Searching for the best digital photo frame? Whether you want a smart display for your desk or a simpler screen for your bedside shelf, our guide below features the very best digital frames for showcasing your photo collection.
Digital photo frames today are smarter and sharper than ever. The very best models offer a combination of outstanding image quality, versatile display options and advanced connectivity – from cloud storage to social media integration. We’ve tested and ranked all of the top options, so you’re sure to find a frame to suit your needs and budget in this buying guide.
Available in a range of sizes and styles, there’s plenty to consider when choosing your ideal digital photo frame. If you’ve only got a small amount of shelf space, for example, you might want a freestanding frame with an 8-inch display – or one that can be mounted on the wall. You’ll probably also want a design that fits with your interior decor, while the option of a portrait orientation might be important if you’re planning to show family photos.
Compact frames tend to be more affordable, while features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, automatic color correction and high-resolution screens are generally reserved for more expensive models. A few frames still ship with an SD card slot, but the majority now allow you to upload images wirelessly from your smartphone or computer via Bluetooth and cloud storage.
Of all the frames that made our list, our current favorite is the Aura Mason. With a distinctive, minimalist design, the Mason pairs a vibrant display with a compact footprint and an easy-to-use app. It doesn’t offer too much in the way of customization, but it’s a versatile and accessible option that ticks all the key boxes. Or if you’re looking for the best affordable digital photo frame, Nixplay’s small and simple 8-inch model is our top budget pick.
But be sure to read the entire guide below before choosing the right digital photo frame for you: we’ve reviewed a whole range of options, so you might find one that’s even better suited to your exact requirements.
The best digital photo frames 2021:
The name of Aura’s minimalist frame is no accident: the Mason feels as if it’s hewn from stone. With a tiered bezel, sculpted back and premium finish, it’s a lesson in stylish understatement – a real thing of beauty. And though its display is a decent size at 9in, the freestanding design gives it a compact footprint that can fit anywhere a traditional frame would.
The Mason’s 1600x1200 display is one of the best out there, offering excellent depth, sharpness and saturation. Images are vivid but balanced, and the added pop helps counter what is a slightly reflective screen. While the standing angle cannot be changed, its viewing angles are the class of the field – aided by the ambient light sensor’s brightness adjustments.
As with the frame itself, the partner app is pretty pared-back. Customisation options are limited to slideshow timing and sleep schedules, while individual images can be selected as favourites and the crop on portrait shots adjusted. While some might want more control, the interface is uncluttered and intuitive, even for the uninitiated – which is ideal, given that you’re able to invite family members to contribute. Snaps can be added individually or as albums, and there’s also support for Live Photos.
Two touch bars are seamlessly integrated into the top and right sides of the frame. These can be used to swipe through photos, bring up more details and select the current photo as a favourite. Subtle, smart and effective, they’re just like the Mason itself.
Nixplay’s 2K Smart Digital Photo Frame features one of the sharpest screens on the market. With a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, the display offers detail for days – and it’s vibrant, too, with impressively deep blacks and more than enough brightness to beat the screen’s reflective coating.
At 9.7 inches, the display also strikes an excellent middle ground: with a flexible stand setup that can support the frame in portrait or landscape orientation, the Smart Digital Photo Frame will fit on almost any shelf, while also giving images enough real estate to really be seen and enjoyed. Handily, it can also be wall-mounted.
As with other Nixplay frames, the settings menu offers no shortage of customisation options, from transitions and colour adjustments to sleep timers and the sensitivity of the motion sensor. Controlled via the physical remote (or the virtual replica in the app), the frame is responsive and pretty intuitive, even if the high resolution means text sometimes appears a little small.
Loading up photos via the partner app is a straightforward process. Create, populate and organise multiple playlists using photos from your smartphone, or sync with Google Photos to display AI-generated smart albums. You can also connect with friends to easily receive snaps and assign them to your frame.
One final note: in matte black, the frame’s bezel is sizable but understated. In contrast, the metal-effect variant is both excessively reflective and a serious fingerprint magnet, distracting from what is otherwise a sharp and capable Wi-Fi frame.
Primarily a device for calling friends and family, Facebook’s social screen does a side-gig as a slick digital photo frame. Styled like a floating box frame with neat lines and a quality finish, it’s an attractive fit for contemporary shelves – provided there’s space for the supporting leg. The stand can prop the Portal in portrait or landscape, but it sticks out by 12cm – and the power cable exits from its end, so it can’t sit flush against your wall.
Up front, the 10-inch display is vibrant and responsive, with good detail and colour reproduction. The panel is quite reflective, but there’s enough brightness to counter glare – though this dips when viewing from a 45-degree angle.
Setup is straightforward and the slick touchscreen interface is matched by the polished partner app. Photos can be sourced from Facebook, Instagram or your smart device, then sorted into albums which can be individually enabled.
You can’t change how the Superframe slideshow is sorted or tweak the transition style, though – only the duration of each slide. Nor can you extend the sleep setting beyond an hour: if the Portal’s sensor doesn’t detect motion for 60 minutes, it’ll automatically sleep. Not a major issue, unless you position the Portal on a high shelf or in a far corner where it misses any movement.
