Fotor Photo Editor full review

Apparently, the BBC has claimed Fotor Photo Editor is "lite Photoshop", so we found ourselves having to include it here in our roundup. The fact it's free of charge made us even more eager.

So, is this a Photoshop clone? Or even a Photoshop wannabe? Nope. Not even close on either count.

However, there are some powerful tools built in that belie the free price tag, and considered for what it actually is - which is an image tweaker and improver like those countless apps for your iPhone - then it's actually very good. But it is to Photoshop what a ZX Spectrum is to the iMac Pro - a relative, perhaps, but laughably not in the same league.

The main difference between Fotor Photo Editor and Photoshop are that the later uses a toolbar and layers approach, offering tools that let you directly work on the image - cloning out a stray hair on a model's face, for example, or lightening a patch of clothing using the dodge tool. Fotor Photo Editor, by contrast, only lets you apply effects and edits to the entire image. There isn't even a selection tool, and you can forget about things like layers.

However, don't think Fotor Photo Editor is basic. Click on the Adjust icon and there's curves and levels tools. Elsewhere there's vertical and horizontal distort tools that can help fix perspective too.

But there's no getting away from the fact that, for the most part, Fotor Photo Editor takes its inspiration from apps like Snapheal. In other words, one-click filters and fixes are the order of the day.

Often these produce terrific results, and can certainly make for striking images, but it's less about subtle corrections and more about making something stylish for your Facebook wall or Instagram feed. Most if not all filters have only one adjustment slider to alter the level of intensity although a handful did catch our eye, including Bokeh, which introduces subtle and attractive lens leakage into the image.

Rather irritatingly, several very useful features require you upgrade to Fotor Pro. If you don't then a watermark is placed over the image when you use the tool in question. Upgrading costs £17.99/$19.99 per year, or £4.49/$4.99 if you want to pay monthly, but until you pony up the cash then rather useful tools such as noise reduction, lens correction, defogging and HSL adjustment remain out of bounds.

Whether you'd want to spent so much on an app like this is questionable, especially if you're looking for high-level image correction and editing. Although Pixelmator is nearly three times the price, it still comes in at less than £30, and that's a one-off payment that means you can keep the app for life.

If you'd like to read about some powerful alternatives to Fotor, have a look at our roundup of the best pro photo editors for Mac.

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