Review: JPEGmini compresses your pictures dramatically with little loss of detail

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder JPEGmini

    PCWorld Rating

    This program provides a quick, easy way to reduce the disk overhead used by your photo collection.

If you're going to do just one thing in your life, you're best off doing it really, really, well. You might even be rewarded for it if it's something other people like. JPEGmini ($20, free feature-limited demo) does one thing—further compresses JPEG pictures to save you disk space—and does it quite well. If you're a photo hound, you'll like it, and you might want to reward the company so you can use it.

There's nothing complicated about JPEGmini's interface. Open or drag the files to it that you want to compress.

JPEG is a compressed format, but the amount of compression applied is variable and optional, ranging from slightly to extremely lossy. Most camera devices use a very mild amount of compression, producing relatively detailed images that are much smaller than uncompressed (raw) files, but still much larger than they need to be for general use. This is generally wise, as you can't restore detail that's been compressed away, but for most purposes, you can squash JPEG files quite a bit further before you see obvious compression artifacts.

The original and re-compressed photos look nearly identical, but you can see from the stats that the processed photo on the right is considerably smaller.

JPEGmini takes advantage of the underzealous compression habits of your camera devices to further compact your JPEG files (no other types are supported) while leaving them nearly as detailed. It trimmed my 234.5MB test folder of photos from a RADAR 4G phone and Canon 230SX camera to a mere 134MB, a very nice reduction in space. At 100% zoom, it was very difficult to tell the difference between the original and recompressed photos. Zooming in to the pixelated level, the differences still weren't something to stress over.

I created two copies of the photos involved for comparison purposes, as JPEGmini compresses the originals and doesn't create backups. Be sure you don't want the originals of anything you use it on. Also, once photos have been re-compressed using JPEGmini, that's it: You can't reduce them further by running them through the program again. This is as it should be when a program's purpose is to save disk space while minimizing loss of photo detail.

You'd be hard-pressed to tell the before and after recompression photos without a fair amount of scrutiny.

In this photo-crazed world we live in, JPEGmini takes admirable care of a simple need: Reducing the amount of space required by your visual memorabilia. It does it quickly, and it does it well using a simple, but elegant interface. I'd like it better at $10, but I like everything better at $10. It's worth giving the demo version a try. JPEGmini is also available for OS X.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This program provides a quick, easy way to reduce the disk overhead used by your photo collection.

    Pros

    • Super-easy to use
    • Compresses JPEGs without much loss of detail

    Cons

    • Works on JPEGs only
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