Review: LyveHome

And you thought digital picture frames were dead! Ha!

LyveHome is a fun little concept, combining the picture frame with network-attached storage (NAS) to create a sorta-all-new category of device. Specifically focused on photos and videos, the idea is refreshingly simple. Just plug the LyveHome, a device about the size of a soda can, into the wall, connect it to your network (via Ethernet or Wi-Fi) and start copying over your pictures and movies.

You can do this manually, via a USB connection or SD card slot on the device, or you can leverage the LyveHome’s real value: Its connections to other devices. Through downloadable apps, you can hook the Lyve system into Windows or MacOS computers, iOS devices, or Android handsets. The app then automatically copies all your pics and videos to the LyveHome device, where they’re stored away for safekeeping… and where you can watch them automatically scroll along on the device’s miniature touchscreen display, screen saver-like.

These two pieces—the Lyve app and the LyveHome hardware—work together in tandem, and without both of them the system is basically useless. Lyve says it “isn’t a solution for storing your life’s memories,” but if that’s true, I don’t know what it is. This is a networked hard drive backup system with a touchscreen specifically designed for checking out pictures. Lyve calls this “a solution for experiencing, rediscovering, and sharing” your memories, but that seems awfully ambitious for a little white box that has to be plugged in all the time.

On its own, the Lyve app is pretty cool. Even if you don’t use the LyveHome hardware, it makes for a fun way to scroll through your photo collection, letting you zoom in and out of dates as you get a snazzy pictorial view of your past. By default, photos only copy to the LyveHome from your phone when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, but you can set it to use your cellular plan if you’re a glutton for punishment and a big overrun bill.

With 2 full terabytes of storage inside, you can safely assume this device will be wholly obsolete before you ever fill it up with photos. It’s the kind of gadget you’d give to grandma (set it up for her, mmmkay?) so she can see an instant feed of grandkid photos delivered directly from your phone, right when you take them. (Just be careful with the selfies.) At 300 bucks, though, it’s a pricey gift, so consider telling her that it counts for both Christmas and her birthday.

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