By now we’ve all heard the saying that the best camera is the one you have with you. And with camera phones getting better at a dizzying pace, that phone you have with you is getting pretty good for a point-and-shoot. But once you have a phone full of images, the question remains, what do you do with them? Particularly, how do you share them with the less tech-inclined people in your life?
The new iOS app Mosaic has a compelling answer in the form of a slick app that can quickly turn a collection of photos on your device into a very nice, high-quality printed book that makes a very attractive gift.
The Mosaic App
The app that helps you design your photo book is free, and very well designed. It works for both iPhone and iPad (version 5 or greater). I used the phone version to see how it worked on the smaller screen (it works very well). You are guided through the steps to create the book, selecting 20 photos for inclusion. You can pick and choose between pictures in various albums and on the Camera Roll in your device. After you select the pictures you want, and arrange them in your preferred order, you can choose the color of the cover and pages (light or dark). For my book, I chose a set of night time neon from Las Vegas that I shot during CES this year – so black pages fit that mood well.
Before you place the order, you can browse through a simulation of all the pages and get a good sense of how the book will look. Then it’s on to the ordering stage. The app collects your name, street address, and Zip Code. The service intelligently determines your city and state from your Zip, so there’s less typing required (why can’t more services do this?).
One limitation is that for the moment this is a US-only service, but the company says they are working on expanding to international service. You can ask questions about future availability in various countries by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost of the book is $20. Shipping is $5 in the contiguous United States and $10 for Alaska and Hawaii. If you order multiple copies, each adds $1 to the shipping cost. The book arrives 4 business days after you order.
The Mosaic Book
The book arrived exactly as scheduled, and I was very impressed with the quality. It comes in a nice gift box, that makes a great presentation. The book is 7 inches square and has a stitched binding. The fabric-textured cover has 13 rectangular openings cut in it, and behind each is a small version of one of your photos, bringing home the “mosaic” concept . The paper has a nice weight and finish and the printed photos (one per page) look great. It’s really impressive that such an attractive book can be produced so quickly on a print-on-demand basis. For more pictures and details, you can check out the Mosaic website.
I’m so impressed with the end-to-end experience of using the app and enjoying the book that I’m giving Mosaic the GeekBeat Editor’s Choice Award. If you’re looking for a way to make the photos on your phone more permanent, or turn them into a unique holiday gift, Mosaic is a great way to go.