Review: XK72 Mobile Fotos
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.
Mobile Fotos is another full-featured Flickr client that attempts to offer a nearly complete Flickr browsing experience on the iPhone, with the added ability to upload photos taken with the camera or stored in the Camera Roll. Once the app is authorized through Flickr, users are dropped at the main screen of the program, a list offering access to your photos, the camera, Camera Roll uploading, contacts, groups, an area to explore photos on Flickr, nearby photos, and search.
Each of these options has its own small, nice-looking icon, a convention that is carried throughout the app’s interface. Under “You” sit options for your photos, photo sets, favorites, tags, contacts, and groups. A similar screen is available for each of your contacts, and a Nearby feature offers a real-time location accuracy readout, along with options for setting how far to search, how to sort the photos, and how recent the photos should be. The bottom line is that this app lets you browse what you want, how you want.
When browsing a set or stream of photos, including those nearby, or in Flickr’s “interesting” category, images are presented on screen in a thumbnail view nearly identical to that of the iPhone’s built-in Photos application. Viewing an individual photo brings up a bottom menu bar with navigation buttons, and an action button that offers the ability to view the picture’s details, including title, author, views, location, time/date, and tags, as well the option to view and add comments. Other options available from the action menu include adding it to favorites, saving the photo to the iPhone’s Camera Roll, or assigning the photo to a contact.
Uploading is similarly straightforward. Once a picture has been taken or selected from the Camera Roll, the user is presented with a screen for entry of title, description, and tag information, along with the ability to turn geotagging on and off — again, with a real-time accuracy readout — and add the photo to a set. As the screen notes, photos taken with the camera are uploaded in full resolution. One current limitation of Mobile Fotos is its inability to auto-rotate photos; the developer recommends turning on the feature in the user’s Flickr settings; like Klick, we would prefer the app simply handle this on its own.
Despite its minor flaws, such as the lack of a preview photo on the upload setting screen and its demand that users turn on Flickr’s auto-rotate feature, Mobile Fotos is currently the best full-featured iPhone Flickr application available. Its well-designed interface feels more like a standard iPhone app than any of its peers, and its robust browsing options are best-in-class. Small shortcomings aside, it’s worthy of the $3 asking price and our high recommendation.