Photo Editor+
Version reviewed: 1.0
Price: $0.99

Rating 2 stars

Bottom Line: I don’t like it. A good toolset, but it fails to do a lot of basic functions well.

When an iPhone photo app cracks the App Store Top Ten, it’s selling hundreds, if not thousands of copies a day. Generally, when it’s that highly ranked, it’s a safe bet that the app has been vetted by users and is going to be a pretty good buy.

Which leads me to wonder how Photo Editor+ by Axiem Systems has ranked so high so quickly from its initial launch two weeks ago. Currently, the app is #5 on the App Store Paid Photo & Video sales chart — better than stalwart apps like Snapseed, Photogene2 and even Hipstamatic. It’s not a horrible app, but it’s definitely not worthy of number 5 with a bullet.

Photo Editor+ has the potential to be a good, basic photo editor for users who don’t want the complexities of “Photoshop for the iPhone.” The app has a good, easy to use toolset and ten good looking one-click filter presets. You can also add text and draw freehand on an image.

The interface is simple and easy to figure out and use. Buttons clearly indicate what the functions and tools do. Selecting a tool gives you further options.

The app has tools to quickly and easily prep snapshots for sharing your photos. The interface and toolset are well-done. Too bad the app is flawed in many ways once you actually start working with it.

Original snapshot (L) and image enhanced with Red-eye removal and Auto-Enhance tools (R). Click to enlarge.

The red-eye remover is pretty good and only removes red-eye and not highlights. The teeth whitener didn’t do a great job of making teeth sparkly in my test image, but it did improve their brightness a little bit without changing the mouth around them.

The one-touch image enhancers are pretty bad and create ugly artifacts in your image. This is not one of the new Clarity-style overall enhancements that are showing up in photo apps. The enhancement filters in Photo Editor+ try to compensate for light and shadow in the photograph, but the resulting effects make the image look blown out and noisy with unnatural color shifts. Notice the bad artifacts around the edges of my hair in the sample image above.

Original image (L) and image touched up with Blemish Remover and Teeth Brightener tools (R). Click to enlarge.

The blemish remover produces bad results when viewed up close. Results look okay at very small sizes. It doesn’t seem to be an advanced content-aware brush that intelligently grabs and fills that part of the image. This tool is more just seems to blur and smear a blemish or small mark, leaving smudge marks with a sharp edge on the subject’s face. See the detail in the sample image above.

There is no undo. If you apply an effect that you decide you didn’t want, you have to start over from your original image, which is a huge pain if you’ve already applied several tools and effects.

There’s no way to rotate or fully tweak a crop. Cropping options are limited and you can’t rotate a landscape crop preset to work better on a portrait image. You have to rotate the image 90°, crop, and rotate the image back to its original orientation. Too many steps for such a basic function. There is no straighten function. You can only rotate in 90° increments or flip the image.

Photo Editor+ only saves in low resolution — 960×720 on an iPhone 4S. “Support for full HD images” is wrong and very misleading. It simply means that the app can import your full res image before it hoses most of the pixels for a low-res save. The app saves almost no EXIF data. That means that Facebook has no way of automatically adding the photo’s location to Timeline.

The app does not have any camera support, which doesn’t bother me. What is very irritating is the import screen that constantly pops up when you’re not working on an image, even after you hit cancel.

The low resolution of Photo Editor+ is fine for sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email. However, it has no in-app sharing options for any of these services. You can only save your low-res images back to your photo album.

Photo Editor+ is a weak app taking up space in the App Store Top Ten. There are better, basic image editors. PicBoost and PhotoToaster are both powerful but easy to use photo editors that are just generally better overall than this app. Photo Editor+ has potential, but it needs a major overhaul under the hood before it’s a genuinely useful app.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Photo Editor+ is a Universal app.

Photo Editor+ - Axiem Systems


Photo Editor+ screenshots