Photo: Michelle DeLateur

A step below tablets in functionality and offerings but more interactive and striking than a regular frame, digital frames are perennially giftable. What easier way to display photographs, including new ones sent digitally by friends and family? The Aura Carver 10.1" Wi-Fi Digital Picture Frame is a great choice, though not without flaws.

Buy now:

Key Specifications:

  • 10.1" display
  • 1280 x 800 resolution (150 PPI)
  • Landscape orientation only
  • Weight: 1.61 lbs
  • Wi-Fi
  • Photos and videos can be uploaded via the Aura App (iOS/Android)


The Aura Carver 10.1" HD frame is a digital display for photographs and video, with easy set-up through the Aura app and ostensibly unlimited storage through its cloud features.

Recent Videos

Powered by an AC adapter and proprietary cable, the frame is designed to be positioned in landscape orientation only, with the ability to display portrait images in pairs, side by side. The frame can also display videos but with some caveats.

The screen is not a touchscreen (not that you'd want to be smudging it up with your fingers), but the frame has a touch strip along the top edge that you can use to swipe through photos and interact when necessary.

Packaging and build

I ran into my first two hurdles of the Carver unit right out of the box: its color and cord. The frame itself is an impressive and robust unit. It feels stable, sturdy, and professional. The Gravel (black) coloring, however, can scratch onto white surfaces. A white shelf or table, for example, may feature black scuff marks courtesy of the Carver when you set it up. The Carver also comes in Sea Salt (white), but if you'd prefer the black, the scuffs are nothing that a Magic Eraser or some caution can't solve.

Photo: Michelle DeLateur

The Carver uses a unique power cord instead of a more standard variety like USB-C or Micro USB, and the unit also needs to be plugged in to run. Because you can't retract the cord or swap it out for a shorter or longer one, some cleverness may be required to keep your frame area neat and tidy.

Photo: Michelle DeLateur

User Experience

One of my mounted photograph prints watched jealously over my shoulder as I set up the entire Aura Carver digital frame in approximately 90 seconds, coming in under the two-minute estimate on the Aura website. This included downloading the app, linking the frame to my phone, and selecting photos to send over. You can spare your recipient part of this setup with Aura's gift mode, which allows you to pre-load some content and even a message that will display when they boot it up.

Photo: Michelle DeLateur

The Carver frame defaults to slideshow mode, and you can select the length of time between each photo and video. Because the default is 10 minutes, I didn't realize slideshow mode was on in the first place. It can be configured to switch photos as quickly as a matter of seconds or up to 24 hours, depending on how quickly you want new photos to appear. Photographs look vibrant on the screen, and it's a joy to revisit pictures I would have otherwise forgotten.

"It's a joy to revisit pictures I would have otherwise forgotten."

While landscape photos fit the frame's aspect ratio, vertical photos do not and can be displayed side by side using Photo Pairing mode. As Aura explained to me for this review, photos are paired by the time when in Chronological Photo order, whereas, in Shuffle Photo Order, the photos are paired in a rough attempt by Aura's app to match the subject and location. You can also set a background for single vertical photos, either black or 'filled', which fills the negative space with a zoomed-in, out-of-focus version of the photo itself. When I selected 'filled', the treatment was not consistent for all of my shots, and some reverted to a black background.

Videos have a hurdle of their own. When a video comes up on the unit, a 'Loading' progress bar appears on the screen with a 'Tap Touch Bar For Sound' at the top. The video is sometimes choppy upon playback and returns to a thumbnail at the end. It's functional but not particularly slick, so the Carver is best suited for portfolios that are heavy on still photos and light on videos.

The touch bar at the top of the Aura Carver digital frame.

Photo: Michelle DeLateur

To interact with the frame, you'll use a limited-function touchbar along the top of the device. You can 'like' a photo by tapping the top twice (not unlike Instagram), move through photos by swiping left or right, or turn the frame off by holding the touch bar's integrated button down.

The Aura Carver digital frame has an automatic on-and-off function determined by light, not motion detection. When I placed the digital frame into a bathroom with no ambient light, it responded surprisingly when I turned off the lights. With regular sunlight and no additional artificial light, the unit will stay on. In bright conditions, glare is mercifully absent. Overall, the glare was far less noticeable than the MacBook Pro on which this article was written.

Image: Aura


While framed prints have a certain reliability and charm no digital screen can touch, the Aura Carver's utility and ease of use make it a great supplement to surface forgotten memories and add a bit of variety to any part of the home (that's sufficiently close to an outlet).

The Aura Carver's easy setup, simple app and handy gift mode make it a great present for anyone who appreciates revisiting their memories but isn't necessarily technologically or photographically inclined.

Buy now: