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In the post, I promise to give you a “full-picture” comparison of the Aura Carver vs Nixplay vs Skylight digital frames—just in time for the holidays.
Don’t want the details? Here is a quick summary of the main differences:
The Aura Carver has the highest resolution at 1920×1200 vs 1280×800 for the other two. Nixplay has the most features including a touchscreen, a motion sensor, music/video players, Alexa support, and both landscape and portrait orientation. The Skylight is slightly larger and has USB-A, 3.5mm audio, an SD card reader, and USB Mini-B slots.
A Thousand Words
We’ve all heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
When it comes to digital frames, this couldn’t be truer. The rising popularity of these frames is certainly given digital frame makers something to smile about.
According to the Global Digital Photo Frame market research report published last year, the market is expected to reach 6 million US$ by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of -20.2% (source: SSN News and 360ResearchReports.com).
The question is which frame has the ideal set of options to hold your beloved memories?
The three best options in the market today are Aura Carver, Nixplay, and Skylight.
I say this with confidence after spending the better part of the past week scouring through hundreds of reviews from at least a dozen frame manufacturers. The result is this review and comparison of Aura Carver vs Nixplay vs Skylight where I break down each digital photo frame below. My goal is to help you decide which one best fits your needs.
By the way, if you want to see even more options, read until the end for a link to a post I wrote that features 18 more digital frames.
Let’s start with a side-by-side comparison table of key technical specifications.
Tech Specifications: Aura Carver Vs Nixplay Vs Skylight
The following table illustrates key technical specifications between the three products.
Note: The price displayed in the table is pulled in nightly via direct integration with Amazon’s API. For the up-to-the-minute price, click the See It At Amazon button.
Last update on 25/04/2022 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Aura Smart Frame has a nice overview video of the product out on their YouTube channel:
The Nixplay is probably the best feature-packed digital photo frame out there. It has a brilliant screen, supports portraits, and is wall-mountable. It also supports playing music, video playback and comes with all the essential features like cloud connectivity, motion-sensing, Amazon Alexa support, and more.
9To5Toys has a great video review of the Nixplay out on YouTube. I’ll embed it below if you want to take a look.
The Skylight is a budget buy and one of the cheapest high-rated digital frames around. It’s a no-frills offering at an affordable price. Plus, it’s slightly larger than the other two featured here.
Paul aka “The Friendly Reviewer” has a nice overview and demo of the skylight over on his YouTube channel:
Aura Carver vs Nixplay vs Skylight: The Verdict
So which digital photo frame should you buy? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. There are three frames in the same price bracket- the Aura Carver, Nixplay, and Skylight.
🏆 Best Overall: Nixplay
The Nixplay Smart Digital Photo Frame is the overall winner with a plethora of connectivity options, ease of use, Alexa compatibility, ability to play music and videos, touchscreen functionality, and a brilliant design supported by a splendid display. The Nixplay is also a customer favorite and a tried and tested frame that has been around for a while.
🥈Runner Up: Aura Carver
The Aura Carver is Oprah’s favorite smart photo brand and my 2nd favorite. I just bought one of these as a birthday gift for my low-tech sister who doesn’t require the extra bells and whistles of the Nixplay. This is a solid- runner-up IMHO as it boasts of a sturdy build and great display but lacks the connectivity options and audio-video compatibility of the Nixplay.
🥉Budget Buy: Skylight
The Skylight Frame gets all the basics right with good connectivity, display, and memory- it also has a great design that will suit any room setting. The price point is just right for budget buyers. The Skylight frame also makes an excellent gift for family and friends.
Digital Photo Frame Buyer’s Guide
There are a few things you should look for in a digital photo frame. I took all of these factors into consideration in writing this comparison. They include:
The screen resolution is how many pixels are available on the frame’s display, measured horizontally and vertically in pixels. A higher pixel count means greater detail will be visible to you when viewing your photos. Your digital photo frames should have a high enough resolution for you to see all of the details in your photos.
Most photo frames offer a resolution of 1280 x 800, which is a good balance between high quality and affordability. In this showdown, we compared the highest resolution offered by each frame- The Aura Carver emerged the clear winner with a resolution of 1920 x 1200.
