Best image-editing apps

August 1, 2013



Developed by the renowned Nik Software, Snapseed is a powerful image-editing app that is easy to use. On-screen tips explain how to use swipe gestures to control different adjustments, which is very helpful. Cropping, frames, focus and tilt-shift effects, filters, sharpening and basic adjustments can all be carried out using this app.

The best feature, however, is the selective adjust, which allows localised adjustments of contrast, saturation and brightness. Simply and effectively, this tool can really enhance an image. The new added Retrolux filters are among the best filters I’ve seen, giving a very pleasing vintage feel to the image. 

Pixlr Express


Pixlr Express is one of the most comprehensive image-editing apps on test. Some of the adjustment options include crop, sharpen, blur, focus effects, whiten, red-eye reduction, selective colouring and de-noise. All these can be changed in intensity with a swipe gesture. A large collection of filters can also be controlled in this way and, like the BeFunky app, these filters and effects can be stacked on top of one each other multiple times.

While Pixlr Express also boasts stickers, borders and text overlays, the standout feature is the large collection of overlay layers. One of overlays is Chem Burn, which overlays your preferred Chem Burn to give a retro-looking, film-burn effect. Many other overlays are also available, from a bokeh effect right through to grunge layers.

Adobe Photoshop Touch

From: £2.99

Adobe has done a great job of cramming as many of the features of the desktop version of Photoshop as possible into its Photoshop Touch app, and even on a smartphone screen it is easy to use. Images can be layered, warped, cropped, resized or rotated. You can even add a gradient, lens flare or text to your image. Using the standard Brush tool, some effects, such as brightness and saturation, can be brushed on to create localised adjustments. There are also a number of artistic filter effects, which can be applied globally or locally.

Images can even be retouched via the Healing brush and Clone Stamp tools, and a range of selection features are also available, including the famous Magic Wand tool.

Best in the Group

BeFunky Photo Editor


BeFunky Photo Editor is an image-editing app with a social network built in, though the app can used without ever registering to the BeFunky social media site. A whole host of adjustments are available, along with filters, frames, borders and the ability to add text to an image. Once an image is loaded into the app, the adjustments can be made. These include rotate, straighten, crop, beautify, brightness, contrast, fill light, exposure, hue, saturation, colour temperature, sharpen, smart sharpen, blur, colour, matte and vignette. All of these adjustments can be controlled in intensity using swipe gestures.

In addition, 29 different filters can be applied, which can also be controlled in intensity. After confirming a transformation, other filters or adjustments can be stacked on top of each other to create something unique.



Aviary is one of the most highly rated image-editing apps in the Google Play store, mostly for its simplicity but also for its features. Automatic enhancements can quickly be made to images, and in the free version there is a choice of 12 different filters. These enhancements include hi-def, illuminate and colour fix, and the filter collections are varied, with the option to buy further filter packs for as little as 61p.

Cropping, frames, stickers, drawings and text can be overlaid onto an image and lots of adjustments can be made. Blemishes can be removed, teeth whitened and redeye reduced. Also, colour temperature, saturation, contrast and brightness can all be adjusted. Selective colour and sharpening can be applied, as well as focus blurring.

Photo Editor


Photo Editor is one of the more advanced editors available, but for Android only. For the beginner, it may be a little too advanced, but for anybody familiar with Photoshop it should be straightforward to pick up. It has many similar features to the Adobe package, including Curves and Levels, which can be adjusted for the entire image and in the separate red, green and blue channels.

Photo Editor has a small selection of filters bundled under an Effects tab, some of which are artistic filters, although the majority are adjustments like Unsharp Mask. Other features include controllable perspective correction, white balance and a Clone tool that works in much the same way as in Photoshop. While other apps on test here have the fun factor, Photo Editor really means business.

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