In March, Enlight won against Filters for iPhone in an App Smackdown. Since then, Pixelmator has released its powerful image editing app for the iPhone, so it seems only fitting that we see how well Enlight stacks up against this well known name in iOS photography. Let’s start off by taking a look at Enlight.
Release date: March 12, 2015
Latest update: 1.0.1 (March 13, 2015)
Compatibility: iPhone and iPod touch
The photo editing niche on the App Store is terribly fragmented, with tons of apps that allow you to edit your images in particular ways. Some are designed to put borders around your images, while others give you the ability to adjust the color and light balance. Enlight was developed to fulfill all of those functions, so much so that our review of Enlight described the app as “a revolutionary mobile photo editing suite for your iPhone.”
Enlight has just about every tool you can imagine for photo editing. Whether you want to apply filters to your image or add fun text and meme stickers on them, Enlight has you covered. There are more filters than you can imagine within the app, along with all of the tools you need to create a masterpiece out of your photograph. If you want to add multiple effects to a photo, Enlight has built-in masking to seamlessly blend them all together. Overall, Enlight is a supremely powerful all-in-one photo editor that fits nicely into any iPhone photographer’s toolbox.
The single most glaring weakness that I found with Enlight is the lack of iPad compatibility. It is a very common workflow to shoot your photographs on the iPhone and then edit them on the larger iPad screen, but you just can’t do that with Enlight. Another minor weakness is that some of the tools are a bit difficult to use, but the app’s built-in tutorials help quite a bit with the learning curve.
Total score: 16 out of 20
Release date: Oct. 23, 2014
Latest update: 2.0.1 (May 29, 2015)
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Pixelmator is an incredibly powerful and full-featured image editor. It allows you to touch up and enhance your images, sketch and paint, and even create complex image compositions. Pixelmator was designed and developed for iOS 8, taking full advantage of the latest features available on the iPhone and iPad to give you fast, powerful, and innovative tools. When Christine Chan reviewed Pixelmator, she called it “a must-have for anyone who wants to do serious graphic work or photo editing on their iPhone, iPad, and Mac.”
The most impressive strength of Pixelmator is its ability to open Photoshop images with layers. It can also save images using PSD, JPEG, PNG, PDF, and many other popular formats. Since Photoshop is the benchmark standard of photo editing, this is an amazing feature to find in an app for the iPhone.
Next, but just as important, are the number of tools you’ll find within Pixelmator. While it looks simple on the surface, the capabilities of this photo editing app are almost endless. What’s more, the tools are all fairly easy to use, without much of a learning curve.
Finally, Pixelmator comes with full iCloud Drive support, so you can look for other projects or images that you might have worked on with the Mac app or on your iPad.
The only real weakness in Pixelmator is the location of the tools. Instead of putting all of the tools in tabs at the bottom of the app, the developers placed them behind a menu at the top of the screen. This makes accessing the tools slightly more difficult than it should be, but this is a minor issue when you realize the full potential of this powerful image editing app.
Total score: 16 out of 20
And the winner is …
Both Enlight and Pixelmator are outstanding, powerful photo editing apps. Each has a host of strengths, but neither one is without its flaws. Still, comparing the two head-to-head comes to a tied match, in my judgment. Both apps are equally powerful and would make excellent choices for your photo editing toolbox.
You can download Enlight on the App Store for $5.99, and it’s optimized for the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
You can download Pixelmator on the App Store for $4.99. It’s also optimized for the iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.