Photoshop Mobile on Android review: first look

Photoshop MobilePhotoshop Mobile has been available on Windows Mobile devices and the iPhone since the beginning of October, but the release of the software on Android is sure to attract thousands of new users to the service.

Photoshop Mobile on Android review: first look

The Photoshop brand, though, is synonymous with top quality photography products – and we’ve been hands-on with the Android version to see if it’s fit to carry on this legacy.

First impressions are good, with the sleek interface responding well: the left-hand tab shows pictures stored locally, with the right-hand panel displaying images stored on your account, which offers 2GB of free storage unless you’re willing to pay for the premium 20GB service.

The interface looks identical to that of the iPhone app, with three icons at the top of the screen containing most of the editing options. The left-hand one presents cropping, straightening, rotating and flipping tools, the middle button allows you to alter a picture’s exposure, saturation and tint, and the right-hand icon offers only one option: soft focus.

The bottom of the screen, meanwhile, offers options to cancel an action, save a picture, or undo and redo your edits.

Photoshop Mobile

All of the tools make use of Android’s touchscreen functions, with rotation, straightening and flipping proving intuitive: scroll a picture horizontally or vertically to flip it, for instance, or drag a finger around the screen to rotate an image.

While the implementation of these tools is pretty slick, it can sometimes seem simplistic. Take cropping, for instance: even though multitouch was introduced with Android’s “Donut” firmware update a couple of months ago, it’s impossible to drag Photoshop’s cropping box in two different directions at once.

I’m not sure if the touchscreen is used to best effect with the colour options, either: instead of using a scrollbar to alter a picture’s level of exposure or saturation, you’ll have to scroll a finger across the picture with only a number to indicate what level you’ve reached. It’s difficult to use, however, and proves imprecise with all but the most delicate of movements. The on-the-fly processing also makes the rendering of these colour effects sluggish.

The tint tool is better – it’s no less imprecise, but at least there’s an actual panel of colours to scroll through.

The Soft Focus option, meanwhile, feels like a half-finished feature. While it’s all well and good having a tool that will blur your pictures, the obvious option that most phone snappers will crave – a sharpening tool – is nowhere to be seen.

Once you’ve finished tinkering with your pictures, you can upload them to, which offers more editing options alongside Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket and Picasa support. Again, Photoshop Mobile’s slick interface comes to the fore: simply select your images, add descriptions and click upload. The transfer takes place in the background to allow editing to continue, and a notification appears in the Android status bar when a transfer has been completed.

Photoshop Mobile

Android’s market might not be bursting with picture editing tools, but Photoshop Mobile might still have a fight on its hands from PicSay, which is currently Android’s most popular photo editing app. Its interface might not be quite as slick, but it offers a comparable range of options and more exporting tools: it’ll work with Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and Twitter immediately, and doesn’t require pictures to be uploaded to an online service first.

PicSay also offers a premium version for €1.99, which introduces a host of options that Photoshop can’t boast – including that all-important sharpen tool, GeoTagging and more editing and distortion options.

Photoshop Mobile might boast a better interface, a good range of basic options and integration with the impressive online service, but competition like PicSay offers a similar range of features and more versatile sharing options from within the same application.

It certainly seems odd that, in an age where people expect their smartphones to do almost everything, you’d have to log onto a PC to share your pictures around some of the web’s most popular services. It may be easy to use and carry the weight of the Photoshop brand name, but a few silly and seemingly arbitrary limitations mean that this version of Photoshop isn’t the mobile powerhouse that it surely could be.

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