I’ve had several digital picture frames over the years. I’ve never written about any of them because they all sucked. The make-or-break feature for a digital picture frame is how easy it is to get new pictures onto it, and they all failed that important test. There are many great things about the Nixplay Iris WiFi picture frame that the company sent me to review, but the best feature is how easy it is to control what shows up in the frame.
When I took the Nixplay Iris Cloud Frame out of its box the first thing that struck me was how light and thin it was. It’s available in three colors (I was sent the silver; the other two are peach copper and burnished bronze), and has a very sleek look.
You can set it up in either portrait or landscape mode. Either way, you use the first few inches of the power cord on the back to stand it up by bending it, and it stays in place.Looking for a great gift? This is the best digital picture frame I've ever used. Click To Tweet
Once you plug the Nixplay frame in you’re brought to a welcome screen that walks you through using the remote and connecting to WiFi. The setup process is very simple and quick. The only part that took a few minutes was downloading an update, which the frame did automatically. Once that was done the screen showed me a serial number for my frame. I took a picture of it and headed for my laptop.
Albums and Playlists
I went to Nixplay.com and created an account, then I connected my frame to my account using the serial number. I uploaded a few pictures to an album. There are two main components of your online account: albums and playlists. Once you upload pictures to an album they’re only in your online account, not on your frame yet. There’s one more easy step to get them onto your frame: dragging them to a playlist.
This is a really smart way to organize your Nixplay frame (or frames – you can connect up to five frames to the free Nixplay plan, with 10 free gigabytes of cloud storage), because you can have different playlists for different seasons, holidays, or even moods, and a picture can be in multiple playlists. Want to butter somebody up? Put on their special playlist when they come over!
If you’re away from home you can add pictures to your playlists and keep your family up-to-date on what you’re seeing and doing. If you’re on vacation you can add pictures to your frame from anywhere in the world.
If you try to add images to a playlist that are already there, you’ll be given a choice to either add the duplicates or skip them. This saves a lot of time because let’s say you added some more pictures to your Christmas 2016 album, and now you want to add them to your Christmas playlist, but you can’t remember which ones you’ve already added. You can just select all of them and then instruct the Nixplay to ignore the duplicates! Genius.
You can also add captions (up to 160 characters) to each photo, and then decide whether or not to display them in each playlist.
On The Frame
Once I added a few pictures to a playlist I went upstairs to the frame and there they were! You can control things like how long each pictures stays on the frame before transitioning to the next one, which transition style is used, if there’s any panning and zooming, or if the pictures fill the entire frame no matter what their aspect ratios.
The frame’s ratio is 4:3, so for example you can set it so that a tall, narrow picture either fills up the entire screen—with the top and bottom cut off—or there are black bars on either side. Your choice. Or if you really want to get fancy, you can crop every image to a 4:3 ratio before you upload it, but who has time for that?
The pictures (which must be in JPEG, JPG, or PNG format) display in HD at 1024×768 pixels.
So far you can’t upload videos to the frame, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that feature comes along in a future update, since the frame does have a speaker.
There are lots of other features that you can control, like whether you want the time to show in the corner, if you want the frame to turn off when everything is quiet, or if you want the frame to automatically adjust its brightness to the conditions in the room. You can even decide to show recent images instead of a playlist. You can access these settings from the frame itself, from the website, or from the Nixplay app.
The Nixplay App is available for Android and iOS. While you have to have a frame in order to use an online Nixplay account, anyone can download the app. The app can also be used as a remote control for your frame.
You can use the app to instantly add images from your phone to your playlists. Just be aware that you’ll have to refresh the web page in order to see them.
You can add people to your account as friends and they can share images with you, either through the app, through the online account (if they have one), or via email (your account’s email address can be found in the Account tab). This is an amazing feature that allows you to get pictures from family and friends and display them (or not).
You can decide for each friend whether you want the images they share with you to go directly to a playlist or not. I made my son a “friend” so that he could email a picture to me and test it out, and he sent me a meme. To display in a picture frame. That’s why his images don’t automatically go to a playlist!
If you gave your parents or grandparents a Nixplay frame, you could add pictures to it as a friend, or take complete control over it and put it on your account as one of your frames.
You can connect your social accounts, like Facebook and Instagram, to the website, and add images from those accounts directly to your Nixplay frame. You can also connect with sites like Dropbox, Flickr, and Google Photos.
Once you buy a Nixplay frame you don’t ever have to spend another penny on it. The 10GB free storage allowance is very generous. But if you want to put more than five frames onto your account or you’ve used up all of your storage, you can upgrade to the Premium plan for $1.99 per month (or $19.90 if billed yearly). You’ll get to add twice as many frames and get triple the cloud storage compared to the free plan.
And if you need more than 30GB of storage? You can add more on a monthly basis.
Based on all this Nixplay frame does, how easy it is to setup and use, and how great it looks, I would totally spend my own money on it. It would make an excellent gift, whether you’re giving it to someone else to use or putting it on your account and surprising someone with new pictures every day. I wish I could come up with something I didn’t like about the frame, but I’m just in love with it!
The Nixplay Iris Frame would make an excellent gift. Parents and grandparents would love seeing new pictures of their families without having to do anything. A homesick college student with this frame could wake up to new pictures from home every morning. Close friends could share pictures instantly to their friends’ frames and keep each other up to date.