Photogene in Review – Photoshop Mini in my Palm!!

photogene2I was a little sceptical when this category of apps debuted on the iPhone/ iPod Touch platform. The reason was because I have access to my computer every day, and when I know I have taken photos with my device, I’ll immediately sync them back with iPhoto. So I was thinking “why do photo editing on the phone when I have a 20” screen at home and iPhoto?” Well, apparently, some people don’t have access to a computer on a daily basis, or that they are always on the road, or just wish to modify the photo with friends on the spot. Whatever the reason, I decided to take a look at Photogene…

When I loaded the application, the first step was pretty intuitive: I immediately chose “Edit new photo”, and it allowed me to choose a photo from my phone, whether synced from iPhoto or one taken with the camera. It then immediately switched to a familiar photo-editing screen (BTW the accelerometer works here).

photogene3One thing that immediately caught my attention was the simplicity of the application. The buttons on the left were very self-explanatory, with the scissors being cropping, the colour wheel being changing the colour levels and saturation, and undo/ redo buttons on the far left, and save and complete being the tick box. In regards to the GUI, top marks; now let’s give the app a chance to shine with its inner strengths…

photogene4Pressing the colour wheel icon actually gave me a further three tools: Levels, Colours and Effects. This gave the application even higher marks; firstly for telling me that the functions are quite powerful, and that the GUI was thought through quite thoroughly with the grouping of different functions. Also, the photo automatically zoomed out to continue to allow me to see the entire picture. Using the sliders was pretty simple, just like any other application; but what surprised me was that it actually has live preview. I never thought it was possible on a mobile device; this just shows again and again that the graphical capabilities of the platform are amazing, as well as the speed of the CPU of the phone. After playing with a few more tools, I think I got some pretty outstanding results:

photogene5Pretty impressive, I must say, especially bearing in mind that this is a phone.

Lastly, to complete, I just tapped the click-box icon, and it gave me the option to save my work. Now, with any newly taken photos, I would plug my iPhone into my Mac, and let iPhoto take care of the rest. However, with this particular sync I was pretty amazed; I saw a number of pictures in my Camera Roll that represented stages of my work on Photogene, which would only mean that the application knew to save any progress as “save as” when I asked it to, rather than replacing my previously saved work or the original source file. This is actually a big deal, because it means that I know should I screw up anything, the original file is there. The completed work is below:


Onto my thoughts of the app; I am more than impressed with its excellent GUI, the speed of the application when implementing changes, live preview, a wide selection of tools, progressive saves and a host of other features. It does put a lot of photo editing power to the user when needed, especially since the Camera application doesn’t allow you to change any settings when actually taking the picture. So in a way, this app could compensate for this lack of options. Also, I think that the speed of this app just blows anything else away; I’ve tried some very similar apps on my friends’ iPhones/ iPod Touches, and this one is by far the fastest to me. However, whether this app is worth the purchase really depends on your syncing patterns; if you are like me and sync any new photos, then the app is not as useful; if you are always on the road, or just don’t have access to a computer, then this could be a stop-gap solution until one is available. However, generally a fun and useful application to have…


App Summary
Title: Photogene Developer: Omer Shoor
Price: $2.99 App Size: 1.0 mb
  • Elegant and intuitive interface which was well thought through
  • Speed, speed, speed
  • Progressive save
  • Could do with a freehand pencil and eraser tool
  • Nothing major to report, really…


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