Adobe Photoshop Express (Windows Phone) review: Not perfect, but more than good enough on Windows Phone

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:

The Good Nearly identical to its iOS and Android variants, Adobe Photoshop Express for Windows Phone offers fast, powerful tools in a streamlined app.

The Bad The app still lags behind competitors on other platforms, which offer far more tools and features, free of charge.

The Bottom Line Though Photoshop Express is hardly a photo-editing power tool, it stands out from a unpolished, scattered crowd on Windows Phone.

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The arrival of Adobe's Photoshop Express to Microsoft's beleaguered mobile phone OS is notable development. It's a recognizable brand that's seen some success on Android and iOS, and brings some needed photo editing life to the desert that is the Windows Phone App store.

Fortunately, Adobe hasn't phoned this one in. With the exception of subtle changes to the interface, Windows Phone users will be getting the same experience as their Android and iOS-toting comrades. And while I did run into a few quirky issues, the asking price -- free -- makes it well worth checking out.

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Snap, Crop, and slap on a filter -- it's all here. Nate Ralph/CNET

Tools of the trade

Windows Phone certainly doesn't lack for random photo tweaking tools, though they're largely relegated to creating collages or slapping filters onto pics you've taken. Adobe Photoshop Express isn't all that different: snap a pic or pluck one from your camera roll, and you'll be presented with one of five categories of tools to choose from.

Red Eye is the simplest, as it removes red eye from photos, automatically. Crop lets you straighten or skew a photo, rotate it in 90-degree increments, flip the orientation, and change the aspect ratio to match your device or a number of preset options. Borders let add you faux-frames, funky vignetting effects, or a myriad of other designs. And no photography app these days is complete without filters -- you'll find these in the app's Looks category, and an in-app purchase for $2.99 unlocks a few more.

Things start to get interesting in the Adjustments section of the app. Here you'll be able to make some more advanced changes, tweaking things like exposure and contrast, adjusting highlights and shadows, and futzing with the color temperature, among other things. A noise reduction tool is available as an in-app purchase for $4.99 -- I'd recommend just learning your smartphone camera's low-light limitations instead. There's also an automatic optimization button, if you fancy letting the app take a stab at making adjustments for you. Don't worry -- you can take a peek at the original image and undo your changes at any time. All told this isn't a bad lineup; certainly no Lightroom Mobile, but you're still getting fairly powerful tools, free of charge.

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The Windows Phone version (left) is largely identical to its iOS and Android (right) counterparts. Screenshot by Nate Ralph/CNET

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Where to Buy

Adobe Photoshop Express (Windows Phone)

Part Number: 2ba43182-ba12-42c0-b503-158284f48bf8

Free

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category Photography and image editing
  • Compatibility Windows Phone