You probably bought for yourself, or maybe as a gift, one of those digital photo frames that came out more than 10 years ago, they were real popular real fast, then became bargain-bin buys as people found bigger & better ways to show their photos, such as on their big TV screens. But now there’s Meural and it is not the tabletop digital frame you gave your mom or grandma back when.
Meural Canvas – as they call it – is a large and not lightweight 27-inch IPS HD display screen mounted in a slightly larger wood frame with a 2-inch wide mat – in other words, it looks just like the way you’d display an artwork, and that’s clearly by design because the Meural is made to display art on your wall, digitally.
Behind the screen is a processor with 8 GB of RAM to store images, plus a Wi-Fi receiver to connect the Meural frame to their app on your phone and – of course – now to Alexa. You can also configure your Meural screen from a web browser.
This is the second generation of the Meural frame and uses Meural’s TrueArt technology to display artworks clearly and crisply on the anti-glare screen.
You can choose what to display from among their thousands of licensed images – some free – but most are available only with a subscription, $4.95 a month or $39.95 if bought for a year, but that allows you to get to curated collections and playlists, and you can pick and choose among them to create your own playlists.
“Playlist” because Meural Canvas is not limited to showing just one image but can be set to change the image on a timed schedule, or you can “swipe” in front of the frame to get a new image. You can also swipe “up” next to an image and get a quick paragraph of information about the artist and the work.
If you or someone you know is an artist with high-quality digital images of their work, or you have photos you’d like to display, you can add them to a playlist and display as you choose.
Trying it out at home – they gave me a temporary free subscription to their full 30,000 image library – the Meural Canvas looked terrific and the artwork was really shown very clearly – or as clearly as an image of an actual work can be. I found it took some practice to swipe in front of the frame – they call them gestures – but you can accomplish the same from your phone app or if truly lazy there’s Alexa.
I didn’t actually mount the Meural Canvas on a wall, that would have taken some work, but they do supply clear instructions, a “hanging cleat,” two screws with anchors, and even a small level. The Meural Canvas is fairly heavy for a picture frame, they don’t say in the specs but I used a bathroom scale which showed it to be about 15 pounds. It can be hung vertically or horizontally, and the “cleat” method allows you to pick it up and turn it when you wish, the images turn to match the frame’s orientation and will be letter-boxed if they don’t match it.
The Meural Canvas also has to be plugged into power, something not obvious in some of their promotional photos, but there are creative ways of hiding the white power cord, such as behind a plant or furniture, pulling it tight so it is less visual, or even using some wire molding.
If you have the wall space, and the budget, the Meural Canvas can add a bright spark of art to your home.
Here’s one of their videos: