’s basically a user-assembled kit rather than a finished product.

Digital Photo Frame Trends: A Sampling of 10

Aluratek Interchangeable Distressed Wood

Perfect for fashion-forward consumers, this handsome Aluratek frame comes with a distressed wood frame you can swap out with either the included mahogany or walnut frames to coordinate with your style. Featuring a 13.3-inch LCD with a 16:9 aspect ratio, it displays images in high resolution at 1,920×1,080 pixels. In addition, it has 8GB of built-in storage and a slot that accepts SDHC cards up to 32GB. However, there’s no built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity.

digital photo frame trends-Aluratek-Interchangeable-13.3
Aluratek Interchangeable Distressed Wood

Further, the frame will automatically display your photos as a slideshow, but you can configure it to play a variety of display and transition modes. You can upload content from your computer or a hard drive, either of which is connected via the frame’s Mini USB 2.0 port. Other features include integrated stereo speakers for audio/video; a VESA mount; as well as a wall mountable design that also works as a digital signage solution. The Aluratek 13.3-inch measures a slim 14.8x10x1.3 inches and weighs 2.3 pounds. $129.99.

Aura Mason Luxe

This attractive Wi-Fi-connected frame from Aura with a 2K display earns top ratings from a high percentage of users. You can set its 9.7-inch (diagonal), 2,048×1,536-pixel, 264ppi screen on a flat surface in either horizontal or vertical orientation to suit various subjects. What’s more, the Mason Luxe comes with a free Aura app to upload photos. It also enables the adjustment of slideshow speed, or you can swipe the touch bar to change images. Additionally, using the app, you can create, in effect, a mini curated social media network for private sharing of images with family and friends.

Aura Mason Luxe

Aura has also recently updated it with an in-app scanner and an AI-powered colorizer for printed photos. Moreover, a smart cropping feature makes it easy to center photos and fill the frame. Plus, you can preload photos when giving it as a gift. In addition, you can connect the Aura Mason Luxe via any 2.4GHz broadcast-capable router. It works with Apple (up to iOS14+) as well as Android (5.0+) devices. The frame measures a 9.8×7.8×2 inches and weighs in at 2.2 pounds. In sandstone or pebble, $249.

Kodak RWF-108

This perky-looking Kodak Wi-Fi-enabled unit features a pivoting wood textured stand. Moreover, a 10-inch IPS touchscreen achieves 1,280×800-pixel resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. The unit also provides 16GB of internal memory storage, available via its USB port or by using its built-in SD/SDHC card slot that supports cards up to 32GB. You can also upload content from the cloud or your smartphone using the free Kodak Photo Frame app.

Kodak-RWF-108-rosegold-digital photo frame trends
Kodak RWF-108

What’s more, integrated speakers let you add music and narration to slideshows you configure using a variety of play and transition modes. In addition, the frame is powered by a rechargeable battery that gives 4–5 hours of viewing per charge. Furthermore, IPC technology creates vivid colors and quick, seamless transitions between horizontal and vertical images and movies. Additional features include a selection of music playback modes; automatic brightness adjustment to the ambient lighting; a night mode clock; an automatic on/off timer with alarm options; as well as 10GB of free cloud storage for five years. Plus, the frame enables weather report access. In pink or ocean blue, $129.95.

Simply Smart Home PhotoShare

Boasting a 14-inch touchscreen with Full HD 1,920×1,080 resolution and auto-light adjustment, this is a sleekly styled, black wood frame. The Wi-Fi-enabled Simply Smart Home digital frame lets you display images and share memories seamlessly using the free PhotoShare Frame app. Moreover, the app, which is compatible with iOS and Android smartphones, sends photos and videos in two taps.

Simply Smart Home PhotoShare

In addition, you can connect via e-mail and linked social media, including Google Photos, to send up to 50 photos at once to as many as 10 PhotoShare frames. A chime sounds when new content has arrived. Plus, you can customize slideshows to cycle in shuffle or chronological modes. The unit also provides 8GB of internal memory that can store more than 5,000 high-res photos. Further, it accepts SD cards and USB sticks to add even more memory capacity. Claimed to install in about a minute, the frame comes with both black and white mattes, includes a clock and also provides weather info for any location you select. $179.99.

Netgear Meural Canvas II

This Netgear digital art frame features a 21.5-inch, anti-glare AHVA LCD. The impressive Wi-Fi-enabled, 16×24-inch frame provides a 16:9 aspect ratio and displays images in Full HD 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution. In addition, it incorporates TruArt technology to deliver lifelike image quality for photos, videos, artwork as well as NFT Crypto art you’ve downloaded. Moreover, it comes with a collection of 42 preloaded images and access to 100 sample fine-art images from Meural’s extensive library. An optional Meural full membership provides access to more than 300,000 images.

