Best photo book: 10 reviewed

Apple 20 page xl hardcover book

Apple 20-page xl hardcover book

Apple's Mac-only photo book service runs directly through its iPhoto program installed on all Macs. Hardcover books come in two sizes (both with 20-page pagination): L (28x21.5cm) costs £20.39; XL (33x25.4cm) costs £41.72. As with most products from Apple, that's rather expensive – in fact, it's the most expensive service in this test.

Using iPhoto is convenient, and it means that photos of any size can be used, unlike with some other companies. However, the collection of page presets is somewhat small, and you aren't able to make intricate adjustments to them. You simply drag and drop your images into ready-made templates. For some presets, this seems too restrictive. For example, on the 16-photo single page template, all 16 frames must be used for photos, and it isn't possible to use, say, the 16th space, for text.

Apple software interface

Apple software interface

Fortunately, full bleed and double-page spread layouts are included, and the latter has the very cool ability to show exactly how your image will look when it crosses the fold – no more guess work! Once images are placed, they can be enlarged using a slider, and easily dragged around the image box area.

When Apple's photo book arrived nine working days after ordering, the packaging was an impressive sight. The book itself has a printed jacket rather than a print on the cover – Apple doesn't provide this option. Print quality is top notch, so it's just a bit of a shame that there isn't more room for manoeuvre in the production process.

Product details

Price: £41.72 (20-page XL Hardcover book)
Size: 33x25.4cm
Postage: £5.99

Formats: Mac via iPhoto
Delivery time: Nine working days


Easy to use
Photos already in iPhoto
Great for the novice
Gutter previews in double-page spreads


The rigid presets offer no ability for tweaking the layout


2 stars