In April 2015, when I used to write for a website called TechDissected, I discovered a web app on Chrome OS called Polarr. I needed a tool on my Chromebook that could actually compare to professional tools like Photoshop and Lightroom. To be blunt, about 95% of photo editing apps on Chrome OS are a joke. But I found that Polarr was able to meet almost all of my post processing needs on my laptop and smartphone.
Since then, it’s been great to watch Polarr grow from a lesser-known web app into a powerful tool found on Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Chrome OS and even Linux. Polarr even has a digital magazine now called Pixel Magazine, found on Medium. The Android version recently got a big update to version 2.0, which is what I’ll be reviewing.
- RAW editing – probably one of the biggest new features, you can finally edit RAW files with Polarr
- Custom filters – users have been able to create their own filters with Polarr since the beginning, but now you can share them with a QR code
- Color masking – this is a powerful feature that lets you color edit only certain parts of your photo, like making the sun more saturated in a landscape shot
- 2 new local adjustments – blurring and pixelation
- Gradient masks – now your gradient masks can be reflected
- Portrait mode orientation for editing
- Click-and-drag to customize your toolbar
- Newly-designed curve, color toning and cropping tools
As you can see, this is a huge update that makes Polarr even more powerful. RAW editing is great, and it’s rare to find this in a mobile tool. It’s fun to create my own filters, and I can easily share the generated QR code on Instagram or even in a text message.
Speaking of filters, Polarr has recently partnered with Unsplash, a good source for free and high-quality stock photos, to create The Unsplash Collection, which is a collection of ten filters created by the professional photographers of Unsplash.
Although not part of Unsplash, my favorite filter is Film, which is a small group of free filters that emulate the style of traditional film cameras to give your photos an attractive, subtle vintage style.
Polarr is a free app, with in-app purchases to unlock more filters and pro features. I highly recommend buying the pro features, if only to support the awesome team behind the app.