17 Killer Mac Apps Under $20 (Part 5)

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A better selection

Over the course of the past few OS X updates, Apple has taken to bringing some of the better features of iOS “back to the Mac”. PopClip adds one of the ones they left out. On our iPhones and iPads, selecting text automatically brings up a context menu, but when using our Macs, those options require an extra right-click. With PopClip, a customizable, iOS-style pop-up menu appears over selected text, allowing easy access to the actions we use most. 

PopClip brings OS X just a little closer to iOS.

PopClip brings OS X just a little closer to iOS.

But the real power is in its extensions. Dozens of options are available to soup-up PopClip, from integration with Fantastical to translation and spotlight searching, and PopClip is smart enough to know which ones you might need for your block of text. We experienced a couple of crashes using PopClip, and the lack of distinct separation between actions was confusing at times.

The bottom line

PopClip makes your Mac a little more like your iPad and that’s a good thing.

·         Product: PopClip 1.4.4

·         Company: Pilotmoon Software

·         Contact:

·         Price: $4.99

·         Requirements: OS X 10.6.6 or later

·         Positives: Quick access to common functions. Integrates well with apps. Fantastic customization

·         Negatives: Some crashing. Long rows of extensions can get confusing.

·         Rated (Great): 4/5


Photo magic

The last time we reviewed Snapheal, we marveled at how it could easily erase unwanted objects from your photos. MacPhun calls it magic, and we said, “It’s a bold claim we happen to agree with”.

Version 2.2 keeps that magic, and fixes a lot of the problems we had — and for $3 less. You can now import from Aperture as well as iPhoto, Photo Booth, and the Finder. In the Erase tab, you can paint on objects you want to remove, use the polygonal or free lasso, or even choose the Clone tool to pick the exact part of the photo you want to use to cover the unwanted part. Erasing modes include Shapeshifter, the most universal according to the app’s tooltip, as well as Twister and Wormhole, although the app doesn’t explain what the other two are or how they differ. 

Just paint over an object and click Erase. It’s that easy.

Just paint over an object and click Erase. It’s that easy.

After you’re done in the Erase tab, the Retouch tab lets you paint a mask over parts of your photo, and then use the sliders to make edits to just those areas (exposure, contrast, saturation, and more). The Adjust tab has similar adjustments but applies them to the whole image, and a cool side-by-side mode lets you see the before and after. 

The bottom line

This might just be the most powerful image editing 12 bucks can buy.

·         Product: Snapheal 2.2

·         Company: MacPhun

·         Contact:

·         Price: $11.99

·         Requirements: OS X 10.7 or later

·         Positives: Remove unwanted objects easily. Brighten colors and easily make other adjustments. Make edits on one part of the photo while leaving others untouched.

·         Negatives: Masking tools could be more intuitive.

·         Rated (Excellent): 4.5/5

Ensoul contacts

Put your best faces forward

No matter how “first world” the problem may be, it’s still a drag when a friend calls you and a horrid, pixelated, grainy mess appears on your iPhone’s beautiful display. Ensoul Contacts (ironically, a Mac app) solves this easily. 

Ensoul Contacts has a near-perfect interface.

Ensoul Contacts has a near-perfect interface.

On first launch, it asks your iPhone’s screen size and pixel density, a nice touch. The clear main interface lets you select a contact on the left, and then drag in a photo from your iPhoto library (or other sources) on the right. If you use iPhoto’s Faces feature, Ensoul can even auto-match the faces to the contacts, which worked seamlessly. Once you’ve selected a photo, you can zoom and crop it, add filters, and preview how it will look on your exact model of iPhone. Ensoul Contacts syncs those photos to your Contacts app, where they’re updated on your iPhone via iCloud or a manual sync. 

The bottom line

The interface couldn’t be much better, and if you’re willing to pay $9.99 to fix the low-res caller ID image problem, this doesn’t just solve it, it obliterates it.

·         Product: Ensoul Contacts 2.0

·         Company: MacPaw

·         Contact:

·         Price: $9.99

·         Requirements: OS X 10.7.5 or later

·         Positives: Goes above and beyond solving the problem. Great UI and design. Great customization options

·         Negatives: Pricey, considering the problem. Some filters decrease image quality.

·         Rated (Excellent): 4.5/5

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