“ Brand: Lidl / Type: Stationery - Photo Book „
A few months ago I made a photo book of my time in Colombia and was impressed with the results, so when an offer from Lidl came up for a FREE book with FREE postage (details at the end of the review) I decided I would have another one, this time with my cheerleading photos (as official prints at competitions can be quite expensive). I do think they can be nice little momentos, and as this one was free I didn't bother shopping around to see what else was on offer.
It's a bit of a pain, but for each different company you use, you need to have different software, so the first step in getting one of these it to download the Lidl stuff onto your desktop. This takes a while to install itself, so I set it off while watching TV (you're advised to close all programs before installing it, so I couldn't keep surfing). About 15 minutes later it was ready to use, and I quickly realized it was worth the wait as now I had the software so could work offline and just upload the finished product rather than being at the mercy of my bandwidth for the entire duration of the scrapbooking. If you've ever made a photo book, you'll be familiar with the fact that it's not the straight forward process you might expect, and you need to spend time arranging and rearranging your pics to get them just right.
I was lucky in a way as the offer dictated which book I could have in terms of size and length, so I didn't have to um and err over it, and ended up with a 26 page "mini" book which actually measures a quite respectful 14cm square. Lidl think you can fit 4 photos onto each page, but I prefer larger views, so I altered the template so I had just one photo per page. It's a decent sized book as you can fit in photos in both portrait and landscape orientation without a lot of wasted space, but when the book arrived I did feel the portrait ones looked a little better, simply because of the way the book was bound. In addition to orientation, you can choose to set your photos at a jaunty angle (anything from 0 to 90 degrees).
Standard photobook formatting options apply, so you can change the background and add text (either a caption, or a full page) but at least in respect of the former, I prefer a plain background that doesn't detract from the photos, and since my pics are quite dark (our uniform is predominantly navy blue), I decided a bright, white background would be best. The same went for the cover - I opted for plain white with a single picture - though you could make it look a lot fancier if you wanted. The overall process of adding photos was quick and simple. Photos from any location on your PC can be added, and though you have to drag them in individually, it remembers the last location used which is helpful if they're all together in one folder. Although some of my photos aren't wonderful quality (some are screenshots from our 15 seconds of fame on BBC1 for example) the software didn't object as some do at times, and let me import all the photos I wanted to. I also made use of the page add/delete function to insert extra pages if there was something I'd forgotten, as there's no way to drag photos from one page to another.
Once my book was ready I uploaded it and went through checkout. The voucher code worked, and I had my confirmation email almost immediately. That was on Friday night, and my book was delivered on Tuesday which I think is an excellent turn around. The book arrived in a sturdy envelope which wouldn't fit through my admittedly small letterbox. Inside I was surprised to see the book had a printed LIDL embossed cover, but this could be torn off carefully to reveal the cover I had personalized. Overall, I am happy with the book (how could I not be when it was FREE?) but compared to my other book (from Truprint) I have noticed differences in quality. The paper in this Lidl one is much thinner and feels cheaper, and the binding is also less subtle (2 spine staples, visible from the outside). That said, the photo quality is an accurate representation of the originals, there's no bleeding at the edges, and the images are nice and sharp. By nature of the paper and design, the book is a bit flimsy and I think it could get damaged if flung carelessly in a handbag for toting around, but if carefully stored on a shelf or in a drawer, I can't see it falling to bits any time soon.
My only niggle about the book is the angled photos which looked much better on screen. In practice they looked a bit as if the paper had been fed in to the printer wonkily rather than as if they were deliberately angled, and if I were to do this again, I wouldn't bother with this feature and would just use straight photos.
This is a more basic photobook than some, but that doesn't mean it's awful. It's fine for what it is, and while I wouldn't order another just like it if I had to pay (I think some of the optional upgrades would be worth it) there's nothing really wrong with it, so it gets a reasonable 3 stars.
This photobook should cost £4.99 plus £1.33 postage. Until 31st December you can get one FREE by using this code at the checkout which covers both the item cost and postage: