I'm a big fan of modern digital photo frames. I have two of them on display at my home, providing a constantly changing display of my favorite photos. They remind my wife and I of cherished memories and happy holidays – and a new selection is added to the scrolling directory on each via an app after each family event or vacation.
But even as a big fan, would I be a big fan of a big photo frame? My frames have screens that are around 10in across, the recently-released Vieunite Textura is significantly larger with an LCD display that measures 27 inches.
Vieunite launched this primarily as a way of displaying art - downloading paintings from its online library to display on your wall. But you can upload your own images to it - and using it to supersize my own photographs was what interested me.
It is designed to hang on the wall, rather than sit on a shelf or sideboard as do my current frames. As such you have to think carefully about where it will be placed, as it can't be moved easily.
Out of the box
The Textura has four separate components…
• The main one is the LCD sceen itself, which has a white surround, which acts as the 4cm border to your photo - like the cardboard matt on a traditionally framed picture.
• Second is the wall mount which houses the power connector. This attaches to the wall, and has a bayonet mount to which you attach the screen to secure it in place. A template is provided to ensure you put the screws in the wall in the right place - and at that point, you need to decide if you want to use this as a vertical or landscape display (you can't readily switch from one to the other).
• The third component is the USB-C power lead that plugs into the frame's wall mount, and then into a power socket.
• Finally there is the frame itself, which snugly clips onto your wall-mounted screen. We tested a unit with a black frame - but there are wood-colored walnut, pine, and birch options too. Strangely there is not a white option - which would work so well with the white surround of the screen.
As I only had the screen for a short time, I didn't actually fix the screen to the wall in my flat - to avoid the trouble of drilling the holes, and making good when the unit was returned. But I was rather glad I had this excuse - as the wall fixing system filled me with fear…
The display is no lightweight - tipping our scales at around 12lbs (or 5.5kg) - so is a serious load for the wall and screws to support. And then there was the bayonet attachment that connected the screen to the mount - even thinking about how easy it would be for the whole thing to drop as I tried to turn the screen into position on this mount was enough to make me break out into a sweat.
I was also not impressed with the power lead... at 195cm long it didn't feel as it would be long enough for most installations, even if you had a conveniently-near plug point. You would also have the problem of whether to chase the wire into the wall, or let it stay hanging untidily in plain sight.
But these two issues were circumnavigated by having the screen balancing on a chest of drawers - which hid the power lead, and ensured I didn't have to use any power tools. Yes, I cheated out of the stress of dealing with the wall mount.
The display is controlled by a free app that you download to your phone. All the settings are controlled from this - there is no separate remote control, as you get with some other photo frames.
The app and the screen pair up over your home's wifi network - and this process what straightforward, and we had our screen up and running and ready to go in no time.
The app, however, is not particularly intuitive when coming to selecting your images. Part of the reason for this is that one of its primary purposes is to tempt you to pay for your artwork, from the selection that Vieunite has on offer online.
Getting your own photos onto the device is a two-stage process. You first upload your images, which you can do straight from your phone's camera roll. You then crop the photos to the 16:9 aspect of the frame. This is an important step - as if you don't you get white borders around the photo which don't look great. Obviously, not all photos will work at this aspect ratio - but it I'd recommend choosing the ones that do. And although you can crop your photos in this way - the touchscreen process is less than precise. So if you fussy about your cropping (which I am!), I would do the cropping on a computer before transferring them to your phone for use on the display.
The next stage is to transfer your images to the display itself - and ensuring which you want to appear in your slideshow. You can control how long your display is on each day, the interval before each photo changes, and the screen brightness. There is also a volume control - as the frame can also display video clips.
Once you have gone through the set-up process, you can just sit back and admire you photos... Having your image blown-up this big on a bright backlit screen is an impressive sight. I was blown away how good the photos looked. I checked the quality with a variety of images shot on variety of different cameras - from an iPhone 14 Pro through to a Nikon D800 and a full-frame Sony mirrorless model - and was not disappointed. A word of warning is that blowing up your photos this big soon shows up any shots with poor focus or exposure - they might look okay on your phone screen, but with this display your work is getting much closer scrutiny.
I am in two minds about the Vieunite Textura. It takes everything I love about digital photo frames, and supersizes them. As a big display, this is one to show off my best work - rather than just family snaps - and it does this job brilliantly. I can see this appealing to professional photographers who want to show off their portfolios to clients in a cool, controllable way.
The downside is that this is a one-trick pony. You can't use it to play Netflix or to browse the internet - and you can't even hook it up to a laptop to use it a a monitor (even though it costs more than similar sized TVs and computer screens). It also has it design quirks - the wall attachment system being a particularly troubling one for me.
The Vieunite Textura is not the the only XL photo frame available. A popular alternative is the Samsung The Frame which is a fully-functioning smart TV, which can also be put to service as a digital canvas. Available in seven sizes from 32in right up to 85in, The Frame has great versatility.
Also worth considering is the Netgear Meural II which is available in 21.5in and 27in options - although we have not tested this digital canvas, as yet .