Is the Polarr a full-fledged free photo editor that can compete with Lightroom and Capture One, or a failed attempt? The photo editor Pro Polarr review answers popular questions about the program. What is it capable of? Is its functionality enough for full-blown photo retouching? Can it replace Lightroom or Photoshop? Let’s find out!
This Polarr photo editor review is about the well-designed app that demonstrates the full capabilities of Windows 10 and MAC applications. It can be used for deep color correction and basic image retouching and can be called one of the best free photo editors.
Free and paid versions are available in the Windows 10 Store for PC. It comes with countless professional-grade features for customizing photos. Its design is more intuitive and accessible than complex programs like Photoshop. If you don’t want to buy something expensive, such as Adobe Lightroom, you should pay your attention to the Polarr photo editor Pro.
It has a huge variety of tools and excellent functionality, even in the free version. You can make a full photo retouching using the potential of the Polarr Pro free. Support for all kinds of platforms. You can edit photos at any time and place because the application is available as a full-fledged PC version, a web version for browsers and an app for smartphones and tablets, independent of systems, like iOS or Android. Availability. Polarr is available both in free access and in Pro. As for me, a cool bonus is that the difference is almost invisible. You have the opportunity to use all the features and tools, no matter photo editor Mac free or Polarr Pro Windows you use.
Talking about the cons, there aren’t so many of them. The Polarr pro price. Compared to Adobe products, a monthly subscription to Polarr photo editor is quite expensive. The second drawback is rather controversial. I noticed that people in forums talk about the image editor’s performance. The editor is quite smart and doesn’t cause any problems at first. But after a certain time, or after a strong load, it starts to work unstably and delivers the user frequent freezes. Raw files support. You won’t be able to upload files of the Raw format even in the Polarr pro, although the creators say they will add this opportunity for 2 years.
You can use the web Polar instead of downloading the application. It’s important that the difference is almost unnoticeable. You can use the photo editor without a PC. Install it on your smartphone or tablet from the App Store or Google Play.
Polarr “Pro” has both a free and a paid version. It provides additional functions, such as working with masks, layers, text, and vector. These tools are part of the Pro for $ 19.99 in addition to batch export, resize, and rename. Don’t rush to buy it after reading the review for Polarr. It provides 30 days of free access with full functionality. You can see whether you are using the photo editor at full capacity after the expiration date. So, you will understand whether you need to make the first payment. Remember that the functions of the “Pro” are not needed by everyone, so there are many users of the free version.
Although Polarr is supported on various platforms, it’s also optimized for them and doesn’t require a strong configuration.
Windows/ Mac OS/ Linux
Let's talk about the Polarr pro photo editor. We will see the program’s opportunities and whether it can repel the best photo editors, like Photoshop and Lightroom.
As I said earlier, in Polarr raw files aren`t supported. So, I downloaded a large Jpeg to review Polarr image editor. Polarr copped the task without problems. I saw a quite good interface. It can be changed using settings. The left side of the screen contains the following tools: filters, text tool, retouch, crop, and overlays. Look at each of them.
An additional menu opens after selecting the filters. You can see the variants you often use and one semi-knob is given to adjust the filter itself. It’s pleasant to note that in addition to the automatic setting of this field, you can also manually select filters from a wider list. This is done in 2 clicks.
A wider range of filters is available. To open it, just click on “More Filters” at the bottom of the screen. You will see dozens of filters for various styles of photos by opening an additional list.
Open the “My filters” column in the filters list. You can also add or create ready-made filters and share with other users. A cool feature that not every editor has.
Next in line is the “Text tool”. The tool is pretty well-made. You can use it to add text, shapes, dividers and presets.
You can easily sign or create a watermark using “Add text”. The tool provides a huge number of already prepared fonts, which you can also expand by downloading them. You can adjust the transparency of the text with the “Opacity” slider. It’s a quite useful function because it allows you to impose on the picture no noticeable signature or create a watermark.
The “Presets” tool is a rather interesting solution from developers, which bears already prepared presets with signatures, in other words, a watermark. But you cannot change the structure of the text, only “Polarr”.
“Retouch” is the first and one of the most interesting tools. The main retouch begins at this stage of photo editing. You can adjust the skin tone by highlighting it with a brush or by placing a square in the square, add shadows, or vice versa lighten a certain part of the image or blur the background with this tool.
Polarr allows you to auto-correct the image, or adjust everything manually after opening the “Face” tab. I used the manual settings and selected the face area to show the result. Additional sliders opened after selecting the “skin” tab. These are our tools. I noticed that, surprisingly, the tool works quite accurately, and it’s quite enough for photo retouching. If you compare the head with the hand, the difference is visible. The color has become more saturated and interesting.
Next, I saw how the “Liquify” tool works and I was satisfied. You can blur the background with such modes as warp, pinch, bulge and restore, using a brush. In addition to the mode selection, two sliders are also available. It can be configured for size and strength. A useful tool if you want to give an image an attractive style.
You can crop, expand, display and align the image with the “Crop”. A rather simple tool, and you won’t find anything interesting in it.
Now let`s look at “Overlays”. The tool gives a certain effect on the image, using presets already prepared by the program or downloaded from the Internet.
A quite simple tool with a very impressive amount of effects, which are limited in the Polarr free. The tool is quite controversial for photo retouching. However, it is useful for those who want to add some zest to the image, an effect that will distinguish you from others.
Let us turn to the main tools of the photo editor for retouching images. We will look at each of them in detail. We will see what they are and whether they have enough functions to complete retouching.
You can use “Adjustments” tool to change the following parameters: color, light, detail, vignette, HSL, curves toning, distort, border, effects, LUT, and rendering.
I changed the temp, tint, vibrancy, saturation, exposure, contrast and highlights indicators by choosing color and light, performing the initial color guide. I used the slider to configure each of the tools above. The transfer and accuracy of each of them were at a fairly good level, thus, giving me quite a good result.
“Curves” is the next tool I used and tested. I set up it after choosing the color. The tool doesn’t work quite well, but if you compare it with Photoshop, it is inferior, since its color rendering is more accurate and gives a completely different result using the same settings.
You can easily change the tone of the image with the “Toning” tool. I changed the tone with the help of the color palette. However, I didn’t like it. Balance is the only one slider available. It’s not enough for more accurate use of this tool.
“Distort” is a quite useful tool which not each editor offers. You can correct the image with it if your lens failed or the frame was incorrectly captured. The tool provides 3 sliders that can be unscrewed according to your requirements, thereby aligning the image, or vice versa, make a special bulge.
The next is “Masks”. It helps you adjust the color of the selected area more precisely. I opened the Color mask and I was given a brush to select the area.
Next, I adjusted the exposure, brightness, vibrancy, contrast, shadows, and clarity using the sliders, thereby editing the selected part of the photo.
The result was good, but I was worried that the brush itself doesn’t work correctly. It’s noticeable in the screenshot above that the area that the photo editor automatically selects doesn’t completely cover parts of the body, as a result of which, it’s not retouched.
“Brush mask” corrects this situation and does it at the highest level. You already manually define a part of the image using a brush, which can be changed by choosing a size that is convenient for you, after which you can retouch the selected area using the sliders.
The last is “History” tool with which you can easily return or save any of the steps.
I have mostly positive impressions after the Polarr photo editor. Firstly, I want to note the program’s functional. The program is pretty good, and the tools are enough for a full photo retouching. The second is performance. I edited the photo at my old laptop, which showed itself quite well throughout the time. Each image editing stage was performed instantly, until the last stage, which is saving the photo. Thirdly, the free image editor has practically no differences from Pro. It’s also quite good in the free version and isn’t inferior in functionality. I want to mention only one minus — the masks and layers. It doesn’t have a separate field for layers and masks compared to Photoshop. In my opinion, it plays an important role in some situations and makes the execution of some tasks simply impossible.
Polarr is an excellent alternative to Photoshop and Lightroom, but only in free version. It hasn’t sense in the paid version because, although a little, it’s inferior in functionality. Let’s turn to the Polarr review for iOS and Android. What is the program capable of? Can it be compared with its older colleague's functionality? Is it convenient? Can it replace Lightroom CC and Photoshop Express?
The app is free, but just like in the PC version, you can improve its functionality by subscribing to the Pro. You can use the Pro via your smartphone after purchasing a subscription via a laptop or a PC by synchronizing accounts.
I saw a very familiar, but slightly reworked interface. All the same, tools that are located at the bottoms of the main menu. I examine each of them and find out whether they differ from the full version, what they are capable of and whether they are inferior in the final result.
I didn’t notice the difference after opening the Filters tool. There are the same ready-made filters, which can be adjusted with the slider. It’s possible to create your own and save the result by adding it to the library for future use. This is a very useful feature that allows you to speed up your work.
The Light tool consists of 8 sliders: dehaze, exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks, with which I overestimated contrast, shadows, and a few other parameters, making the image more saturated and catchier. The app is inferior compared with the full-fledged Polarr. Since the accuracy of this tool has dropped significantly, besides, retouching itself is not done smoothly, the photo constantly twitches.
I didn’t see any changes in the Сrop tool. You can also align the image, crop it, expand it to either side, make it horizontal or vertical and display it.
You can change the color temperature using the color tool, making the image more realistic. Correction is available with four sliders: temp, tint, vibrancy, and saturation. I twirled a couple of them. The tool works quite accurately, but the smoothness isn’t enough to back the image twitches.
One of the last tools is overlays. It reveals all its functionality only in the pro version, then, like most effects, are closed. Quite a controversial tool for retouching, but you can make your photo interesting and catchy with it.
You can edit skin, face, eyes, nose, mouth, and teeth with the last of the provided Face tools. I had a lot of problems and questions with it. First, the tool, like almost everything, is poorly developed. So, the image constantly twitches, preventing you from properly setting up a particular indicator. Secondly, this is the accuracy of the instrument itself, compared to the PC version, I wasn’t satisfied, because if you take and set the same parameters on the selected sliders, the difference is visible, and it’s enormous. The selection is one of the last drawbacks of the tool itself. In the older version of the photo editor, if I take it as a whole, I was satisfied, however, I don’t like the tool here, I don’t like it at all, and I don’t understand how to work with some parts of the body.
I don’t recommend you to use Polarr mobile if you need deep photo retouching. The use of tools isn’t convenient. I didn’t find a way to select a specific area of the image, which will make a correction only in it. From the positive aspects, it remains that the app is available in both the free version and the Pro. The difference is almost invisible, with the exception of some new filters and effects.
One of the biggest flaws in the Chromebook toolkit has always been content creation apps and utilities. If you need to edit video or audio, do photo retouching, you should better use a laptop with Windows or Mac instead of a Chromebook. However, what if I tell you that Polarr allows you to work on any Chromebook, without an Internet connection, showing the same results as Lightroom offers?
PPolarr is a program developed for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome. There is even an online version that you can use via your web browser. This is a full-featured image editor and is one of the best Chrome apps that you will find. You can install Polarr for free in the Chrome Web Store. All features are available, but some of the advanced photo retouching settings are locked. What you get for free is very useful and works great. If you like what you see and want more features, Polarr uses a subscription model and costs $24 a year for the Pro version, which is about $100 a year cheaper than Lightroom ($9.99 a month).
Undoubtedly, the tools that Affinity Photo offers are stronger, it is somewhat similar to Photoshop, but here it is worth clarifying that the photo editor does not have a free version. However, the main Affinity problem is price. Affinity’s monthly subscription will cost you $17, while Lightroom, Photoshop, and Polarr require less than $10 a month.
Lightroom has more learning tutorials than Polarr. Lightroom is more used to compose photos, create libraries and literally use “basic” photo retouching and professional color correction.
The monthly subscription for Polarr and Photoshop are $10 per month. The first difference is Adobe’s cloud storage. By subscribing, Adobe offers not only a professional photo editing softwares, constant updates and access to all tools, cloud storage from 10GB to 2TB. However, Photoshop is more difficult than Polarr for beginners, because the toolbox it offers will take a lot of time in training. Polarr provides almost the same tools, but in a simpler and accessible form.
Comparing Polarr Mobile with VSCO, the second app is more focused on photographers and users who want to improve their photo editing skills, share experiences. That's why they have a built-in social networking platform. However, Polarr is equally strong in color correction, but more inclined to users who like to publish photos on Instagram and Twitter. Adding text, balancing a skin tone and using brushes, as well as color correction work equally well.
If you're looking for a free all-in-one photo editor, Snapseed is a great choice. It focuses on providing users with a variety of photo editing tools. However, if you need to add filters, a growing community of users who like to create and send their own filters, compatibility between platforms, Polarr is for you.
Fotor is aimed at beginning photo editors’ users, which do not need to use professional photo retouching tools, but rather apply several filters, effects. Also, a significant difference between these photo editors is a paid subscription. While Polarr, after a subscription, offers a large number of additional tools, Fotor simply removes advertising.
Polarr is inferior in Pixlr’s functionality. Only a premium subscription reveals the full potential of Pixlr. Polarr also performs its photo editing tasks well, and is capable of basic image retouching, but the functionality and the number of tools is less.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.