A Beautiful Mess review: Cute and crafty, but not much else

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.2
  • Installation and Setup: 7.0
  • Features and Support: 6.0
  • Interface: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Reviewed:
Updated:

The Good A Beautiful Mess has an intuitive interface for adding stylized text, borders, and doodles on your photos. You can quickly share your work with social networks.

The Bad As a photo editor, the tool set is lacking with only a few filters. In-app purchases add up to $10 more after your initial 99-cent purchase.

The Bottom Line If you are part of the target audience for the A Beautiful Mess Web site, this app might appeal to you, but if you're looking for a strong photo editor, you should look elsewhere.

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A Beautiful Mess is a photo editor that lets you choose from a few effects, add overlays and borders, then share your work with social networks. But before you download the app because it's currently high on the most-popular list in the photography category, be aware that it's not for everybody.

A Beautiful Mess is also a Web site where bloggers Elsie and Emma write about crafts, photography, recipes, decor, fashion, and beauty. The app, unsurprisingly, will likely appeal to people who share these types of interests. Though I wouldn't classify myself as part of the target audience, I can always appreciate a good photo-editing app. With that said, there are much more feature-rich photo-editors available.

The app, like the Web site, follows a specific aesthetic (dare I say "girly"?) and -- from that perspective -- A Beautiful Mess does what it was designed to do pretty well. It lets you take a picture and add frilly stylistic borders; write text in any of four different fonts; choose from a limited number of photo effects; add clip-art such as overlays called Doodles; and then add prewritten phrases like "OMG!" and "thankful." You also can choose from a few different colors for the text, borders, and phrases. When you're finished you can save your creation to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

One pretty big annoyance with A Beautiful Mess is that it has several in-app purchases for additional packs of borders, fonts, phrases, and doodles. If you're already spending 99 cents for the app, it's pretty annoying to find out you're going to have to shell out more money just for a few more options. I think it would have been better to charge a bit more up front and keep the in-app purchases to a minimum. As is, the app offers 10 different add-on packs for 99 cents each, bringing you to a total of almost $11 to buy the app and unlock all the features.

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Where to Buy

A Beautiful Mess (iOS)

Part Number: id603092599

$0.99

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category Photography and image editing
  • Compatibility iOS