Review: The Memento Smart Frame is the giant 4K photo frame you never knew you wanted

I’m a photographer and take hundreds of photos per month, but rarely print them except for my clients. It’s just too much of a hassle.

That’s where digital picture frames come in handy, but they generally are too low resolution, too small, or of too poor quality to be worth comparing with high quality prints.

Enter the Memento Smart Frame. It’s a 25 or 35-inch, quasi-4K panel with with Wi-Fi connectivity, and I’ve had the chance to test the larger variant for a few weeks. It’s an excellent option if you’re looking for a high quality option for framing your digital images on a large screen.

Specs and key details

  • 3230 x 2160 resolution
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Storage for ‘up to 3000 pictures’
  • Available in 35-inch and 25-inch screen sizes
  • 50,000 hours lifespan – or 8 to 10 years
  • 23 watts power consumption (18-45 watts, depending on brightness)
  • Available in black, silver, dark brown, auburn and walnut wood frames
  • $899 for the 35-inch size, $599 for the 25-inch.

Setting it up

The 35-inch frame I reviewed is about 29 pounds, so you can’t just hang a nail in your wall and call it a day. Thankfully Memento was smart enough to include its own mounting mechanism so you don’t have to worry about finding the right screws, drilling into a stud or irreparably damaging your wall and $400 frame when it all comes crashing down.

The mounting mechanism uses four self-drilling wall anchors, so no tools are required other than a regular Phillips screwdriver. I hung it up in less than ten minutes, and it sits completely flush against my wall.

There’s also an optional flat white power cable – a clever solution to the usual ugliness of the power cable in digital displays like this. The cable is only a millimeter or two thick, and can be painted over to match your wall. It’s a more involved set up, but likely worth the time if you want to make the Memento a centerpiece item. I didn’t set it up, as I could easily hide the power cable in my apartment.

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Connecting it with my Wi-Fi network through the Memento app also didn’t take more than a few minutes. The app ( availablefor Android , iOS , or Windows PCs) is fairly barebones, but lets you directly load photos onto your frame without the need of an external card or USB drive, which is useful if you want to update photos often. You can also control some aspects of image quality, such as brightness, contrast, and saturation.

Excellent image quality (most of the time)

On the matter of image quality, when you are looking at it head on with good environmental light, it really does almost look like print. The only problem is that the illusion degrades slightly under less favorable conditions, so how good the frame is will depend on where you choose to set it up (more on this later)

Memento Smartframe

When standing not far from the center of the frame, contrast is excellent, colors are vibrant, and the semi-gloss finish strikes a good balance for imitating print. As implied before it’s not quite 4K, because the 3:2 aspect ratio crops off some horizontal pixels, but it should be more than sharp enough for even fairly close up viewing – especially with the 25-inch screen.

The screen has a brightness sensor to dim the screen according to your environment, and it generally works pretty well. It will also shut off the frame at night when the lights turn off. I just wish the dimming process were a bit smoother – you can often tell when the screen is dimming as it generally happens in discrete steps rather than a gradual transition.

Overall, it’s become a point of conversation in my apartment in the way smaller digital frames never did because, well, they were small. I have had a few people confuse the frame for print, which is about the biggest compliment one could give a digital display.

Qualms

My main qualm is with viewing angles. They’re good by the usual standards for digital displays, where you normally are looking at things head on, but the drop off in color and saturation is more noticeable with a frame that’s meant to imitate or replace print images, and which you might not place in an optimal location.

That’s what happened in my small NYC apartment. I had to place the frame off to the side of my small living room. My apartment’s floor plan basically means I’m often looking at the frame from a 100-degree angle or so, which doesn’t nearly show the display at its best.

The other giveaway of its LCD nature is the fixed color temperature. While print will reflect the light of the surrounding room, an LCD just shines out its own light, some times making whites look blue-er than the warm light of sunset or my lightbulbs. That’s accentuated by the fact that the Memento uses a thick white border around the actual display portion.

The whites appear blue relative to the actual white of my wall - not to mention the screen's own border.