Top Large Digital Frames For Art And Photo In 2019
Review of Meural, SSA, Memento, EO1, Canvia, Nimbus, Depict
Turn your home into a digital art gallery with these HD or 4K resolution screens. These come in sizes up to 50-inches, and can use hand-gestures to control the display. Use a free art subscription app to download hundreds of new and classic artworks, or get thousands of choices with a paid services. Of course, you can show off your digital works and photos as well. We review the best digital frames including EO1, Meural, Memento, Canvia, Depict, Nixplay and more.
If you are an art-loving museum-goer, one thing you’ll enjoy about these frames is that you can get as close as you want. No velvet ropes to keep you from getting right up to the masters. And even better, there are no crowds blocking your view. If you’ve ever been to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, you’ll appreciate both of these advantages.
Another thing people notice about digital art frames is the lighting. With actual art pieces, it’s often necessary to limit the amount of light so that the paint and canvas don’t deteriorate over time. With a digital image, you can view these in the brightness of your home, and see all the details.
Yes, it’s not the same as being with an original art piece. But it’s so much better then seeing them in books, or as reproduction you hang on the wall.
For photographers, this is simply the best way to show off your images. Stunning!
The big question when considering buying a large format digital art frame is if it is worth the price. If you have purchased art (or even used your own photos) and had it framed, you understand how expensive that can be. So think that a digital frame is about the same price as one to three pieces of framed art, and consider you have an unlimited number of artworks now at your fingertips.
Top Pick – Meural Canvas
The Meural Canvas , about $600, is available with 3 choices of frame – Leonora Black , Lenora White and Winslow Brown. The Winslow is made from walnut wood with a $100 price premium over the standard Lenora frames made from poplar wood. Meural asserts that each frame is crafted from FSC-certified, sustainably sourced American hardwood.
A digital canvas is really only as good as the images and art that you have to display. With Meural, it’s subscription service really sets it apart from many of the other frames on the market.
Meural Membership ($49.95 annual or $5.95 monthly) is sold separately from the frame, and gives you access to 40K+ works which they value at over $3B for the originals (wow!).
Here is just a small sample of the artist you can choose from:
- Claude Monet
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
- Vincent Van Gogh
- Keith Haring
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Ansel Adams
- John James Audubon
- Georgia O’Keeffe
- Clarice Beckett
- Edward Hopper
If you aren’t interested in the subscription, the Meural comes with a free sampler of 100 art works.
Meural is continuously bringing on artists, both established and new. We like they are helping to support artists at each stage of their career. In addition to giving artists a platform, they also pay them 60% of the earnings that Meural collects from art sales and the subscription service.
Below is a quick overview and installation video:
The Meural Digital Canvas uses their proprietary “TrueArt” technology to renders image lifelike and textured no matter your viewing angle. The 1080p (full-HD, 1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution, 16:9 ratio display has a glare-free finish, so you can always see your art.
We like the screen size. At 27-inches (diagonal) it’s big enough to display art and photos, but not so large as to dominate the room. For anyone comparing tech, the screen has a 300 cd/m2 brightness.
You can display most common file types – JPEG PNG GIF for photos / images, and MPEG4 for videos.There is no support for 3D images, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue.
One possible drawback for some users is there are no speakers or audio outputs, so you won’t have sound with any of your videos.
One great feature is that you can easily rotate the screen right on the wall to show in either portrait or landscape mode. The frame automatically detects the orientation and keeps the images correctly positioned. The subscription library also selects images that suit the frame orientation.
We also like there is an auto-dimming feature, since screens can get quite bright in the evening. This also helps to integrate with your space / room and how you like the lighting.
The Meural app (iOS or Android) makes it simple to do on-the-fly editing for the frame, while leaving your original image files unchanged. You can upload, crop and filter your own photos to how you want them displayed. The frame has built-in Bluetooth to connect to your smart device for all controls and settings.
Another fun feature is the hand wave recognition built into the frame. You can browse by waving (“swiping”) you hand left or right in front of the frame to select a new image, or return to a previous one. With an upward hand motion, you can get information and details about the art currently displayed; A downward motion clears the information.
Additionally, the frame has a microphone for voice commands with Alexa integration (you’ll need a separate Alexa / Echo device – starting around $25).
The frame updates through your Wi-Fi connection (either 2.5GHz or 5GHz band) to download new images from the Meural services to an internal 8GB memory. Alternatively, there is a micro-SD card into the rear of the frame where you can physically load your images.
Considering you can get a 400GB card for about $60 ( Review of 400GB MicroSD cards ), this is an easy way to store your most favored images for display. Similar to music, you can create “playlists” of images to rotate through.
The Meural is similar in size / weight to a flat-panel TV – 19.2 x 1.6 x 29.5 inches / 20 pounds.
It comes with an installation kit for hanging (see the video above for info).
Use our Amazon link for more information, or to order – Meural Canvas , about $600.
Alternative – SSA
The SSA Digital Photo Frame , about $370, is a Widescreen-format, 21.5-inch diagonal display. Resolution is full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) 1080p.
We think of the SSA as a “photo frame” rather than a true “art frame” since you’ll have to supply all of your own images / content to view. Unlike the Meural Canvas, the SSA does not offer a subscription service for art and images.
The mounting holes on the rear of the display are standard wall-mount VESA, the same as you’ll find on a flat panel TV.
