1. cjvitek's Avatar
    SnapSeed, by Nik Software, Inc.
    $4.99, ****1/2 (universal binary)


    • Intuitive controls
    • Universal binary
    • Easy to use


    • Can only manipulate one filter/effect at a time (and then choose to cancel or save changes)
    • Can’t “zoom in” on picture

    Snapseed is a great, easy to use, intuitive photo adjustment tool. I have reviewed a few of these, and Snapseed is probably the best at using the iPhone multitouch interface to adjust and modify pictures. It’s simple approach and easy to use tool set makes it my top choice for editing photos.

    To use Snapseed, you simply load your picture in from your photo library (or you can take a picture). Once loaded, you swipe left and right along the bottom tool list to choose how you want to edit pictures – tune image, crop, black and white, straighten, center focus, etc. Once you have the effect, you use swiping controls on the image to adjust – horizontal to adjust the effect, vertical to select the type of enhancement. This swiping motion is the same for whatever effect you choose, so it is pretty easy to pick up.

    You can tap the bottom left arrow to cancel any changes, or tap the bottom right arrow to apply them. Also, at any point, you can tap the photo image in the upper right to compare what your changes look like from the original. Once you have finished your enhancements, you can save the new image back to your photo library, or you can email it, print it (via air print), use share it using Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

    It’s that simple. While there are many apps out there that offer many more types of filters, I find the simplicity of SnapSeed and it’s ease of use the primary points in favor of SnapSeed over some other app. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some concerns I have.

    First and foremost is the fact you can’t zoom in on the picture. Snapseed does have an option for selective adjust, where you can enhance certain portions of the picture. On the smaller screen of an iPhone, this selective adjust can be difficult. Of course, for people with iPads, this is a universal binary, and with Photo Stream, all your pictures will end up on the iPad anyway, so you can edit them there – but it would still be nice to have some way to zoom in.

    The other issue I had was the lack of a robust “undo” option. After you perform an enhancement, you can undo do it or apply it. This is true for each of the enhancements. But you can’t step backwards through the enhancements you have made. That is, if I crop a picture, soften it, and choose center focus, I can’t simply undo the center focus and softening. I can revert the picture back to the original, but then I lose the cropping enhancement I applied. It would be nice to have a stepwise undo option so I can work backwards to a specific points - rather than having to undo everything and then start over.

    All in all, I found this to be a great photo enhancing tool. Simple is design, easy to use, with intuitive controls and an easy to understand interface, Snapseed is at the top of my list for photo enhancing apps. Some minor concerns about undoing changes detract a little bit, but overall this is a nicely designed app. It isn’t as robust as some, but it manages to keep its focus tight and make photo editing an easy task. For $4.99, this universal binary should be found on anyone’s iPhone who love to use their camera. Four and a half out of five stars.

    Please note, the images in this review are from the iPhone version of the app.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.  
    01-04-2012 05:13 PM
  2. StormJH1's Avatar
    I'm certainly not an "expert" at photography, editing, or using this app, but I wanted to post to show that I read and appreciated the review. I got Snapseed over the holidays when it was offered free for a very short time. At 4.99, I believe it's still a worthwhile purchase, but only if you have a specific need for editing photos. Remember that a lot of basic cropping (and even some things like red eye reduction) can be done with the native photo viewer. Also, there are several free apps like (PhotoShop) or cheaper apps (like Camera+) that will do some of the same things.

    But I think Snapseed is the best one-stop shop. I will say that it's one of those apps that you really have to play with to figure out how to use and what it can do. (Garage Band is another example of a great app that can have a steep learning curve). The editing options laid out nicely on the toolbar below, but there are sub menus you have to dig deeper into. Once you figure it out though, it's very easy. I even sharpened up some slightly out-of-focus photos with editing techniques, which is something that any iPhone user would love to do.

    Great app.
    02-07-2012 12:03 PM