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The best digital picture frames to cherish memories

Photographers and ZDNET editors chose the best digital picture frames with Wi-Fi, app support, and storage.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer on

While a picture is worth a thousand words, you probably have more than one meaningful photo you want to showcase in your home or office. Instead of just placing one or two photos in a frame, a digital photo frame cycles through all of your photos, so you can relive your most memorable moments every day. 

Digital picture frames shuffle your photos into a slideshow, so those wedding photos have a permanent place to live, and you don't have to choose just one. Although smart displays can do the same thing, you may prefer a digital photo frame because you can set it and forget it, and not have to deal with a voice assistant. They often have more design options available, which is nice if you want a photo frame for its beauty and not just its tech. 

Digital picture frames have been around for a while, and they've had time to get better and smarter. And there are plenty to choose from, especially when it comes to choosing a gift.

I've rounded up the best digital picture frames (both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi) to help you showcase photos. These were hand-picked based on my own testing and the opinions of photographers as well as other ZDNET editors.

Also: 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Vivid picture quality
  • Print photos right from the Nixplay app
  • Friends and family can add photos or videos to your playlists
Cons
  • Some reviewers complain of connectivity issues with Wi-Fi and the app
More Details

Nixplay Touch 10 Smart Frame features: 10.1-inch touchscreen | 1280 x 800 resolution | Wi-Fi connectivity

The Nixplay Touch 10 Smart Frame has great features to showcase your memories, and after trying it out myself, it is my top pick for the best digital photo frame. 

It's easy to set up, and the accompanying app gives you unlimited photo storage, the ability to upload photos and videos from your smartphone or through a cloud service like Google Photos, and the ability to invite your friends and family to add photos to your playlists. 

Adam Khan, a photographer and founder of his company, WeShootYou, agreed with me in that the Nixplay photo frame is a good choice for most consumers. 

"It has a high-resolution screen (1280 x 800) which is great for displaying more pixels so images appear sharper and cleaner," he said. "It also supports multiple image formats including JPEG, PNG, and TIFF (for you Photoshop fanatics), and offers features such as motion sensors and cloud connectivity." 

Review: Nixplay Touch 10 Smart Frame

Kahn noted that Nixplay has a good balance of storage and ease of use, especially with its touchscreen. 

One bonus is that this digital photo frame also has a motion sensor that wakes up the frame when you are in the room and turns it off when you're not. In addition, the company promises all your data is encrypted, so your photos and videos are secured. 

Note: The Nixplay Touch 10 Smart Frame is currently up $70 off on Amazon and Best Buy.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Super easy for anyone to use
  • Touchscreen display
  • Can play video clips up to 5 minutes long
Cons
  • Customer service could be better
More Details

Loop features: 10.1 inches | 1080p resolution | 16GB of storage

If you want to forgo uploading photos to a cloud and connecting to your email, the Loop Digital Picture Frame makes it super easy to add photos to the frame. All you have to do is text an image or video to a number, and it automatically adds your photos instantly. In addition, with this frame, you can add video clips up to five minutes long.

This digital frame has a touchscreen display that can shuffle photo albums, add transition times, and even automatically dim at night. While the Loop frame requires Wi-Fi to receive new photos, play videos or video chat, you can still view photos without a Wi-Fi connection.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Inexpensive price
  • Included remote
Cons
  • Resolution isn't as crisp as other options
  • No photo rotation -- best for horizontal photos
More Details

Aluratek features: 10 inches | 1024 x 600 resolution | 4GB memory

For a more budget-friendly price, this digital picture frame still has great features like a built-in clock and calendar, an included remote to control it from afar, and the ability to add music to your photo slideshow. 

If you're especially concerned about privacy, this frame also forgoes Wi-Fi and allows you to add photos via a USB flash drive or an SD card up to 32GB. However, while it has true-digital LCD panels to display your favorite memories, the resolution isn't as crisp as the pricier options on this list. 

Aura Mason features: 1600 x 1200 resolution | 9-inch screen | Dual orientation

If you're looking for a more stylish design, the Aura Mason is carved from natural stone like white quartz or graphite. It has a resolution of 1600 x 1200 with 224 pixels per inch, making your photos look sharp and detailed. 

Professional photographer Kevin Mercier said this frame stands above other digital photo frames he has used to display his work. 

"I found the 4:3 screen aspect display perfect for adding some color to my room with my photos and getting an up-close look at them as well," he said. "The color is natural-looking and well-saturated as well, so I can be sure that I see a fair representation of the photos that I fling its way. 

Like other digital photo frames on this list, you can invite friends and family to send photos to the frame. 

"Everyone in this inner Aura circle can like and comment on the photos, creating a cozy and private social network," Mercier added. 

With unlimited storage, you can store endless amounts of memories on the Aura Mason frame. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Smart display can act as an assistant or display favorite photos
  • Auto-framing camera keeps you centered in the frame
  • Adaptive color for photos
Cons
  • Need to have Amazon Photos or Facebook to use photo display feature
More Details

Features: 8-inch touchscreen | 13 MP camera with built-in shutter and auto-framing | 1280 x 800 resolution

If you prefer a digital picture frame with more bells and whistles, the Amazon Echo Show 8 is the perfect all-in-one display. It serves as a smart home assistant, a way to make video calls, and, of course, as a digital frame to show off your favorite photos. It has an adaptive color display to show your photos in their true colors, and Amazon Prime members even get unlimited cloud photo storage.

