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Greg GazinThink of all the pictures you’ve snapped on your smartphone – chances are you haven’t printed one in eons but likely shared them to the dark depths of Instagram and Facebook.

Try having those photos at your fingertips without hovering over your phone or signing up for social media.

It’s not easy without a smart digital photo frame.

Today’s frames are smart – they’re no longer simply passive display mechanisms rotating through a bunch of grainy pictures. Many models from innovative companies like Nixplay and PhotoSpring produce crisp images.

They’re socially aware, fit within our digital ecosystem like cloud platforms, and take advantage of the latest technologies like mobile app connectivity and voice activation. And they’re easy to use.

With Father’s Day and graduation right around the corner, these devices might make good gift choices.

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Frames come in many styles, sizes and resolutions, but typically have several common features. They can be free-standing or wall-mounted and are configurable in landscape or portrait mode. These stand-alone devices typically show pictures and supported videos, and have speakers.

They typically connect via Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, and integrate with cloud storage and social media apps.

Photos and videos don’t need to be added manually. They can be sent to the frame from just about anywhere, using email, a web browser or a dedicated app.

Friends and family can add photos to your frame, and their frames can be connected to yours so photos appear simultaneously.

And you can create albums, playlists and custom slide shows with different timings, transitions and captions, and display date and time.

Two examples, from Nixplay and PhotoSpring, check off many of the feature boxes, with a few key differences.

Nixplay W10E

The Nixplay W10E has a stylish pebbled finish and is designed for someone who likes being fully connected. It features a stunning 9.7-inch high-resolution display with a 4:3 aspect ratio similar to a traditional photo.

There are no onboard ports since the system uses cloud-based storage to secure your original media. You download to your frame, which has internal storage to hold roughly 2,500 photos, depending on photo resolution.

It also works with Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox and Google Photos. For example, you can sync a Google Photo album directly to the frame.

Nixplay sleek pebble finish

The Nixplay W10E shows off a sleek pebble finish

It can be controlled via a supplied handheld remote control, through the Nixplay app or your voice via Google Assistant or Alexa. It also has a built-in motion sensor to turn the frame on and off so you’re not wasting energy when no one’s around.

The power cable doubles as a kickstand.

It’s only 7.83 inches wide, 9.76 inches high and 1.22 inches deep, and weighs 570 grams.

Purchase includes 10GB of cloud storage and 15 seconds per video limit. An optional subscription extends the warranty from one to five years, upgrades cloud storage to 50GB, allows up to one-minute videos and connection with up to 10 frames and more.

The Nixplay W10E retails in Canada for $369.99 and can be found at Nixplay Canada, Best Buy and Amazon.

PhotoSpring 10 Premium

PhotoSpring 10 Premium frame may appeal to people who like things more traditional. It resembles a 10.1-inch tablet mounted within a removeable frame.

It runs on an AC adapter, and has a battery rated at up to four hours.

Rather than a remote, it has touchscreen display.

In addition to speakers, it features a traditional audio-out jack for headphones or external speakers, a USB port to upload or copy images, as well as an SD card slot to move images directly from a camera’s card.

PhotoSpring 10 Premium

The PhotoSpring 10 Premium frame may appeal to people who like things more traditional

It has 16GB of onboard storage. Uploaded videos are limited by file size, up to 1GB or about five minutes of HD video. Length will depend on resolution and bit rate.

Friends and family can send pics, videos and even entire albums simultaneously. Photos can also be synced or backed up to Google Photos.

This model can be used without the frame. With the frame, it’s 13.1 inches wide, 9.9 inches high and 1.6 inches deep.

PhotoSpring 10 Premium comes with a three-year warranty. It retails for US$169 and is available from and Amazon.

Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at  For interview requests, click here.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the authors’ alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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