Handling/Ease of Use
Value For Money
This year I wanted a photo book to give as a Christmas present. I wanted it to be good quality, something that had various layouts to choose from, good photo editing facilities and overall good appearance. So I tried out The Photo Book Store, to see what they could offer.
The Photo Book Store Photobook Features
I was impressed with the choice on offer and I selected a 25x25cm faux leather covered photo book. I wanted a slightly more sophisticated and traditional look and the leather finish provided that with gold metal edges and a gold embossed message could be written on the cover. There are 4 variations of the photo book which are, hardcover, leather, wedding and lay flat. Each category has 6 options of the style to choose from, except wedding which only has 3. The books offer a similar specification description which is, free backgrounds, special effects, layouts and clip art graphics. All are printed on gloss photo paper.
The Photo Book Store Photobook Handling / Ease of Use
Even though the products are listed on the website, you don't see all the options. You have to download the software first to see all the available options. The downloadable software is 1.71KB and the setup wizard is 43.3MB. This took only 4 minutes to download and then I followed the setup wizard. On opening the software, I had to run an update scan and install updates for their software. This is not just a one off occurrence. If you decide you want to save your item and return later, you will have have to run an updater every time you load up the software, this is particularly annoying.
After reviewing the list of photo books available again, I chose the photo book I wanted, clicked on the continue button underneath which then lead me to the full description. I was happy with it so clicked on the order now button, to continue.
Using the software took a bit of time to get used to, but was quite straight forward when I'd gone through all the variable options. Although I found the layout of the software a little cluttered, there were many options to choose from. I could customise the backgrounds, the framing of the photograph, add clip art images, change the overall layout to fit as many photos as I wished onto the same page and could also override the template by dragging items around. I particularly like the fact I could also add text to the pages if needed to narrate the images.
I could do a little photo editing but the features were basic, auto enhance (which didn't look much different), red eye, contrast and brightness. All of which were editable on a slider scale. Uploading your photographs was easy as it allowed you to scroll through your folders, view each picture and click on the photo you wanted or click their add photo button. I could preview the calendar before ordering which was useful and could opt to preview in 2D or 3D. I chose 3D which took some time loading up and the end result wasn't great. You view your photo book as if it was on a table in a house and produces a mini movie, however it wasn't smooth it kept stopping and starting so I switched to 2D which was perfectly fine.
The book took a total of 3.5 hours to make, going through the downloading procedure and changing all the variable details. I was working on a netbook which only has a small screen and I think having a bigger monitor would have greatly speeded up the process as there were so many applications and options that I had to keep scrolling through.
The Photo Book Store Photobook Performance
The website suggests that the product will take 7 days from order to delivery but I was pleasantly surprised to see it arrive 3 days later. The photo book was delivered in a flat cardboard enveloped packet and had to be signed for. The colour quality of the prints was extremely good and the effects used came out just how I previewed them. The image quality was a little softer than I would have liked but that was more down to my photos rather than the print.
Value for Money
When I selected my photo book, I thought it was very pricey coming in at £59.99 for 26 pages. I then thought about the cover, the amount of photos that could be displayed and printed, the size and the little details like the embossed writing, which really make a nice finish. However, when I placed my order at the checkout it charged £9.99 post and packaging totalling at £69.98. I thought this was an unnecessary expenditure as the packaging for the product is nothing special and I wasn't impressed. For the quality of what you receive the overall price is still pretty reasonable, but I would have been a happier customer if I had known about the expensive post and packaging pricing from the start.
The Photo Book Store Photobook Verdict
Unfortunately the layout and software is a little bit clumsy for my liking but overall the photo book store produced a good quality product, great colours and prints on quality gloss paper. If you have a little extra money to spend then it's definitely worthwhile choosing the leather cover. I'm glad I did as it gives a real quality over other photo book products that are on the market and makes a superb gift. I'm very happy with the outcome.
||The leather photobook is a high quality product with great colours and prints.
The Photo Book Store Photobook Pros
Lots of customisable affects
The Photo Book Store Photobook Cons
A little pricey for some
Expensive post and packaging charges
|VALUE FOR MONEY
Available from The Photo Book Store