Netgear Meural Canvas II

You can also upload your own work via Meural’s website using the free app for iOS and Android or via an SD card. What’s more, the Canvas II digital frame has 8GB of internal memory and its performance is optimized by a 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 Quad-Core processor and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. The frame also connects via a Micro-USB port, an Ethernet port, Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.1. The slimline frame comes in black, white or light wood. It’s bundled with a wall mount, a liquid level, wall anchors, a cleaning cloth as well as an 8-foot power cord. $599.99.

Pix-Star 15

The top-rated, Pix-Star 15-inch digital photo frame delivers high-res, big-screen viewing of photos and videos at 1,024×768 pixels. With a minimalist design, the frame also displays in the 4:3 aspect ratio. Furthermore, to keep in touch with family and friends, you can connect 25 frames from a single free online account. And it comes with free cloud storage for life. The frame is also easy and fast to set up via a 2.4GHz (but not 5GHz) Wi-Fi network. In addition, it provides 8GB of internal memory (about 30,000 images) and supports USB sticks and SDHC/SDXC memory cards. Plus, the frame can receive content via a dedicated e-mail address.

Pix-Star 15

What’s more, a built-in motion sensor automatically turns the screen on/off when someone enters or exits the room. A plus: you can also share images, videos as well as audio messages by downloading the free Pix-Star app on an iOS/Android smartphone. Additionally, you can remotely view and manage the frame using the Pix-Star website. Furthermore, you can display your social media photos by accessing them online from Facebook, Instagram and Google Drive. Like some of the other frames here, this also receives weather forecasts from selected locations. In black, $199.99.

Benibela Smart AI

As its name suggests, this sleekly styled, 10.1-inch digital frame from Benibela features AI face recognition. As a result, it’s capable of distinguishing front faces to let you better organize and classify the photos you upload. In addition, it has other functions, such as music, weather forecasts and a calendar, making it ideal for the office, too. The frame displays at 1,280×800-pixel resolution. What’s more, it includes the VPHOTO app and a Wi-Fi cloud service, which lets you create a private family sharing network.

Benibela Smart AI

Plus, it has 32GB of built-in memory, which enables you to import more than 30,000 photos and videos. And it supports up to Wi-Fi 6 for sharing. The Benibela frame, compatible with iOS and Android smartphones, has two built-in speakers with volume control. It also provides selectable, cancellable memory and museum filters aimed at seniors who want to remember the past through old photos. With its touch function and auto turn-on/off feature, it’s designed for ease of use by folks of any age. The frame also has a gravity-sensing auto-rotation feature. $265.99.

Nixplay Smart

The 10.1-inch, Wi-Fi-enabled Nixplay digital photo frame supports both iOS and Android devices using the free Nixplay app. The handsome device sports an understated black matte finish and a 7.4×10.6×1.2-inch frame with 1,280×800-pixel resolution (16:10 aspect ratio) on its 10.1-inch HD IPS screen. What’s more, since it’s AI driven it provides smart-centering to center images and fill the frame.

Nixplay Smart

Further, the frame allows you to share photos as well as videos at up to 15 per sec. In addition, it connects to Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox, as well as works with Amazon Alexa. The wall-mountable smart frame also auto adjusts for portrait or landscape compositions and has a built-in motion sensor that turns it on/off automatically as you enter or exit the room. Plus, when you connect to Google Photos, it’s automatically updated thanks to its Wi-Fi connectivity. $159.99.

Dragon Touch Classic 15

This digital frame from Dragon Touch has a 15.6-inch touchscreen with an impressive native resolution of 1,920×1,200 pixels for a crisp, vibrant display. Moreover, you can easily operate the frame with the intuitive touchscreen or the included remote control. The remote-control unit lets you adjust settings as well as manage your pictures and videos. Further, it permits up to 20 participating friends and family members to privately share their memories.

Dragon Touch Classic 15

The Wi-Fi-enabled (2.4GHz only) photo frame also includes built-in speakers that support the audio-enhanced playback of photos, videos and slideshows. You can also share content wirelessly from your phone or computer, including e-mail, via the OurPhoto app. With 16GB of internal memory, the frame will store more than 40,000 photos. You can increase its capacity with an SD card or USB flash drive. Bonus features let you enjoy your favorite music; set alarms; access weather forecasts; customize your settings; as well as set slideshow mode, timing and transition effects. It also has an automatic screen on/off function. $219.99.

Aeezo Portrait

This sophisticated, 10-inch, IPS touchscreen, smart frame from Aeezo has an auto-rotate function that lets you choose to display the frame in any orientation. It features a high-resolution, 1,280x800p IPS touchscreen display in the 4:3 aspect ratio and iOS and Android smartphone connectivity. You can also share content using the dedicated mobile Frameo app and the frame’s secure P2P sharing technology. The frame also supports Wi-Fi 2.4GHz.

Aeezo Portrait

With 16GB of internal storage, the wall mountable unit has a USB port and an SD slot that accepts cards up to 64GB for enhanced file storage and management options. the frame will handle more than 30,000 photos received via the app. The Aeezo Portrait 10.1-inch digital frame comes in white or black. $99.99 in black.