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Aldi Photo Service is worth trying

Internet / 4 Comments / March 22, 2009

Looking to print a few of the thousands of digital photos I have taken since acquiring my digital camera a couple of years ago, I recently discovered the Aldi Photo Service and, with a couple of caveats, it is really rather good. I was keen to print 12 by 8 inch enlargements suitable for framing on the wall and Photobox, my provider of choice hitherto, charged over £1 per print: not a huge amount but enough to prompt me to look for alternatives.

Aldi, however, charges just 34p per print at this size and, with the introductory offer of 20 free 6 by 4 inch prints, giving it a try was a no-brainer. The link to the site from the Aldi UK home page is somewhat buried and, once you get there, the German origin of the site is apparent from the legend on the Java applet at the top of the page that eventually reaches “100% geladen”.

You first have to install software which gives you access to four services the Aldi Photo Manager, a Photobook builder, the Online Photo Album and the Online Print Service. The Photo Manager application looks well-built and offers similar functionality to Google Picasa and Adobe Photoshop Album, including slide shows and keyword tagging,as well as the ability to upload images for printing by Aldi. As a satisfied existing user of the former, however, there seemed little point in making the switch. I have yet to order a Photobook but the Online Photo Album appears uncompetitive compared with free services such as Flickr: storing more than a derisory 128 Mb of photos costs £2-00 a month.

Foxed

You browse for the images you wish to print using a Java applet. The thumbnails it displays of your images are rather small and cannot be enlarged. I also discovered after a lot of trial and error that, although the applet works in Mozilla Firefox, check-out doesn’t, so this service is best used in Internet Explorer. It is not until you have completed your order that you upload your image files. I have placed both of my orders to date late in the evening over a reliable broadband connection and over 100 Mb of image data transferred without incident. I can imagine, however, that problems might occur when networks are busier.

Both my orders arrived within 48 hours of placement; the enveloped was postmarked Swindon, rather than Germany as I anticipated. The photos were well protected for transit – delivery was a very reasonable £1.33 – and the quality of the images, printed on Kodak Royal digital paper, were good: sharp with realistic colour balance.

Verdict

Whilst the service offering isn’t the best on the market in all respects, you can’t argue with the price. Overall: 7/10.

4 Comments
  • Jon / January 9, 2015 / Reply

    Ridiculously poor service – avoid!

    I don’t usually write reviews, but given my poor experience with Aldi photo service, felt compelled to warn other would-be customers!

    My order still hasn’t arrived after nearly a month and numerous calls to customer service, who are utterly incapable to providing any useful information or assistance.

    Advice: avoid Aldi photo service and go elsewhere!

    Full details below:

    We placed a small order for some standard prints and enlargements on the 14th Dec hoping to get them in time for Christmas. After a couple of days we get a dispatch notice, but after waiting a week nothing arrives. We call customer services and they say it’s probably lost and will issue a reprint; so far so good. We request if it can expedited in time for Christmas, and they say there’s nothing they can do and it may take 10 days for it to arrive – disappointing enough, but little did we know it was just the beginning. Another week passes and we receive an email to ask us to provide details on the reprint request – strange, as they already know the order was lost. Another call, and it turns out they haven’t even issued the reprint yet, but will ‘escalate’ the matter. Christmas came and went, followed by New Year. They never got back to us, and further calls were just met with a ‘the matter’s been escalated but we haven’t heard back yet’ and they couldn’t offer any information on what went wrong or assurances that it was actually going to be resolved. Will probably give up soon and re-order elsewhere and it’s not really worth the time to keep pursuing…

    • Dominic / January 13, 2015 / Reply

      That’s really disappointing. Would anybody from Aldi care to comment?

  • Charles / October 4, 2015 / Reply

    The original review sounds like a totally different company.
    I was tempted by the Aldi offer of 75 free prints – big mistake!
    The Disney song ‘Someday my prints will come’ ran through my head during the 15 day wait.
    When the prints eventually came they were not worth the postage.
    The good news was that they are printed on Kodak paper – which has always given me the best prints. Not this time though as Aldi had somehow made them more like the worst of the – now defunct – True Print.
    Less than half the prints were just tolerable. Another quarter were dubious. Most of the remaining quarter were really poor with my carefully adjusted greens printed anywhere from yellow to a really grotty blue green – near turquoise. Blues were anywhere between washed out and too vivid. The remainder were just unbelievably bad with colours all over the place – more like an old, worn out video. I have been getting photo prints for many decades now and these were undoubtedly the worst I have ever seen.
    Sizes were generally 6 x 4″ – but some were 6.5 x 4″!!!!!!!!!!!
    I use a quality camera and process all pictures to as near perfect as I can. The colours are carefully adjusted to be as near correct as possible. All pictures are a 3:2 aspect – so all the excuses so far given to other posters are not at all valid.
    My honest advice – stay well clear of this company!

    • Dominic / October 11, 2015 / Reply

      I’m sorry to hear of your disappointment, Charles. Since 2009, when I posted this review, my knowledge of photography and post-processing has advanced and I recognise similar problems to you with white balance at times. It shows that you get what you pay for…

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