The manufacturers of large digital picture frames discovered the art market some years ago. Netgear Meural worked with artist groups and institutions right from the start, Nimbus Frames, which offers millions of artworks that can be licensed, and in 2019 Canvia entered the game through a very successful crowdfunding campaign.
Canvia claims to have the best digital display with their patented ArtSense technology. So it was time, I took a close look.
My tests are unbiased. There are no financial donations to be disclosed. Canvia has supplied me with a review unit for this test.
The company behind the Canvia frames is Palacio Inc. founded in 2017 and based in Santa Clara in California. The Canvia frame is only the beginning of a larger plan “to inspire every living space through innovation in art and technology”. The company aims to “bring content from leading contemporary creators and world-class cultural institutions into our living spaces like never before”. A noble objective as many artworks are hidden in vaults, private mansions, and museums that you visit infrequently.
Here is the original video from Canvia:
Canvia frame hardware
The Canvia frame at its core is a 24-inches, 1920 x 1080 px display housed in a high-value-looking frame with a matte and of course WiFi. I reviewed the white/white version of the frame, but there are also the variations Wood Grain, Cherry, and Black.
It comes with 16GB storage capacity which is ample for about 10,000 photos.
As with every large digital picture frame, I strongly recommend using the various methods to hide the cable because the frame will look so much nicer and professional without an ugly power cord.
The frame features the Canvia’s patent-pending ArtSense technology which was created to ensure that all images look like real paintings.
I haven’t found out what ArtSense actually does on a technical level. Is it a type of coating on the screen, a sensor which depending on the ambient automatically adjusts the screen brightness? But in any case, the result is very convincing. Masterpieces look great on the screen.
This is what Canvia focuses on. The Canvia frame is not necessarily made to display your own photos, although you can upload them just as well. Canvia offers thousands of curated art images from contemporary artists and photographers. The art collection also includes famous works of art from renowned museums, galleries, and exhibitions like the Louvre in Paris, The Met in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and many more.
The art collections
Canvia’s art libraries are organized into curated playlists to both help you find the right art for every event, environment, and mood. You can choose e.g. the time of day, occasions, or décor themes which will show you hand-picked images for this moment.
The intention is to allow the user discover new art. You can show the information for every image to learn the name of the artist and the work of art.
To get some inspiration, you can also subscribe to the very well designed Canvia newsletter which introduces new artist every week.
The software still needs a bit of love. It looks like it was written by a lonely developer and still lacks user interface polishing for the uninitiated.
It gives you tons of possibilities so put a little time aside to get used to it. You can also use the mobile app but it’s not exactly a thing of beauty either.
On the positive side, I found the software very stable and once I had figured it out, it didn’t give me any headaches.
Canvia’s laser sharp art focus is very inspirational. It motivates you to dive deeper into the world of art and gives you plenty of options to make the journey as painless as possible. Plus, the information on every image allows you to get more background.
The frame is very solidly built, and you don’t have to worry should you have to move it around often, as may be the case with museums, galleries, and other installations. But also for the living room at home, it makes for a nice add-on.
So let’s all get some art education!
(Photos: Canvia, Wolfgang Männel)
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