$250 at AmazonBottom line: Unless you want beefy speakers on the back of your frame, the lacking video support will likely drive most people back to the standard Seed lineup, which has the same display and similar build.
Loud, full audio
Power cable doubles as kickstand
Video support lacking
You might want ports
Maxes out at 250 nits brightness
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Nixplay's selection of digital photo frames continues to grow, bringing products that promise to fulfill more needs than just displaying pictures. The Nixplay Seed Wave, which is an evolution of the widescreen 10.1-inch Nixplay Seed that I favorably reviewed, adds a larger 13.1-inch display, dual five-watt speakers on the back, and some limited video playback ability. I used the Seed Wave for about a week to see what it's all about.
What you'll love about the Nixplay Seed Wave digital frame
Like most of Nixplay's lineup, the Seed Wave is built to a high-quality standard. The black matte frame around the front is interrupted only by a discrete IR remote control sensor and motion sensor in the bottom left corner, which you can set to put the frame to "sleep" when you leave the room. It certainly looks like a photo frame from the front, and the back is styled nicely to include the new dual-speaker setup that has a copper covering. The power cable again doubles as a flexible kickstand that is used to prop up the frame at just about any angle you want, whether in landscape or portrait mode.
|Display size||13.1 inch widescreen|
|Display resolution||1,920 x 1,080 (FHD)|
|Internal storage||8 GB|
|Compatible formats||JPEG, JPG|
|Speakers||Dual 5 W|
|Dimensions||13.23 inches x 8.38 inches x 1.48 inches|
(336 mm x 213 mm x 37.7 mm)
Setup involves not much more than choosing a language, connecting to local Wi-Fi — there are no ports so wireless internet is a must — and setting up the app on your Android or iOS device. A browser can alternatively be used, though the app is much more convenient. You get 8GB of internal storage, of which 4.5GB is usable, allowing you to drop photos from your phone or computer as well as Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, and Google Photos into the frame. Linked to your Nixplay account is also 10GB of cloud storage, giving you the ability to hold photos for later without deleting them completely.
The Nixplay Seed Wave is Bluetooth enabled, and I had my phone connected in just a few seconds. I didn't really know what to expect from the 5W speakers — they are, after all, on the back of a photo frame — but I was floored the first time I queued up a playlist on my phone. Sound gets very loud without distorting, and it doesn't seem to be muffled at all despite the rear orientation. In my office, I didn't need to turn the volume up much past halfway, and testing elsewhere, audio still filled up much larger rooms. Rather than just being a tacky add-on, these are bonafide speakers that could easily be used while entertaining. An additional silicon footing is included, which sits between the frame and whatever surface it's on to prevent rattling and to keep the frame in place.
With small remote control in hand, you can quickly adjust transitions, playback, shuffle, and motion-sensor settings, as well as pick from a few preset color profiles (cool, warm, and normal). If the picture doesn't look quite right, you can adjust individual RGB sliders. Menus are easy to navigate and everything is readily apparent, so don't feel like you need to a tech wizard to get everything set up.
The 13.3-inch display has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1,920 x 1,080 (FHD) resolution for a crisp picture akin to many laptops, and photos shot in 4:3 — which is what most DSLR and phone cameras use — show without bars on the side. It has wide viewing angles for an undistorted picture no matter how you're looking at the frame, but glare can be an issue due to the rather glossy finish on the display and the fact that brightness is cut down to 250 nits from the more common 350. Overall, it's a display that's also well-suited for playing videos, but unfortunately, that's the frame's weakest feature.
What you'll dislike about the Nixplay Seed Wave digital frame
Compared to the standard 13.3-inch Nixplay Seed, which costs about $210, the costlier Seed Wave brings superb speakers and the promise of video playback. Video playback is limited only to those with an iOS device, with no timeframe in mind for extending it to Android or browser. For those who have an iOS device, videos are capped at 15 seconds.
Nixplay makes the iOS exclusivity clear in product documentation, and it is working on bringing better support for video playback in that arena, but it still cuts out one of the main features for a lot of people.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this frame is Wi-Fi only. For a lot of people, that's perfectly fine, though others will likely miss the simplicity of plugging in an SD card or USB drive and playing photos directly from it. If you're looking for something along those lines, be sure to check out Windows Central's roundup of other great photos frames that includes physical-connectivity options.
Should you buy the Nixplay Seed Wave?
The Seed Wave brings most of the features we've come to expect from Nixplay, including high build quality, easy setup and management, colorful display, and smart kickstand power cable, and it adds robust audio and limited video playback to the mix.
If you happen to be in the market for a new set of speakers and a photo frame, this can certainly do both quite well and should be worth a buy. However, if you're banking on video playback as a main feature and already have a quality audio setup, it's probably not worth the $250 price tag.
The standard Nixplay Seed — without speakers or video playback — comes in a bunch of different sizes up to 13.3 inches, it offers the same FHD display, 16:9 aspect ratio, and easy setup, and it costs about $40 less.
Photo frame with great speakers
Colorful display and robust audio capabilities
Nixplay's Seed Wave adds dual 5W speakers and video playback to its Seed lineup, though the latter feature is severely limited. If you need a centerpiece for a room that's capable of pumping out quality audio at a very loud volume while also showing off your photos, this is a great option. However, if you're in it for the video capabilities, it's best to look elsewhere.
Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Mobile Nations. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
By Tammy Rogers