Are Smartparts digital picture frames better than Pix-Star’s frames?
Smartparts digital picture frames are aimed at the budget, low-end of the market. By contrast, Pix-Star’s frames are some of the most versatile and premium digital frames available at the moment. These two frames aren’t on the same playing field – but it’s still a worthwhile comparison to make.
The first crossroad you’ll come across when looking for a digital frame is whether to buy a premium or budget frame. We almost always recommend a premium frame as they’re so much more versatile and have features that cater to families more effortlessly.
Pix-Star’s frames have a 1024×768 display; whereas Smartparts digital picture frames only have an 800×600 display. Photos on the Pix-Star’s 4:3 aspect ratio display are going to be clearer, more immersive, and suffer less from cropping and distortion. 4:3 displays naturally match most of the photos we take on smartphones and cameras, but 16:9 displays suffer from several issues.
Pix-Star’s frames offer much more versatility when you look at slideshows and sending pictures. Slideshows can be customized to let you include selected sources. Additionally, you can control the play order & frequency of the photos in slideshows. You can set the frame to include recently added photos more frequently, ignore small photos, and even only show new photos. Smartparts frames have only a fraction of the personalization that Pix-Star’s frames do.
The true difference is seen when you consider Pix-Star’s free-for-life cloud storage. All of your photos are automatically backed up to the cloud. You can manage the cloud storage for all of your frames via the web dashboard. Here you can manage & control up to 25 connected Pix-Star frames from a single account. You can change their settings, start slideshows, adjust slideshow settings, manage local & cloud storage, and much more.
Pix-Star’s frames come with a mobile app called the Pix-Star Snap. This app lets you send pictures to the frame from anywhere in the world. You can send up to 250 photos to several frames at the same time. Additionally, the app lets you send videos and audio messages to any Pix-Star frame as long as you have its unique email address.
Smartparts digital frames only have 128MB of internal storage; whereas Pix-Star’s frames have 8GB plus cloud storage. Both frames can use USB/SD cards to view slideshows from or to virtually expand the frame’s storage space. Pix-Star then also has free cloud storage added into the mix.
Pix-Star’s frames are the more capable and versatile choice. They’re better suited to 2021 and beyond. While Smartparts frames aren’t bad for their price, that whole section of the market is rather outdated and not the best choice for families and elderly users. It’s worth saving up a little longer and getting a premium frame like the Pix-Star.
How to send photos to Smartparts digital picture frames?
Since Smartparts digital frames don’t have a mobile app or web dashboard, the only way to send and view photos on the frame is by USB/SD card. The photos loaded need to match the frame’s aspect ratio and resolution to avoid issues with cropping, distortion, and being boxed in. You can use both USB/SD cards (avoid card or drives larger than 32GB) to add photos, videos, and audio files to the frame. Make sure the added media is in a compatible format to avoid any viewing issues.
The OptiPix software lets you send photos to the frame via USB. This software is meant to optimize photos for displaying on the frame by adjusting their orientation, size, format, etc. In practice, this software is a little buggy and doesn’t always get it right. You’re probably better off getting a frame that naturally matches the aspect ratio of the photos sent from smartphones and cameras. Learn how to send photos from your phone to a digital frame here!
How to use Smartparts digital picture frames?
Plug the Smartparts digital frame into the power outlet using the power adapter. Manually turn on the frame (note that this can take few tries) and wait for the frame to start up. Many Smartparts digital frames have been reported to be dead on arrival. Make sure to keep the original packaging and accessories in case you need to send the frame back or have it replaced.
Load the photos you want to view on the frame onto a USB/SD card – make sure they’re in one of the supported file formats. Insert the USB/SD card into the frame’s relevant port and wait for it to register the card/drive. Now you can start slideshows on the photos on the USB/SD card. Note that in many cases, you’ll need to copy the files across to the frame’s 128MB internal storage before they can be viewed in slideshows.
Can Smartparts digital picture frames play videos?
Smartparts digital picture frames can play both videos and audio files. These files can be sent to the frame by USB/SD card, though you need to ensure they’re in a compatible format – or they won’t be read or accepted by the frame.
Note that the display only has an 800×600 panel and videos won’t appear very sharp. Make sure to manually resize and scale down the resolution of the videos to match those of the frame. If you don’t, the frame might automatically zoom in or crop the video – or box it in with black pillar bars (depending on the photo-viewing settings you choose).
Audio files can be played through the frame’s internal speakers. The volume isn’t very high and won’t be able to fill a room – but it’s a nice feature to have along with video playback. Note that videos can’t be included in slideshows and that you can’t play audio files over slideshows. There’s also no way to connect the frame to external speakers for headphones like you can with the Pix-Star.
Do Smartparts digital picture frames come with a mobile app?
Smartparts digital picture frames don’t come with a mobile app. It’s very uncommon to find cheap or budget frames with a mobile app – so it comes as no surprise here. The OptiPix software lets you send photos from your computer to your frame, but this still needs to be done via a USB cable and isn’t comparable with what a mobile app can do.