Amazon Prints Photo Calendar Review: So-So Software, Not-So-Hot Printed Book

Amazon Print's' calendar software did a couple of things well, but it's limited and generally problematic to use. Our printed calendar was lackluster.

Our Verdict

Amazon Prints' calendar software did a couple of things well, but it's limited and generally problematic to use. Our printed calendar was lackluster.

For

  • Fully editable templates, layouts and design pages
  • Full control over placement and orientation of page elements
  • Some complementary backgrounds for facing pages
  • Nice enlarged window for adding photos and text to dates

Against

  • Nonsearchable content libraries with nonintuitive names
  • Unimpressive photo reproduction
  • Jagged type
  • No borders or drop shadows

Amazon Prints' calendar-creation service uses software licensed from Snapfish, which failed to impress us in its original form. However, Amazon's interface — and particularly its content — is more limited and more difficult to use than Snapfish's. Our printed Amazon calendar was similarly unexceptional, with uneven photos and jagged type. Even though this is the least-expensive service we tested, it's not a bargain.    

Creating Your Calendar  

Amazon Prints has only a handful of pleasant fully editable calendar templates, but there's a nice selection of layouts and designed pages. In all of these, we had full control over the size, shape, rotation and placement of photos, text and clip art.

As with the Snapfish software, the tabbed interface was intuitive, but implementation was sometimes problematic. For instance, the photo zoom slider often covered the picture's upper handles, which made it challenging to resize and reshape photos, and often resulted in an inadvertent large zoom. We also had difficulty adding some photos in our Amazon Prints calendar. In particular, we couldn't place the picture of our cat Rascal in a suitcase onto our November page, whereas the photo easily went into all of our other calendars, including the one in Snapfish.

The limited library of backgrounds is organized according to unhelpful names (such as Dainty Detail and Lively Patterns). The names of the clip-art collections are easier to interpret (such as Family and Pets), and the selection of clip art is large but mostly cartoonish. Like Snapfish, none of the libraries has a search engine, so, for instance, we couldn't find the kind of clip-art flowers we wanted to add to our May page.

As in Snapfish, when we added a designed background to the photo page, Amazon automatically changed the calendar grid to a complementary motif. However, while that worked with only some of Snapfish's designed backgrounds, the effect was consistent in Amazon Prints. On the other hand, in both programs, when we selected a solid color for the photo page background, the calendar grid remained white. Also, we couldn't drag a background onto the calendar grid.

Other limitations included the lack of borders and drop shadows. However, we liked the convenient enlarged window for adding photos and text to individual date cells. Amazon saved our birthdays and other events for future calendars.

One problem that was unique to Amazon was that we simply couldn't find our saved calendar after we had navigated away from the page. A quick phone call to the company's customer service solved the mystery: It was hidden in our order history (though we hadn't yet ordered it).

The Printed Calendar

Our Amazon Print calendar was nothing special. The cover image was dull, with suppressed highlights and a significant cyan shift, and just a bit flatter and softer than Snapfish's. The interior pictures were uneven.

Some had decent color, but most had a flat dynamic range. Some were a bit desaturated; others were dark and/or cyanic. The type was noticeably jagged. The paper stock had a nice weight and feel, though it wasn't as substantial as our calendars from Shutterfly, Apple or Mixbook.

Price and Options

Our 11 x 8.5-inch Amazon Prints calendar was the least expensive ($14.99) of those we tested. Compare that to Apple's 13 x 11-inch calendar for $19.99 and Shutterfly's 11 x 8-inch calendar for $24.99. Amazon's only other calendar size was 14 x 11.5 inches ($24.99). Both were available only as 12-month calendars, with the optional starting month limited to months between November 2017 and April 2018. We assumed that six-month window would adjust with the passing of time.

MORE: Best Photo Calendar Printing Services

Other photo products Amazon Prints offers include books, postcards, mouse pads, coffee mugs, prints and posters.

Bottom Line

Though Amazon Prints offers a good price for its calendar, it's no bargain. The software was limited (more so than Snapfish's), and the print job wasn't spectacular. If you're looking for a great price, choose Apple's calendar, which doesn't give you a lot of creative freedom but looks great. But if you want a lovely calendar that expresses your personality, spend more for one from Shutterfly.

Specs

Import photos from: Your device
Templates & layouts: Fully editable
Backgrounds: Limited selection, poorly organized
Clip art: Sizable library, poorly organized
Text: Customizable, but no bold or italics

Credit: Tom's Guide