For a digital photo frame, the screen size refers to its diagonal length. This is how long the frame’s display will be from a top-left corner down to a bottom-right corner. Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to screens, as you won’t want your photos looking distorted on an oversized device.
In this showdown, I compared three screen sizes- the Skylight, the Aura, and the Nixplay all have approximately 10-inch displays. Slight differences do not affect the viewing experience, so all three frames stand at par.
It is important to note that these frames are all relatively small. If you want something larger with even more smarts check out this post I wrote comparing Meural Canvas vs Canvia or this one comparing Meural vs Samsung Frame.
Connectivity and Memory Capacity
Different digital photo frames offer different connectivity options that allow you to play media on them such as Wi-Fi, USB Flash Drive or MicroSD Card Reader.
Some also have built-in memory for you to store media on them. Frames with memory built-in can save time by not having to transfer your photos every single time you want to view them, while frames without this option will need a way of adding an external storage device such as the USB Flash Drive, Cloud storage, or MicroSD Card Reader.
The Skylight has the most versatile connectivity options, as it has built-in Wi-Fi and USB Flash Drive as well as a MicroSD Card Reader, while the other two depend on Wi-Fi and Cloud for connectivity (which is not bad either).
The Aura has no internal memory or connectivity options, while the Nixplay and Skylight have an internal memory of up to 8GB. This means you do not need an external device in order to view your photos on these two frames.
Cloud Storage and Use
The Aura and Nixplay are compatible with cloud services such as Google Play, iCloud, and Dropbox. The Skylight, however, depends on its own cloud.
Customers will have to buy storage space after a specific predefined limit to be able to store more photos.
This could matter if you’re looking for a frame that you can use indefinitely, rather than needing to keep buying storage space.
That said, the Skylight is compatible with wireless SD cards and does not require cloud storage at all. So, it’s really up to you whether cloud services are worth the additional cost.
Video and Music Compatibility
The Nixplay is the only digital frame amongst the three with video compatibility. If you wish to play videos on your digital photo frame, look for one that supports the most popular formats such as MPEG-PS, AVI, and MPEG-MPG. You can play about 15-second-long videos on the Nixplay.
Similarly, the Nixplay is the only frame that can play music. It offers a built-in music player that lets you play all the popular music formats.
Ease of Use
Digital photo frames should be easy to set up, as well as simple for you to view your photos on them without any hassle. If the digital frame is difficult to manage or navigate through, the chances are that you will not use it very often.
The Skylight depends on an email address where you send all your pictures. These pictures are then displayed on the frame. The Aura goes a step ahead and allows the use of email, a website as well as an App for uploading images.
The Nixplay App for iOS and Android gives you control over your frame. You can make sure your frame is always up to date by connecting it to Google Photos. You can also connect it to Dropbox, Facebook, or Instagram on the website and upload pictures. The Nixplay wins in this segment as it also boasts of a motion sensor, which automatically turns the frame on to display photos if it senses movement. Amazon Alexa compatibility is another feature that lets you control the Nixplay with your voice.
The Skylight and Nixplay are wall-mountable, which makes them more convenient to be placed anywhere you like. The Aura is not designed for this purpose and comes with a stand only (which can also be used as a base).
The Nixplay is the only frame with a portrait mode for your pictures that lets you turn your photo on its side to view it in full screen. The Aura and Skylight are not able to do this, so if viewing only landscape images isn’t an option for you, then consider getting one of these two.
The Nixplay and Aura have excellent customer service, whereas some buyers faced issues with the Skylight Customer Support. After-sales service is something that varies from company to company, so it’s best you do some research before buying.
The Nixplay Smart Digital Photo Frame is the best digital frame for those who want a wide variety of connectivity options, ease of use, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The Aura Carver is great if you don’t need any kind of video or music playback capabilities but do want an excellent display for your photos and sturdy build. Finally, the Skylight Frame provides an all-around good value with its features and customer service at a budget price point.
All three of these frames provide a great way for you to showcase your memories, and they also make excellent gifts.
Depending on your needs as well as what you’re looking to spend, any one of these three frames might be just right for you.
If you want to see even more options, check out this post I wrote on the 21 Best Digital Photo Frames.