You do need a Facebook or WhatsApp account to activate the Portal, which will be a negative factor for some – but with Alexa, Spotify and family apps included, it’s certainly a feature-packed frame.
Compact and affordable, Nixplay’s 8-inch digital photo frame is also surprisingly feature-packed – provided you’re happy to skip the cloud connectivity offered by more expensive frames.
Front-on, it apes the aesthetic of a traditional photo frame. Its plastic build doesn’t feel premium, but a bevelled bezel and unique rippled back mean it stops short of characterless. Propping it up is an adjustable stand that works in portrait or landscape (the display automatically rotates) and can also be removed for wall-mounting.
The 8-inch screen is at the smaller end of the spectrum, but it displays landscape snaps at a size similar to standard photo prints, so it’s a natural fit for most shelves. The panel is bright with decent colour reproduction, though there’s noticeably less contrast depth and detail definition than some frames with the same 1280x800 resolution.
That said, the matte finish means reflections aren’t an issue, while the brightness, contrast and colour settings can all be adjusted to suit. In fact, from transitions to interval times to sleep settings, tinkerers will find plenty to customise in the settings menus, including the activation of the motion sensor.
The downside is an interface that feels like a file browser. The infrared remote is easy to use and navigating images on an SD card or USB stick is straightforward, but the system simply isn’t as slick as some – and it can sometimes feel quite sluggish, especially when scrolling through thumbnails. But it’s a minor compromise on an otherwise versatile budget frame.
Bigger sibling to the Mason, Aura’s contemporary Carver takes the same streamlined and premium approach, but packs a bigger landscape display with a higher resolution to match.
At 10.1 inches, the sharp, sizable screen offers lots of space for your photos to shine. Snaps are vibrant, displaying with the kind of detail, saturation and depth that made the Mason a winner. Though the triangular stand is fixed, viewing angles are excellent and adaptive brightness brings out the best in almost any image.
Surrounding the screen is a minimalist bezel that appears to float within the frame. It’s a neat and understated design that’s mirrored around the back, where an angular, textured shell supports the Carver in style, without stealing too much shelf space. That said, a serious snag for some will be the landscape orientation which, unlike most rivals, can’t be rotated.
Then again, the Carver looks subtly sublime as a landscape frame, and its party trick is displaying a pair of portrait photos side-by-side. It’s a simple yet striking solution, powered by Aura’s Intelligent Photo Pairing software, which uses AI to match similar pictures – often in happily unexpected ways.
Because the Carver also shares the same pared-back partner app and interface as the Mason, there isn’t much to tweak. You can’t manually adjust brightness, for example, or change color settings. But surrendering control does net you an intuitive interface that makes selecting favorites, uploading albums and inviting contributors straightforward. Similarly, a touch bar atop the Carver means swiping through the slideshow is a cinch.
The Nest Hub Max is both a hub for smart devices and a portal for accessing Google Assistant at home, but it also does well as a digital photo frame. Styled like a 10-inch tablet attached to a fabric-skinned speaker, it forms a neat free-standing package with a small shelf footprint – even if the screen’s plastic shell and bezels don’t feel particularly premium.
The fixed stand setup means you can’t adjust the display angle from its default upward tilt. While this will be an issue if you want to place the frame on a higher shelf, the viewing angles are otherwise good, with decent saturation and plenty of brightness – provided you’re fine with a reflective panel.
At 1280x800, the resolution of the touchscreen could be higher, but there’s still good detail with no noticeable pixellation – and it makes controlling the Nest Hub Max a cinch. Swipe between photos or tap the pop-up controls to hide, star or share particular images, or do the same thing with voice commands.
The Nest Hub Max can display art backgrounds, a full-screen clock or a selection of snaps from your Google Photos account. It supports Live Albums, features the option to show portrait pics in split-screen and offers time, weather and image data overlays – but you can’t manually change the slideshow order. And because it only works with Google Photos, the Nest Hub Max makes sense mainly for those already invested in the company’s cloud backup service.
If you’re looking for a centrepiece display, the Nixplay Seed Wave is one of the biggest digital photo frames you can buy: at 13 inches, there’s no shortage of screen real estate – though the widescreen proportions mean many images will be cropped or bordered by black.
And while the Full HD resolution is higher than on many alternatives, the extra pixels are stretched over a larger area. As a result, images lack detail and, though colours are fairly well balanced, photographs can feel a little flat and lacklustre.
On the other hand, the matte finish keeps glare at bay and viewing angles are decent. With a smooth but chunky plastic bezel around its edge, the frame isn’t especially subtle, though it does feel sturdy. Flip it round and you’ll find two mesh elements harbouring the 5W speakers. These are surprisingly punchy and, with support for Spotify and 15-second videos, give the frame a welcome dose of versatility.
As for the stand, that’s a flexible affair: the thick, reinforced cable – which also houses the power connection – can be adjusted to almost any angle to support the Seed Wave, aided by a clumsy but effective rubber base.
Photos are added through the comprehensive Nixplay app. Snaps can be uploaded in batches to different playlists, while the app also allows you to adjust the Seed Wave’s many options – from transitions to sleep schedules. Alternatively, you can use the bundled infrared remote. Both are useful compliments to what is a slightly cumbersome but generous frame.