If you have seen a 4K ultra-high-definition television, then you know the kind of sharp, vivid, and realistic-looking video quality they are capable of delivering. Imagine that kind of resolution but in a digital photo frame, and what you get is the Smart Frame from Montreal-based Memento Electronics. Described as a 4K ultra-high-definition photo frame, the Memento Smart Frame displays images that look like high-quality prints. The company is currently running a Kickstarter campaign, with the 25-inch frame starting at $499 and the 35-inch frame starting at $650.
The Memento Smart Frame isn’t the first high-resolution digital frame. There’s the Depict, although that product hasn’t shipped. And a 4K photo isn’t the same as a 4K video. Here, it means the ability to display a 7-megapixel image in a 3:2 aspect ratio (a high-end smartphone camera like the iPhone 6 is able to capture 8-megapixel images). Memento says the frames utilize a proprietary “Print Display 4K” technology, can show more than a billion colors, and the internal memory can hold up to 3,000 images. Paired with an iOS or Android app via Wi-Fi, or through a computer, users can add or switch photos, make quick edits, and set parameters (like the duration an image stays on the screen).
But the Smart Frame has other features to help enhance the image quality. There is an optical sensor that measures the room’s lighting and adjusts brightness to match accordingly. For example, photos will appear brighter during the day and in well-lit rooms where the image will have to compete with other light. In lower-light settings the frame will dim the image on the screen to keep it vibrantly visible yet not blindingly bright to distract from TV viewing on another screen. The frame can also sense when to turn off based on when all the lights in the house are turned off.
An issue the Smart Frame tackles is the viewing angle. While many digital picture frames are best (or only) viewed from directly in front of it, the Memento frame can be viewed off-angle, or from the side rather than faced on. This makes it more functional, and more like art hanging in the house or on an office wall than a digital snapshot.
As for installation, the frame hangs on the wall like any piece of framed art, although, because it’s a large digital frame, you’ll need to practice extra care when putting it up. The actual size of the frame is larger than the display itself, giving the appearance of a matted image. Some people might not even realize it’s a digital frame at first sight. To cover up unsightly wires, the frame comes with a 15-foot, paper-thin power cable that unrolls and adheres to the wall like tape. The cable can be cut to size and it is paintable so that it blends in with the wall.
The Smart Frame also supports animated GIFs, however, you’ll need to make sure it’s a high-res GIF file or else it’d look terrible. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any support for video. A company representative told us that review samples would be available soon, suggesting that this frame isn’t vaporware and has a higher chance of seeing the light of day.