There are no shortage of amazing photo editing apps available in the App Store, so it can be tough for a newcomer to compete. After all, the editing tools in Snapseed are unbeatable, as are the filters in Photogene and the manipulation tools in Adobe Photoshop Touch.
Even Apple’s own iPhoto does some pretty impressive image touch ups, and there are hundreds of apps that provide various photo effects and filters. So Photo Nova HD, which was released in February, has a lot to live up to.
As it turns out, this is a simple app with a decent looking layout and quite a range of tools, but it doesn’t compare to some of its more fully featured competitors, in terms of its available tools and their quality.
After importing a photo from the camera roll or taking a picture, you can select the tool you want from the bottom navigation menu (this app doesn’t really work in landscape mode), which includes select, effects, fix, sliders, paint, and tutorial.
The selection tools, which include a lasso and a circle/square, allow you to place effects on only small portions of your images, but these do not work as well as similar tools that allow you to paint on effects. The lasso tool does not draw where you place your finger, it’s off center, making this tool completely useless because you can’t follow lines of a photo. The circle and square selections have no feathering effect, so it’s just a plain circle of a different effect in the middle of the photo, which doesn’t look appealing.
This app’s effects are its best feature. There are five different categories, and while I don’t think that these are as high quality as some of the other photo apps available, I do think that there are some that are quite decent, such as the range of color overlays and some of the vintage filters. I believe that you can never have too many photo filters and tools for manipulating images, so this app might be worth the $0.99 purchase price for the filters alone.
There is a fix tool, which I assume is meant to be used for removing unwanted elements from photos, but all it does is blur. The image sliders work passably well, with controls for brightness/contrast and hue/saturation/exposure. A paint tool allows you to draw on images, but again, this is of limited usefulness because you can’t adjust opacity.
All in all if you’re going to buy this app, buy it for the filters, not the other available tools. But unless you already own several photo apps, you’ll probably want to spend your hard earned cash on a more comprehensive photo app first.
What I liked: There were some filters in this app that were able to produce nice effects.
What I didn’t like: This app needs a lot of work. None of the tools, aside from filters and adjustments, work acceptably.
To buy or not to buy: If this is your first photo app, or one of your firsts, buy something else. If you already own most apps and are looking for a few more filters, then there are worse ways to spend $0.99.