Photo editing on your Chromebook, part 3: Pixlr Express

In part one of this series, we looked at the built-in photo editor that ships with Chrome OS, and in part two we examined PicMonkey, the most popular photo editing web app in the Chrome Web Store. Now, it’s time to take a look at what might be the second most popular photo editing web app, Pixlr Express.

Pixlr Express works in a similar way to PicMonkey, in that it can be connected to your Google Drive. This simply means that you can open images directly from Google Drive with Pixlr Express, skipping the step of downloading a photo from Drive onto your computer and then uploading it to Pixlr Express. This tight integration works in both the web interface of Google Drive, along with the native Chrome OS file explorer – in other words, as long as you’re connected to the internet on your Chromebook, it almost feels like a native app.

Once your image is opened in Pixlr Express, you’ll find options along the bottom of the window to edit your photo. At first glance, this looks very simple and perhaps even a bit more limited than PicMonkey. However, behind each selection are a bunch more options to pick from. For example, selecting adjustment will give you options such as crop, resize, rotate, auto fix, colors, vibrance, contrast, blur, sharpen, denoise, red eye, teeth white, touch up, airbrush, liquify, focal blur, doodle, history brush, color splash, or add image:

Here are the other options (you can click each image for the original size):

As you can see, underneath the initial simplicity are quite a few powerful options for getting those vacation photos just right. Still, I think PicMonkey might have slightly more customization options – if you care about the ability to turn your friends into zombies, for example. I still prefer Pixlr Express over PicMonkey, because I find the interface cleaner and slightly more professional-looking.

One notable feature that’s not available in PicMonkey is the ability to work with multiple photos, adding images as you please on top of your main photo, easily resizing them as you see fit. Depending on your needs, that can actually be a really big deal, and it’s a gaping hole in PicMonkey.

Here’s the bottom line:

Advantages: Simpler, cleaner, and more professional-looking interface than PicMonkey; very easy to use for beginners or more advanced users; Google Drive integration.

Disadvantages: Fewer customization options than PicMonkey, requires an internet connection to function, it’s not as advanced as some other editing apps.

Download: Chrome Web Store

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.