After receiving the binding machine I installed the included photobook creation software and immediately encountered issues. After reading through the (sparse) online help I attempted to contact Unibind for customer support. I have never had a more frustrating experience.
Their website has an online chat service to connect you to a support person for immediate assistance, or so they would have you believe. I tried the chat service many many times from multiple computers and various browsers just to make sure there wasn't some compatibility issue. No one ever responded to my chat request - just dead air.
Then I called the number on their website, where I got an automated assistant. I punched in the extension for customer service, where the phone just rang and rang. I tried again later with the same result. I called a third time and tried to talk to anyone in any department. I never did get to talk to a real person, but was given the option of leaving a message which I did and included a call back number. No call back.
The website also had a "Contact Us" feature where I could type a message and include an email address for them to respond. I did so - no response.
Finally I sent an email to the Unibind person I had corresponded to initially to get a software key to activate the software. I hoped at the very least he could put me in touch with the right person for customer support. Again, no response.
So after numerous attempts including four different methods of trying to get some customer support, I can't help but conclude that Unibind just doesn't care. Such horrific customer support is inexcusable. I don't know how long Unibind has been around, but I can't see a long future for them based on my experiences so far.
I was finally able to resolve my issue by contacting the company that makes the software for Unibind. There I found a software developer who was actually able to help. He also informed me that the software they made for Unibind is 5 years old and is officially unsupported (at least though them). Yet even so he was still able to give me some clues to get me going again, and for that I am appreciative.
Regarding the actual binding machine, I have used it once and so far so good. It was easy to use (once you manage to print out the photobook which is where I had problems), but I can't comment on how well the binding will hold up over time.
So my recommendation would be very conditional at this point. If you have no issues whatsoever with the product nor any questions and never need to contact customer support for any reason, you can take your chances. As for me the experience has left such a bad taste in my mouth I would never buy another Unibind product again.
The Unibind Photobook create is awesome, versatile and ADDICTIVE! Seriously, you'll keep coming up with new projects for this very smart tool. It's simple, yet innovative in that it brings scrapbooking (and report making) to a whole new level of professionalism without the cost or hassle. I never thought I'd be able to create books like this on my own - absolutely incredible.
Inside in the box:
20 sheets of 8.5 x 11 double sided inkjet photo paper
1 8.5 x 11 hardcover, black Photobook
The Photobook Creator
Digital Photobook creator software
You basically put together all the pages of your scrapbook, report, book or photo album, stick them in the spine of the book, close it and then set it on the machine to work it's magic. Seriously - that's it! There's no on / off switch or warm-up time. You just set the book in the machine and it turns on automatically and in three minutes, you've made your own hardbound book. The part of the machine that touches the spine heats up, melting a resin already placed in the spine. The resin really grabs all the pages - and I'm telling you - I was really tugging on them and they weren't budging. I think I would have torn the pages before they actually came out of the spine. My wife has even used the 4 x 6 size to make her own mini-cookbooks at home with index cards. She paints and designs directly on the book cover and they look incredible.
This is a really, really cool tool! This would definitely be a great scrapbooking gift idea for the serious scrapbooker - and professionally, anyone who is looking for a professional report and presentation tool at a corporate level or home office would be crazy to pass up the Photobook Creator. It's versitile, innovative and just plain cool!
On a side note buy more books when you order the machine! I didn't do that at first (just wanting to test the first book), and I ended up feeling like a kid who gets a new toy on Christmas morning who doesn't have any batteries. They have a variety of sizes and colors (8.5 x 11, 4 x 6, 8 x 8 and 12 x 12). Stock up! I've already blown through my re-order because I keep finding new uses for it (and my wife does too).