HP Photosmart Essential provides a simple set of tools for editing and sharing photos. While not offering a ton of options and functions, the program does a fine job of sticking to the basics.
We were surprised by how simple and professional-looking the program's interface was and it was clear the designers put a lot of effort into it. That was even before we watched the brief tutorial videos that showed us everything we needed to know. The program reminded us of many other photo editors, though with only a handful of tools, like color, lighting, resizing, and cropping. The changes provided slight alterations, but not a complete overhaul of a shot. Frankly, we appreciated how this program avoided throwing a number of complicated masks, filters, and alteration tools, because it kept us focused. The program also provided ways to e-mail pictures or even place them on a sharable folder that your friends can access online. On top of all this, the program offers a feature to download tools to make cards and calendars with our photos. The program offered no frills, but its interface and simple results were enough to convince us that this is good for photo fans.
HP Photosmart Essential is a freeware program. It comes as a compressed folder, installs desktop icons without permission, and left folders behind after uninstall. While this program doesn't offer a galaxy of editing options, its basic setup is good enough for us to recommend it.
Version 3.5 has new Photo Book artwork styles, full control of your Photo Book fonts including type, size, and color, option to print a draft version of your Photo Book, CD/DVD printing support on 64 bit operating systems, and improved performance and reliability.