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Paintshop Pro 2020 Review

Paintshop Pro 2020 Review

Corel’s Paintshop Pro 2020 if full of potential packing a rich feature set into a competitively priced product. Yet, this potential is undermined by a laggy interface and clunky workflow. Jump to conclusion

What is Paintshop Pro?

Paintshop Pro 2020 is an all-in-one Photo Editor including Raw Conversion, Touch-ups, Graphic design, and Photo Management. Corel tries to flatten the learning curve by creating three different workspaces – Complete, Essential, and Photography. Each workspace aims to spare you from the tools you don’t need while making useful tools immediate and accessible. Bravo.

Paintshop Pro 2020 Review
The Photo Management Tab allows you to tag your photos and organise your pictures into collections.

What can Paintshop Pro do?

Paintshop Pro 2020 can do an awful lot. The manage tab enables you to review your photos, tag them with keywords, and assign them to a collection of your making. The touch-friendly Photography workspace provides easy access to essential editing tools such as brightness, white balance, and tone curves. If editing is not for you, you can take advantage of one-click auto adjustments and numerous pre-packaged effects filters.

Paintshop Pro 2020 Review
The simplified Photography work space is designed for straight-forward photo editing.

If HDR is your thing, Paintshop Pro 2020 can create HDR photos from single or multiple photos (s). A photo blend mode enables you to take the best parts of many similar photos and merge them into a single, optimum photo. If you like to work with layers, Paintshop Pro’s Essential and Complete workspaces feature adjustment and vector layers.

Sadly, Raw conversion is very basic and somewhat crippled. Corel would rather you buy an alternative product called Aftershot Pro 2. If you want to edit Raw files, Windows 10 users have plenty of free alternatives.

Paintshop Pro Review - Raw Convertor
The included Raw convertor is very basic and will prove insufficient for some

Performance and ergonomics

Paintshop Pro 2020 can be frustrating to use. The user interface feels dated, obstructive and laggy. Even on my high-spec desktop PC, applying a filter to a photo takes, on average, 10 seconds. As you drag the sliders (for changing colour, brightness, etc), it cannot keep up with your adjustments in real time. Only when you stop sliding will the preview catch up and show you the fruits of your labour. If you deactivate the visibility of a layer, it won’t just vanish – it incrementally disappears row-by-row.

Paintshop Pro Review - Filters
Moving between filters would be more fun if it were not for the load times

Workflow is slow too. If you want to adjust tone curves, you have to open the tone curve pallet, adjust, then close it before proceeding with the next adjustment. This demands additional clicks leading to a slower, bumpier process compared with other Photo Editing Applications.

Paintshop Pro 2020 Review - Tone Curves
Pallets such as Tone Curves need to be opened and closed again before moving onto the next adjustment.

Is Paintshop Pro good value?

In terms of specification and price, Paintshop Pro 2020 is competing against better products. ACDSee offers better functionality and vastly superior performance for similar money. If you do not need a Photo Organiser, you could opt for Affinity Photo – an excellent option for those who want to polish their Raw files. Depending on your needs, even free options such as GIMP and Darktable may provide you better value.

The Develop Tab in ACDSee Photo Studio
ACDSee. All controls are ready to be used with all adjustments previewed in real-time.


Photoshop Pro 2020 is a feature-packed and convenient all-in-one photo editor. Regrettably, the functionality is stacked behind an unresponsive interface that feels dated in appearance and design.

These days, photographers are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to Photography Software. ACDSee (see review) is similar in scope and price to Paintshop Pro but is superior in function and design. However; if you want nothing more than a Raw editor/convertor, Affinity Photo is cheaper and feature-rich. Alternatively, you can save even more money and pick up a copy of Darktable for free.

If Corel can modernize the interface and throw in some new stand-out features, Paintshop Pro could be a contender. But sadly, not today.

Do you use Paintshop Pro 2020, what do you think, and what other applications do you like to use?

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