The best gift I gave this year was a digital photo frame from Aura

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I am fortunate to know many top donors. The only problem with this lot in life is that – when Christmas, birthdays and weddings roll around – I then feel the need to match them present for present. Most of the time, I feel overwhelmed. But this March, when the bow was untied and the wrapping paper peeled off, I had a feeling I was going to find a real winner.

The gift I bought was the Mason, a digital photo frame from Aura, which I gave to my wife. And I say I “felt” it was a great giveaway because I honestly wasn’t 100% sure how the device would perform in practice. A smart picture frame that can accommodate photos and videos sounds like fun, but I’m not much of a “smart home” person, and there was the very real potential that this might just become another piece of too-good-for- be- real technology that has gathered dust around the house.

Instead, the Aura frame has made its way into my family. After installing the device in our kitchen and uploading dozens of photos from our phones via an app, my wife and I had my brothers obsess over it (scrolling through the images using an integrated touchpad on the sides of the Frame). And then they went to buy one for my mother. Now, every time we go to my parents’ house for a family dinner, there’s a handful of new photos people have added to the slideshow of everything we’ve done this month (water skiing, concerts by the lake, State Fair). You can usually tell who uploaded what based on whether it’s wholesome or unflattering.

I cannot guarantee all digital photo frames. I’m sure there are ugly ones with glitchy apps and frustrating interfaces. Aura Frames’ devices, however, are beautiful on their own, incredibly easy to use, and legitimately smart. Also, right now, with Labor Day weekend approaching, the company is offering discounts of up to $100 on select modelsincluding the Mason style in the white quartz color I purchased (this one is $20 off).

About Debra D. Johnson

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