The PhotoBox Photo Book Test – Experiences & rating
The Photobox Layflat book is a premium brand product. The price is at or even above the level of real photo books, but also a very harmonious color reproduction and a high quality workmanship is offered. A general plus point of Photobox is the wide range of equipment variants, especially with the envelopes. If you are looking for a special book, you are in the right place at Photobox.
The Layflat photobook from Photobox
Founded in 2006 by a British and French company, Photobox relies on photobooks with the "certain extra" and stands out from other providers. A typical example is the 2014 newly published photo yearbook, in which the year is punched out of the cover. Another the Swarovski photobook with crystals on the cover. But originality is not everything with a photo book provider. Whether at Photobox the quality is right, we have tested for you. Read for yourself.
Product range at Photobox
In addition to a large selection of photo books, Photobox also offers numerous other photo gifts: calendars, mousepads or mobile phone cases can be individually designed and ordered at Photobox. Even those looking for personal posters, canvases and printed textiles will find what they are looking for at Photobox.
Photobooks at Photobox
Photobox has a very large selection of different photo books and formats. A first overview offers the homepage, but who wants to grasp the whole range, must click to the photo books and take the trouble to look through the different formats.
The variety is huge: it ranges from the photo book in mini format with 9×7 cm to the special XXL picture book with 28.3 x 37.1 cm. Some formats are only available with certain cover versions. Overall, the selection of book covers is huge and the most diverse we’ve seen in our tests so far. Among them are really special and unusual variants such as a photo book, on the cover of which the year is omitted and deposited with own pictures.
Other special features include a fabric photo book called “Kuschel-Fotobuch” for the baby. And finally, Photobox is one of the few companies to offer digital printing with layflat binding, ie a binding in which the pages lie flat even in the fold in the middle. The type of binding is otherwise only common in the real photo book. In digital printing, an adhesive binding is usually used, in which, however, image information is lost in the middle of the book. It was exactly this type of book that we selected for the test because we were interested in how much it resembles a real-life photo book and how it beats the widely used digitally printed books with perfect binding.
Photo book editor at Photobox
To make your photo book at Photobox, you have to work with an online editor. A software is not offered. This is problematic for anyone who does not have a permanent Internet connection, e.g. if you want to design your book while on the go. Conversely, it is very convenient for anyone working on their work from different computers or in a team. It also has the advantage that so many different operating systems can be used.
Design possibilities of Photobox
On the homepage of Photobox you look for the desired product and click on “create now”. Then open the online editor and the image selection. The pictures can still be sorted according to different categories.
Thereafter, Photobox offers either a layout proposal or the start with an empty photo book.
As always, we started with the layout suggestion to find out how it turns out. We like the result very well: the arrangement of the pictures corresponds to the order we specified when selecting the photo. It is also nice that the layout adapts according to the image formats. In addition, pages with just one picture alternate pleasantly with others, on which several pictures can be seen.
In addition to the automatically created layout, you can individually specify the title of his work. Also, one can opt for a continuous background design that runs through the entire book. Photobox offers a selection of different topics such as “wedding” or “travel”.
You can also edit photos, insert texts or change format. The appearance and operation of the software are similar to other providers: You can create image and text boxes and change the corners or edges in their size.
Layout, backgrounds and designs
If you want to change the overall design of a page, Photobox offers a wide selection of different layout templates. These are rather straightforward and simple. In addition, Photobox supports the design with complete page designs including background and frame effects. For other providers, this usually means “theme” or “design”, but with Photobox these complete layouts are confusingly hidden in the tab “Background” under the menu item “Templates”:
If you are looking for pure background motifs, simply select one of the themes (for example, wedding) from the drop-down menu instead of “templates”. It relies on a tendentially withdrawn design with more neutral colors.
To edit the pictures at Photobox, you have to select the desired photo and click on “Edit Photo”. Then you can correct, for example, red eyes, change the saturation and brightness or post-process the image with various effects. The effects are very similar to those of Instragram and give the photo a special touch.
However, it is not possible to tailor a picture as with other providers individually. After all, you can change the section by zooming in or out with a slider further into the picture.
Picture frames, clipart and masks
Masks are not available at Photobox. The frames that are offered are also rather simple and clear. For this Photobox offers a large selection of cliparts, which are sorted by topic. Original here are mainly the speech bubbles and beards.
