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Artwork on the walls of your home is never something to be taken lightly. After all, once you’ve invested heavily in a painting, it’s there for keeps right?
What if we told you that each day you could display a brand new painting on your wall and you could do this right from your cell phone?
In today’s best digital art display reviews, we’ll check out a quintet of the most effective and striking frames on the market.
These are the 5 models we’ll double down on:
Once we’ve showcased where each of these excellent digital frames stands and falls, we’ll give you a snapshot of why you should buy one of these displays and what to look out for when you’re doing so.
If you recall the questionable desktop picture frames of a few years back and this puts you off re-entering the market, take the time to check out just how far technology has propelled us since those days in the fairly recent past…
No longer is a digital art display a mere few inches of glass serving as more of a novelty than anything else. These displays truly bring the quality of digital art to the forefront and allow you to customize your living space day in, day out using nothing but your smart phone.
Best Digital Art Display Reviews
We’ll get down to business now with our digital art display reviews…
Back in 2014, Jake Levine led a Kickstarter campaign with the determination to allow the average homeowner to display a roster of high-end art without needing a six-figure salary to satisfy this love of artwork.
The result was the pioneering EO1 digital art display.
The EO1, as the name makes clear, is the first generation model of this innovative display. The rebooted E02 has been around since October 2016 but we decided to focus on the tried and true original which is still going strong and now available at a very keen price point. If you want to keep your eyes peeled for the E02, it’s sadly not currently available here but you can satisfy your desire for a revolving selection of art with the enduring EO1 instead.
Everyone has differing requirements when it comes to home décor so this frame is deliberately flexible. You’ll be able to house your frame on the stand provided or mount it on the wall, whichever works best in your space.
The large 23-inch screen is a far cry from the dinky little desktop frames you might associate with displaying low-res digital artwork. The matte 1080p screen is designed expressly to combat glare and show up your pictures, static or moving, so they pop off the screen and come to life. You’ll get no nasty reflection to spoil the look. If the basic screen is not to your taste, there are a number of hardwood snap-on frames so you can co-ordinate the EO1 with your color scheme.
Packing a Wi-Fi connection, you’ll be able to select any suitable art from online or upload your own with the very minimum of fanfare.
To get things started, download the app for best results. The Electric Objects community provides you with a shower of free artwork that’s a surprisingly strong selection. If your tastes are a little more esoteric, you can opt for the Art Club subscription. Priced in line with Amazon Prime – really a very small monthly investment – you get immediate and wide-ranging access to a broad spread of art. Whether you enjoy modern art or more classic fare, you’ll be able to browse offerings from museums and renowned artists and push your chosen piece to the screen in seconds flat. Video art takes a few minutes depending on the size but it’s still a brisk enough procedure.
Thinking of video, the ability to grab moving artwork, whether in short GIF form or with longer videos, is a wonderful touch. From sea lapping the waves through to soaring birds of prey in flight, imagination is your only limitation. And when you get bored… just snatch yourself another piece of video art. It couldn’t be simpler.
Controlling the display is a cakewalk. You’ll even be able to use your smart phone to switch things up from a distance. Whether you want to tweak the display, swap your art or simply browse for more, the EO1 offers a very user-friendly experience even if you’re not particularly comfortable with tech.
If you’ve ever returned from a trip and tried to view your latest hoard of photos on your TV, you’ll know how easy it is to get sidetracked by your favorite program. By using the EO1, you can just kick back and focus on enjoying your pictures without that endless distraction.
One of the key selling points of the EO1 is absolutely not that it will radically alter your life in terms of usable tech. It won’t. The thing is, the fact that you won’t be assailed by multiple avenues of entertainment like those provided with a laptop or tablet means you can simply enjoy art for art’s sake.
Take a quick glimpse at the leading advantages and couple of minor drawbacks before we serve up our verdict on the EO1 digital art display…
While an initial glance at the price tag might make you wince, the EO1 is actually pretty cheap for a top-tier digital display. This relative value for money is compounded when you consider the revolving array of first class artwork you can enjoy without needing to keep making a ruinously expensive foray to the art gallery.
That said, it’s a smart idea to view these digital displays as a contemporary way to enhance your physical art collection rather than completing replacing it. Much like e-readers and books, there will be always beauty in a physical object impossible to replicate in electronic form. Get the best of both worlds instead of settling for one rigid approach.
If you’re looking for a pioneering solution to displaying your digital artwork in a fitting, distraction-free format, think long and hard about the original and one of the best digital frames up for grabs. Road test the Electric Objects first generation display today and start enjoying fresh, vibrant art to brighten up your day tomorrow.
Meural is a brand you can trust in the digital art display world. Their frames are not cheap but they deliver in fine style.
Off the bat, you can choose from the Winslow design in brown and Leonora in either black or white. The Leonora has the same 27-inch screen as the walnut-framed Winslow but a smaller poplar frame and a resultantly lower price tag. This is the model we would strongly recommend as you can make a significant saving without any compromise in quality.
All the wall-mounting hardware you need is included so you can hang your display up proudly without needing to dig deeper. There are HDMI and micro-USB ports at the rear so you can import your own artwork as well as browsing for suitable material online. This area is recessed and there’s also space for a microSD card and the power cord. The only physical control is an On/Off button.
In terms of control, you can choose from using your cell phone or swiping hand gestures. There are some motion sensors laid into the frame making this method of control intuitive and extremely simple to navigate whether you want to churn through the menu or flick through your art collection. You will need to accustom yourself to the gestures just like with any new device but once you’re up and running things are smooth enough. With the swiping method, you’ll need to stand a foot or so in front of the frame. The significant drawback of this method of control is the lag you’ll experience so be prepared for something rather less brisk than your tablet.
8GB of memory might not seem particularly generous but you should have space for roughly 200 images which is more than fit for purpose. Since resolution is only 2 megapixels, you won’t need to upload bulky files.
The Meural app undeniably works better on iOS. If you’re an Android lover, you’ll really need to use the web portal to extract best results from your canvas. The Android app allows you only to view the installed art and make a few minor adjustments to the canvas. This is a poor effort on the part of Meural and one we can only hope is remedied with future iterations of this digital art display.
If you have an iPad or iPhone, you’ll be far better braced. Search is random, though, so it’s a case of flicking through until you stumble across what you’re looking for. Some semblance of logic here would be appreciated and an overworking of both apps is in order.
Using the web portal is the optimum method of control with everything far better organized.
The choice of artwork is at one and the same time impressive and mildly disappointing. While there’s a whole host of major artists available, there are also some notable omissions so, if you have highly specific tastes, we’d suggest you do your due diligence to avoid being sucker-punched by an absence of your favorite artist.
If you want to upload your own art, things couldn’t be easier. From the gallery, simply hit Send to Canvas and you’re away laughing. Uploading using any of the provided methods is straightforward.
The all-important display itself is crisp and clear although it’s not 4K. Colors are natural while the matte finish lends to a lightbox display with no bothersome reflection spoiling the effect. Off-angle viewing is more than acceptable unless you try to view it from an especially obtuse angle.
The subscription service offers really keen value coming in at half the cost of the EO1. You can choose to pay monthly or as a one-off annual payment then you’ll be free to choose from a slick collection of artwork old and new.
Check out the principal advantages and drawbacks of the Meural Leonora before we serve up our verdict and move on to our next digital art display…
Meural is a household name in the digital art display space and while this canvas is fairly expensive, you’ll get a winning combination of great resolution, attractive looks and ease of use so the overall package is well worth investing in.
While most digital displays are similar enough, it’s the subscription service on the Meural that sets it apart from much of the competition. As long as you don’t object to a modest recurring monthly bill, you’ll be able to devour an ever-changing selection of artwork from the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollack through to Monet, Van Gogh and other heavy-hitters in the art world.
If you can weather the stiff price tag and you don’t mind a sometimes glitch browsing experience, the Meural isn’t perfect but it’s still one of the best digital art displays on the market.
As we reach the midpoint of our digital art display reviews, we’ll hit you with a much more expensive frame the classic Memento M35A001.
The Canadian company Memento has been one of the pioneers in reimagining the rather neglected digital frames that came to market in 2006 before fading into obscurity like damp squibs having never really realized their potential. With this 35-inch behemoth packing 4K resolution, it might be time for you to reconsider what you may previously have written off as worthless technology.
As with all these digital frames, you can mount the Memento on the wall. There’s superb attention to detail with the optional flattened out power cord. This can be painted over, folded and you can even cut it down to size for a really lean look. It’s a bulky unit so you’ll need a little elbow grease and some assistance to rack it up on the wall but from that point forth, it’s all plain sailing…
Running a tweaked version of the Android operating system, initial set-up is a breeze. The frame will create a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can hook up your device. Grab the Memento app on whatever you plan to control your frame with, whether that’s an Android or Apple phone, a PC or your MacBook. The frame then connects to your home Wi-Fi network.