You can also get calendar reminders, traffic updates, set timers, or even enjoy your favorite playlist via Spotify. There is even access to streaming services like Prime Video and Netflix. And as an Alexa device, the Echo Show can control other smart devices in your home.

Review: Amazon Echo Studio: Is it really better than before?

ZDNET managing editors Elyse Betters Picaro and Alyson Windsor both use the Amazon Echo Show 8 to rotate family photos in their homes. 

"My Echo Shows all display photos from my Prime photo storage when not in use," Windsor said. "I like that I can customize which photos each device shows based on folders I create."

What is the best digital picture frame?

The Nixplay Touch 10 Smart Frame is my top pick for the best digital photo frame. It's turned me into a fan of digital picture frames, and I love how easy it is to use and add photos to. However, I spoke to a few photographers and experts to come up with fantastic alternative options for you to also consider. 

Digital picture frame

Price

Resolution

Storage

Nixplay Touch 10

$170

1280 x 800

Unlimited

Loop Frame

$169

1080p 

16GB

Aluratek Frame

$70

1024 x 600

4GB

Aura Mason

$200

1600 x 1200

Unlimited

Amazon Echo Show 8

$130

1280 x 800

Prime members get unlimited cloud photo storage

Which digital picture frame is right for you?

While all of these digital picture frames are great, it ultimately comes down to how you want to upload your photos, the amount of storage you want, and what you're willing to spend.

Choose this digital photo frame...

If you want...

Nixplay Touch 10

The best overall option. You can even print photos right from the app.

Loop Frame

An easy-to-use digital photo frame. It has a touchscreen display and 16GB of storage. 

Aluratek Frame

A digital picture frame that is budget-friendly. You can add photos via a USB flash drive or an SD card up to 32GB.

Aura Mason

A splurge-worthy digital photo frame with high resolution. The display is 1600 x 1200 with 224 pixels per inch, making your photos look sharp and detailed. 

Amazon Echo Show 8

An all-in-one smart home device that can display your photos. It even has an adaptive color display to show your photos in their true colors.

How did we choose these best digital picture frames?

I considered my own experiences in using some of these digital picture frames, as well as the reviews of other ZDNET writers and editors. I also researched the top digital picture frames from renowned brands and paid attention to features like customer reviews, storage, photo resolution, and pricing. Finally, I reached out to professional photographers for their takes on which digital photo frames are best and what features are most important to them. 

What features to look for in a digital photo frame?

Photographers like Mercier and Kahn agree that display quality is perhaps the No. 1 most important feature for digital photo frames. Mercier said that frames with an IPS (In-Plane Switching) display are ideal, as it allows for wider viewing angles and more accurate colors. 

"If you plan to use the frame in a bright room or in direct sunlight, look for one with a high luminance rating to ensure that your photos are visible," Kahn adds. 

Other important features include image format support, frame size, and how easy the frame and accompanying app are to use and add photos to. 

What is the ideal aspect ratio for a digital photo frame?

The ideal aspect range for a digital photo frame varies on what you intend to use it for. Mercier said that for most people, an aspect ratio of 4:3 is ideal for digital photo frames. 

"Most digital cameras and smartphones capture photos in a 3:2 or 4:3 aspect ratio, while some newer devices have a 16:9 aspect ratio," he said. "I believe a 4:3 aspect ratio frame is ideal, as it displays most photos without any distortion or cropping, while a 16:9 frame might require some cropping of photos taken in the 4:3 aspect ratio."

However, Kahn adds that 16:9 ratio is good if you're looking to use a mix of video content and photography. 

Do you need Wi-Fi to use a digital picture frame?

Although most digital picture frames require Wi-Fi to connect to services like Google Photos or Dropbox, there are some products available that don't need Wi-Fi. Instead, they use a USB or an SD card to showcase photos and videos. 

The non-Wi-Fi digital photo frames on this list are the Loop frame and the Aluratek frame. 

Are there alternative digital picture frames worth considering?

There are a lot of digital picture frames available on the market today. While I think the above are the best digital photo frames, here are a few other options to look into so you can display photos.

A black photo frame with a smiling girl and her mom in the photo

BEST PRICE

Aeezo Wi-Fi Digital Picture Frame - Another budget-friendly digital picture frame

This frame from AEEZO has a touchscreen display, 8GB of storage, and automatic rotation. 

View at Amazon
A digital photo frame with a camera on top of it next to a smartphone

BEST PRICE

Anna Bella Digital Photo Frame - A digital picture frame with a camera

This frame comes with a built-in camera so you can video call with family members right from the frame.

View at Amazon
Digital photo frame with a group of smiling people as the picture

BEST PRICE

Pix-Star 15-inch Wi-Fi Digital Picture Frame - A large-screen digital photo frame

Want a larger frame? This frame is 15 inches, so it can display your memories up close. 

View at Amazon
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