LAS VEGAS - Lenovo has waded into the smart home space one device at a time, starting with the Lenovo Smart Clock and expanding with counter-friendly Lenovo smart displays. Now the company wants to fill your wall space with its mountable Lenovo Smart Frame, announced at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.
As the smart art frame pioneer, Netgear’s Meural Canvas hasn’t been contested since its debut in 2018. But Lenovo’s Smart Frame looks to challenge its pricey predecessor with a cheaper entry point and more foreseeable smart home integration.
I went hands-on with the Lenovo Smart Frame at CES 2020 to see if this design-driven digital art canvas fits in among the best smart home devices.
Lenovo Smart Frame price and availability
The Lenovo Smart Frame comes in one size and will be available in August 2020 for $399. That’s the same price as Meural’s smallest offering, the 16 x 24-inch Canvas.
As Meural owner, though, you’ll likely see added fees from mounting mechanisms, frame upgrades and art gallery access. But the Lenovo Smart Frame price includes a swiveling wall mount and a metallic frame. Lenovo also plans to offer multiple wood finish frame options for an additional $39.99.
Lenovo Smart Frame design
The Lenovo Smart Frame looks like a professionally matted and framed piece of home decor, except it features a 21.5-inch Full HD rectangular digital panel instead of a stagnant photograph or piece of art. The matte-screen display is topped with anti-glare coating, and surrounded by a white frame mat. A light-colored wood housed the review unit I went hands on with, but additional wood finishes will be available at launch.
Though the Lenovo Smart Frame can be positioned on an easel or hung on a wall with the included snap-on mount. When mounted it can swivel between portrait and landscape orientations. I also liked how the Lenovo Smart Frame’s mount has a rubber nook to loop excess cord around so that its wires are neat and taut
Lenovo Smart Frame photo and artwork galleries
You can connect to your cloud photo platform of choice, like Google Photos, to the Lenovo Smart Frame using a proprietary app. The app also features a from library of beautiful artwork. The Smart Frame’s built-in artificial intelligence curates a custom slideshow, and automatically curates collages for albums with mixed photo orientations, too.
Lenovo Smart Frame additional smart features
The Lenovo Smart Frame packs an ambient light sensor, which adjusts the Frame’s display to best Color tone sensor that automatically adjusts the display’s brightness to best suit its surroundings. I found Lenovo’s sensor technology worked well in my Lenovo Smart Display 7 review.
This digital frame also reads hand gestures. When I swiped my hand over the Lenovo Smart Frame’s bottom border, the montage moved to the next image. You’re able to pause, play and continue your photo slideshow using the corresponding motions.
And while those features are useful, I’m more interested in the Lenovo Smart Frame’s built-in microphones and dual 2-Watt speakers. They won’t be active at launch, but suggest Lenovo is looking to add smart assistant functionality to the frame.
Right now the Lenovo Smart Frame feels like a cheaper version Meural Canvas. While I’d have to see the two together to gauge which display looks better, the AI technology makes me optimistic about Lenovo's smart home endeavors.
This smart art display’s secret weapon is its foreseeable integration with smart assistants, like Google Assistant or Alexa. I’d love to ask the frame to change photo albums using my voice. We'll see if this feature materializes when the Lenovo Smart Frame launches in 2020.
Be sure to check out our CES 2020 hub for the latest news and hands-on impressions out of Las Vegas.