Everything on the display is then controlled in-app. Navigation is rudimentary to master and you’ll be able to enjoy a broad spread of functions without scratching your head or losing your way.
Clearly, these digital art frames all stand or fall largely by the quality of the display itself. With 4K resolution of 3249 x 2160, you’ll get a deep, detailed image with almost no sign of individual pixels. The customary matte finish ensures the lack of reflection leads to image quality not a million miles from that of a print. The screen boasts a 50,000-hour lifespan which translates to about a decade of use assuming it’s powered down overnight.
There’s an inbuilt light sensor so that backlighting on the display is automatically adjusted in line with the ambient lighting. You can input a threshold below which it will turn itself off completely. Brightness, contrast, saturation and color temperature can all be altered using the app if you fancy supercharging the default settings. If you’re not that way inclined, the standard settings lend to a highly natural display mimicking a print without the price tag to match.
Storage space trumps that offered by competing digital frames by some distance. You’ll be able to save an incredible 3000 images on your Memento and you really can’t ask for much more than that. This is a software-controlled limit regardless of the size of individual images.
If you spend a lot of time traveling away from your family and you want to let them instantly share in those special moments you capture on film, the share from anywhere functionality on the Memento allows you to upload your photos so they can be flashed up in an instant which is a wonderful touch.
To clean the Memento, just use a soft, dry cloth from time to time.
Look at an honest snapshot of the pros and cons before deciding whether or not to commit to this first-rate digital art display from Memento…
If you have a more fluid budget and uncompromising tastes, the Memento smart digital photo frame is more than worth the four-figure price tag. Sure, you can get much cheaper alternatives but they don’t offer 4K resolution, the storage is often lacking and they simply don’t look as good.
It’s somewhat unfair to even start comparing the Memento with less expensive digital displays as it’s akin to pitting a Porsche against an old beater. We’ll simply round out by saying that if you have the money to spare, you will seriously struggle to find a better digital art display currently on the market. It really is that good.
Road test the Memento today and we wager you’ll be breaking out your credit card there and then! Furthermore, you won’t be likely to experience purchase regret either and you’ll have an unbeatable art collection you can change like you change your outfits.
While the SSA brand might not be the first name to trip off your tongue, they’ve been in the digital frame game for over a decade now and they bring all that expertise to bear here.
Unlike most digital art displays, you’ll get a great deal more with this widescreen frame than the ability to showcase your artwork. As you’ll see, though, this doesn’t come at the expense of distracting you from the frame’s core purpose.
While the LCD display is slated as HD with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, a few users have called this into question. Bottom line, though, you’ll enjoy pretty clear renditions of all your favorite art. There’s a particularly wide viewing angle, too. Measured from front and center, you’ll be able to see the screen with no degradation through 178 degrees which is impressive.
No wall-mounting kit is supplied although you’ll get a stand thrown in. Considering the size of this screen, it’s easy enough to accommodate even in smaller rooms without resorting to slinging it up on the wall.
Storage comes in the form of a 16GB USB which is provided. This gives you ample space for all your multimedia art. There is also room for a regular SD card.
Thinking of multimedia, it’s certainly not just straight-up photos you can enjoy with the SSA screen. The onboard speakers allow you to listen to music files as you browse your favorite artists for some new eye candy. If you prefer listening through headphones, there’s also a jack.
The SSA will play most common video files, too. This is a real boon for anyone who likes more experimental moving art displays. Whether it’s an mpeg or avi, the SSA picks up video a treat. There’s also an HDMI port which means you can connect your laptop if you want to watch a movie. The alternative, if you don’t have an HDMI cable, is to simply transfer the film to the USB.
Moving comes into its own too in the form of the pioneering motion sensor. This allows you to control things from a distance of 2 ½ meters. As you approach the frame, it will intuitively kick in and display your most recently used photos or videos. When you move away, it switches itself off. This is a great power saver and will also prolong the life of your screen. Like most of these frames, you can expect anywhere up to 50,000 hours of use from the SSA. You also get a remote control as there is no app from which to control this frame.
