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With Personal Photo Manager Deluxe there are a host of different ways you can easily leverage your personal digital photographs. From organizing your photos with tags, captions, and photographer information to creating personalized keepsakes such as calendars, greeting cards, and postcards, you can see your digital photos in just about any format you choose.
On the whole, the tool is very easy to use. The installation process, which takes about 45 minutes to download over a high speed connection, is very straightforward. The application offers an initial setup screen that allows you to customize your preferences from the outset. Items include which screen to start in, specific photographer information, start-in wizard mode, as well as specific slideshow options. From a layout perspective, most of what you need is right in front of you. Large tabs at the top of the main screen provide direct links to the major task categories. Once on the specific tab, the task options are readily available and fairly intuitive, even for a novice user. [See Image 1]
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PerformanceRating What's Hot:
Personal Photo Manager Deluxe does not seem to have any major effect on the overall performance of the computer and leverages a file directory structure already in place and familiar to most users.
Photo editing changes are a little slow to complete. When using Undo option, users should remember to save any changes they want to keep. As expected, the command will undo any unsaved changes.
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Price to ValueRating What's Hot:
With a price tag of about $30, Personal Photo Manager Deluxe is fairly inexpensive. It is competing, to some degree, with some of the newly available online photo organization sites. However, Personal Photo Manager Deluxe allows you to keep all of our photos on your computer without being online.
Other products out there are a little cheaper than Personal Photo Manager Deluxe. You can buy one for about a third of the cost that does nearly the same thing but without as many bells and whistles. Online competitor sites are free, requiring only user registration.
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Installation & SetupRating What's Hot:
The installation process for Personal Photo Manager Deluxe is very straightforward. The download takes about 45 minutes over a high speed DSL connection but installation is very quick. Once installed, the system presents a screen that allows the user to setup their preferences including Start in Wizard Mode, Start in My Pictures folder, and Last Collection at Startup. You also have Slideshow options and choose your background color for viewing. These preferences are applied each time the program is opened and basically incorporate information collected from the wizards available in the tool. It makes using the system very efficient after the initial setup.
If the user does not have a high speed connection, the download process for Personal Photo Manager Deluxe will take much longer.
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User InterfaceRating What's Hot:
Overall, the user interface of Personal Photo Manager Deluxe is easy to navigate, even the first time around. Tabs located across the top provide links to the main task categories; Manage, Enhance Photos, Smart Captions, Share Photos, and Photo Projects. The user navigates through the application by clicking on a tab. The tasks available within each tab are very intuitive. Large and easily recognizable icons are located below the tabs. They provide access to high level tasks.
While the user interface is easy to navigate, it is not all standardized in terms of the layout of the options within each tabs. On the Share Photos and Photo Projects tab, the options are laid out in the form of modules on the tab. It is an effective way to present the user with tasks, which should have been carried out through the entire application. The Enhance and Smart Captions tabs could have been combined into one tab with modules for each set of tasks.
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Product FeaturesRating Personal Photo Manager Deluxe's features are simple and really don't offer much more than competitor products or online digital photo services. However, by allowing you to navigate through your photos on your computer hard drive, you can play around at your convenience without being connected to the Internet.
