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Best digital photo frame: Get your best shots on display from just £60

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Digital frames put your photos where people can see them and make a great gift for distant family

Digital photo frames are a great way to display the hundreds of photos you take every year with your camera or smartphone. Let’s face it; most just end up clogging up your storage or sitting in an online gallery that no-one ever visits. You might print the odd one or two and frame them, but the majority are left unseen. With a digital photo frame, you can have your best photos out there on a shelf or mantlepiece, where they get cycled through so that you can enjoy them every day.

What’s more, today’s wi-fi, cloud-enabled frames go one step better. You can send them photos directly from your phone, or even give a frame to someone special in your family and bombard them with your latest snaps!

We’ve picked out our favourite digital frames below and put together a brief explainer to help you decide how much to spend. You might be surprised at how little the best digital photo frames cost.

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Best digital photo frames: At a glance


How to choose the best digital photo frame for you

Choosing a digital photo frame is fairly easy: work out your budget then decide what size you need and whether you’re willing to pay for extra features or Wi-Fi connectivity.

How much do you want to spend? And how big a frame do you want?

The best frames tend to come in a range of sizes, usually starting in the 7in to 8in range and moving up to 10in and beyond, with some models going as big as 18in.

Whether you’re looking for something to place on a shelf or something to hang on the wall, you’ll have a few options. Just be aware that not all frames have a traditional 4:3 aspect ratio, with some smaller frames opting for a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio, which is great for landscape shots but not necessarily so good for portraits.

Will my photos look good on any digital photo frame?

Not all digital photo frames are equally good. While most digital frames now use IPS technology, which give you brighter colours and wider viewing angles than the old, dull TN LCD screens, the quality still varies. Some cheaper models give you brash, over-saturated colours and struggle to deliver natural tones. They can’t cover the full depth of shades and colours that your camera captured when you took the shot. In fact, few photo frames can match the colour accuracy of a high-end laptop screen or tablet, but this shouldn’t be something you can spot at a glance.

As far as resolution goes, you might want to temper expectations. Many have 1,200 x 800 resolution panels, giving you a lower pixel count than your average tablet or smartphone. Even the best tend to stop at 1,920 x 1,080, with only a handful of higher-resolution models out there. This isn’t really a problem – the displays aren’t TV-sized and you’re usually looking at them from a distance – but don’t expect the kind of pin-sharp clarity you might see on even budget phones.

How do you get your photos onto it?

This is the next big differentiator. Some have internal memory, and you transfer photos over a USB connection. Most now have an SD or microSD card slot and read photos directly from the card. Others have a USB port for plugging in a USB memory key.

However, a growing number now have built-in Wi-Fi, connecting to your home network or a cloud-based service, where you work through a web-based interface to upload files. The great thing about this is that you can transfer files from your PC or your smartphone, not to mention popular picture-sharing or social-networking services. You can even send photos to your frame while you’re away on your holidays.

These models are adding social features, enabling you to send photos through to friends or relatives while you’re travelling or just making the most of life.

Is there anything else you should look out for?

Many frames have additional features, including clocks, calendars and video and audio playback. Most recent models also have motion-sensing and other power-saving features, so the frame doesn't use energy when there’s nobody to see it. It’s hard to find a frame without slideshow features, and the more flexible these are the better.

A clear user interface is helpful here, making it easy to get photos on the device, add them to playlists and control how they look.

How much do I need to spend?

Frames start at less than £40, with the larger 15in and cloud-enabled models reaching prices between £150 and £200. Inevitably, you’ll pay for size and extra features, but you can get a great frame for well under £100, as long as you’re prepared to compromise on one of those two.

What about the new smart displays?

Amazon, Google and Lenovo all have smart displays that don’t just display your photos, but also play music, control smart home appliances and answer questions, just like their smart speaker cousins. The fact that you can watch videos, check recipes, get weather updates and, on some, make video calls, makes them a lot more versatile than a digital photo frame.

Amazon’s Echo Show devices can play a photo slideshow from the Amazon Photos cloud photo storage service, while Google’s Nest Hubs do the same with Google Photos (which is where your shots go automatically if you use an Android phone). However, the 7-8in screens of the most affordable models don’t have the impact of a bigger digital frame, and you’ll have to pay more to get a 10in smart display, such as the Echo Show or Google Nest Hub Max.

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The best digital photo frames to buy

1. Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen): The best smart display for photos

Price: £60 | Buy now from John Lewis

Google’s second-generation Nest Hub is an excellent smart display, with a fantastic 7in 1,024 x 600 resolution touchscreen and impressively full and dynamic sound. However, its close integration with Google Photos also makes it a brilliant photo frame for Android users: you can set up slideshows of your favourite albums, or simply ask to see photos from your recent holiday in Yorkshire or your weekend in Torquay, and the Nest Hub will put them on show. The automatic brightness control makes sure your photos are visible in all conditions without looking overly bright, and colours are rich and natural.

You can also use the Nest Hub to watch YouTube videos and play music from Google Music, Apple Music or Spotify, while you still get all the benefits of Google Assistant for answering questions, checking the weather and letting you know what you’ve got scheduled for the day. If you plan to have it by your bedside, you might be annoyed that the much-hyped sleep tracking features involve an ongoing subscription, but this is still a great smart frame. And if you feel the 7in version doesn’t do your photos justice, you can always switch up to the 10in Google Nest Hub Max, albeit at a wallet-whacking £219.

Key specs – Resolution: 1,024 x 600; Screen technology: IPS; Storage: Not specified; Connections: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; Features: Adaptive screen brightness, full-range speaker, Google Assistant, Google Photos, Google Music, YouTube, Spotify, Google Play Movies, smart home camera and thermostat controls; Dimensions: 177 x 69 x 120mm

Buy now from John Lewis


2. Amazon Echo Show 8: The best smart photo frame for Amazon Prime subscribers

Price: £63 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re not already hooked into Google’s ecosystem or use a mix of iOS, Amazon and Android devices, then Amazon’s Echo Show 8 smart display is a solid alternative to the Google Nest Hub. For a start, you get a larger 8in 1,280 x 800 resolution screen. It’s nice and vibrant, if a bit reflective, so you might want to think about where you place the display. You also get pretty decent sound from the dual 2in, 10W speakers, and the Show 8 works with a wide range of apps and services, including Amazon Music and Prime Video, Apple Music, Spotify, Audible and Netflix.

The only catch here is that you have to use Amazon Photos, which means subscribing to Amazon Prime. With Photos you can upload unlimited snaps from all of your devices and invite up to 5 friends or family members to do the same. Once your photos are in place, you can set them to display on your Echo Show 8 as a background or call up slideshows of your albums through Alexa voice commands. Amazon Photos also tags your photos automatically to make them easier to find. Overall, the Google Nest Hub has the edge as an all-round smart display, but if you have an existing Prime subscription, the Show 8 is just that bit more versatile.

Key specs – Resolution: 1,280 x 800; Screen technology: IPS; Storage: Not specified; Connections: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; Features: 2x 10W full-range speaker, Alexa, Amazon Photos, Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Spotify, Audible, Apple Music, works with Alexa-compatible cameras, lighting and heating devices; Dimensions: 200 x 99 x 136mm

3. Nixplay Smart 13.3: The best smart photo frame

Price: £210 | Buy now from Amazon

If you want to give your photos real impact, it’s hard to beat the Nixplay Smart 13.3. The combination of the 13.3in size, 1080p resolution and traditional frame design works brilliantly, making your shots look great up close or across the room. The matte-finish IPS screen doesn’t try to dazzle you with overly vibrant tones and punchy colours, but keeps things looking natural, like a good high-quality print. Viewing angles are wide by photo frame standards, and the built-in sensor switches the frame on when there’s motion in the room, then turns it off again when it’s empty. The frame stands up in portrait or landscape mode on Nixplay’s ingenious stand/cable, or you can mount it directly to the wall with the kit provided.

Meanwhile, Nixplay’s combination of software and services keeps it at the top of the smart frame manufacturers. You can transfer photos wirelessly from your phone to the 10GB of internal storage and create your own playlists, or set up playlists to drag images from Dropbox, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Google Photos using Nixplay’s web-based app. You can also share new shots directly from your smartphone, or even send them straight to Nixplay frames owned by friends and family. Love to show and share your photos in style? This is the frame for you.

Key specs – Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Screen technology: IPS; Storage: 10GB; Connections: 802.11n Wi-Fi, integral USB 3.0 cable; Features: Motion sensor, clock function, magnetic remote control; Dimensions: 344 x 216 x 31mm

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