Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product, or any other reason necessary. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Corel Photobook is a decent product for editing and sharing photos. However, it doesn't excel in any areas. If you just want photo editing and organizing capabilities, there are better photo book options out there.
Photobook starts out with a screen for you to choose one of four options: Create a new image, Open a file, Most recently used, and Aquire an image from a scanner or digital camera. It also shows tips on the screen that you can scroll through. The screen is badly designed and you can't read the text because of the busy background but it's a good idea. When I clicked the Aquire button, it told me that it had detected a TWAIN device. Most people probably don't even know what that means but regardless, I didn't have a scanner or digital camera attached at all. The next series of steps are very confusing and technical. Once you open an image successfully, the main screen is divided into 4 main steps: Select Area, Correct Image, Enhance Image, Insert Text. Again, the right idea but the organization of features under these tabs is horrible. It's hard to know where to find the tools you are looking for. Some of the most important tools like red-eye is buried under several layers of tools. The tools themselves are also hard to use. Red-eye for instance, brings up a separate dialog box. Then you need to complete several steps to accomplish the task. Overall, I found it non-intuitive and frustrating trying to accomplish my objectives.
You can import images from a scanner or digital camera. It didn't give me the option of copying from a SmartCard (digital camera removable card) or any other removable device. You have to manually browse to the folder on the hard drive to open any other file. The other benefit of CorelDraw Essentials 2 is that it comes with 100,000 clipart images. You can perform advanced searches in the clipart application to find exactly what you need.
Photobook comes with all of the features to fix common problems in photos. There is a "Photo Fix" wizard that will step you through fixing common mistakes. But it only fixes a tiny thumbnail in a separate window until you apply the settings. The most useful feature I found was the Auto White Balance. This will fix the color caused by poor artificial lighting common in photos.
Layers in this program are simply built-in objects, text or multiple photos that you can click on and move around and edit independently of the other objects. You can change the opacity in 3 increments (25%, 50%, or 75%) of each object but you cannot put a gradient transparency to merge the two together.
Adding text is cumbersome. You can eventually accomplish your task through several steps and trial and error. The biggest drawbacks are that you cannot have different styles of text within the same "object". You have to create a different text object for every style. There are also no text effects available.
There are three ways to make selections. You can use a set of shapes, make a selection by "painting" the area you want to select, or use a magic wand. The magic wand tool will select a section of an image with the same range of colors. This is useful when you have a simple background you want to cut out. The customization of the magic wand is horrible. I couldn't find a lasso selection tool anywhere.
You can use batches to enhance, rotate, or convert to different file formats. In this case, a batch is simply a preset action (e.g. rotate 90 degrees clockwise) that you can apply to multiple photos at the same time. You cannot record your own sequence of actions with Photo Explosion.
The Undos are limited in this program so be careful that you don't go too far before you can't turn back.
It's drawbacks are that it lacks several features of more powerful photo editors like Adobe Photoshop Elements 3. It’s also not the easiest program for a computer novice. In addition, I found it very slow at times and it even crashed a couple of times.