Sunday, November 5, 2017

First Look - Meural Digital Canvas Photo Frame 2.0

Meural Canvas 2.0 Box - Bottom Side
Meural Canvas 2.0 Box - Bottom

I've owned the first version of the Meural Digital Canvas photo frame for over a year and I've been loving every minute of it. There's not a day that goes by that I don't spend a few minutes enjoying watching some of my favorite photos displayed on it as I stare at it from my dinner table. My friends, family, and yes - even my teenage kids - all have gushed over how cool our frame is, so when the folks at Meural told me that I could review the latest and greatest version, I was all over it!

This is my first impressions, but I'll be doing a more comprehensive review very soon. For this one I thought I'd start with the packaging, as there's been a big upgrade there that makes this product feel more polished and professional versus something that comes from a startup.

Meural Canvas 2.0 Box - Top Side
Meural Canvas 2.0 Box - Top Side

Just check out the cool packaging which illustrates one of the great features about this product - you can not only show your own photos - but a galleries of other flavors of fine art.

When I got my first frame, I wasn't so sure about why I would ever want to show other people's art, but after exploring the available content I found myself adding a couple dozen photos. In fact, my oldest son loved some of those photos so much that he went on a trip to Norway to try to locate some of the places featured on my frame and was thrilled to see them in real life!

A Quick Peek Inside 

Meural Canvas 2.0 Box - Inside
Meural Canvas 2.0 Box - Inside with quick start manual

I hate unboxing videos, so I thought I'd cut to the chase and just show you some quick pics.

I don't usually do this, but I know I was worried about my frame getting damaged in shipment. I thought this could be a useful article to show just how well it is packed for those who had doubts about its safety when ordering online.

Meural Canvas 2.0 Box - Frame Packaging
Meural Canvas 2.0 Box - Frame Packaging

As you can see the frame is very well protected and arrived in perfect condition to my house near Seattle even though it had been shipped from New York. I was pleased to see the protective cover and despite the cool temperatures it arrived with no issues. To be fair, I did let it acclimate to my house for 8 hours before opening just to make sure there was no condensation issues.

Meural Canvas 2.0 Box -  Hanging Hardware & Cleat
Meural Canvas 2.0 Box -  Hanging Hardware & Cleat

The mounting hardware was secured with tape (removed here) but I have what I need to hang my frame securely in the sheetrock. I didn't hang my first frame because it just rested nicely in my TV alcove and I used a couple big crystal trophies to hold it secure in place (not recommended).

Meural Canvas 2.0 Box -  Rear View
Meural Canvas 2.0 Box -  Rear View

On the back side frame, the cleat mounts are much more polished (literally) and there's better frame ventilation (although my v1 never had and heat issues). There's also a big purple port to accept the power with space to coil up extra slack from the power cable if you don't need to extend it.

Software

Web Frame Management Site
Web Frame Management Site
Partial List of Settings Shown

If you own an existing Meural frame, then you can see the new software. However, if you don't then it's evolved a lot since my original review. It's a lot more robust and user friend with support to features available both on the website AND phone.

I'll cover this more in my review, but I wanted a quick mention to let people know that the software that was the Achilles heal of the original models, is now working well and all the bugs are worked out.

First Thoughts

Everything just worked out of the box and felt very much like my original frame which is a good thing, since I liked it quite a bit.

The quality of the black frame is very different. It has more of a bevel to it, but it seems more manufactured than the wood of the first version. I can't say that is a good or a bad thing - it's just different.

Overall, this frame looks more commercial whereas the first version felt more hand made. However, from a distance they both look very similar and quite good.

The power cord cable is MUCH improved and significantly longer than the one I got with my review unit for the first version. There's also multiple adapters for different regions, but the one right out of the box worked fine in the US.

Usability wise, it felt like the much improved iOS app was more responsive with this frame than the first version, but otherwise the only noticeable improvements were a better onboarding experience than when I last did this > 14 months ago.

So far it's been working great and not really a huge difference than my first one, but that's a good thing because the firmware and software of my first one have been updated to make it act the same as this one.

My only gripe has been that he gesture feedback often leaves me giving the frame a middle finger gesture, as it just doesn't work very reliably. However, the phone allows you to do everything you need so I just use it instead as I've done with the first version of the frame.

The biggest improvement seems to be support for auto rotation, but that's not something I find very practical as I plan on putting it up one way and leaving it like that forever. In fact, I'm considering leaving this one in portrait orientation while I leave my old one in landscape.

Conclusion

Simply put, this is pretty much everything I liked about the first one but with a lot more spit and polish. It feels more like a mass distributed product rather than a one off, but still looks way better than any other digital frames I've ever used.

Definitely put this on your short list for holiday gifting as the image quality is fantastic and the ease of use via the phone app and web site make it very serviceable remotely after you get it set up initially. For my v1 the only glitch was the need to occasionally unplug and re-plug it to reboot it to get it back on my network again, but I haven't had this one long enough to see if that issue still exists.

More coming in the full review soon.

Where to Buy?

CLICK HERE to learn more or buy today.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:

Enjoy these and more on the Reviews tab as well as Ron's Recommendations.

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

No comments: