Spoiler alert!eCard Express resembles the Lifelike Cards app reviewed Tuesday. Both create eCards, but eCard Express provides more graphic options and far fewer text and design options. The only real advantage of eCard Express is the ability to use your own photos rather than a pre-supported selection from Flickr. But it’s a narrow advantage at best.
Last week ABC aired their heavily hyped (by hyped I mean ads on every show they aired for several weeks) Grey’s Anatomy the Musical. I was comparing eCard Express with Lifelike Cards at the time and I couldn’t help but compare the Grey’s musical episode with an earlier episode of House MD.
In both episodes one of the main characters was (apparently) on the verge of death, and to heighten the tragedy every one else burst out in song. It was kind of like Bollywood American style, and not at all pretty. Fortunately, both patients survived to add more drama to future episodes.
What a difference in the music and choreography, however. House went for the styles of Stephen Sondheim and Bob Fosse. Grey’s Anatomy went for High School Musical (which isn’t surprising since Disney owns the company). Both episodes may have jumped the shark, but Grey’s shark was abandoned dead on the beach, bloated and attracting flies.
I recognize that some readers will prefer High School Musical to Sondheim, among them my two pre-teen nephews (although they’re not readers). Sondheim makes your brain work overtime, HSM just digs in like an earwig.
Think of it as Musical Theater Junior Varsity. Lite.
To be honest, both Lifelike Cards and eCard Express lean more toward Disney productions, but eCard Express goes far more for the flash and dazzle. eCard Express tries to offer prepackaged cards that require little more than a photo (if that) and a brief sentence.
The app only offers the postcard style single-sided eCard option. Most of the cards are already complete; a few leave a window for a photo. You can find cards for just about every occasion, from holiday to hospital to professions of love.
You can also build from a custom frame by adding your own photo from your iPad photo library. You can synch and image from your iPhone, take one with your iPad 2 (which is a generation I will need to skip) or download an image from a free site such as stock.xchng.
You can also choose a custom frame and load your own photo from your iPad photo library.
Kitten photo by Maria Li on stock.xchng
This is probably the biggest advantage of eCard Express over Tuesday’s app Lifelike Cards. The cards also tend to be a lot more flashy, drawing attention to the design and away from the image and message (which may well be what you want.)
You can also save your cards to use again or even toy with later. Photos are easily repositioned, scaled and rotated in the frame with touch and drag. You can even save several different versions and pick later, or use your design as a template and replace the photo and text to send to a different friend.
Text is pretty bare bones, which might be why you want to use a pre-made card with display text or banner. You can add as much text as you want, although you have to enter a special preview mode to see more than the top line.
You are also supposed to be able to change typeface and color, but I was unable to do so. I tried to change type styles with messages on several different cards but was left with plain old black 12 point Arial.
The good news is, both eCard Express and Lifelike Cards are only a couple of bucks apiece, so you can probably afford to download both for the cost of a couple of real cards. But if you can only afford one, I would go with Lifelike Cards. You have more typeface and customizing options even if the final product is far more subtle.
Jenny Manytoes rates eCard Express
Jenny Manytoes would take a nap next to eCard Express. It’s a decent app, and the cards look really slick. But the limited text capabilities and the ability to create only single sided eCards slightly reduced the comparative value.