Saturday, April 18, 2020

The new Netgear Meural Canvas II digital picture frame

We are now on day 32 of the shelter in place in Northern California and this means that we are spending a lot of time indoors right now. As depressing at this can be at times, there are some bright spots as well. About a month ago, I got the new Meural Canvas II to add to my office.

This is a new digital picture frame which I really love. I are probably thinking "There is yet another digital picture frame out there?" There is, and this one is different from most that have come and gone over the years.  I have had at least 3 different digital frames in my home and all of those companies have tried entering the market and then gone under. This one looks like a product that is here to stay.

Here is why:

* The Meural Canvas frame is part of Netgear, which is a really large tech company who knows how to build and support their products. 

* This frame has a great quality display to show off the artwork.

* You have a choice of displaying your own photos (animated GIFs or videos) or using their curated art and photos.

* The frame can be used in portrait or landscape mode.

* The frame has WiFi built in for easy data transfer

* The frame is affordably priced between $399.95 (for the 16 x 24") and $599.95 (for the 19x29")

Display quality

The most important feature of any digital frame is the quality of the display panel. Since the Meural Canvas II was a lot less expensive than my previous frames, I was expecting a lesser quality image on the screen, but that is not the case. Both the smaller and larger frames use a 1080p Matte LCD display optimized for art at 1920x1080, and either can be mounted in portrait or landscape mode. I am using the 19x29" frame in landscape mode to show off my work.  Not only are the photos nice and sharp, but the color accuracy is excellent as well.

Frame options

Both sizes of the Meural Canvas II can be ordered with your choice of a black, white, dark wood, or light wood frame. The wood frames do cost $100 more than the black or white frames, but it is nice to have the higher-end options to match your room.


One of the nice new features of the Meural Canvas II is that Netgear has negotiated deals with many different artists and galleries, so that you can display really beautiful paintings and photos on your frame. They have many different genres, which should appeal to almost anyone. Some of their images are offered at no cost, but many do require a monthly or annual subscription. But as a photographer, I have never chosen any of Netgear's content since I prefer to show my own images on the display.

The process of uploading my own images to the frame was not difficult, but the user interface could use some work. I have found that the managing of playlists was not intuitive, and I never seem to know where to go to select what playlists I want on the screen . The good news is, I see that they have been making changes to the interface and some things appears to be easier to find and manage now.

I have loaded 77 of my favorite images and one video file to the Meural II so far, and I am really happy with the image quality and video frame rate. The frame has the capability to hold 4GB of data, which is more than enough. I am currently only using ten percent of that space with what I have loaded.


The frame has a built-in sensor which can recognize when a hand is waved in front of the panel. You can wave your hand left or right, and up and down in front of the frame to show image information or navigate the menus. Even though this is fun to show others, it is much easier to control the frame from the app on my phone or the browser on my computer.

Customizing and options

Setting up and customizing the Meural Canvas II is very easy, with simple online instructions and a straightforward settings panel, both on the app and on a computer browser. It is easy to determine the length of time that you want each image to stay on the screen, how you want the image displayed (to fill the frame or have a letterbox), and many more options.

I also really like the option of using the light sensor in the frame to turn it off when the room is dark, since there is no reason to have the images scrolling through the frame when nobody is there to view them.


My guess is that most people will upload content to their Meural Canvas II using the Meural app or web interface and the frame's built-in WiFi. This is by far the easiest way to get content to the frame. But the frame does also have an SD card slot for those who wish to show images directly from the card. The frame does also have a Micro USB port and an Ethernet port, but I doubt that many people would use these.

Overall opinion

I spend a lot of time traveling the world capturing photos and really appreciate a way to show those to my friends and family. I still print and frame images here at the home office, but love having a large variety of photos scrolling on the Meural Canvas II. This is a welcome addition at the house for sure!

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1 comment:

Sanderling crew said...

Jeff, great blog. RE the Meural Canvas ii, how can I create data for my personal photos that will show with an explanation, etc, of the photo, such as that available with a swipe up with the pre-programmed images available from Netgear? Right now, all I get is the file name of the photo when I swipe up. Is it just EXIF data, or is something more required?