HomeComparisonsUnderstanding the Aura Digital Photo Frame in 5 Minutes

Understanding the Aura Digital Photo Frame in 5 Minutes


Is the Aura digital photo frame worth it?

The Aura digital photo frame is one of the most expensive options in the 10 to 15-inch size range. They’re known for their high-quality displays and aesthetic qualities. Unfortunately, Aura digital frames offer a very limited feature set when compared to competing frames like the Pix-Star.

For example, the Aura Wi-Fi photo frame doesn’t have internal storage, and USB/SD card support, and cannot work without an active and strong Wi-Fi connection. By contrast, competing frames like the Pix-Star offers extensive offline performance – along with a more robust Wi-Fi & cloud-enabled feature set.

For example, with Pix-Star you can import photos directly from a dozen external sources including social media, photo-sharing sites, online storage platforms, and even from your computer. Additionally, Pix-Star supports remote configuration and offers access to a versatile mobile app and web interface.

Aura’s frames do have great displays – an undeniable fact. Their display resolution is high (up to 2K with the Aura Smith) and offers decent color accuracy. The issue here is that you aren’t going to notice much of a difference between a 1080p display and a 720p display when viewing it on a 10-inch display from across the room.

Much of Aura’s “cost” goes into their display – which only offers a noticeable quality boost when viewed right up close. This is rarely how you’ll use the frame in the real world. As a result of their “pricey” display, Aura digital photo frames sacrifice many other features like remote configuration and offline functionality.

We don’t recommend buying a digital photo frame with Wi-Fi that doesn’t work offline. They’re not ideal for families and grandparents. They’re also not a great choice for an individual like photographers that rely on SD cards and USB drives for bulk photo-sharing.

Aura digital frames need to stream all photos live for each slideshow. There’s no internal file explorer, and as such, there’s no way to select the files and folder from which to play slideshows.

Many cheaper – and far more versatile – digital frames such as the Pix-Star are available. You get better value for money, simpler interfaces, a better aspect ratio (4:3), and a frame that more effectively caters to the needs of the modern home and family!

How much do Aura digital photo frames cost?

The exact price you pay for the Aura digital photo frame may vary on the availability, time, and location from which you shop. Aura also sells several different digital frame models, with some of them offering a “Luxe” version.

Aura’s lowest-price digital photo frame is the Aura Carver Luxe. It’s priced at around US$179 on Amazon (not including shipping). This is Aura’s most affordable digital frame. It’s a 10-inch model with a 1920×1200, 16:9 display.

The Aura Mason offers a 9-inch display and a 16:9 aspect ratio. The display resolution is a modest 1600×1200 and starts around US$200. This price ranges up to US$250 depending on the frame’s finish. The graphite grey finish is the most expensive.

The Aura Mason Luxe starts at around US$249. The only difference here is the slightly higher resolution display when compared to the standard Aura Mason digital photo frame. You can choose from a handful of different finishes and colors.

Finally, Aura Smith is Aura’s flagship digital photo frame. It’s by far their most expensive frame – and one of the most expensive on the market by upfront cost. The Aura Smith has a 2K display and a 16:9 aspect ratio. For the Aura Smith digital frame, you can expect to pay around US$399 – though the price can vary upwards depending on the color and material finish you choose.

Many of Aura’s digital photo frames cost more than double what you’d pay for competing frames like the Pix-Star and Dragon Touch. What you get in enhanced display resolution, you lose in terms of features and functionality. We discussed this in more detail above. For example, Aura’s frames don’t work offline, don’t have internal storage space or USB/SD card support, and don’t offer video or audio playback!

Does the Aura digital photo frame require a monthly subscription?

The Aura digital photo frame does not require any monthly or annual subscription or charge any hidden fees. Much like Pix-Star’s frames, Aura doesn’t charge extra to unlock or expand cloud storage, grant online access, or access to the mobile/web app. Aura’s cloud storage is free – in line with Pix-Star’s free-for-life cloud storage.

Wi-Fi digital photo frames with monthly fees include both the Skylight and Nixplay range. Their premium subscriptions are called Skylight Plus and Nixplay Plus, respectively.

We suggest avoiding subscription-based digital frames as they don’t offer enough unique features to justify their long-term cost. That being said, the Aura frame has a significantly higher upfront cost than almost any other 10-inch frame on the market.

We recommend digital frames like the Pix-Star as they have a very competitive upfront cost and don’t charge any recurring fees – yet offer arguably the most robust and versatile feature set on the market!

How many pictures can the Aura digital photo frame hold?

The Aura digital photo frame does not have any internal storage or USB/SD card support. As such, Aura’s frames cannot hold any photos on the frame or for offline use. To view photos, you need to make sure you have an active Wi-Fi connection with a strong signal.

This is one of the most common complaints against Aura Wi-Fi photo frames. They don’t work without Wi-Fi and you have no offline access to your pictures or storage.

With competing for digital photo frames like the Pix-Star, you get 8GB of internal storage. This is enough for around 20,000 to 30,000 photos (assuming an average file size of 300KB per image).

Additionally, Pix-Star offers unlimited USB/SD card support. You can use any size of USB/SD card, insert it into the frame, and play slideshows without having to copy anything to the frame’s internal storage.

Combined, you get access to sufficient internal storage, free-for-life cloud storage, and extensive USB/SD card (giving you access to unlimited external storage space). It’s ideal for families, grandparents, and individuals that share loads of pictures by USB/SD card (such as photographers).

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