3 star rating

Pixlr Express Review

Pros: Easy-to-navigate interface; Drills deeper to provide fine-tuning; Lets you upload pictures at a preset resolution
Cons: Auto Fix for exposure correction doesn't work well; Many filters and effects require an additional download
The Verdict: Pixlr Express is jam-packed with options for image adjustments and effects, but it may take you more taps to get the results you want.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Autodesk's Pixlr Express combines the Flash-based Web image editor with the company's first app, Pixlr-o-matic, an Instagram-esque repository of filters and effects. Pixlr Express adds a variety of versatile tools, and lets you save images right to the cloud -- a must for anyone editing photos on the go.

Article Continued Below

Interface

Like Snapseed and Adobe Photoshop Touch, Pixlr Express is available as a free download for both Android and iOS. (We tested version 1.2 on Android). As you might expect, there are slight differences between the two versions. For instance, in the Android version, you can choose the default folder for saving images.

Pixlr ExpressWhen you first open Pixlr Express, you're presented with two options: Take a Photo, or Choose a Photo. With Take a Photo, you'll go into your device's Camera app and then return to Pixlr to continue to edit the image.

MORE: Best Apps 2013

Choose a Photo lets you grab an image from Dropbox or Google's native Gallery app. Beneath the image are six editing options: Adjustment, Effect, Overlay, Border, Text and Sticker. Tap on one of those options to reveal a list of editing options, each of which is presented as an icon in a clearly labeled, easy-to-identify fashion. For example, tapping on Adjustment gives you 14 additional adjustments, including crop, rotate, autofix, color, vibrance, contrast, blur, sharpen, denoise and redeye.

Pixlr ExpressOf the core six editing options, only Adjustment comes baked into the app. Effects, borders, overlays, text and stickers all require additional downloads. This approach saves precious space on your device, but it also means that if you want more than the one or two preloaded variants, you'll need to go through additional in-app installs.

Performance

Once you select an adjustment, you then drill deeper into the actual elements you can control. For example, to change the color on an image, tap on Hue, and then adjust the pop-up slider to taste. Then, repeat those actions for Saturation and Lightness.

Pixlr ExpressPixlr offers a fair amount of control over various aspects of image adjustments, which is useful if you like to tinker with an image. However, one of the most critical capabilities -- Auto Fix for one-tap exposure correction -- tended to be a bit too aggressive. It frequently changed the exposure dramatically, in a way that wasn't true to the image's reality -- and wasn't an improvement over the original.

Some effects are harder to figure out how to apply. Color Splash -- which, as its name implies, adds a touch of color to your image -- is not intuitive. In contrast, this effect was easy to use on Aviary. And effects are sometimes nested, requiring several taps to reveal all the options.

Pixlr ExpressOther effects are simply brilliant in their simplicity -- and alluring in how you can creatively adjust your image. Take Focal Blur: You can control both the focal point and the width of a concentric circle for the blur effect, and decide whether you want the blur to be linear or circular.

As with other apps, such as Aviary, you can't change either the crop of an image or its orientation while retaining a specific aspect ratio (for example, when cropping a landscape image to a portrait orientation).

Also, like other free apps, Pixlr Express shows you a low-res thumbnail of the image you're editing. That's fine for image previews, but for the actual edits, it's difficult to tell whether a crop is too tight, or how much to denoise an image when all you're seeing on-screen is the pixelated low-res version.

When you save an image, you first choose whether to share the image via another app, or save the image directly into your Google Gallery. A major boon: You can change the resolution to one of three preset options or to a custom resolution -- a bandwidth-saving trick that avid shooters will appreciate.

Verdict

Autodesk's Pixlr Express is a highly capable image-editing tool. For the most part, it's easy to use, but some aspects of the interface are frustrating, and some of the adjustments -- particularly Auto Fix -- missed their mark entirely. Whereas Snapseed has an elegant, unfettered design, Pixlr Express feels as though it tries to compress too many features into a tight space. Nonetheless, Pixlr makes some of those features worth investigating.

Tags: Pixlr Express, Pixlr, multimedia, Apps, Software, reviews

Technical Specifications
Pixlr Express
http://pixlr.com/


PlatformsAndroid; iOS
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE