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From phone to frame: Best apps for printing your photos

19
 Which are the best apps for moving your photos from your phone to your life?

While vast improvements in camera phone technology have more of us relying on "the camera that's always with you" more than ever before, we also seem to be printing our photographs less and less. Some snaps probably should be relegated only to our online social network sharing, but other mobile images seem deserving of a place in the physical world.

A growing crop of apps now make it easy to send your photos from phone to frame -- but which do it best? We researched dozens and narrowed it down to eight that looked promising enough to fully test using some smartphone snapshots from my recent vacation to Hawaii. 

We limited our review to apps that send printouts of your photos from your phone to your doorstep. There's plenty more than can send your order to be printed at a store, and others that specialize in more creative options like postcards and stickers, but for a straightforward mobile solution for moving your photos from the digital to the physical world, try out these apps and don't miss our comparison chart of all of them on page 3.

Print Studio

Free in the Apple App Store 

Print Studio offers business card-sized prints with a matte finish.

Print Studio specializes in thick, matte “miniprints” which resemble business card-sized versions of your images. The app is only for iOS; although an Android version is in the works, a web version is also available.

The app's user interface is cute and friendly. You can select from your images in a grid display, or tap on an image to switch to a larger scrolling view -- very helpful for reviewing images at a larger scale and ensuring you're ordering the correct print.

The order review screen is simple, you'll just use the up or down arrows to confirm the order amount for each print. The number at the top of the screen will help you track those 48 prints for your first order. Print Studio charges $15 USD for the first 48 prints, and $5 for each additional 20 prints. You'll be charged $15 for your first order regardless of how many prints you select, so you might as well make it 48 because you’ll pay the same for 6 or 48 images.

You can select from your images in a grid display, or tap on an image to switch to a larger scrolling view.
Use the arrows to confirm the order amount for each print. The number at the top of the screen will help you track how many prints you've ordered.

The high-tech checkout process snaps a photo of your credit card -- much easier than typing all those numbers in one by one.

A charming confirmation email from the team seals the deal, then an email from FedEx on behalf of Social Print Studio offers a tracking link to follow your order. Shipping (available worldwide) was prompt and the prints come neatly wrapped in two stacks. The quality and color was superb, and the size is just different enough to make them uniquely shareable.

Price$15 USD for the first 48 prints, $5 for each additional 20 prints

What we like: Unique, shareable size, quality prints. Easy purchase process.
 
What we don't like: No options for additional sizes. A little pricey compared to other apps.
 
Rating: 
 
 
 

Printic 

Free in the Apple App Store 

Printic delivers Polaroid-style images to your doorstep.

Printic's clever orange envelope concept follows the order process from start to finish.

You can select from your photo albums, or pull down the "Wanna use another source?" tab to choose photos from Instagram or Facebook. Once you've made your choices, you'll see the now nearly ubiquitous symbol for editing, the pencil, in the lower right corner of the image. You can change the number of prints (up to 30), crop the image to fit the 1:1 ratio format as you desire (otherwise the crop is automatically made for you), add a message underneath the image or remove it from your selection of prints. You can send your images to more than one address, and add another custom message if you desire.

The final screen before making your purchase is especially cute: you’ll see all images and can scroll through them as they appear to slide in and out of Printic’s signature orange envelope. Printic promises you'll see the physical version of this orange envelope containing your Polaroid-style prints in your mailbox in less than three days. 

Printic lets you select from images on your smartphone, or Facebook or Instagram.
Printic's cute confirmation interface puts your images into a digital orange envelope, then delivers the real thing to your door.

Printic will send you a confirmation email and ship confirmation email, but no tracking mechanism is included.

We found the whole process rather charming, along with the lo-fi look of the Polaroid format. The glossy prints showed good color quality.

Price: Prints are $0.99 USD with a three-print minimum. Tax and shipping is included.

What we like: The ability to source prints from your phone, or Instagram or Facebook. Printic offers 50 percent off your first order. Clever user interface.
 
What we don't like: No options for additional sizes.
 
Rating: 
 
 

 

Comments

Total comments: 19
Lacyg27
By Lacyg27 (4 months ago)

I ordered from simple prints over a two ago!
Does anyone know how I can get a hold
Of someone for information?
The money was taken out of my
Account as well 2 months ago.
Not a happy customer!

0 upvotes
Lacyg27
By Lacyg27 (4 months ago)

I meant over 2 months ago

0 upvotes
67gtonr
By 67gtonr (May 7, 2013)

Are there no such apps for WP8 or Blackberries?

0 upvotes
fulgacian
By fulgacian (May 7, 2013)

Unless you're doing serious photo work with the phone, nothing beats going to a local shop, tell them which ones to print, which paper and size, calling a friend, having a coffee, making plans for the weekend, and going back to the shop and taking the pictures home with you. Fast, cheap and pleasing.
I think we've missed the point somewhere.

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (May 7, 2013)

Local shop? Talking to sales people? Having a coffee with a friend? Seems you got way too much time on your hands :-)

0 upvotes
Greatmsg
By Greatmsg (May 6, 2013)

Most photo stores offer free apps and lots of surface and size options. Delivery is fast generally one hour or less or mail. Cost are much lower than the reviews

2 upvotes
Photog74
By Photog74 (May 6, 2013)

If there are no such apps for the particular phone that you use, there is always the option of sending the selected image files to your computer, and then you can use whichever printing service you prefer - or print the photos using your own photo printer.

0 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (May 6, 2013)

The whole point of these apps is to avoid transferring them to a computer. Of course you can stick them onto a USB stick and take them to your local printing service but that's not as convenient as doing all straight form the phone.

0 upvotes
DotCom Editor
By DotCom Editor (May 3, 2013)

Gee, no Qimage app yet?

0 upvotes
003tvd
By 003tvd (May 3, 2013)

Are there phone-to-retail-store apps so one can pick up prints in an hour? It would need to be a local shop, of course, or a multi-location outfit.

0 upvotes
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (May 3, 2013)

There are -- please see the section on Kicksend. (And I'm sure there are others.)

0 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (May 3, 2013)

Perhaps you can do another article discussing which apps play nice with easy home printing straight from the phone. We bought a Canon MX890 wireless printer a while back and I keep a stack of 4x6 photo paper in the top loader for phone prints. Works like a charm and the prints look great. Much more fun than waiting for the mail.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
7 upvotes
Erin Lodi
By Erin Lodi (May 3, 2013)

Thanks for the great suggestion!

0 upvotes
Winston Loo
By Winston Loo (May 4, 2013)

I second this idea. I dont live in the US so all the apps reviewed above dont work for me. But i do have a canon pixma and would love a good printing app that can print from iphone to printer.. please review this as well

0 upvotes
fuego6
By fuego6 (May 4, 2013)

Agree... wish wireless printing was much easier with older printers.. they are on the network so why can't my phone just easily print to them? Oh yeah... it's an iphone... that's probably why!

3 upvotes
Swampash
By Swampash (May 4, 2013)

For network printing from my iPad, I use Airprint from Collobos. It works perfectly! You have to install the software on a network computer that has access to the printer you want to use, and that computer has to be "on". Other than that, it just works!

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (May 4, 2013)

That's great swampash, anyone know of a similar app for Android?

0 upvotes
fuego6
By fuego6 (May 5, 2013)

Swampash - just to clairify... airprint is apples wireless print but the software from Collobos is called Fingerprint 2 and runs on the PC/Mac to act like a virtual wireless print server. Thx!

1 upvote
67gtonr
By 67gtonr (May 5, 2013)

So there's nothing for WP8 or Blackberry?

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 19
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