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Weekend App: Handy Photo Free is a capable iOS image editor with a couple of unique features

Ah, another iOS image editor review. There are so many available in the App Store, with lots of overlapping functions. Cropping, filters, frames ... one could get lost.

Handy Photo Free has all these features, but it's the unique features that make it worthy of note. First and foremost, the Move Me technology designed into the app gives it an edge on competing photo editors. Take a person or an object and move it elsewhere in the photo frame, and the background fills itself in automatically. Filters can be applied to all or just parts of an image, and there is smart retouching.

Like many image editors that use the freemium app pricing model, you can upgrade to a full version that adds smart 'uncropping', full-resolution saves, more filters and RAW support. The full version is available at the reasonable price of US$1.99.

In terms of filtering and image manipulation, the free Snapseed app is still superior to anything I have used in iOS but Handy Photo Free adds that very powerful Move Me feature. There are little niceties in the app. For example, when you are drawing the mask on the object you want to move, Handy Photo offsets a magnified view of where you are painting. Most apps stupidly let your finger cover the area you are working in, making it difficult to create an accurate mask. The Move Me technology works well, and on the photos where I tried it, a new natural-looking background was rendered.

Handy Photo, in both the free and paid incarnations, is a first-rate editing tool. Help is built in and each feature is described. The GUI is modern and accessible for a first time user. I'm very partial to Snapseed, which can turn an ordinary picture into something memorable, but the special features of Handy Photo are well implemented and worthwhile. Try the free version and see if the features are useful to you.

Handy Photo Free requires iOS 4.2 or later, and it is optimized for the iPhone 5. The app is universal.

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