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I’m lucky enough to know lots of top-tier gift givers. The only problem with this lot in life is that — when Christmas, birthdays and weddings come around — I then feel the need to match them present for present. Most of the time I feel outranked. But this March, when the bow was being untied and the wrapping paper peeled back, I had a feeling I’d come up with a real winner.
The present I purchased was the Mason, a digital photo frame from Aura, which I gave to my wife. And I say I “had a feeling” it was a great present because I honestly wasn’t 100% sure how the device would work in practice. A smart picture frame that can accommodate photos and videos sounds fun, but I’m not much of a “smart home” person, and there was the very real potential that this would just become another piece of too-good-to-be-true tech that gathered dust around the house.
Instead, the Aura frame has caught on in my family. After setting up the device in our kitchen and uploading dozens of photos to it from our phones via an app, my wife and I had my brothers over who proceeded to obsess over it (swiping through the images using an integrated touchpad on the sides of the frame). And then they went and bought one for my mom. Now, whenever we go over to my parents’ house for family dinner, there are a handful of new photos that people have added to the slideshow from whatever we’ve done that month (waterskiing, concerts by the lake, the State Fair). You can usually tell who uploaded what by whether it’s wholesome or unflattering.
I can’t vouch for all digital photo frames. I’m sure there are some ugly ones out there with glitchy apps and frustrating interfaces. The devices at Aura Frames, however, are handsome in their own right, incredibly easy to use and legitimately smart. Plus, right now during the lead up to Labor Day weekend, the company is offering discounts up to $100 off on a few models, including the Mason style in the white quartz color that I bought (that one is $20 off).
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