Like other programs that require a similarly lengthy time to build image collections into albums, Smart Pix Manager is based on a full database application that stores wide-ranging data extracted from your images.

Where it differs most notably is in the way that the information is shown and used. For example, there are three distinct modes of operation, starting with the database mode itself. Here you can filter the file displayed by various criteria, including any or all assigned keywords, ratings, or by date.

The other two modes offer navigable folder views, so you can easily select any folder of images for previewing, and a Favourites mode that only displays photos tagged as favourites. The latter works independently from the five-star rating system.

The bigger picture

One of the most impressive things about Smart Pix Manager is that the preview window offers image viewing at much bigger sizes than average, working in conjunction with a more typical thumbnail window. This is particularly handy for checking facial expressions in portraits and for telling if images are sharp or not.

Image-editing tools are fairly rudimentary but include cropping, resizing and sharpening, as well as colour and brightness adjustments. A couple of handy buttons also enable you to open any image in your favoured image-editing program, with additional options for copying the original file first.

Smart Pix Manager certainly isn't the easiest or most intuitive program to find your way around, but there are plenty of useful tools on offer for the more experienced user to play with.