What to look for in a Wi-Fi digital photo frame?
Finding the right Wi-Fi digital photo frame can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. As already implied by the name, Wi-Fi is arguably the most essential feature on any modern digital frame. It lets you send & receive photos from anywhere in the world, connect with other frames you own, and link to external sources like social media to import photos.
Make sure the Wi-Fi digital photo frame you’re looking at support photo-mail and a mobile app. For example, Pix-Star’s frames can receive photos by email (as attachments) or from your phone via the Pix-Star Snap mobile app. These both use Wi-Fi.
On a similar note, ensure the frame doesn’t rely on a constant connection to the company’s cloud servers. Aura digital frames need to be connected to Aura’s servers at all times. There is no internal storage and no USB/SD card support. Photos are synced from the cloud when you want to view slideshows. Without this active connection, the Aura frame cannot function. If the cloud servers go offline or the company goes out of business, you’re left with a digital frame that doesn’t work.
Pix-Star’s frames receive photos via Wi-Fi (through the frame’s unique email address. They’re saved both internally for offline access, and to the cloud. You can access, view, and manage your photos while offline, or remotely through the web interface. This grants extensive offline functionality and doesn’t leave you nearly as vulnerable.
Free-for-life cloud storage is an essential feature. Your photos and other media must automatically back up to the cloud as they’re received on the frame. This cloud storage should be remotely manageable (often through a web interface) no matter where you are. Setting up this cloud storage should be simple and quick.
Avoid Wi-Fi digital photo frames that charge monthly fees. They’re notorious for making this fact not-so-obvious when reading through the product descriptions. Many users complain that they were shocked when they ran into the paywall. For example, Nixplay and Skylight frames charge a monthly fee to unlock features like cloud storage, video & audio support, the use of the mobile app/web interface, granting remote access, and more.
The issue with these subscription-based digital frames is that they don’t offer anything unique. For reference, Pix-Star’s frames offer free-for-life cloud storage, improved video and audio support, remote access and configuration support, the ability to import photos from social media and photo-sharing sites, a mobile app & web interface, and much more!
Pix-Star doesn’t charge any monthly fees and has a very similar base price as both Nixplay and Skylight frame – just without the massive paywall. Without paying for their subscription packages, Nixplay and Skylight frames are barely more functional than most mid-range digital frames – yet they’re a whole lot more expensive! Avoid these types of Wi-Fi digital frames if possible.
Is the Pix-Star the best Wi-Fi digital photo frame?
The Pix-Star Wi-Fi digital photo frame is one of the best value for money frames on the market. Pix-Star is known for its robust feature set, versatility, and for being of the only premium frames that cater to both families and elderly users. There are no hidden costs or monthly fees. Setup is quick and simple. They’re great Wi-Fi frames for the modern home & family.
With features like free-for-life cloud storage, web album support, remote configuration, video & audio, and a great mobile app & web interface, Pix-Star has set itself as the frame to beat. Import photos directly from a dozen external sources like social media to your frame. Use the web dashboard to remotely start slideshows, manage storage, adjust settings, update firmware, and much more.
Pix-Star’s Wi-Fi digital frames are easy to interconnect. Create and manage all of your frames in multi-frame control groups with up to 25 Pix-Star frames. Use the mobile app to send up to 250 photos to all of your Wi-Fi frames at the same time. Set all incoming photos to display in the currently playing slideshow, ensuring none of your loved ones miss an important moment.
Pix-Star’s web album is particularly great for families. Link all of your frames to photo albums on a dozen external sources. These sources include Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Google Photos, Google Drive, and even your computer. Simply load the photos to the linked album and Pix-Star will send them to all linked frames. It’s a fantastic way to automate photo-sharing for whole families. Your grandparents can receive and view all of the latest photos without needing to lift a finger.
Pix-Star’s slideshows are incredibly versatile and customizable. Set the play order and frequency (which is also possible remotely) of photos in slideshows. Include videos and set them to play muted (or not) by default. Play audio files from a connected USB/SD card over slideshows. Start slideshows directly from an inserted USB/SD card without having to copy anything to the frame’s internal storage first.
The display’s 4:3 aspect ratio is perfect for most photos taken on modern smartphones (which are mostly captured in 4:3). They display using the full screen, don’t require cropping/distortion, and boost immersion. Create unique collages with up to 5 photos at once. Easily set slideshows to include newer photos more frequently or to ignore older or smaller photos.
