Any image editor has to endure comparison with Photoshop - it is par for the course. Few live up to expectation, and to some extent it is unfair comparison to make, particularly when you're talking about image editing on the iPad. Or is it?

Pixelmator on the Mac can be thought of as Photoshop for the masses. It's not as powerful or as feature-packed as Adobe's landmark app, but it is available at a fraction of the costs and includes more well designed features than most people will have need for. And now, an iPad-friendly version has been released.

Pixelmator for iPad is, quite simply, stunning. It finally sees the iPad come of age as a true image-editing tool. Like its Mac brethren, Pixelmator for iPad effortlessly takes on Photoshop and offers all the key functionality you need – direct from your tablet.

It will work best on later generation iPads, and indeed some tools – specifically some of the photo retouching tools such as Heal – weren't initially available on third generation iPads or earlier (this has been fixed as of version 1.0.1). Regardless of missing functionality, though, the low price makes it an absolute bargain.

The app has everything you’d expect from a top-notch image-editing tool: support for layers (including non-destructive layer editing), wide format support, a vast collection of creative, painting, editing and retouching tools and the ability to seamlessly link in with iCloud Drive, so you don’t need to worry about where those large PSD images you’re working on will be stored.

Everything about the app oozes quality except the price – at $4.99 it’s a steal and should be an essential purchase for all iPad users.

What's New in Version 2.3

Pixelmator 2.3 for iOS brings an incredible Quick Selection Tool, a powerful and precise Magnetic Selection Tool, features many small, but awesome improvements to the selection experience on iOS, and more.

• The advanced Quick Selection Tool lets you make incredibly accurate selections.
• The smart Magnetic Selection Tool snaps precisely to the objects you trace.
• Many small, but awesome changes improve the selection experience on iOS.

Selection improvements:
• When making selections, you can now tap Invert to invert your selection.
• The outline of selections made with the Color Selection Tool is more precise thanks to a content-aware smoothing algorithm.
• The all-new marching ants design improves performance and has ants that actually march around your selections.
• The Color Selection Tool is now faster (especially on older devices).
• Added a Create New selection mode, which is now the default.
• A live preview of your final selection is now shown when using the Add or Subtract selection modes.
• You can now transform selections in the Arrange pane.
• Selections now snap to layers and the canvas, just like layers do (but you can turn this off by turning off Guides).
• Selections made with the Free Selection, Rectangle Selection, and Ellipse Selection tools now always snap to pixels, meaning there won’t be any unwanted, half-transparent pixels at the edges of a selection when you copy, delete, or transform it.
• The selection paths of the Free Selection Tool are now made up of twice as many points, which makes them smoother.
• When you open up Select with an already selected area, the selection tool that you were using previously will automatically become active.
• When moving a selected area, dragging inside the selection will move it, and dragging outside the selection will now pan the image.
• The selection outline that is added as you select with the Free Selection Tool now has a subtle animation.
• When making selections with the Quick Selection or Color Selection tools, the selection preview now fades into the marching ants.
• Tapping Undo after transforming a selected area sometimes used to make that area flicker. Fixed.
• When using the Free Selection Tool, quickly tapping could sometimes make really small selections instead of adding points. Fixed.

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Pixelmator is a triumph of engineering on the iPad, providing Photoshop-like tools and compatibility for a fraction of the cost of a desktop app.