Developer: 58 North
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

iPad Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Photo books are a great way to remember a trip or an event, but this is 2012. All our photos are digital, even if we’re trying to make them look like they came from 80′s toy cameras. So, Pholium tries to take the photo book concept digital on the iPad. Users can take their photos from the Camera Roll or Photo Stream and put them into photo books that can be sent to other people to enjoy.

The composition of photo books works really well. It’s easy to add photos that have been imported into Pholium, and then use two-finger pinching and twisting gestures to change size and rotation. A total of 42 photos can be added to any one book. The app makes it possible to edit imported photos, changing brightness, contrast, and exposure to make photos look perfect before adding them to the photo book.

But oh does Pholium have some issues. I don’t really understand why account creation is a necessary part of the app. While sharing does require user accounts, is there necessarily any reason why I can’t start making a photo book without an account? With the first account I created, I got caught in a situation where I wound up registering an account, but it had to send a verification email. I got it eventually but it didn’t verify my account. When I tried to resend the verification email, it wouldn’t resend it, making my account caught in a limbo that Franz Kafka would appreciate. In addition, at least one book I created wouldn’t let me send it because it said I didn’t create it. There’s no way once a book is published to go back and edit it. Books can be sent to 10 people for free, but after the first batch send, it costs $0.99 to send the book again? If this were a free app I could understand it, but this app costs $4.99, so I struggle to understand why this is necessary?

I also suffered crashing issues while trying to login to my account eventually. At this point, I just was done. I can’t recommend Pholium at all until the issues are fixed from this launch version 1.0. If the app is fixed, I’m happy to come back and update my review, but it seems silly to have all these issues in large part because of what should be an optional account login! The concept has definite potential, and the results look nice. Getting there is the challenge, though.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Photography, Reviews

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