We are fully accustomed to watching slide shows of our favorite pictures and art on our laptops and tablets but, for some reason, this feature is regularly overlooked with digital art displays. The SSA automatically flashes up a slideshow when you insert your SD card, ideal for walking people through your holiday snaps effortlessly.
You won’t get access to a subscription service for art so you’ll have to make do with finding your own online. Be sure to pay attention to copyright and have fun finding work from all over the world to liven up your living space.
Have a quick look now at a summary of the key advantages and the minor niggles relating to this 21 ½-inch digital art display before we deliver our verdict and move on to our last review…
If you want a multi-purpose display good for more than merely showing off your digital artwork, the SSA widescreen frame makes a wise bet at a highly competitive price point.
Storage is more than sufficient for most needs and you’ll get the bonus of being able to access movie and music files into the bargain. With the HDMI connection, you’ll even be able to hook up your laptop to the SSA when you need to.
All of this comes together in a package which offers a great deal more than most straight digital art displays without veering too far away from its raison d’être. It’s almost impossible to believe it comes in at less than half of the price of many of its close competitors while delivering such wide-ranging functionality.
If you’re on the hunt for a digital art display with a difference that won’t cost you a fortune, this 21 ½-incher from SSA is well worth popping on your shortlist.
Last but by no means least in our digital art display reviews is a tried and true cloud-based frame from Nixplay that’s been a firm favorite with users worldwide since it’s launch in April 2014.
You’ll be able to use a single Nixplay account to manage multiples frames but they will need to be in the same household. If this is the case, you’ll be able to easily share your artwork with members of your family. You can control any given frame remotely using your Nixplay account which gives you a great breadth of scope for helping out your elderly relatives from afar if they also enjoy one of these digital photo frames.
The standard Nixplay account permits you to store up to 10GB of files. If you upgrade this to the Plus account, the storage allotment triples. Decide which one works best for you. That aside, there’s no monthly recurring fee so you need merely invest in a frame – or frames! – and your expenses end there.
You can email photos directly to the frame from anywhere but we strongly recommend using the app.
Whether you have an Android device or you use iOS, the app is extremely user-friendly and highly intuitive. Strangely, the functionality of apps on digital displays is routinely a weak spot and we’re delighted to report that Nixplay has not fallen at this hurdle. Whether it’s fine-tuning your settings, sharing photos and artwork, creating personal playlists or working with your social media accounts, you can take care of everything in-app with the minimum of fanfare.
This digital frame is fully Wi-Fi enabled and will mesh with your home network like a dream.
The 18 ½-inch LED screen, as with all the best digital art displays, is engineered so that glare and reflection don’t mar the effects of your photos and artwork. The Hu Motion sensor forces the screen on as you enter the room and it shuts down of its own accord to cut down on your power bills while also extending the lifespan of your display. Colors come up sharp and deep and you won’t see those menacing pixelated images you might associate with the smaller vintage digital photo frames that earned themselves a bad reputation.
If you live in a smaller apartment and this screen seems slightly large for your requirements, you can opt for a smaller 15-incher at quite a discount. Nixplay also offer a range of much tinier frames but they fall outside the remit of this article where our focus is on meatier and more substantial offerings.
For anyone who wants to venture beyond straight photos, you can also avail yourself of full HD video including audio. This addresses one of the inbuilt difficulties faced by frame manufacturers… Many potential users see the benefit of a distraction-free backdrop on which to view artwork and photos but they are loathe to spend out a significant sum on a device with deliberately limited functionality. Nixplay not only dispel the price objection but also throw in a little extra so you’re getting more bang for your buck than with some of the more purist digital art displays.
Glance now at the principal advantages and couple of minor snags so you can determine whether or not to take the plunge and start enjoying your photos and artwork displayed on high in your living room…
Nixplay have succeeded in pulling off a difficult stunt…
You can enjoy a substantial digital art frame with top-tier functionality and a glare-free LED display for less than you’d spend on some tablets. Although you’ll need to dig a little deeper if you want to mount this display on the wall, overall we really can’t find much to complain about at this price point.
Check out the Nixplay Original today and you won’t be disappointed. Despite this frame specialist boasting a wide array of models, our vote remains with the original and, in our opinion, the best. With no signs of showing its age, the Nixplay is still highly relevant for lovers of digital art on a tighter budget and not prepared to take a hit on quality.
Now you’ve had chance to savor 5 of the best digital art displays on the market regardless of your tastes or budget, it’s time to take a look at why you should think about buying one in the first place.
