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Boots Photo Printing (In Store) review

Kat Orphanides
13 Jan 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
0.15
inc VAT

It's convenient, but your local branch of Boots can't be relied upon for the best in high-street photo printing

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If you're in a hurry to get your snaps printed, your local chemist has always been an easy option. While independent chemists are rapidly going the way of high-street grocers and hardware stores, most people won't have any trouble finding a nearby branch of Boots, and most of them provide a photo development service.

In previous years, we've tested the dye-sublimation instant print machines that you'll find in many branches. The quality of prints that emerge from these is generally poor and the printing method lacks longevity, so this time we've tested the in-house printing service offered by our local branch of Boots on London's Tottenham Court Road.

Photo graphs

This graph totals our blind test scores from all the prints in a stacked bar graph, so you can see which service did best overall and where their individual strengths lie - click to enlarge

The services are basic: you can order prints in sizes of 6x4in, 7x5in, 9x6in, 10x7in or 10x15in. There are no t-shirts, mugs, keyrings, photo books or other novelty items are on offer. The main choice is whether to go for a one-hour or a 24-hour printing service. You'll get the best price if you go for the 24-hour option, which costs 15p per print at our local branch and still means you'll get your snaps faster than you can if you order from an online-only printing service. The one hour service costs 25p per 6x4in print, although we were disappointed to find that our photos still had not been printed when we went to pick them up two hours after ordering them, although the shop was kind enough to print them up in around ten minutes while we waited.

Print quality was generally good, and our test panel was pleased with the rich colour and fine detail in a range of different landscape shots, from vivid sunsets to detailed night shots and lush fields. However, the challenging portrait print had conspicuously poor quality. While colours were broadly correct - a yellow bow was indeed yellow, rather than green - the entire image was dark and shadowy, while the more subtle shades of the subject's skin and hair were lost.

Boots Sunset

An excellent rendition of our sunset colour test, scanned from the actual print - click to enlarge

If you want to get your photos on the high street, Snappy Snaps is more expensive but worth it for the quality and efficiency. Meanwhile, for lower prices and better photo quality, particularly on portraits, Best Buy winning online service Foto.com is a much better option.

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