We continue to be impressed by the sheer quality of Snapfish's prints, which comes along with low prices and a simple ordering interface.
HP’s Snapfish photo printing service was our previous favourite photo printing service and has even added a few new features since then, such as the ability to order your own customised first-class stamps.
Snapfish provides QuickUpload plugins for Internet Explorer, Firefox on any operating system, and Safari on the Mac. Once we’d installed the plugin, Snapfish’s default form-based, single-file uploader was replaced by a graphics file browser. The browser can only display JPEG files, although you can upload Zip files if they just contain JPEGs. You can also send photos via email or MMS them from your mobile phone. Windows users can install the PictureMover utility to upload photos from any digital camera or memory card that you connect to your PC and there’s also an iPhone app.
Once uploaded, you can order prints from a selection of six sizes, set to 6x4in by default. Alternatively, you can opt for 5.4x4in Optimized trueDigital prints, which avoids the cropping necessary to make most digital photos fit the 6x4in format. Other print sizes and gift ideas can be selected elsewhere on the site. There are fewer enlargement options than with most services here, but there’s much to recommend.
Photos start at 9p each for 6x4in prints, but your first 20 are free. You can also save money by buying packs of pre-paid prints, which can be used when you like. Postage and packing for up to 50 prints is just 99p.
Like the photos we ordered for our last test, overall image quality was excellent. Unfortunately, we ordered glossy prints, but although our photos were labelled as “glossy”, they were in fact erroneously printed on matt paper. Although not what we ordered, the matt finish looked brilliant, enhancing the detail and sharpness of our pictures.
Black and white photos looked stunning and had beautiful clarity and contrast. Colour images were vivid and lifelike, skin tones were natural and shading was beautifully subtle. We were also very pleased by the sharpness, shading and perfect greys of our black and white prints. All our prints were sharp and clear, and received the highest overall score in our blind test, exceeded only by an Epson inkjet photo printer. Four months’ sunlight exposure deteriorated our photo somewhat – fading was negligible but a pinkish cast had developed.
Overall, as with the correctly printed gloss photos we got from Snapfish in our last test, photo quality was astonishingly good. With a combination of high-quality prints, a great interface and low costs of 9p per photo, Snapfish provides an excellent service, but we were disappointed that it failed to match our order correctly. From our test, Bonusprint is the more reliable service.