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We were looking for a high quality calendar as a gift and wanted something that let us customise the look, layout and appearance of the calendar. We also wanted the calendar to be delivered quickly, so we gave Bob Books a try and found their calendar designs were just what we were looking for.
Bob Books is a quick 1.4mb installer download, then a 104mb download of Bob Designer 3.0 which is actually made by CEWE, although the calendar options don't seem to be available on the CEWE website, so it made sense to use Bob Books.
- Decide what month to start
- Gloss photographic paper
- 200gsm semi-gloss paper
- White metallic spiral binding
- Protective acetate cover.
- Available in four sizes; A3 Portrait, A4 Portrait, Double A4 Landscape and A4 Slim
Luckily after it was installed it didn't seem to need updating! The program gave a good choice of calendars, let us choose the design of the calendar, and the colour scheme, as well as alter each individual month. Choosing photos was quite straightforward as it let you browse your file structure, drag into the calendar and then you could right click and re-locate the photos you'd put in. You can also browse photos in Windows explorer and drag them straight into the boxes in the calendar pages, making it even easier to put photos into the program.
Editing photos is possible in Bob Books, however after altering the photo (contrast, brightness), it didn't seem to actually alter the photo in the calendar editing program. Also, the colour adjustments seemed very basic and didn't provide the effect we were looking for, which was to simply make an image look warmer when it looked "cold". In the end I decided to set the "Auto Image Correction" option to "On" and hope that this "Recommended" setting really would produce better looking photos.
It would be nice if it gave feedback on image quality like FotoInsight, as I wasn't sure how some of the photos would turn out printed on an A3 calendar, especially as some of the images were from photos taken on 2004 digital cameras - but we could see in the software the lower quality images and tried to keep them in smaller frames. For example one of the photos we uploaded was a 2mp resized version instead of a full 10mp photo, and it would have been useful if the software advised us the image was too small for the size we wanted it printed.
Software performance: I noticed the computer whirring up it's fans, which prompted me to check the (Geek alert!) CPU / RAM usage, and while the CPU usage was low, the RAM usage was high, as the Bob Books software was using 1.2Gb of RAM! Also using quite a lot was Bob Books Photo Editor, using 256Mb, this seemed quite slow even when just opening images full size, which seemed a shame, as it would have been nice to use it to go through photos quicker. However you're probably best just viewing all the images through Windows own image viewer if you just want to review them quickly.
Previewing the calendar was useful and helped give us a good idea of what it was going to look like when viewing each individual page. Putting the calendar together took around 2 hours, although this was mostly due to us re-arranging photos and changing the layout of the pages to suit. It also didn't help that once you'd put the photo in one box, you couldn't then drag that photo from one area of the calendar to another, so it would have sped up the process massively if we had put our photos into one folder on the computer to start with.
At the end we saved the project so that we can alter or reorder if needed, and it saved as a file and folder taking around 97mb on the computer with a copy of all the photos used. While uploading the photos, the software shows you the photos you have chosen which was a nice surprise.
The printed calendar features a clear plastic front cover, under which you will find the front cover. We opted for simply the year and one photo, however you can customise this with your own text. The photo quality was very good, with accurate colours and photos looking very similar to what we saw on screen when previewing the calendar. We were concerned about the lower resolution photo that we uploaded by mistake but quality was better than expected.
Value For MoneyThe price of large A3 Portrait Calendars seems to be pretty standardised across the board regardless of who you order from, with the Bob Books calendar costing £18.99, plus £3 P&P. Alternatives to look at include iPrintPhoto, and FotoInsight.
DeliveryWe ordered late on 29/11/11, finishing the order off at around 11.30pm, the next day we got an email saying it has been dispatched 30/11/11. The calendar arrived on 02/12/11, 3 days later and was well packaged in a solid flat cardboard envelope.
|Bob Books give a lot of choice and deliver a high quality photo calendar quickly!|
Bob Books Photo Calendar ProsQuick delivery
Easy to use software
Lots of options for layout
Editing photos don't seem to apply to calendar
Bob Books Photo Calendar Cons
Doesn't allow dragging photos once placed
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Available from: http://www.bobbooks.co.uk