Although not a high-end product, X1 is a powerful program that'll let you create polished vector drawings in minutes, even if your creative skills are limited.
Price$ 319.00 (AUD)
Even if you're an experienced digital illustrator, you may find Xara X1's ease-of-use a refreshing alternative to Macromedia's FreeHand, Adobe's Illustrator or even Corel's CorelDraw. In addition, it promises to be up to 500 per cent faster than other leading vector software and its photo and bitmap-handling tools are second to none.
There's no symbols feature for repetitive graphics or a spelling checker for text, but it's still excellent value for money.
Targeted at print and Web designers, Xara X1 supports real-time bitmap anti-aliasing, offers smoother feather and shadows, pressure-sensitive brush stroking and multi-stage graduated fills as well as real-time interactive transparency controls.
This aggressively priced package comes with full 32-bit alpha channel bitmap support and CMYK for print illustration work including onscreen plate preview.
Xara X1 is packed full of video tutorials, wizards and a context sensitive help system. Its clean interface is also free from the excess of floating palettes and dialogue boxes that plague high-end tools. Thanks to Xara's NavBar tool, image-slicing capabilities and Dreamweaver integration, you can easily create Web-ready graphics or animated GIFs as well as prepare vector art for animation in Flash format. What's more, all Xara's features and tools work in real-time - updates are shown before you release the mouse button to make them permanent. For instance, drag the eyedropper tool on an image and the colour of your selected object alters continuously.
You can create and export frame animations to multiple PNG files to be imported into Adobe Photoshop or ImageReady as layers or frames for further editing.
Other new tools include Picture Editor, which you can use for basic photo-editing operations such as cropping, rotating, enhancing and sharpening. You can also adjust contrast, brightness, sharpness/blur and saturation.
Unfortunately, there's no support for third-party filters, but this is promised as a free update later in the year. There's also no local pixel editing (painting or retouching), unlike Macromedia's Fireworks which lets you paint on artwork as easily as you draw.
Photo and bitmap handling is still faster and more powerful than any other vector graphics application, however. In addition, almost anything you can do to vector shapes you can do to bitmaps.
Images files (such as JPEGs, GIFs, TIFFs and so on) are embedded in a separate Xara file, cutting down on file size in the process. For instance, an uncompressed 20MB photograph would double in file size every time you copy it. As a result, you may end up with a file that's as big as 60MB. Xara uses a proprietary "zero-memory footprint" approach, which means that each new copy and edited copy requires no additional memory or file space. This technology makes Xara X1 an ideal platform for creating compositions that mix native vectors and imported bitmaps.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Windows 11 review: An unnecessary replacement for Windows 10
- 2 Sony WF-1000XM4 review: These noise-canceling earbuds have all-around appeal
- 3 Acer Swift X review: A rare ultraportable laptop with bite
- 4 Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station review: Good for venturing off the grid
- 5 Razer Naga Trinity review: The last best MMO gaming mouse
Latest News Articles
- Fixed: AMD driver helps Windows 11 find Ryzen’s best CPU cores
- Android apps arrive on Windows 11, sort of
- Microsoft offers beta fix for Ryzen performance issues on Windows 11
- Edit PDFs right in your browser with Adobe’s upgraded Acrobat extension
- Windows 11 hurts AMD Ryzen performance even more than we thought
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- LG Gram 17 (2021) review: Super lightweight and primed for productivity
- What's on offer in Telstra's latest flash sale?
- Best way to get the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro in Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies