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Ashampoo Photo Optimizer Doesn't Stand Out From the Crowd

At a Glance

When it comes to the numerous photo editing programs, add-ons, and apps out there, the choice between one program or another often comes down to a balance between breadth of tools and ease of use. Ashampoo Photo Optimizer falls squarely on the side of ease of use at the expense of breadth of tools.

Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 5 screenshot
Photo Optimizer’s split screen gives you a real-time view of changes to your photos.
Like previous versions, Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 5 is simple and very intuitive. An Explorer-style browser pops up along the lefthand side of the screen, where you can find your photos almost immediately. And once you’ve selected a photo to edit, it's displayed center-right with a nifty before-and-after slider so that you can view the changes you’re making to your picture in real time and undo them with a flick of a wrist. But that1s about the extent of the "coolness" of the program. Other than that, there isn’t much that you can do with Photo Optimizer that you can1t do with a free program like Picasa.

Photo Optimizer 5 lets you make a small range of simple changes to your photos. You can correct the brightness, contrast, and color; fix redeye; straighten a crooked picture; rotate and invert, crop; and add a few basic effects. You can make your photo sepia, grayscale, age it to look old fashioned, put a few frames around it, and add a watermark. You can blur it or sharpen it, reduce noise, and make it an outline.

Sharing options include emailing, uploading to Facebook, uploading to Picasa (where you can make many of the same changes that you can make in Photo Optimizer), and setting it as the screen background picture. You can also print the photo directly from the Ashampoo Photo Optimizer, putting between one and sixteen prints on a single page and adjusting the margins before printing.

Ashampoo Photo Optimizer costs $15 and you can try it free for 10 days without registering and another 30 days if you register with an email. Heads-up: When you install the free trial, Ashampoo automatically adds a branded toolbar to your browser and changes your default homepage to their branded search engine. If you’re not interested making these changes, use the custom installation and uncheck the corresponding boxes. According to Ashampoo, this happens only with the free trial.

Try Photo Optimizer 5 before you buy, and if you love the slider and you only need a few basic tools, then it might be worth the small investment. But as a whole, this one doesn’t stand out among the numerous choices out there.

—Lisa Cekan

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At a Glance
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