We’ll walk you through what makes these innovative devices worth considering and what to look out for in the best digital frame.
Best Digital Art Display Buying Guide
We’ll look briefly now at why you should consider picking up one of these digital frames then talk you through what to watch out for when you’re buying one…
Why Choose a Digital Art Frame?
There are a few reasons why you might fancy investing in a digital art display and they are firmly centered on the 3 Cs: convenience, choice and cost.
Change Your Art Like You Change Your Clothes
One of the leading advantages of the best digital art frame is the ability you’ll enjoy to continually swap out the artwork hanging on your walls.
Like the look of that abstract impressionist painting but you’re not sure if it’s more than a whim? No problem. Fire it up and move on to the next one if it starts to grate.
With an almost limitless choice of art at your disposal using one of these displays, imagination is your only limitation.
Get Art That Moves
Static art is all well and good. It’s stood the test of time for a reason.
That said, everything evolves and now you can enjoy moving artwork like GIFs on loop or even movie-style montages to take things to the next level.
Whether it’s a beautifully cascading waterfall or a bird soaring through the sky, there’s no end to the moving artwork you can display when you fancy more than a straight-up canvas.
Price of Artwork
Good artwork is obviously not cheap. It can run from hundreds of dollars at the lower end on through to millions if you have upscale tastes.
The beauty of the material available for display on these frames is that it’s priced extremely keenly. Whether you want to source your own free of charge or pay a modest fee for subscription services, once you’ve invested in your display, building up an extensive art collection certainly won’t be as costly as regular trips to the art gallery and the guilt following purchasing a particularly pricey piece.
Think about this if you have any jitters about lashing out on the frame itself. Look at the lack of ongoing costs and suddenly a digital art display seems more like a smart investment than a rash expense.
Is It Good For The Artists?
This is very much up for debate but no investigation of these digital frames should neglect to mention the potential ill effects for the working artist struggling to make a name for himself.
What we would say is that your stance on this issue will probably be at stark variance according to whether you’re a consumer looking for what’s in your best interests or an artist seeking to maximize income. We’d also add that digital artwork is unlikely to completely replace physical art. It’s a nice alternative offering an unparalleled breadth of choice rather than a flat-out replacement.
So we wouldn’t say that artists need to be worried just yet. If things continue to move in this direction, it’s inevitable that there will be a business model rolled out along the lines of Spotify so artists can end up suitably rewarded in any case.
What To Look For When You’re In The Best Digital Art Display
Think about these key factors to simplify your buying decision:
- Size: Only you know what size display would work best in your home. For this reason, we’ve covered a decent spread of screen sizes so you can compare them and see which would be most appropriate considering the size of your room.
- Resolution: Don’t stint when it comes to resolution since image clarity is crucial. The entire effect of your display will be ruined if you’re presented with a grainy, low-res image in place of the crisp, clear work of art you had in mind. Whether you’re happy to settle for HD or you are prepare to dig a little deeper for 4K, you should have screen resolution uppermost at all times when comparing the best digital art displays
- Aspect: The aspect ratio is the relationship between the height and width of your image. For the most part, digital frames display in a single aspect so make sure you do your due diligence and choose wisely. When the aspect ratio is a mismatch, you’ll end up with cropped or stretched and distorted images, again entirely spoiling the intended effect of digital artwork
- Slideshows: This is very much a matter of personal taste. Some people have no interest in looped artwork while for others, slideshows are a core requirement. Check closely on the frame you have in mind to avoid disappointment
- Subscription Costs: While you’ll be able to upload your own images from a variety of sources, if you want to take out a subscription offering you premium artwork on tap, make sure you are aware of the costs front and center so you’re not faced with an unexpected bill a month down the line
A Final Word
With any luck, you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the world of digital frames and you’ve found at least one display that tempts you to investigate further.
There’s no doubt that these displays come firmly under the category of luxuries rather than essentials but, given the time we all spend at work these days, kitting out our homes as beautiful and aesthetically-pleasing sanctuaries is the very least we owe ourselves. After all, what’s the point of all that hard work is you don’t enjoy the finer things in life?
If you have a little spare cash floating around, consider buying one of these digital displays as an investment rather than a niggling expense. Let the frame itself meld into the background while you enjoy fresh, vibrant artwork on a daily basis.
Treat yourself. You deserve it.