When you consider that Pix-Star’s Wi-Fi frames are more affordable than almost all other premium frames, it’s easy to see their value. These Wi-Fi frames can mount on the wall or rest on flat surfaces (in either orientation). They’re available as a 10-inch Wi-Fi frame, or a larger 15-inch Wi-Fi photo frame! Pix-Star’s frames can last for years when treated well, bringing you closer to your loved ones, and reliving your most treasured memories together!
Do Wi-Fi digital photo frames run on a battery?
It’s rare to find a popular Wi-Fi digital photo frame that’s battery-powered. Most of these batteries run frames are found in the cheap to mid-range of the market. Their main issue is poor battery life (2 to 5-hours) and even worse longevity. After a year, the battery will likely only have a fraction of its original capacity. This is due to the need for frequent recharging and the high demands of Wi-Fi and cloud functionality.
Few Wi-Fi and cloud digital frames use batteries. They simply don’t have the power to keep all the background processes running throughout the day. It’s for this reason – and one of durability – that premium frames like the Pix-Star choose not to use batteries.
The only advantage of using a battery-operated digital photo frame is one of mobility. Unfortunately, much of this benefit is lost to poor battery performance, limited feature sets, and small, low-resolution displays. Battery-run Wi-Fi digital frames are plagued by poor reviews and ratings on platforms like Amazon.
Most of these hint at poor build quality (as they’re usually budget frames) and very limited feature sets (no Wi-Fi, cloud storage, mobile app, etc.). We recommend avoiding these frames as the sacrifices made aren’t worth slightly improved mobility.
Should I buy a touchscreen Wi-Fi digital photo frame?
We don’t recommend buying a touchscreen Wi-Fi digital photo frame. While this may seem like an unintuitive suggestion, there are a lot of negatives to consider. Most touchscreen Wi-Fi frames are found in the cheap to mid-range of the market. Both of these market segments are known to have issues with the build quality, long-term durability, and poor feature sets – especially when compared to premium frames (which often don’t cost much more than most mid-range Wi-Fi frames).
Touchscreen panels larger than 7-inches (16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio) are significantly more expensive. Features like Wi-Fi, cloud storage, and access to mobile apps/web interfaces are often sacrificed to make room for the touchscreen – and to keep the frame’s price competitive.
Very few of the best Wi-Fi digital photo frames use touchscreens. They’re very prone to scratching and often use glossy displays. This makes the screen hard to see in well-lit rooms and from any angle. The oil and dirt from your fingers will be very noticeable and need to be wiped away after each use.
Some of the best Wi-Fi digital photo frames like the Pix-Star use handheld remote controllers to navigate the frame. you don’t need to stand right in front of the frame (better for elderly users) and can make changes from your sofa. Pix-Star also has a remote configuration feature that’s managed via the web dashboard. Here you can adjust your frames’ settings, start & control slideshows, manage local & cloud storage, and much more – from anywhere in the world. All this makes the touchscreen Wi-Fi frame rather redundant for the modern home & family!
Do Wi-Fi digital photo frames have monthly fees?
A couple of popular Wi-Fi digital photo frames charge monthly fees. These subscription packages are used to unlock features like cloud storage, access to the mobile app/web interface, video & audio, custom playlists, remote configuration, etc.
Top examples of subscription-based Wi-Fi photo frames include the Skylight frame and Nixplay’s photo frames. There’s a growing negative sentiment towards Wi-Fi digital frames with monthly fees. It’s particularly noticeable on platforms like Amazon. Many people are left after a couple of weeks/months when they run into the paywall they didn’t know existed.
Without paying for the monthly fees, both Skylight and Nixplay’s frames are barely more functional than your average mid-range Wi-Fi frame. They don’t work offline, can’t play video, don’t offer cloud storage, can’t use the mobile app, and have an extremely limited feature set.
The main issue with these frames is that their subscriptions don’t offer anything unique. You get all of the same features – and better – from similarly priced Wi-Fi photo frames like the Pix-Star.
Pix-Star offers free-for-life cloud storage, access to both a mobile app and web interface, internal storage & USB/SD card support, web albums, remote configuration, and much more – without charging a cent extra! Over their lifespan, Pix-Star’s frames are significantly cheaper, yet they offer loads more features and functionality. They’re a much better value for money choice than any subscription-based Wi-Fi digital photo frame!