Pixum sets itself apart from other online photo-printing services with an awesome array of printing format options, and free, easy to use photobook-creation software.

Pixum's EasyBook Photo Book software works with Windows PCs, as well as Intel-based Macs running OS X 10.5, and Linux systems. We tested the Windows version.

You get a choice of four different portrait or landscape formats, ranging from 21x28cm, down to 14x13cm. And you select a variety of cover finishes and bindings. Images are resized to at least 360dpi, to maintain picture quality.

User support is the name of the game - the EasyBook Assistant creates good-looking photobooks with barely any user interaction, grouping pictures by metadata. Select an image folder and your pagination, and the software populates the book. This works well and is a real time-saver.

But it's your photobook, and you want to get creative. EasyBook obliges. Create a photobook sans Assistant and you're presented with a tri-pane window. To the left is a file explorer to locate images, as well as a design selector tab, and pagination and layout controls. The number of potential design options is staggering. The interface is beautifully laid out, and easy to use.

The top pane allows you to select a page to work on and the central window previews your book in all its glory, spread by spread. Adding, moving, rotating and resizing pictures is a case of drag-and-drop, as is inputting text. Options are plentiful, but you can always choose just how much input you want to have.

That's if you have the talent and inclination to go for it. But non-designers need not worry. Even without the Assistant, EasyBook is intuitive beyond compare. You can save your project at any time in the .mcf (Media Container Format) file format, so if you don't print it, you can still save your endeavours and it won't cost a penny - but you won't be able to print it with anyone other than Pixum.

NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict

Pixum EasyBook Photo Book: Specs

  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • Max OS X 10.5 or later
  • Linux Kernel 2.6
  • 10MB hard disk space
  • internet connection
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • Max OS X 10.5 or later
  • Linux Kernel 2.6
  • 10MB hard disk space
  • internet connection

OUR VERDICT

In a crowded market, Pixum EasyBook Photo Book is similar to the software provided by competitors such as Blurb, so we shouldn’t be too effusive. But in terms of ease of use and creative options, it's hard to imagine it being beaten.

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