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Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2 review

Can Corel knock Adobe off its photo editing perch?

Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate
Paint Shop Pro gives powerful tools to home users

Our Verdict

Adobe's biggest rival manages to impress with its new features and interface


  • Nice usable interface
  • Some powerful tools


  • Still fairly expensive

Corel, along with Adobe, dominates the image editing market and with Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 it offers one of the most user-friendly interfaces to date. Like Adobe's Photoshop Elements, this suite has been around for over a year, hence the now aggressive price, dropping from the original price of £90 to £67.

Aimed at the home user, rather than the serious enthusiast, Corel has emphasised usability over features in this latest version. So we have a redesigned interface based around a graphite colour scheme – the thinking being that it places the emphasis on your image and not the tools.

Corel has made the suite easy for the first-time user to get to grips with. There are a host of tutorials and How To guides on the left-hand side of the screen that make choosing the actions you need to carry out fairly straightforward.

Perhaps the biggest change to this suite is the use of the Express Lab mode. As the name suggests, this module is all about getting the most from your photos with the minimum of fuss. You can view multiple images at once and carry out basic batch changes, such as tweaking brightness, removing red-eye and cropping images.

However, to get the most from this suite you'll need to get accustomed to using the Smart Photo Fix tools, as they allow you to make the full array of edit changes. It's a powerful set of tools and Corel has done a great job of making this suite easy to use. You can manually alter images or use the automatic levels to get quick results.

For those with more experience, you'll find the Camera RAW features have been enhanced, allowing you to easily edit white balances and larger images.

PaintShop Pro Photo X2 may have a redesigned interface and the new Express Lab certainly makes it easy to get good results quickly, but the changes aren't quite enough to give it a clear edge over Adobe's Photoshop Elements.

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