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Personal Photo Manager Deluxe - Take Control of Your Photos

written by: Mike Garcen•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/19/2008
5

Personal Photo Manager Deluxe is as powerful as its name implies. Allume Systems offers a comprehensive software package that allows for complete control of your photos. Whether it be to create a simple slideshow or a more complex video CD, Personal Photo Manager Deluxe makes any project a breeze.

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    Introduction

    Allume System's Personal Photo Manager Deluxe is designed as your one-stop shop for any and all photo tasks you may have or ever need to do. It's designed for all types of users, beginners or experts, and does a great job of making its interface pleasant and powerful for everyone. In addition to the wonderful interface, Allume has also gone the extra mile of including optional wizards and even a photo tour to help introduce and guide you along.

    Personal Photo Manager Deluxe can be used for simple photo tweaks, such as red-eye correction, or for more in-depth photo tasks, such as creating your own Video CD of a slideshow. The variety of things you can do with your photos is pretty impressive, especially considering the affordable price of $39.99.
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    Performance

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    Testing on my dual-core AMD Athlon system resulted in excellent response time for a multitude of actions. Whether sorting through a gallery or editing pictures, the application was very responsive and didn't stutter once. Adjusting the size of thumbnails for a large gallery worked very smoothly, which is required, as you will want to see which size fits best with the number of files you have in your folder.


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    Installation & Setup

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    The installation process is as simple as the software is to use. Just a few quick dialogs and the program is installed on your system. No reboot is necessary (which is always nice), so you can immediately launch the application as soon as you are ready.

    Setup within the program itself is equally simple and seamless. During the initial startup process, you're greeted with a startup wizard (which you can choose to disable in the future, or have start every time). This includes the setup wizard, which contains five easy-to-understand steps. If you desire a more technical Options menu, you can always view that as well, through the menu bar of the program.

    It's hard to ask for much more simplicity to get a program up and running, as Allume have really taken the challenge out of it. Your photos are instantly imported into the library, and you can easily add more. And then you're ready to start playing!


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    User Interface

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    One of the signs of a great user interface is being able to clearly see all the capabilities you would want from the application on the main screen, without being overwhelmed or intimidated. Personal Photo Manager Deluxe does just that, and it does it exceptionally well.

    The interface is a pleasant combination of attractive colors and graphics, but includes the necessary text needed to understand and work your way through. If you are unfamiliar with an icon without text, hovering over the icon will open a tooltip explaining its function.

    Accessing the various aspects of the software is also easy to follow through the hierarchical layout. The top main section has the tasks you want, whether it be managing images, adding captions, or sharing photos. Underneath each level are more options for you to complete your given task.

    In regards to sorting and viewing photos, the layout continues the clarity and simplicity. From the main gallery section, you can view local photos, import images from another device, create collections, and view files within folders. Adjust the thumbnail size for your convenience, and remove or add images with a single click, or drag and drop them. It really feels like the user has complete control of the application.


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    Product Features

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    The list of features included with Photo Manager Deluxe could literally take up a full page, so I highly suggest visiting the Allume website for the full list. I'll use this section to highlight some of the most attractive features and what I feel would be the most desirable ones.

    For starters, there are multiple ways to edit your photos in a simple-to-understand manner. Adding a border, text, or shapes to a given picture can all be done with a single click. There are auto-adjust options for the novice user and more detailed enhancement tweaks for those with the desire.

    Most attractive are the multiple ways you can export your photos. You can burn your photos to CD or DVD as a slideshow, or copy them to a removable drive. If printing is your desire, Photo Manager Deluxe allows you to print with all your modifications and borders; just make sure you have enough ink!

    The coolest features are the various ways you can utilize your pictures. You can email them, and have them  automatically compressed to make for a quick download for your recipient. You can also utilize the simple wizards to make your own calendar or postcards out of your photos.


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    Help & Support

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    Allume's professionalism and concern for users, new and old, shows as clearly in the support options as it does in the Photo Manager Deluxe software itself. From the very beginning, when you can click and go through a walkthrough tour of steps of a task, you are given a very comforting experience with the software, even if you've never worked with it before.

    Additionally, email support is always available, and Allume also offers telephone technical support Monday through Friday. It's a very nice inclusion to their standard knowledge base, especially given Photo Manager Deluxe's affordable $39.99 price.

    It's companies like this that really raise the bar on support for others, and the end result is a happier consumer. From step one, Photo Manager Deluxe goes out of its way to educate you, and that should really help to minimize customer issues.


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    Price to Value

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    Personal Photo Manager Deluxe has a suggested retail price of $39.99, and considering all the features included, it really is a bargain. The problem with a lot of these niche applications is that they have to compete with comparable features included in Windows, which puts the burden on developers to make the upsell convincing. Fortunately for everyone, Allume does not disappoint with this title.

    The asking price is more than fair, given that the application can completely replace Windows' photo manager, and make the experience not just simpler, but more powerful. You can now have a novice user (who previously could only import and send photos) tweak, edit, enhance, crop, minimize, and even create HTML pages! Add in the quality support offerings, and $39.99 comes across as even more of a steal!


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    Images

    RegistrationStartup WizardQuickstart TourEasy to follow tour guidesPreferences WizardMain Gallery InterfaceEdit PhotosNice special effects with a single clickPhoto ProjectsCreate a photo calendarShare Photos a number of waysAdd your own captions
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    Suggested Features

    It would be great to see Allume include some video files in some of its disc creation tools to make Personal Photo Manager Deluxe an even more complete solution.
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    Conclusion

    There's little, if anything, to complain about with Allume's Personal Photo Manager Deluxe. The developers have created a fantastic one-stop-shop solution for any level of user with any desire to edit or play with their photos. From the simplicity of its interface to the extra steps taken to educate users on how to get the most out of their software, Photo Manager Deluxe succeeds every step of the way.

    Making complicated tasks easier--such as emailing photos, creating photo CDs/DVDs, or even creating HTML web pages--will make many a novice user breathe a sigh of relief. Indeed, this software makes any and all of its tasks, whether minor or major, not just simple to do, but fun. I found myself tweaking photos I've had for years, just to see how the various effects would change them. Personal Photo Manager Deluxe has seemingly limitless uses at a wonderfully affordable price.
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