The Lenovo smart frame is known for its large display – and its larger price tag. These frames as expensive, starting at around $400 depending on where you are buying from. This is quite a contrast with most premium digital photo frames that sit in the $150-$250 range. That being said, almost all of them don’t have a display quite as large as the Lenovo smart frame.
The biggest issue most people have with the Lenovo smart frame is the awkward aspect ratio (16:10). This means you’re getting a very elongated screen that’s quite narrow. It doesn’t match with most photos taken by our smartphones and certainly not any photos from DSLRs and digital cameras.
You should think of the Lenovo smart frame as more of a digital canvas for displaying artwork and other related pictures. If you send photos from your smartphone (usually 4:3 aspect ratio), they’ll almost always be cropped and zoomed in, distorted, or surround by black pillar bars on the sides.
The Lenovo picture frame is also thicker and heavier than almost every other frame on the market. Weighing in at over 10-pounds and with a thickness of over 3-inches, these aren’t small frames. A significant portion of the screen is taken up by the white matte finish, which improves aesthetics, but doesn’t do much to help immersion and the viewing experience.
Another big issue with the Lenovo smart frame is that it only works with Google Photos. This is the cloud storage system used to get photos from your phone and elsewhere onto your Lenovo frame. If you’re an avid Google Photos user, you’ll find this frame extremely useful. If you don’t use Google Photos that often, a lot of what this frame offers goes to waste.
You also have to consider that the user interface and gesture controls aren’t intuitively user-friendly and take some time to get used to – especially for elderly users. These frames also don’t have features like remote control and multi-frame control, making them difficult and expensive for large families with elderly users like grandparents.
Unlike some premium digital photo frames like the Pix-Star, you can’t link the Lenovo smart frame directly to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox, and other social media/photo-sharing sites. While Google Photos does offer you a lot of potentials, it’s surprising not to see more on a frame this expensive.
Finally, the screen’s viewing angle is only 85-degrees and has a brightness of only 250-nits (250 cd/m2). This quite low when you consider that digital photo frames like the Pix-Star have 300-350 cd/m2 of brightness and a broader viewing angle. The matte finish on the Lenovo smart photo frame means you’ll often struggle to get a clear view without color distortion at steeper angles.
In summary, unless you’re an avid Google Photos user, the Lenovo smart digital photo frame probably isn’t the best choice out there. Much of this frame’s utility would go unused and you’d be forced to use the platform in the end – whether you like it or not. It’s also not the greatest frame for families – especially elderly users. If you’re willing to pay the steep price and don’t mind sacrificing several features common to many premium digital photo frames, the Lenovo smart frame might be right for you.
The only way to send photos to the Lenovo smart frame is by loading them onto your Google Photos account. This is because these frames exclusively use the Google Photos cloud system to gather photos from outside sources (including the mobile app), and loads them onto the frame.
If you want to send photos from other social media and photo-sharing platforms, you need to manually download the photos and load them onto your Google Photos account. Alternatively, if the option is available, you can share them to your Google Photos account and sync them to your frame from there.
The Pix-Star frame might have a smaller screen with a lower resolution, but it quickly makes up for though using an extremely versatile 4:3 aspect ratio, adjustable color & brightness settings, and a rich feature set.
You can remotely control and manage up to 25 connected frames from a single user account. You can link your frame directly to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Google Photos & Drive, Dropbox, and many more social media and photo-sharing platforms. These photos are automatically synced and updated whenever you add new photos – and they’re saved to your frame’s internal storage for offline use.
As for offline use, you can load photos via USB/SD card, which is something you can’t do on the Lenovo smart frame. On top of that, the web interface offers an easy way to manage your free-for-life cloud storage and lets you take control of all the frames in the family.
Through multimedia support, multi-frame control, and plenty of features, the Pix-Star frame is one of the best digital photo frames on the market for families and elderly users. Menus are easy to navigate and slideshows can be started with a single button press from the main menu. Pix-Star digital photo frames are designed to be as simple as possible without compromising on functionality and versatility – and it doesn’t hurt that they cost less than half of the Lenovo smart frame’s price.
Lenovo smart frames only work with Google Photos. If you want to view your Facebook photos and photo albums on your Lenovo smart photo frame, you need to manually download them and then load them onto your Google Photo account. You can then sync them from here to your Lenovo digital frame for viewing.
Some minor settings like brightness can be adjusted via the mobile app, and there are some gesture controls available for browsing through photo slideshows. You can’t remotely control the frame as you can with premium digital photo frames like the Pix-Star. No web interface allows full remote control of the frame’s settings and functions from anywhere in the world. You generally need to be in the same room as the Lenovo smart frame to control and manage it (except managing your Google Photos account).