Newcomers to the page-design software market have a mountain to climb. As if the overpowering might of Adobe's InDesign didn't cast an enormous enough shadow, cheaper options such as Apple's Pages and BeLight's Swift Publisher are no less formidable. iStudio 1.1 hurls itself into the fray and first impressions are good.

The front-end isn't a thing of beauty but there's no shortage of tools. Text paths are easy to create and there are plenty of pre-designed shapes for those who don't want to create their own.

Changing the elements of your documents falls to the Inspector panel to the right-hand side of iStudio, and InDesign users will be comfortable here – opacity, fills and character properties can all be set.

iStudio

Those who don't know what they're doing will struggle, though. For an application marketed at home users and small businesses, it's strange that no tutorials are built in, and the limitations continue elsewhere.

If you want to export as a PDF, you're unable to determine the size of the document, and the Undo command doesn't work with every tool.

There are no options to export your document to web formats, and those who want to create their own templates may be frustrated by iStudio's inability to save character settings as bespoke styles.

But this is a promising application, and iStudio's makers say our concerns will be addressed in free future upgrades. With a very competitive price, this is clearly one to watch.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview