Technology is in everything we use. It’s more of an everyday type of lifestyle now. It’s been engraved into the home decor category as well. With the Meural Canvas II from Netgear, you get more than a digital frame.
Build and Design
I saw the original Meural Canvas two years ago and I was impressed with the concept but wondered how they’d get people sold on the idea. I’ve had the Meural Canvas II for a few weeks and I fell in love with it and can see why others would like it too. The frame itself is pretty impressive. It’s simple hardware that does look like a very large digital picture frame but it’s more than that. It’s a smart art frame, giving you access to museums and pieces from around the world. The hardware is solid. The display is outlined by a white rectangular frame. That outer frame is available in different colors. The sizing can be confusing as they measure the frame size and not the screen size. There are two sizes to choose from, the 21.5 display that is in a 16×24 inch frame and the 27-inch display that is in a 19×29 inch frame. Both displays are 1080p. It’s matted to prevent glare from all viewing angles. There are no buttons or ports on the front of the display. They are located on the side. The ports include a full SD card reader and an ethernet connection. The frame connects via a thin white cord to a power outlet.
Setup and Use
The Meural Canvas II is pretty easy to use once you have it installed. Since the frame can be used in either portrait or landscape mode, the swivel mount accessory (sold separately) is a great investment to get the most out of the frame. The swivel mount should be an easy setup. Unfortunately, I live in an old New York apartment and the walls aren’t the greatest. I wasn’t looking forward to mounting it but it worked out rather well. It’s just two anchor screws and a lot of patience. If you don’t want to mount the frame on the wall you can use place the frame easel style. The wall is the best place for me due to the limited amount of space. If using the swivel mount be sure to have enough space where the frame sits comfortably in both portrait and landscape positions.
Meural App and Subscription
Once the frame is mounted and connected, you have to go through the usual connection process. I was connecting via the Meural app. The app isn’t only for setup and control of the Canvas II frame but also for content management. This is where the Meural shines and stands out from being just another digital frame. There is a paid subscription service you can pay for $8.95 per month or $69.95 per year and you get access to artwork from different museums and artists.
As for controlling the frame, you can use the app or gestures. It took me a bit to get the gestures down, but once I got it, I showed off how smooth it is to switch between images. That’s mostly a party trick though, I prefer controlling the images and playlists through the app.
Depending on the time or if having guests over, I’d switch the playlists to art provided through the Meural subscription to pictures I took. Once you choose the playlist in the app, the frame will take a few seconds to update the display. I can’t find anything bad to say about the frame itself besides the cord is a bit difficult to hide.
I enjoy having the Meural Canvas II frame. It’s a great combination of interactive technology and home decor. The subscription fee is affordable but I do think the swivel mount should be included with the frame to make sure consumers get the most out of it. It’s great for those who enjoy art galleries and want a small piece of it in their home or office. Being able to showcase photos that would rarely leave our phones and still have the option to access works of art from multiple artists and venues is amazing.