In the end, it all comes down to your personal needs and interests. Which social networks do you use most often? Do you need every editing tool in the box, or are you happy just to crop, flip and rotate? Do you want super-cool washes that will give your photos a vintage touch, are you looking for an endless repertoire of fun or perhaps the right app to create a photo book for a special event?
Here, we consider the pros and cons of three increasingly popular apps: Pixlr Express, Pencil Camera and Lightbox.
1.) Pixlr Express:
Pixlr Express is another product from the creative brains behind Pixlr-o-matic. Featuring a number of useful features, it’s known for being simple to operate.
Firstly, it includes some straightforward editing functions. Users can rotate, straighten, crop and resize their photos effortlessly. They can also opt for ‘auto-fix’, which, at the click of a button, automatically fixes up lighting problems and balances colours so that images look better within seconds. If you’re not keen on having red eyes or if you think your teeth could do with some whitening (but you don’t want to pay enormous dental bills!), both problems can be sorted out easily.
Once you’ve finished editing, you can set the mood with overlays, lighting effects, borders, and extra effects, such as focal blur. You can also adjust colour, contrast and brightness, or choose to add a colour splash. A ‘favourites’ button enables easy tracking of changes.
Pixlr Express allows the sharing of photos via most popular social networks and apps, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and the saving of photos to your device’s gallery.
Overall, feedback indicates that users enjoy using Pixlr Express. It has received a 4.8 star average on Google Play. Many users have described it as the best Android app for photo editing they’ve ever tried. They find it simple to use and state that it has an impressive range of functions for such a small app.
Some users have pointed out that it could be improved by the addition and expansion of some tools, such as collage, distortion, a facility allowing users to alter the size of personally typed text, and increased variety in the colours of available stickers. Some have also complained that the red eye reduction function doesn’t work particularly well. The app’s inability to deal with high resolution photos is another concern for some users.
Pixlr Express is easy to use. Photos can be edited quickly and effortlessly. For a small app, it includes a diverse range of functions, including all the fundamental editing and effects tools. It enables the sharing of images across a range of popular social networks and apps. Best of all, it’s free!
Some popular functions are not available, such as collage, distortion and alteration of the size of personally written text. The colours in which stickers are available are limited. Some users have complained that the red eye function is not as effective as it could be. Pixlr Express is not suitable for editing high-resolution photos.
2.) Pencil Camera:
This app is all about creating amazing pencil effects in HD on Android devices. You can apply it as you’re taking a photo, so that you witness the effects in real time, or you can choose to apply it to images that are already stored in your gallery. It’s a fun way of combining your artistic inclinations with your photography.
There are 11 different effects achievable. These include “crayon’o’matic”, parchment, cartoonist, canvas, “concrete wall sprayer”, “is there life on Mars” (sepia), “over the foil”, “alien skin”, black pencil, ‘chalk world’ and “industrializer”. The app also features filters (which can be applied in real time), and, where applicable, auto focus, auto flash and face camera. SD card installation is possible.
Pencil camera can handle photos that are 1600 x 1200 pixels and smaller. It allows users to share photos immediately, via Facebook or email, and can support more than one camera at a time.
Version 2.5 is available on Amazon for $0.75 and version 2.9 is available on Google Play for $1.99.
Plans are in development for a future version, which will include more effects and wider support for Samsung devices.
This app currently has a 4.1 star rating on Google Play. However, it has received far fewer reviews than more common apps, so this average might be skewed in comparison with other statistics. Positive feedback includes praise of its ease of use and the fact that it enables users to see effects and decide if they like them before taking photos. Some users enjoy its focus on one main function – to give photos an arty touch – and most state that the effects are really impressive. Negative feedback includes reports of operating problems, including trouble with saving. Some users have also stated that they’d like to see more options, especially in terms of settings, such as switching on and off the flash.
Pencil camera is simple to operate, partly because its range of functions is more limited than that of other apps. It allows users to view effects before taking photos, which can be useful. The manufacturer promises a refund to users who are not happy with the app and is responsive to concerns and complaints.
Whereas other photo editing apps incorporate a diverse range of functions, pencil camera is limited to one main use, which might mean it is not ideal for users seeking something more complex. It does not have many options when it comes to settings. Some users have complained of operating problems.
Lightbox is the Android user’s answer to Instagram. It enables users to snap photos and share them online in a jiffy, plus it comes with a photoblog, which means that users can arrange their images online in an appealing, eye-catching fashion. They can also join a web-based community of similarly enthusiastic Lightbox fans. Like Instagram, this app’s available free of charge.
Users can either take photos via Lightbox, or import a photo from their gallery into the app. Once the shot is there, users can choose from 17 different filters, which are designed to give photos a whole new look. It is possible to shift the balance and contrast of colours or create a vintage look through applying washes. The editing tools enable users to crop, flip and rotate images.
Sharing can occur across a range of social networks, and a variety of privacy options can be applied. As with Instagram, users can name and tag photos.
Many users are particularly impressed with Lightbox’s efficient, beautifully organized interface. They state that it works fluidly and easily, which makes using the app enjoyable. Most users have also found that the diverse array of effects gives them the freedom to design their photos just as they want them to appear. Lightbox’s online community and the personal blog provided for each user receive frequent positive comments. Many users enjoy the ease with which they can share their own photos, and interact with others’ posts. Some users have pointed out that Lightbox’s editing tools are not as extensive as those found on other apps.
Lightbox’s well-designed interface is definitely a plus – it makes the app easy to operate. The range of available effects is impressive. Sharing photos across social networks can be achieved effortlessly, and it’s great to be able to place all your images on one blog. Plus, Lightbox has its own online community. Efficient web support is available and finally, let’s not forget that it’s free!
Lightbox’s editing options are limited to cropping, flipping and rotating, which some users might find frustrating. The app is not necessarily suitable to those who want to take their photos through complex, personalized editing processes. Other apps on the market offer a bigger toolbox.
Steven is the editor at the VerybestSoftware.net, a blog where he shares his personal reviews for software and applications, technology news and tips. He also posts his assessments for various internet services like online photo sharing, photo album and printing sites, cloud storage services and more.