Traditional postcards sent… with a smartphone – a test of the Foczta application
As the vacations kick into full swing, along with them comes the season of sending postcards. However, what would you say about the ability to create a traditional view with a note yourself, but instead of looking for a mailbox, send them via smartphone, and not at all in the form of an e-void? Such possibilities provide users with the recently released on Google Play application – Foczta.
Foczta service.pl that allows online creation and sending of traditional postcards has been on the market for some time, but recently lived to see its own mobile application. In brief and in theory, the service provided by Foczta looks more or less like this:
1. On the holiday trail, we pull out our smartphone and turn on Foczta.
2. We take a photo or load it from the phone’s memory and embellish it with ready-made greeting designs and stickers – it will be the front of our postcard.
3. We type in the content, addressee details and pay for the order when we have access to the internet.
5. A card is printed and then sent to the address we specify – abroad or within USA.
Zero stamps, mailboxes. Just a smartphone, internet and Foczta.
What it looks like in practice?
After the first launch, which lasts for a while, Foczta greets us with a two-color design and a brief presentation of its capabilities. Circling around purple and pink colors are pleasing to the eye, and the app interface is made in a neat and aesthetically pleasing way. Thumbnails of the cards we have sent or not yet paid for (which we can pay for, edit, delete or send a similar one from this level) appear on the home page. It is also possible to register an account or log in through Facebook, allowing us to save the works created “for later” (we can also create offline, and pay when we already have access to the Internet).
We go to the process of creating a postcard using the button located at the bottom of the app.
The first step will be to choose a photo, which will be the base for the front of our card. The program allows us to take one at a time or upload it from the phone’s memory (not very clear is the option to delete photos from the built-in gallery). Also keep in mind the appropriate resolution of the photo (the recommended minimum is 1700×1100 pixels).
After uploading an image, we can proceed to the editing stage. The main option here is the ability to customize a card for a specific occasion thanks to about a hundred and fifty templates prepared by the creators, divided into 11 categories (birthday, wedding, baptism, invitation, New Year, etc.), and the ability to customize a card for a specific occasion.) In addition, the photo can be: moved, rotated (by 90 degrees), reduced and enlarged. We can also add text, change its font (9 available), color and size, and even rotate it at a given angle.
Another part of the editing are also divided into occasional categories of stickers (also for zooming and rotating) – we have more than hundreds of them. It is worth noting that text stickers (e.g. “Merry Christmas!”) are available in bilingual versions – Polish and English. Finally, Foczta allows you to send cards all over the world ;).
After editing, all that is left to do is to enter the content of the postcard and the address of the recipient (I missed here a bit of a specific limit on words or lines of messages and the ability to enlarge the text – the font is quite small). Then we still have the option to preview the front and back of the prepared card and return to edit mode. After approval it goes to the cart.
Now all that awaits is payment, which can be made by bank transfer, text message, card or PayPal service (various currencies are accepted). It is worth noting that when ordering at least two postcards, small discounts are waiting for us. Sending one card will cost us 4,95 PLN to USA and 7,95 PLN to the rest of the world. It is important to remember that all costs are included in the price: printing, shipping and enveloping.
Prices seem comparable to those offered to us by Foczta’s foreign counterparts, such as Postagram ($1 for shipping within the US – ok. 3.78zl, $2 for international shipping – approx. 7.52zl), Postino ($2 everywhere – approx. 7,52zł ). Cards created with the above-mentioned programs, however, have a major drawback – they usually have an unsightly white frame around the photo. An application that is able to compete with Foczta in this regard (also price-wise) is the American Touchnote ($1.49 everywhere – ok.
PLN 5.60), also very user-friendly. On the Polish market, similar services are also provided by Envelo, owned by the Polish Post Office, offering its Neokartki in A6 format at prices: PLN 3.99 shipping within USA and PLN 6.99 abroad (there is also the possibility of changing the size of the card, choosing the form of the folded file and shipping by priority – which, unfortunately, does not give Foczta). Declared delivery time in USA is 6 days at longest (3 days for printing, 3 days for shipping).
After payment, the card loads on the server and should soon arrive at the indicated address. As the creators assure, the parcel will go wherever the postal system works. Inpost and Poczta Polska are responsible for the transport of the cards, while we can check the status of our order in the designated tab.
We also get the option to brag about our creation on a social network. In the menu you will also find very helpful „questions and answers”, Address book into which we can enter the data of our friends (it is also possible to ask Facebook to share the address), gallery of photos used, price list, shopping cart, payment details and account settings.
Comfort of use
The editing process itself is reasonably comfortable even on a small screen. Options such as rotating or zooming may not work perfectly, but this remains an issue with the small screens of some smartphones. Certainly, the use is much more convenient on tablets.
It’s a bit of a pity that the postcard doesn’t save, however, during the editing process, which I found myself interrupted a couple of times, so that I had to do all the work from the beginning. A little to be desired is the small sluggishness of the application in moving to the next options (at least on not the latest, three-year-old hardware). However, this is a common affliction of similar mobile programs.
Foczta does not allow you to work in landscape mode, however, this does not interfere with use.
How much did it take and what is the quality of the postcards?
Cards are printed in typical 148x105mm (A6) format on glossy 300g/m2 paper. They are shipped from Warsaw within 48 hours of ordering – however, remember that Foczta only operates on business days. It took the cards I sent about a week to reach Krakow and the surrounding area (sent on Tuesday, came the following Tuesday) – this result is much worse than foreign counterparts (in tests that can be found on the Internet cards sent using them to the U.S., arrived in most cases in about 3 days) – however, we have to take into account here „the specifics” of the Polish Post Office/InPost operations and the route that the cards traveled (ok. 296km). The quality of printing is really satisfactory – Focz cards are in no way inferior in this field to postcards bought in a kiosk – glossy paper on both sides, the photo covers the entire surface of the front page, on the back, in addition to the content, we can also find the data of the addressee, Foczta’s logo and QR code (taking us to its website).
The postcards are enveloped, which is undoubtedly another plus of the service – they should not get damaged on the way, and at the same time we preserve our privacy. It is possible that in the envelope we will also find a couple of promotional coupons for us and friends ;).
Foczta is available on Android devices (from 4.0 and up) and iOS (from 6.0 up) and takes approx. 40MB. The app still lacks a few tweaks and polishes (it happens to turn off, it can also be problematic to back out of some boards using the device’s dedicated back button – this leads to disabling the app). However, the program fully meets its purpose, and the postcards sent with its help are really of very good quality and get into the hands of recipients at a fairly satisfactory rate (although it could still be worked on 😉 ).