Reviews

Review: Mini Box Photo Book

As someone who enjoys photography and travel I like having mementos to look back on once I’m home – a way to share the memories with friends and family. Photo books are a great way to do that.

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A sample from inside my Mini Box photo book

I’d planned to put together a photo book of our Cape York trip last year but somehow hadn’t found the time. A Groupon deal was the motivation I needed.

I’d never heard of the Mini Box website before so didn’t really know what to expect with quality or speed of delivery, but I was pleasantly surprised with the whole experience.

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The Mini Box website after signing in to start creating

I’m not going to say it was completely hassle free… but any complications I had were minor. Fellow Mac users, don’t even try to use the web based photo book editor in Safari! It just won’t work. I tried for quite a while to upload photos with error messages each time. I found this is a common issue described in the FAQ’s and downloaded another browser just for this purpose – problem solved.

The editor itself is straight-forward to use. I didn’t read through their How-To guide before attempting the project and, other than the Safari-related hiccup, had no problems. I kept the design quite simple with a white background and basic page layouts. I’m not one for bright, colourful embellishments, but they are available if you’d like them. I used their page layout options and found it was quick and easy – photos would automatically scale to fit the layout when you’d drag-and-drop.

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The photo book editor

I chose to label the pages and/or photos with white text so in years to come I didn’t have to rely on my memory to recall where the photos were taken. Unfortunately the text formatting is limited to fonts and basic colours only, with no features like outline or shadow. As a result the white text I chose is a little difficult to read on some lighter photos. This issue could have been overcome by using other text colours, but I wanted to keep the white text consistent throughout.

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The editing options for text

I took my time putting together the book, coming and going from the editor over roughly a week. There was never any issues with my work not saving. Even the check out process was straight-forward. I selected the standard postage and handling option (5-10 days) and received my book in 9 days. I ended up with 34 pages in my book, and the regular retail price would have been $75.99 (correct at the time of posting this review).

I was very happy with how the book was packaged. Being a hard-cover book it would have been difficult to bend, but the box was still clearly labeled with “Photographs Please Do Not Bend”. The book itself was wrapped in plastic.

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The photo book immediately after unboxing

The leather-look cover style is of good quality. I would have loved more cover colour options, but black was the only colour on offer. The book is also well bound. Print quality is good, I was certainly happy. Perhaps if you were a professional photographer you’d prefer something with higher print quality – and higher price tag as a result – but for a hobbyist it more than satisfies the brief.

A close-up of the print quality – minor ghosting of the text and pixelation of the image

Overall, I have to say I’m really pleased with the experience using Mini Box. With the Groupon voucher it was excellent value for money, the Mini Box website was easy to use (despite the incompatibility with Safari), the product quality was great, and they delivered within the timeframe I chose. I’m definitely a happy customer!

I am not associated with Mini Box or Groupon and have received no renumeration or discounts for my comments in this post. I’m simply a customer of both websites who wanted to share my positive experience with others who may be considering the Mini Box photo books. 

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