Photopea review: A free Photoshop alternative that works in your browser
You don't need to spend money to get a quality photo editor. In fact, you don't even need to download an app.
Some powerful photo editors require a monthly subscription fee or a high initial investment. Photopea bucks both of these trends, and instead gives you a free option that doesn't even require you to download anything.
Photopea is a unique editing application — I've never used anything like it. It's a Photoshop alternative that you just open in your web browser. Both the interface and its feature list will be familiar to anyone who has used Photoshop. While it doesn't have every feature of Adobe's flagship photo editor, Photopea isn't a lightweight editor either. It has enough power and features to keep many users from having to purchase a photo editing software.
It's free and open source, with some ads that help support its development, but the ads aren't intrusive. You can upgrade to a premium account for $9 per 30 days to remove ads and support the developer.
A powerful photo editor that lives in your browser.
Photopea is a powerful photo editor that's a progressive web app — it lives in your browser. You can use it to make edits to photos, enhance them, and use both vector and raster tools all without having to download a thing.
Power within a browser
Photopea looks and feels like Adobe Photoshop, and that's a good thing because it feels very familiar to creators. If you've used any photo editing software that has a similar design, you'll be able to dive right into Photopea. You can make global edits like adjusting an image's HSL or brightness, and also make more specific edits like selecting an image from a background. It works with raster images and vectors and supports several file formats.
What's impressive about this to me is that it's all within your browser. Photopea doesn't require a download. It's a PWA that you can either use inside a normal browser interface or "install" as an app through browsers such as Google Chrome or the version of Microsoft Edge that's powered by Chromium. But even when "installed", you still don't have to download anything. The app is in your browser, but the editing is done on your machine. All of your work is stored locally, so nothing is put into a server or a cloud.
Because of how Photopea works, you can open it instantly on just about any machine, including PCs running Windows 10 in S Mode or even Chromebooks. It works with PSD files well and also supports the vast majority of file formats that image editors will need. It's a great photo editor for working across platforms and being able to jump into an edit on any device without having to download anything.
Photopea's most significant selling point is that it's so easy to use anywhere. It works very well with PSD files, with support for layer editing and saving a file as a PSD file. That means that you can take a file that you have on the cloud, a USB drive, or any device, and make some quick edits on any device without having to download anything.
For a professional user, Photopea isn't going to replace Photoshop, though that'd be a big thing to ask from a free piece of software. Instead, Photopea is an excellent companion for photo editors who need to make edits on a machine that isn't their normal setup.
If you're a prosumer or casual editor, Photopea will meet many of your demands. It's convenient, can handle a wide range of edits, and is easy to learn thanks to Photopea's online tools.
An impressive and convenient editor
I'm a fan of Photopea. It's unique, is a progressive web app, and can work on just about any platform. I love that it supports PSD files so well and plays nicely with other file formats. It's a good companion for professional users who have to make an edit on a machine other than their usual setup and a good editor for prosumers and casual editors looking for something more than a basic editor.
I ran into some performance issues when I tested it, which is unfortunate. Selecting a background to remove was a bit janky in my testing, but other edits ran smoothly. It's hard to judge how much that will vary for each person as hardware setups can differ significantly. What I can say is that editing in Photopea was less smooth than using my photo editor of choice, Affinity Photo (opens in new tab). That being said, Photopea still performed fairly well, and the fact that it's free and can be tested by literally clicking on a link makes it worth a try for anyone on the hunt for a photo editor.
- Free version isn't restricted
- Large feature set
- Doesn't require a download
- Can work in several browsers
- Performance can stutter during edits
A powerful photo editor that lives in your browser.
Photopea is a powerful photo editor that's a progressive web app. You can make edits to photos, enhance them, and use both vector and raster tools all without having to download a thing.
Windows Central Newsletter
Get the best of Windows Central in your inbox, every day!
Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new tab).