Text design at Photobox
At Photobox you can either insert texts individually with a corresponding box or select a layout with a text field. You can then design the letters in different fonts and colors. The selection is varied, but not huge.
Preview and control at Photobox
Photobox already supports customers in the quality assurance of book production: a smiley icon indicates how the quality of the image will be in print. In addition, a warning symbol will alert customers to photos that can only be printed in poorer quality.
In addition, there is a preview function for the final inspection, in which the photo book is displayed larger and without a tool table. At Photobox, however, we missed the opportunity to zoom in to the layout view, for example to look at the alignment of image boxes in detail.
All in all, the provider supports the customer well in the final inspection, as it also indicates missing image or text boxes. However, we are critical that Photobox does not show any cropping margins. (If you want to know more about what this is, read our article on final corrections in photo books) Unfortunately that does not mean that there is no cropping at Photobox. Namely, this always occurs due to manufacturing technology. If the cropping area is marked in color as with other providers, you can design yourself as a book designer and place no important elements such as text there. This security is missing at Photobox.
Ordering process at Photobox
Before the photo book can be ordered, Photobox first checks whether any errors exist. Anyone who has ignored the warnings so far, now gets a chance to correct.
Afterwards the order process runs similarly as with other offerers: One creates a customer account or logs on. Photobox also displays different cover styles, which you can change on request and with a corresponding surcharge. It may be seen by some as “unnecessary” advertising, while others may find it helpful, especially as the variety of book types on the site may be confusing at the beginning.
Infomails and delivery time at Photobox
A confirmation email we received shortly after the order. After a week, we received an update that our photo book due to increased demand can be processed only with a delay. After less than two weeks, it was finally in our mailbox.
Transport safety of the packaging
Our photo book was in a sturdy cardboard box, in which it was additionally fixed with a foil. The film prevents slipping in the envelope and so our work arrived unscathed at us.
Material and photo quality of the photobox photobook
At first glance, the photobox book looks like a real photo book, even though it is a digital print: it is relatively thick and has the promised flat weave. The pages themselves are slightly thinner than the real photo book, but you only notice that in direct comparison. The book looks high-quality – but the book block is not stuck right at the front. Because he is black, this is only noticeable if you look very closely.
The color reproduction is very good. The colors are bright and brilliant – as expected in the dull book but not as intense as in high gloss. The skin tones are very natural and have a minimal warm tone and are rendered relatively bright.
Interestingly, a raster as usual in digital printing is hardly recognizable even under the magnifying glass (see our macro picture, which shows a small section of the forehead). Again, a plus for the photobox book.
Black and white pictures at the photobox photo book
The shades of gray in our test books are very well reproduced. The hat brim in our test image stands out well from the dark background still visible. The black is very full for a matte finish.
Text playback in the Photobox photo book
The text reproduction of our test books is as sharp as digital printing. Even the writing in 6 point is still legible.
Logo and barcode at the photobox photo book
On the back is a logo at the bottom center.
Service at Photobox
The hotline at Photobox can be reached on weekdays from 9:00 to 18:00 and on weekends from 10:00 to 18:00. In addition to the hotline you can also ask his question to a photo box employee in chat. First you can read the frequently asked question in the FAQ’s. In our test contact, the support was very nice and hard-working, but had difficulty answering more complex questions – such as about cropping margins.
Value for money at Photobox
Overall, you get a good quality at Photobox. We especially liked that our test book looks like a real photo book, even though it’s a digital print. However, the price of photobox is more than comparable brand providers – at least when you pay the normal price and not one of the numerous discount campaigns perceives the photobox its customers repeatedly offers. We ordered our square test book in the Lay-Flat binding with the dimensions 21cm x 21cm and paid 51,90 for the 46 pages.
In direct comparison: The brand provider CEWE pays for a real photo book in the same size 40.75 euros (but also for only 42 pages). Digital printing costs 32.15 euros there. The discounter Lidl is even only 27.75 euros for a real photo book to shell (but for a 20.5 x 20.5 cm slightly smaller book), in digital printing even only 21.45 euros (for 2 pages less). In addition, the shipping in Photobox with 5.90 is also significantly more expensive than the other providers. At CEWE, it is 3.99 euros and at Lidl you even pay only 2.95 euros for shipping.
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