Both Corel PaintShop Pro and Adobe Photoshop Elements provide affordable, simple-to-use image editing capability. Photoshop Elements has always stood out as the leading software package for us but with Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2, PSP is close to delivering a program that is equally as good.

With a redesigned interface and new elements such as the ability to add visible watermarks, Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2 is noticeably enhanced.

In Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2, Corel is focusing predominantly on usabilit. It has enhanced Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2's appearance. The interface has been given a makeover and is now a graphite colour, this means the main focus is firmly on the image.

Novice image editors will feel at home using Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2's self-explanatory tools and features. The bar along the lefthand side is a handy time-saver for beginners as it lists all of the common tasks you may want to carry out.

Corel has extended the selection of makeover tools in Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2. New additions include the Thinnify and Eye Drop tools. We find these tools as easy, if not easier, to use than the makeover tools in Photoshop Elements. Crucially, the results just as impressive.

If you frequently edit multiple photos you'll love Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2's Express Lab mode. With this you can view multiple images, and make adjustments to elements such as brightness and saturation across the board. You can also access some of Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2's most commonly used tools such as Crop and Remove Red Eye. You can also give your images star ratings at the click of the mouse.

In PaintShop Pro Photo X2 we find Corel has increased the number of alterations that can be made in a single click, making it a much more attractive purchase and providing some stiff competition for rival image-editing applications. Most importantly it is enjoyable to use and worth an upgrade from the previous version of the software.

OUR VERDICT

The redesigned interface of Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2, new features such as Layer Styles, Express Lab mode, and makeover tools, combine to create a vastly improved application. It is a joy to use, making it possible to achieve professional results with relatively little effort. We're not sure that Corel PaintShop Pro Photo X2 justifies a £10 greater price tag than Adobe Photoshop Elements, however.