The main features of Personal Photo Manager Deluxe include:
- Manage Images: This feature allows users to download digital images from a device connected to their computer such as a camera, memory card, or other USB device. One of the nice aspects of this feature is that the user can choose to either use the Express Upload or Custom Upload. With Express, users can upload all photos on a device without viewing them. In a Custom Upload, user views the images and select those they want to upload, which provides a little more control for users who have the ability to spend more time on a project. One of the coolest aspects of this feature is that users can elect to add a prefix to each file name being uploaded. This will help to identify photos from a specific event, further enhancing the organizational features of the tool. [See image 2]
- Enhance Photos: Like many other digital photo software applications, users can make basic photo-editing modifications such as to digital image color saturation, color hue, and red eye. Additionally, users can add things like clip art, shapes, frames, or borders. Another neat part of this feature is the ability to change the photo into a pencil sketch or have it embossed. Choices also include sepia, black and white finish, or mirror image. [See image 3]
- Smart Captions: Users can also add one or two configurable captions to an image. The captions can be placed outside, at the top, or at the bottom, of a photo. Once added, the caption can also be hidden and used strictly for search features, providing an additional level of photo categorization and searchability. [See image 4]
- Share Photos: Using this feature, users can share photos via email, print their photos to a photo printer with or without captions, download photos to a Pocket PC to take with them, and order photos online through dotphotos.com. [See image 5]
- Photo Projects: This feature provides the ability to create personalized projects using digital photos. From two-sided greeting cards and postcards to calendars, photo albums, slideshows, and video CDs, users can create a number of neat projects to share with family and friends. [See image 6]
The features of Personal Photo Manager Deluxe are really not that much different from competitors, especially these listed below:
- Enhance Photos: While there are some neat components of this feature, the basic photo editing options allow the user to just change the basic aspects of a digital photo such as removing red eye, modifying color contrast, saturation, and hues. For true photo editing, a user may want to purchase a more robust tool such as Adobe Photoshop Elements (see my review: http://www.brighthub.com/review/Adobe-Systems/Carolyn-T/article/222.html).
- Pocket PC: In order to use this feature, a user must have a Pocket PC installed on her computer. Most Pocket PCs provide their own interface for downloading or syncing to a computer so this is not really necessary.
- Order Prints: There is really nothing wrong with this feature other than most users probably already belong to a free online service where they order prints. This is not really a feature that sets this product apart from others and certainly
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Help & SupportRating What's Hot:
Personal Photo Manager Deluxe offers several different support options including:
- Online Support available at allume.com.
- Help Reference Manual available from the Help menu in .pdf format.
- Tour of system available from Help menu.
- Technical Support link on the Help menu that opens a box in HTML format with standard Windows searching and contents list to browse.
The overall support options for Personal Photo Manager Deluxe are not all that much different from other applications. The Tour is a little weak and, unlike most others available today, is self guided without an accompanying audio of someone narrating the features of the tool. One would expect the Technical Support link to provide a link to the manufacturer's website but it is merely a Windows-style help menu. The online support is very weak and really only has about five or six threads of support discussion from which to choose.
The Photo Projects tool provides a number of support options but this area seems to be lacking. The options include a link to online support at the manufacturers website (www.Allume.com), a help reference manual that opens in .pdf format, a system tour as well as a technical support link. The primary issue with any of these support options is that they were found to be a bit lacking in terms of information and navigation. It was difficult to find the section on the Allume website that provided specific product support. The system tour was self-guided and did not include an audio feature. Moreover, the technical support link opens an HTML box with only about five support links. On the other hand, the tool is so simple to use that you probably won't need to seek support. [See Image 7]
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- Auto save functionality that minimizes the risk of losing any unsaved changes.
- Link to manufacturer's website available from Help menu or Help screen.
- More robust tutorial. If going to the effort of developing tutorial for inclusion, it should be as robust as possible and really provide a thorough overview.
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ConclusionOverall, Personal Photo Manager Deluxe is an uncomplicated tool that makes digital photography a lot of fun. Novice and experienced users alike will appreciate the easy installation process, screen layout, and tools available. Managing digital photos can be a cumbersome task. Just the organizational side of the process is daunting enough. Finding a specific photo on your computer can be much like finding a needle in a haystack. Personal Photo Manager Deluxe's software developers have added a few neat features, such as Smart Captions and Photographer information, that make the initial process much easier to handle. Photo finishing can be enjoyable with such choices as sepia, pencil sketch, black and white, embossed, and even mirror image. If you are looking to have fun with your photos and make some creative personalized items with them, you will be very satisfied with this tool.
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