Nixplay Iris review: Cloud management in a traditional photo frame

A Wi-Fi photo frame with video support and many other features.

Windows Central Recommended Award

Nixplay makes some quality digital photo frames — I also reviewed the Nix Lux and Nixplay Seed — offering folks a choice between modern or old-fashioned styles, as well as whether or not photo management is taken care of locally through ports or via the cloud and app. The Iris is a mix of the two previous frames I looked at, offering a classic frame style that is both Alexa-enabled and able to play 15-second video clips.

It's available in three colors, with silver costing the least at $157, peach copper in the middle at $193, and burnished bronze at $200. I tested the Nixplay Iris to determine whether or not its worth the price tag that gets relatively steep.

What you'll love about the Nixplay Iris

Struggling to set up a digital frame is not something you want to deal with, and Nixplay keeps it easy. You plug it in, type the password for your Wi-Fi network using the included remote, let a firmware update automatically install, and the frame is ready to display. I already had the app on my phone from previous reviews, which quickly picked up the frame and added it to my profile. Next, a list of my playlists popped up, and I assigned one to play on the frame. This all took about five minutes between ripping the plastic off the box and seeing pictures on-screen, but the first-time setup of the app that I skipped here will add a few minutes more.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Display size8-inch LCD IPS
Display resolution1,024 x 768
Aspect ratio4:3
Storage8 GB internal
10 GB free cloud storage
ColorsPeach copper
Burnished bronze

The frame continues the Nixplay style with a pebbled black back and smart stand that doubles as the power cable, allowing you to use the frame in either landscape or portrait. It is very thin, especially around the edges, with one side dedicated to holding a speaker and light and motion sensors. The slim body means there are not any extra bits that allow for wall mounting, so if you want something to hang, you'll want to look elsewhere. The aluminum front of the frame, with about a 1.5-inch bezel in burnished copper, could be mistaken for plastic. But in any case, it looks like a high-quality product.

The 8-inch IPS display has a matte finish and 1,024 x 768 resolution, which at this size looks pretty sharp, and the 4:3 aspect ratio is far more common than ratios found on some other frames. Set up in a sunroom, I had to crank the brightness to get a good picture. Still, I found it wasn't quite enough to cut down completely on glare, though in a room with a more normal amount of light it was bright enough. I switched on the adaptive brightness option thereafter and haven't thought about it since. Overall the picture is clear and has great contrast, and you can tweak RGB colors if it doesn't quite look right.

Nixplay's Iris is a perfect digital frame for those who want a traditional look, crisp display, and easy Wi-Fi management.

There are plenty of settings you can change to get the right slideshow, you can toggle what's shown on the screen (like clock or caption), you can set a sleep timer, and you can turn on the activity sensor that turns the display off when it senses no one is around. The playlists themselves are handled through the app or online, where you can add local photos or import photos from the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, and Google Photos. The app can be used anywhere in the world to send images or videos to a particular frame, and others can send in their best via a dedicated email address you can set up later. Sharing videos directly to the frame is currently available with the iOS app only, with Android set to come later.

As an added bonus for those setting up a smart home, the Iris is Alexa enabled. It's pretty basic stuff — turn on the display, show a playlist, and check whether or not the frame is connected to your network — but it's there if you want it.

What you'll dislike about the Nixplay Iris

The Iris is an ideal frame for anyone who wants to handle photo management through an app or a web browser. The UI in both is well laid out and makes it easy to send media. But I know that some still appreciate having a port or two on the back of the frame for direct transfer from a camera or other device. If that sounds like you, you will probably dislike the simple, thin design that otherwise works almost perfectly. The lack of a built-in wall mount will also disappoint those who want to keep the frame off of a table or shelf, and anyone expecting the speaker to blow them away will be disappointed. It gets the job done, but it's nothing special.

Should you buy the Nixplay Iris?

Those who like some but not all of the features here should check out the Nix Lux or Nixplay Seed, which each offer a bit of what the Iris has for less money. The former offers a classic design and is loaded with ports for local transfer, while the Seed has a more modern design and is cloud-based like the Iris.

If you want a frame with a classic design that relies entirely on Wi-Fi to get things done, the Iris should be a great choice for you. I'm not sure if spending more to get a certain color is worth it, but that's really up to you. The cheaper silver model seems to have all the same features as the more expensive colors, and it costs almost $50 less.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.