We were a little disappointed that there is no included wall-mounting kit, but understand that many people would be using the included stand.
The screen display is good, but not spectacular. It’s similar to other digital photo frames we’ve encountered (see Best Digital Photo Frames Under $50) with a glossy-finish and does offer a good 178-degree viewing angle. The 16:9 aspect ratio is good from most pictures, but not as great for art pieces.
There is a standard SD memory card slot, as well as a USB port. We do like that SSA provides a 32GB USB stick for loading up photos. It’s worth noting that 32GB is maximum supported memory size for either the SD card or the USB stick. The SD cards can be bought for about $20.
(Related – Best SD Memory Cards )
The device supports all of the standard image and motion files, and it has small speakers for playing sound with your files. Or you can use it as a music player.
The SSA is controlled with a remote or using the touch screen. There is no app to go with it. However, there is a motion sensor, so it will know to wake up when someone is in the room and also power down when no one is around.
It’s worth mentioning again that the SSA is really a picture frame, where you provide everything you want to show on either the USB Stick or SD memory card. There is no Wi-Fi access to download content, nor can you store / access anything from a cloud server.
For a true digital “art frame”, the Meural Canvas is our best recommendation. The SSA at around $370 is nearly half the price of the Meural, but it’s also 21.5 inches versus 27 inches, and lacks many of the features that make the Meural more expensive.
More information or ordering, use our Amazon link to SSA Digital Photo Frame .
Other Frames – Coming, Going, Gone
Coming Soon – Canvia
Just finishing up their successful Kickstarter campaign, the Canvia from Palacio is available for pre-order for about $330 (regular price expected to be around $550).
The display is a full-HD, 23-inch diagonal in a 32-inch diagonal matte frame. As the frames are not yet available for the public, we’ll let the developers describe their product:
“Canvia offers lovers of art and design an authentic and harmonious viewing experience with an unprecedented level of freedom to change and explore. Controlled via an intuitive app, web account or voice-enabled devices such as Amazon Alexa, Canvia makes it easy to find art to suit changing tastes, keep you inspired and enliven your surroundings.
Canvia is linked to a huge online library that includes artworks from all genres, eras, cultures and media (including photography), offering choices to suit any mood, occasion, context and décor.
We’ll be offering two subscription tiers for Canvia: a ‘free’ tier that currently has over 3,000 works (and is growing everyday), from Old Masters to Modern and Contemporary art, and a paid-for ‘premium’ tier of famous and upcoming current artists, illustrators and photographers.”
The Premium tier subscription will cost about $90 annually, with discounts expected for multi-year and life-time payments.
We’ll revisit the Canvia when it becomes more widely available.
Going – EO1 Digital Art Display (1st Generation)
The first generation EO1 Digital Art Display, about $525, is a good value for the cost of the hardware and the art images.
However, in June 2017, EO (“Electric Objects”) was sold last year to GIPHY and they have stopped making any new digital frames. Amazon had about 20 of the EO1 in stock as of this article update, and we don’t anticipate Amazon having more once those are gone.
You can read more about the transition in their press release FAQ.
It’s likely there won’t be any continued support for the hardware or the app; We would also expect that the “Art Club” subscription service may also go away at some point, leaving you with just your own images for display.
We do like this compact 23-inch, 1080p display. The matte finish is anti-glare, and the display is crisp.
We can’t recommend what is most likely a $500+ gamble on this device still working in a year or two. We’d advise staying away from the EO1 and EO2, and taking a good look at the Meural Canvas , about $600.
Gone? – Memento 4K Smart Digital Photo Frame
The Memento Digital Frame comes in a 25-inch and 35-inch version, both offering full 4K (3249 x 2160) resolution. Prices are about $700 and $1,000.
This was designed by a Canadian company, and launched as a Kickstarter campaign. Customers seemed to really like the frame and all of its features.
The display is one of the largest available, with the highest resolution for digital art and photo. It was rated for 50,000 of use, which is about 10 years of daily images for typical viewing.
With 5 different frame types and a paintable, flat power cord, these impressive features made this the top of the line for digital frames. And at a relatively reasonable price.
Unfortunately, in the past year it seems that the company has gone silent. Checking their website for any frame in either size comes up as “unavailable”. Similarly, the Memento frames no longer show up for Amazon searches, nor for any of the other on-line retailers.
So even if you can find a digital frame from Memento, we can’t recommend buying one. We’ll point you again to the Meural Canvas , about $600, since it’s actually available and supported.
Others -Status Unknown
Nimbus, developed in Colorado by Tim Lemmons, comes in a 17″ x 29″ ($549) or 22″ x 38″ ($649). The “Unlimited Subscription” includes more than 900,000 pieces of art with at least 5,000 traditional “masters”. It also has about 7,000 motion art / videos. The pricing is $5.99 monthly, $59 annually or $260 for lifetime.
Depict , around $900, offers a 50-inch 4K-UHD display with capability to display art from the Depict Collection, or your own photos and images. It’s controlled from your iOS device. While this was the largest digital art frame available, and was well received by customers, it looks like they may be closing up as of June 2019. Amazon is showing it as “Unavailable”, and it’s no longer on other on-line sites.
To get a great display and a full library of art to choose from, we really have only one recommendation – the Meural Canvas , about $600. At 27-diagonal inches, it’s a good size for viewing both works of art and your own digital photo collection. The library subscription prices are reasonable for the quality you are getting, and it also benefits the art creators.
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