HomeComparisonsAre Aura Digital Frames Worth the High Price Tag?

Are Aura Digital Frames Worth the High Price Tag?


How much do Aura digital frames cost?

Aura digital frames range from $199 to $399 for their most expensive model. Aura frames are typically more expensive than almost all of their competitors’ frames. This is partly due to higher resolution screens and sharper displays. In practice, it’s hard to justify spending a lot more when there are a lot of functional issues and relatively few features when compared to frames like the Pix-Star. That being said, every frame has its place. We’ll discuss some of its issues below and compare it with other top digital frames on the market.

How does the Aura digital frame compare with the Pix-Star frame?

Both the Aura digital frame and the Pix-Star digital frame are among the best on the market. The Aura frame has some of the best displays in terms of resolution, and Pix-Star has one of the broadest and most functional sets of features on a digital frame – but there are other important things to look at.

The first is build quality. Aura digital frames have a thick and fat build that’s significantly wider than Pix-Star’s frames. You might think this means Aura digital frames are sturdier, but the build has a very light plastic feel to them. To add to this, they don’t have rear-stands that keep the frame upright. They can be easily knocked over as the power cable doesn’t double as a stand like some competing frames offer. Pix-Star’s frame has a sturdy stand that keeps the frame from tipping over.

While the Aura digital frame has some great aesthetics and finishes on its frames, the bezels are very thick. This makes the frames feel outdated and chunky. Pix-Star’s frames have bezels, but they’re not nearly as thick. The large bezels on the Aura digital frame make the already-small screen feel even smaller. None of the Aura frames come close to Pix-Star’s 15” frame in terms of screen size and brightness. This makes them hard to view from across the room and steeper viewing angles.

A major drawback of the Aura frame is the auto-adjusting brightness that adjusts to the room’s lighting. This might seem like a great smart feature, but it gets very frustrating and has no manual override. No motion sensor turns off the display when nobody is in the room. The result is that the Aura digital stays on all day when everybody is at work and frequently turns off at night when everybody is home. There are also lots of issues when using the Aura frame in a dimly lit room; whereby the frame turns off while you’re looking at it. Unfortunately, you can’t manually control the frame’s brightness or turn off the auto-adjust function. Pix-Star’s motion sensor works much better and you can manually adjust the brightness through the settings menu.

On the note of settings and customization, the Aura digital frame is severely limited. It has no onboard controls, no touchscreen, and no remote control. There are basic swipe functions for deleting the current photo and sliding manually through pictures. On the other hand, Pix-Star’s frame has both on-frame controls and a remote control unit that magnetically houses on the back of the frame. You can adjust settings like color hue, brightness, and much more.

Pix-Star’s frames offer extensive control over the order photos are displayed. You can choose to play newer photos only (or more frequently than older ones) or play photos from selected playlists. This can also be done remotely through the web interface from anywhere in the world. Both frames let you control the transition time, but Pix-Star’s frames let you choose the transition style and a handful of other settings.

The Pix-Star Snap mobile app is also quite a bit more functional than the Aura digital frame’s app. The Aura digital frames app is meant to let you manage the frame’s content, but in practice, you can’t control the order photos are displayed. Combine this with the Aura digital frame’s clunky web interface and it gets quite difficult to use.

Pix-Star’s web interface is much cleaner and lets you directly control up to 20 frames, change their settings, start slideshows, and more. While the Aura digital frame can be controlled remotely, it’s very slow and limited. In practice, you’ll find it doesn’t work nearly as well as Pix-Star’s remote control function.

Auto-cropping is another issue for the Aura digital frame. All the photos you send to the frame are cropped to match the 4:3 aspect ratio – and it works relatively well. As soon as you try to send a portrait picture to the frame when it’s in landscape orientation, the picture is horribly and cropped and zooms in a lot.

In summary, while the Aura digital frame has arguably the best display on the market at the moment, it’s hard to justify the significantly higher prices given the many issues common to many of their frames. Pix-Star doesn’t offer as wide a product selection as the Aura digital frames, but their narrower focus has led to better overall quality and usability. Pix-Star’s frames are cheaper and more feature-rich. In practice, their functionality and ease of use are hard to beat at this price point.

Can I create custom slideshows on the Aura digital frame?

Aura digital frames don’t give you control over the order photos are shown. There is a smart timing function that automatically adjusts the screen and its content based on the surrounding, but it doesn’t work well in practice. It’s meant to randomize the display order, but this only happens intermittently.

Can I mount an Aura digital frame on the wall?

Aura digital frames don’t come with mounting holes or a VESA setup on the back. Aura digital frames also only balance by their wide and thick frame – they don’t come with a stand. If you want to mount an Aura digital frame on the wall, you’d need to custom design a mount or frame that the Aura digital frame can be secured into.

Can I send photos from Facebook and Instagram to the Aura frame?

Aura digital frames can’t directly be linked to social media accounts and photo-sharing platforms. This web album compatibility is commonly offered on frames like the Pix-Star that you directly sync photos from albums on social media networks, photo-sharing platforms, and online cloud storage platforms like Dropbox.

If you want to add photos from Facebook or Instagram to your Aura digital frame, you need to manually need to download them to your phone’s gallery. Once you’ve saved them, use the compatible mobile app to select the downloaded picture and send them to the Aura digital frame.

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