Would You Pay $399 for This 'Smart' Digital Photo Frame?

Lenovo has unveiled a new "smart" digital picture frame, but with a price tag of $399, is it worth it simply to display your images on the wall?

The new Smart Frame measures up at 21.5 inches. The company said in its announcement:

The all-new Lenovo Smart Frame is designed to unearth your favorite moments and rediscover that perfect shot of the sunrise you took on your travels many years ago.

It has been designed so that images appear closer to physical artwork, seemingly easier on the eyes than a digital screen. This is achieved due to its matte finish and an in-built anti-glare layer.

What’s more, the color tone sensor installed within the frame shapes the screen’s brightness to fit the ambience of the room in which it resides. This helps to project the feel that it’s a physical print rather than a digital display.

The Smart Frame is easily rotated to ensure images can be viewed in both portrait or landscape position. Interacting with both photos and videos on the Smart Frame appears easy enough, with a simple hand gesture being all that is required to do so. Images can be scrolled through, footage can be played, and slideshows can be paused. Files are curated by AI, which can form collages.

August 2020 is when the units will start to ship, available in numerous materials and colors. Check out the video above for a short clip of the Smart Frame in action. So, is the price tag of $399 justified, and will you be buying?

All images courtesy Lenovo.

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17 Comments

Tom Reichner's picture

I have never understood the basis behind the pricing for digital photo frames. They are significantly more expensive than computer monitors of similar size and resolution. And they are also significantly more expensive than television sets that are much larger.

I do wish there were large digital frames in the 36" to 60" size range that were priced commensurately to television sets of the same size and resolution. But for some unknown reason, digital frames still only come in smaller sizes and at very high relative prices.

VINICIUS YUZO ZUCARELI's picture

And in other regions it is even more ridiculous. A 7" digital frame is about the same price as a 55" 4k SmartTV. And the TV can be set up to display photos, so....

A F's picture

The thing holding me back from getting one or more of these is power. Don't they all need continuous power? I certainly don't want a tacky cord hanging down from an elegant frame, nor do I really want the hassle of installing a receptable behind the frame.

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

Maybe if I had a wall.

Alex Herbert's picture

Hang in there dude, I was once in the same situation... but through hard work and determination I now have 2... and plans to build a 3rd!

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

Oh, haha, thanks. I actually don't have a wall by choice. Full time travel photog here! In hotels and campgrounds 365 days a year. :)

Alex Herbert's picture

Oh... I'm just dirt poor. All the best anyways! :)

Stoopy McPheenis's picture

Money is overrated anyways ;) All the best to you, as well, friend!

Alex Herbert's picture

I've never been concerned with money. I just need 4 good walls to keep the wolves away from my 2nd born. By god's grace I'll have them soon.

Steven de Vet's picture

Probably wouldn't pay $399 for that. the constant drain on power, the fixed 16:9 format (apparently they do a 4:3 too though).. "only" 1080p... all for a product with a single use and purpose. Dealing with cables is also a nightmare, as the locations where I would hang artwork, aren't close to a power source.

I'd be more interested in a TV that looks like a framed painting that I can use as a tv, and use as an art display when not in use. Which Samsung does, called "the frame" .. from 43" 4K TV up to a 65" (starting at around $700-800) You're able to have a huge artwork on it, or multiple next to each other. it also has similar features like the ambient sensor and movement sensor (it turns off if you're not in the room). So it's not like it would display art in a "worse" way than the Lenovo screen.

Obviously you're not going to hang multiple 43"+ TV's in your room. But the amount of features you get extra for "only" double the price is quite a lot. And makes me think that a 21.5" 1080p screen shouldn't be more then $199.. Especially if you'd ditch the motion gesture controls which tends to be a gimmick anyway and won't be used after like.. a week..

zave smith's picture

I can't comment on this new offering from Lenovo. When my wife had a birthday a few years ago, I digitalized the whole family album collection and bought a digital frame for our wall. This has become one of our most prized possession. We spend a lot of time, not just us but visiting friends and family, watching our lives slowly unfold on the wall. While I have plenty of large framed photos, art photos, the frame and it's family history, it is a pure joy to have.

VINICIUS YUZO ZUCARELI's picture

That's great, but I think it is your work and photos that are the star of the show .

I frequently open my photo archives on my TV using a Chromecast and my phone and show them to family and friends. My 40" TV cost me about equivalent to 300 bucks 7 years ago, Chromecast cost another 30 or so. So much less expensive than any digital frame.

It is a very niche product and I'm glad you like it, but in the end is your photos that are good, not necessarily the frame.

Ken Hilts's picture

Every image in my portfolio has a different crop ratio - not anxious to see my images with black bars inside of a big ugly white "mat" in this digital frame.

Anthony Collins's picture

HaHaHa Pu-leez!!

jim hughes's picture

They claim it adjusts to ambient brightness but we all know how limited that adjustment can be with today's display technology. No one wants another glowing screen on their wall at night, competing with the TV which is already too bright.

Michael Larsen's picture

I just finished making a digital frame for my wife using a 32" HD TV and a Raspberry Pi. I built a frame for the TV and Pi to give it a nice clean look. Total cost was about $250 and my effort. Advantages: beautiful, programmable with many functions, works as TV, controlled through phone app, many future options I haven't explored. Disadvantages: 16:9 format, about 3.5" thick.

It was well worth the effort and is the central pieces in our living room now. I am currently learning to write more advanced scripts to do stuff like auto-sync with google photos.

Tom Reichner's picture

That's awesome, Michael!

The disadvantages don't seem very bad at all. As far as the 3.5" thickness, if it is mounted in a standard stud-and-drywall wall, then you could always open up the wall, remove portions of two studs, and add headers to replace the support that you lose by severing the studs. Then you could partially recess the frame into the wall so that it lies more flush to the surface. It'd be a pretty easy modification for anyone with a modicum of handiness, which you obviously must have if you crafted your frame from scratch.