It’s 2023, and digital picture frames are no longer a thing of the past. With the advent of tech, there has been a rise in the number (and type) of digital picture frames. The Aura Carver digital picture frame is one of the new digital photo frames in this genre. It stands out from the rest with its cloud-based photo repository and its impressive photo quality.
But at the end of the day, this digital photo frame is a tad more expensive than its counterparts. So that begets the question — Do the Aura Carver frame’s features line up with real-world expectations? Is it worth its price tag?
Well, that’s what we are going to explore in this Aura Carver digital photo frame review. Since it’s going to be a long post, let’s jump straight in, shall we?
Specs That Matter
|Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Landscape or Portrait||Landscape only|
|Touchscreen||No, has a touchscreen strip at the top|
|App Support||Yes, through the Aura app|
|Family Members Support||Yes|
|Cloud Service Support||Yes, Google Photos|
The Aura Carver Digital Frame is a 10.1-inch pyramid-shaped digital photo frame with thick borders/bezels. I loved the thick borders since it gave the frame a conventional look. The pyramid design enables it to stand on its own, eliminating the need for additional support stands. And thanks to it, I could conveniently position the frame flush against a wall. Here, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t come with wall mounting hooks or clips. As such, it’s strictly a table-mount device.
Like most digital photo frames, it needs continuous power to function. , Aura ships a long power cord, and the added length gives you ample leeway to route the cable to the nearest power source. Moreover, it’s braided, and it doesn’t tangle or fray in the long run. The cable is built well, and over the last year of usage, I have not seen any signs of wear and tear on the cable or the frame. And let us assure you that it has seen its share of relocation and extension/retraction of the cable over the last several months.
One thing that is worth considering is that the borders are grooved or textured. So if you live in a dusty climate, dust and lint will settle on the grooves. As such, you’ll have to undertake the task of cleaning the photo frame with a soft microfiber cloth once in a while.
Owing to the fact that it’s a photo frame, the folks at Aura have chosen to stick to the 16:10 aspect ratio, unlike photo frames like the ones from Aluratek, which have a 4:3 aspect ratio. With the 16:10 aspect ratio, you can enjoy your photos without any loss due to cropping, and they’ll be displayed in their entirety (unless you switch the aspect ratio on your phone).
Other than that, the frame has a no-nonsense design. The Touch Bar at the top means that the photos can’t be switched accidentally. So even if you have a curious toddler at home, you can rest assured that the screen won’t be “tempered”. Interestingly, the Touch Bar is responsive and has a solid build. The latter is a huge add-on, and the user simply needs to swipe on it softly to change the displayed pictures.
And if need be, you can always check the basic details of the photos, check the date & location, or remove photos through a light tap.
Set up and Connection
The Aura Carver has one of the simplest setup processes. Once you connect the photo frame to the power outlet, the companion app walks you through most of the setup process. In my case, I was able to wrap up the setup process in under 15 minutes. And the best part is that I could also pre-configure my mother’s frame before I shipped it off. The latter makes it a superb gift idea for immediate family and friends.
Moving on, the app is intuitive, and most of the options are self-explanatory. You can also add multiple Aura frames in the companion app. In my case, I have added both my and my mother’s frame. So when required, I can send over some photos directly to it. And her app lets her control which photos can be displayed (or removed).
At this point, it’s important to highlight that the Aura Carver also comes with the ability to add family members as well.
Storage Options & Speed
The Aura Carver digital photo frame stands out for the fact that it does not come with any subscription service. Neither does it have any internal storage. All the photos need to be added via the companion app, and the photos are then stored in the cloud. Lastly, the added photos reflect quickly on the frame.
And over the last year, I have not seen the app or the photo frame slowing down. Of course, if you add dozens of photos at once, it does take a little more time than usual to reflect the same. But in general cases, the photos are displayed quickly. The app comes with a Shuffle function, and your new photos and old photos will be mixed and matched. And if you ask me, it is one of the biggest highlights. Unlike typical slideshows, you do not have to make peace with seeing the photos in a particular order.
Moreover, adding photos and pictures to the frame is just like adding photos to the gram. You simply need to select them from your phone’s gallery, and that’s about it. My 70-year-old father loves adding new photos to the frame thanks to its simplicity. The good thing is that it grays out the photos that are already added to avoid duplication.
On the other hand, the software on the frame is sleek and doesn’t slow down with time. As previously stated, I’ve had it for over a year, and there has been no decrease in speed for either the frame or the app.
One of the fascinating features of the Aura Carver digital photo frame is Photo Match. Photo Match is an intelligent photo feature, which matches similar photos with each other and then displays them. Since most of my pictures are in portrait mode (courtesy of the phone camera), I really appreciate this feature. And the best part is that the matches are never the same. This gives you a sense of newness every time you see the pictures.
At the same time, the Aura app is super sleek and intuitive, which makes playing around in the app a walk in the park. Apart from the Photo Match feature, you can change the slideshow timing as per your preference, disable (autoplay) videos, and set the photo background.
The best part is that you can switch off the photo display remotely when needed. As noted earlier, all these settings are easy to get through, and the intuitive nature of the app adds to the charm.
Now let’s address the elephant in the room — Photo Quality. It has a 1280 x 800p resolution and displays sharp pictures with accurate colors. The interesting thing is that the ambient light sensors ensure that the photos appear bright in all light settings. At the same time, the photo display turns off when the lights are switched off.
Furthermore, the app is intelligent enough to crop the photos — where necessary — as per the aspect ratio. At the same time, the display is designed such that it fends off extra reflections from light. As such, even in bright settings, the photos appear sharp and the reflected light does little to steal the magic of the photo.
But at the end of the day, the Carver has an HD display and compared to some of its peers, like the Aura Mason or the Carver Luxe, the resolution is a tad on the lower side. Thankfully, the lack is not seen much in as much in photos compared to photos with text.
Should You Buy the Aura Carver Digital Frame
So should you buy the Aura Carver digital picture frame? The short answer is: Yes, why not?
And if you want a slightly longer answer, I’d say that it has many good things going for it. For one, the app is intuitive, and you do not have to go through the hassles of adding pictures via flash drive or memory cards. More importantly, photos and videos appear sharp and vivid, and there’s no lag or screen freeze which justifies the asking price.
What We Like
What We Don’t Like
That said, it’s not without its limitations. For one, the landscape-only mode is a little limiting, since portrait photos are divided into half. Plus, it needs a Wi-Fi connection to work.