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From phone to frame: Best apps for printing your photos
Erin Lodi | Published: May 3, 2013 at 17:42 UTC17
Free in the Apple App Store
I was able to sign in with my existing Mpix account using the app and therefore didn’t have to tap out my shipping information on my phone, which can be tedious.
Some selections were familiar, with prints available in both E-Surface (a matte finish professional paper) and Fuji Pearl (a pearlescent finish that Mpix promises will “last a lifetime with typical home storage”). The Mpix Tap to Print app also offers some of the best editing options in a printing app we've seen for basic cropping and a single button to convert an image to black and white. Print sizes in the app range from 4x4 to 5x15.
Prices are $0.29 USD for the basic E-Surface finish, and $0.59 USD for the Fuji Pearl finish, in the smallest 4x4 size available.
I opted for the more expensive Fuji Pearl finish for three of my prints and the E-Surface option for the other three. My six prints totaled $2.64 with shipping at $3.95 for a total of $6.59.
I received both a confirmation email about my order and the email confirming my prints had been shipped included a tracking number.
The prints arrived in some of the most nondescript packaging we've seen, with a final order receipt that doesn't ever mention the Mpix name. The quality was excellent, and the Fuji Pearl finish is definitely worth the extra .30 cents, as the metallic quality to the Fujicolor professional paper print really stands out amongst the apps we tested.
Price: Starting at $0.29 USD for the smallest 4x4-inch print available.
What we like: Existing Mpix customers are recognized; high-quality prints. The Fuji Pearl finish was especially attractive.
What we don't like: The lack of information on the packaging was a bit disconcerting.
Free from Google Play and the Apple App Store
Kicksend immediately felt awkward as photo choice is organized by date the image was taken, not the folders you may have set up in your photo library. It's a bit annoying if you’ve set up a folder of images you’d like to print. The grid format also means tough to see your images any larger to ensure you’re selecting the right one.
Kicksend offers free shipping on orders of 10 images or more. The smallest 4x4 print is more expensive at $0.69 USD than the 4x6 at $0.49. Sizes also include 8x10 for $3.99 and 5x7 for $0.99. I added on a couple more photos to make it to the free shipping category, for a total of $6.90, with free shipping expected to take 3-5 days.
You can also order prints to be picked up from a nearby Walgreens.
Kicksend's shipping confirmation email was clear with a link to status updates of my order on their website. The prints come with a satin finish on Kodak paper.
Price: The smallest 4x4 print is more expensive at $0.69 USD than the 4x6 at $0.49; free shipping for orders of 10 or more prints.
What we like: Easy to use interface, free shipping, high-quality prints.
What we don't like: The app forces you to select from the images on your phone as organized by date, not the folders you might be used to or have set up.
We've compiled some basic info about each app we reviewed into the chart below to easily compare platform, pricing and our star ratings:
We've not specifically called out delivery times for each app, as all delivery schedules were met promptly as promised, typically within 2-3 days.
We have to give credit to Shutterfly for creating, if not the flashiest app, one that worked well and gave plenty of options. The integration with existing Shutterfly accounts is seamless and the prints were of good quality.
Another app may work better for you; since they are free to download, it's worth doing your own experimenting to discover what you prefer. And remember that for nearly all such printing apps, it makes sense to have final versions of your pictures cropped and edited before importing them into the app. Use editing software that saves your images at full resolution to achieve the best results in your prints.
We know there are countless other apps for printing images from your smartphone -- tell us about your favorites in the comments section below.