Instagram has been growing to become another big social network, but for a long time BlackBerry users have been left out in the dark. Although I am not the type who enjoys posting pictures everyday, I do not mind checking out my friends’ pictures. A couple of Instagram browsing apps have been uploaded onto BlackBerry App World. I had to only spend two minutes with flipStagram for me to convince me that it was the best Instagram browsing client on the BlackBerry PlayBook.
What you need to know about Instagram Browsing Apps
Before you can even start browsing through Instagram, you will need to create an account outside of this application. This is the limitation of the API that Instagram has provided developers; in other words, developers have no control over this limitation. If you have an Android or iOS device hanging out or have a friend who has one, just use the device to create an account with Instagram. Another drawback to all browsing applications are that, they are strictly used for browsing. You will be unable to upload any pictures of your own without an official Instagram client. For people like me, it did not deter me from purchasing this application.
Once you have everything set up, you are greeted with a beautiful collage of pictures. The UI is very intuitive with four buttons that open up into a sub-menu. I believe that even the smallest thing counts. The transitions between pictures and loading icons make the application look beautiful. The pictures are not pixelated or grainy and seem to have the same quality images on other devices.
Although four buttons might not sound like a lot, they all carry powerful features. The first button lets you view previous photos that do not fit on the screen. The second button allows you to view slideshow of the photos you are currently viewing. The third button allows you to view popular photos, your feed (your friends’ pictures), liked photos, or based on location. After choosing the type of feed you want, you can adjust them to your liking by sorting them or viewing a slideshow. The last button is the settings. Here you can have up to six grid columns that will allow you to view many more pictures at once. The grid size allows you to adjust how many photos you want to view at once which has a maximum of 100. It also allows you to adjust the maximum distance for searching location around you for up to 5000m. Lastly, you can adjust the map view zoom level and the slideshow delay through the settings.
Once you click on a photo, you can view the position of where the photo was taken if it was tagged. You can find more information of the photo based on the time the photo was created and when the caption was created, as well as the filter type and any tags that were attached to the photo. Of course, you will be able to like and comment on the photo as if you were using the Instagram client.
One of the coolest features that I also look for are shortcuts. Right out of the box, flipStagram is loaded with swiping gestures between photos, double clicking to like/unlike, swiping up for fullscreen mode and single tap to see user details. All of this information will show up until you turn them off in your settings.
Thus far, flipStagram has exceeded my expectations for a 3rd party Instagram client; however, this is where improvement is needed. A picture takes about a second to load, for me, it is forgivable. What I found was detracting from the experience was swiping between photos. Let me put it this way, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Once you bring the picture to the fullscreen, zooming and moving the picture around does not meet the standard of application smoothness that we usually see today. Hopefully, we will see an update that will address these issues.
This is by far the best Instagram client for the BlackBerry PlayBook. For its looks and functionality, I can forgive the occasional performance issues that comes with flipStagram. At the price of $1.99, I think it is a good deal if you to get a good Instagram browsing experience on your BlackBerry PlayBook.
The Look – 10/10
Functionality – 10/10
Performance – 7/10
Final Score: 9/10