If you've been waiting for a first-class photo editing app for Windows Phone, well, you haven't been looking very hard, as we already have some nifty options. But this week, Adobe finally ported its well-received Photoshop Express mobile app from Windows 8.x to Windows Phone 8/8.1. And if you're looking to do on-device photo editing, you'll want to add this one to your toolbox.
According to Adobe, Photoshop Express works with both Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 and supplies the following functionality:
Basics: Crop, Straighten, Rotate, and Flip your photos. Remove red eye.
Auto-Fix: One-touch adjustment for Brightness, Exposure and Shadows.
Color: Slider controls for Exposure, Contrast, Clarity, Vibrance and more.
One-touch filters “Looks”: Choose from over 20 eye-catching effects!
In-app purchases. Get creative by adding the Looks Pack and Noise Reduction Pack.
Photo sharing. Share easily to social sites like Instagram and Facebook, and via SMS text.
And, sure. This is all in there. But let's look a bit deeper than the official description.
First, while this app works well enough on any modern Windows Phone handset, it really comes alive on a device with a bigger screen. So you Lumia 1520, Icon and 939 users especially will want to consider this option. (It only works in portrait mode, which makes a bigger screen device preferable too.)
Second, while you can capture a new shot from within the app, I recommend not doing so, especially on high-end Nokia Lumia devices (1020, 1520, Icon, 939). Instead, take your photos normally and then edit them from within the app. That's because Photoshop Express can only work with the low-res versions of the photos those devices take, and it uses a custom camera app that doesn't work like Microsoft Camera or Nokia Camera.
Oddly, there's no way to open pictures from folders other than Camera Roll, which is odd.
Adobe very much wants you to use its Reveal cloud storage service. Normal people should ignore that and continue using OneDrive instead, of course.
Once you do get into the editing functionality, things work well and as expected. The app provides kind of a wizard-based approach where you step through looks, adjustments, borders, cropping, and red-eye reduction, and you can just use the ones you want. There's also a one-tap quick fix function, which is handy but not always optimal. And you can toggle the view between the original and edited versions of a photo but not see them side-by-side.
Bad news: As noted, it only works in portrait mode. You can't use the app in landscape mode, which would be better for most photos.
Worse news: The best effects come with a fee. Adobe charges you for the "premium looks" noted above, but also for noise reduction, which is sort of odd. That said, the editing functionality is uniformly excellent. There's a lot of stuff here in the free version.