A smart, elegant digital photo frame that you can set up and enjoy within minutes, the Aura Carver makes for an easy and handsome way to show off your snapshots, provided you have a steady Wi-Fi connection and you’re comfortable with cloud storage.

This sturdy, $200 photo frame comes with a bright, vivid screen; a landscape-only design; and an AI-powered photo-pairing feature for displaying portrait photos side-by-side. But the lack of user-accessible local storage means that photos must be stored in Aura’s cloud servers, a requirement that raises privacy concerns (cloud storage is free and unlimited, at least), while the frame’s support for voice assistants is perfunctory at best.

Design

Like Aura’s other frames, the $299 Sawyer and the $399 Smith, the Carver isn’t wall-mountable; instead, it’s designed specifically to sit on a table, a shelf, or another flat surface. Unlike Aura’s other two frames, the Carver has a landscape-only orientation, while the Sawyer and Smith frames has a swiveling stand that allows you to switch from landscape to portrait modes.

Ben Patterson/IDG

The Aura Carver photo frame has a sturdy bass and a removable braided power cord.

Measuring 10.63 x 2.6 x 7.45 inches and available in charcoal and “white chalk” flavors, the Aura Carver weighs nearly two pounds, which gives the frame a reassuringly sturdy heft. The frame itself has a minimalist yet elegant look, while the solid, wedge-shaped base is deep enough to keep the unit upright and free from wobbles. The Carver comes with a detachable braided power cord, although the boxy wall wart (about 1.6 x 1.6 inches) will block the lower socket of a two-plug wall outlet.

Display

The Carver’s 10.1-inch IPS display has a 1920 x 1200 resolution, which comes out to 224 pixels per inch. Looking closely, I couldn’t detect any pixelation or screen-door effect. Colors looked vivid yet natural, and viewing angles were excellent (as is the case with most IPS panels), with the screen barely dimming while I was looking from the side or above.

A (barely visible) sensor in the top-left corner of the frame measures ambient light and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly, or turns the display off altogether when the room goes dark (which, during my testing, the sensor did quite reliably). You can also put the display on a daily schedule, although you can’t set different wake/sleep times for weekends or specific days of the week.

Setup

To get started with the Carver, you’ll first need to install the Aura app for either iOS or Android, and you’ll need to set up an account (that includes creating a user name and a password, meaning you can’t just sign in via Google, Facebook, or Apple).

Once that’s done, you pair the app with the frame by tapping in the four-digit code that appears on the frame’s display, after which the app connects the frame to your Wi-Fi network (there was no need to enter my network password, at least not with the iOS version of the Aura app). While the Carver only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks, the frame had no trouble connecting to my dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz mesh network.



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