APP OF THE DAY: Pixlr Express review (Android and iPhone)

Photo manipulation is all the rage, if the Instagram uproar is to be believed. People love tweaking their mobile phone pictures to give them a bit of life, and we can see why. Every image ever taken with a cameraphone looks roughly the same. They don't have a lot of depth of field to play with, and the small sensors and cheap optics mean that the images often have some problems.

What Pixlr Express aims to achieve is the tweaking of your images to give you a more polished look. Happily, this isn't just about silly filters, and making your snaps look like they're from the 1970s, this app has some genuinely useful tweaking tools as well as the usual colour tone, and picture frames.

Pixlr Express

Format
Android and iPhone
Price
Free
Where
Google Play and iTunes

The app allows you to tweak four areas, the first being adjustments. This is the useful stuff, like crop, rotate adjusting the colour, contrast, sharpness and removing red eye. People who like photography will probably just use these tools, and nothing else.

But for the tweakers out there, there is an effects mode. Here you get "creative" options, which give you some unusual effects around duplicating your image within the image. Think Andy Warhol, and you might be close.

There are also overlays and borders. These will give the image a new look entirely, and there are plenty of textures and patterns to choose from. The "light leak" stuff will no doubt prove popular to those who use Lomo cameras, and some of them can produce interesting results given the right starting material. The borders are handy, and there are some vignettes in there, which can help produce a nice focal point for the eye.

We like that you don't even need a camera on your Android device - making it ideal for tablet owners who either don't have a camera or are mortified by the pictures it produces. The interfaces is also quite well designed for bigger screens, so you might opt to take photos on your camera, then tweak them with this app.

There are some little things that frustrate us with the UI, but these are minor. It seems you need to wait a while for a filter to be applied, and once you've pressed the button you then need to press it again to go into the effect tweaking mode. It's a minor hassle, but one you learn to cope with quickly.

For our money, Pixlr is one of the nicest Android apps we've used. The UI is pretty, but also functional. The results are good, especially if you're an Instagram fan looking for a new app, post recent events. Of course, there's not as comprehensive hosting for your snaps here, but you can easily share, using the standard Android share functionality.

A free app that's worth a lot more. We'd say this is a must-download for an Android user who likes messing about with their photos.