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Mixbook review

Mixbook ties with Printique as the best overall online print service, because of its great software, reasonable prices, and lovely book, calendar and card

Mixbook review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

Mixbook ties with Printique as the best overall online print service, because of its great software, reasonable prices, and lovely book, calendar and card.

For

  • Lovely printed book, calendar and card
  • Versatile, flexible, creative software
  • Easy to use
  • Attractive fully editable templates
  • Generous searchable libraries of great backgrounds, templates, layouts and clip art

Against

  • No drop shadow for text or clip art
  • Weak event management for calendars

Mixbook ties with Printique as the best service for photo books, cards, and calendars. Both produce lovely products, and its software is powerful and versatile, providing just about all the tools necessary to enable users' creativity, while also being easy for novices to master. My test  book, calendar and card from Mixbook have warm, bright, and lively photos, and good print quality. Whatever photo product you’re planning to create and buy, you won’t go wrong with Mixbook, but check out Printique, too.

Mixbook review: Prices

Mixbook photo books
$29.99 for an 8.5 x 8.5-inch hardcover book with a glossy cover. A matte cover costs $5.00 more, and a matte dust jacket costs $5.00. Other size hardcovers include 8.5 x 11 ($39.99) 12 x 12 ($69.99) and 14 x 11 inches ($79.99). Softcover books start at 8 x 6 for $15.99, while layflat books start at $79 for an 8.5 x 8.5-inch book. Leather covered books with a matte dust jacket run from 8 x 8 inches for $44.99 to 14 x 11 for $114.99.

Mixbook calendars
$24.99 for an 11 x 8.5-inch calendar. A 12 x 12-inch calendar costs $29.99, and a 14 x 11-inch calendar costs $34.99.

Mixbook photo cards
Mixbooks’s cards are priced on a sliding scale by volume, and vary depending on what cardstock you choose. A 5 x 7-inch card on its Signature Matte cardstock costs $2.39 each for up to 9 cards (including envelopes). 25 cards are $2.11 each, 50 cards $1.76 each, 100 cards $1.62 each, and so forth. Paper choices include Satin Finish (for 60 cents less per card), Cotton Texture (for 60 cents more per card) and Luxe Board (for $1.50 more per card).  You’ll pay 25 cents each to have your return address printed on the envelopes.

Mixbook review: Software

Mixbook's software is powerful, versatile, and a delight to use, offering both a wide breadth and a depth of features. The easy-to-use interfaces for creating books, cards and calendars are essentially identical, with just a few project-specific differences, such as managing events for calendars.

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Mixbook's attractive templates are fully editable, so I could manipulate all elements, as well as delete them and add others. Mixbook's extensive libraries of attractive content are well-organized. Clip art and backgrounds are searchable by keyword, and any that I tried in my book were saved in Project areas of the relevant sidebars. In fact, if I really liked a graphic, I could favorite it so I could use it in other projects. To really unleash my creativity, I could have uploaded my own photos or other graphics to my background and clip art libraries – a feature unique to Mixbook.

Unlike Snapfish's or Costco's clumsy borders, Mixbook's compact but robust border tool has a 14-step slider for width. The two-windows of the 24-bit color picker included a hex value, a recently used section and an eyedropper to sample color from anywhere on my screen. This gave me full control over my color selection for borders, drop shadows, text and solid backgrounds.

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For my calendar, I could use all of Mixbook’s features and tools not only on the top page, but also for the bottom date grid page. Therefore, like Printique and Shutterfly (and unlike all the other services), in addition to changing backgrounds behind my calendar grid, I could add clip art and photos, behind or in front of the grid. As with the cards and book interface, I could also enlarge my clip art and photos with one click so they became the background of a calendar page.

Any picture I dropped onto the calendar grid automatically resized to fit the date box, and I had access to all of Mixbook's photo editing tools for the picture in that date box. But the convenience ended there. To add text, I had to go into the Events Manager window, where all I could do was create or edit an event name for a specific date, and I had no control over the text font, color or size, nor could I handle photos. The one advantage of the Events Manager is that it holds onto my important events for use in future calendars.

Mixbook: Print Quality

Mixbook photo books
Mixbook produced a lovely book with good quality semi-gloss paper and a nice weight (though not as thick as Shutterfly). The good quality end papers are attractive, a good weight, and have the feel of velum. The binding is solid and well-done.

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The photo colors are warmer than the originals, but appealing. Sharpness and clarity are good, with details throughout the dynamic range. However, the darker colors aren’t as rich as Printique, though the photo quality is better than Shutterfly. Type is crisp and well-formed.

Mixbook calendar
The photos on Mixbook calendar have good colors, exposure, focus and details, nearly on a par with Printique. However, the colors are slightly warmer than Printique, and though they are attractive, Printique’s calendar photos are more accurate.

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Also, Mixbook’s photos are brighter than Printique’s with not as much detail in the darkest shadows. Mixbook’s type is well-formed with clean edges and a good density of ink. The paper is a good weight and quality, with a nice smooth feel.

Mixbook photo cards
Mixbook produced one of the two best photo cards; the other being Printique. Mixbook’s photos are sharp and clean, with good, lively color. The pictures are brighter than Printique’s. However, the photos on the front are slightly overexposed, which made the midtones and shadows slightly less dense than Printique’s.

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Still, Mixbook’s card has good details throughout the dynamic range from shadows to highlights. The type is clean and well-formed, with good ink coverage. The paper is pleasantly smooth and a good weight, though it doesn’t have the feel of expensive stationary that Printique’s card has.

Mixbook review: Verdict

You can’t go wrong with Mixbook. You’ll be proud of the quality of your printed book, calendar or card, and you’ll enjoy making it because the software gives you all the tools you’ll want without bogging you down. On the other hand, Printique ties with Mixbook for the best print products site, so check it out too.