Popular consumer ratings site, Tom’s Guide, has for the second-straight year selected Mixbook as the top choice for photo cards. Unlike other reviews we’ve criticized here at The Dead Pixels Society, the Tom’s Guide review at least has someone knowledgeable – veteran photo-industry writer, Sally Weiner Grotta – conducting the test. The list of tested companies, however, was a little on the light side. Certainly leaders like Mixbook, Picaboo, Snapfish, etc., should be included, but would one would expect to see Shutterfly, AdoramaPix, Walmart, Walgreens, MPix or other photo-focused brands included before general business-focused printers like GotPrint and VistaPrint. Even better, it would be interesting to see some pick-up-at-retail or photo-specialty retailer in the mix.
“After testing eight of the more popular sites for photo products, Mixbook received our Editors’ Choice for photo postcards, because that site’s software best enables your creativity while still being easy to use. And the photo card that Mixbook produced is beautifully printed, with great color, dynamic range and clarity,” wrote the review. “Our best-value pick is GotPrint: Although its software isn’t as fun to use or intuitive as Mixbook’s, this site still produced a quality postcard for a very reasonable price.”
Below are the direct links to the specific reviews:
To conduct the test, the testers designed a two-sided party invitation, which included a photo on the front, with relevant clip art and type on both the front and back. “We aimed to use a background with a starry sky, an oval-shaped photo, text rotated at an angle and drop shadows throughout,” according to the review. “However, several of the services did not permit some, or many of these customizations.
“We used a photo of a friend hugging her dog, a black labrador retriever. We did no editing of the photo, before or after inserting it into the postcards. That way, no variables would be introduced that might skew our judging of the various sources’ photo reproduction.”
The testers selected the default stock, and rated the software on ease-of-use, UI and workflow, creative flexibility, and template, clipart, background and effects quality. After the cards were delivered, the jury rated on the cards on overall appeal and quality, photo quality, overall appeal and quality, photo quality, color and skin tones, dynamic range, focus and clarity, and type quality.