Review: Connected Flow Exposure and Exposure Premium
On August 8, 2008, we reviewed a collection of eight different Flickr applications for the iPhone and iPod touch in a roundup entitled iPhone Gems: Every Flickr Application, Reviewed. This review contains a review of one application from that roundup; additional comparative details can be found in the original full story.
Yahoo!‘s Flickr service is the top photo-sharing site online; its large userbase, friendly, clean interface, and open API have allowed it to grow to storing over 2 billion photos, and developers have created iPhone and iPod touch apps that work directly with the service. Note up front that all of the apps share two common limitations: iPhone OS 2.0 currently limits uploads of previously stored-in-iPhone or -iPod photographs to a maximum resolution of 640x480, with in-application camera functionality available as a workaround. Additionally, in order to show a preview but maintain a full-resolution image, the preview image shown after taking a photo with an in-application camera is normally cropped in one manner or another. Again, all of the apps are affected by these limits; it’s only a question of whether the developers find smart ways around them.
Exposure and Exposure Premium are fairly well-rounded Flickr photo viewers. Both versions of the application offer the same functionality and will be reviewed as one: the free version places small, generally unobtrusive ads at the top of each page, while the Premium version removes these ads.
Once the Flickr authentication process is completed, users are presented with an interface similar to that of Apple’s iPod and Remote applications, with a dark navigation bar at the bottom, complete with a “More” tab that offers the user the ability to choose which shortcuts appear in the bottom navigation bar. Users can browse their own photos—either grouped together, by set, or by tag—or photos of their Flickr contacts, by group, date, or individually. They can also explore Flickr’s currently featured photos, and see photos taken nearby thanks to use of the platform’s Location Services. Options for searching Flickr and viewing favorited photos are also included.
Clicking on an individual photo presents the picture on a black backdrop, with a simple menu for viewing the photo’s info, and a Done button for moving back to the prior page. There is no way to move from photo to photo from within the expanded view when viewing groups of photos from different people — you must be viewing a specific contact’s photostream for navigation buttons to appear. On the plus side, the Info screen for each photo does allow for the viewing and posting of comments, along with the standard description and tag information. Users may also choose to favorite the photo, post a link to Twitter, mail a link to the photo, or open it in Safari, all from a “Share Photo” menu.
Overall, while the application sports a decent interface and worthwhile browsing features, its inability to upload photos, and its small navigational oddities leave it short of our general recommendation. The company behind Exposure, Connected Flow, is planning a separate Flickr uploading app called FlickrExport Touch, which could really have been better integrated here. For iPod touch users or those not concerned with Flickr uploading, Exposure’s not a bad choice at the free level, but we feel the Premium version, with its $10 price tag, is pretty close to outrageous given its more fully-featured, lower-priced peers. You don’t get $10 of value by losing the ads, so stick with the free version if you want to try Exposure at all.