If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you would surely know about Instagram. It is a fairly popular (okay, I am being a tad too diplomatic) photo sharing application, and is available for Android and iOS. Windows Phone users, be it the ones who braved Windows Phone 7, or are on the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon out of peer pressure or other reasons are grumbling about the lack of an official Instagram client for their smartphone platform they chose.
Lots of pleas have gone out to the makers of Instagram, but they surely have more important things to do. Which is why, a third party app would make do for the time being. And that is exactly where Itsdagram comes in.
What made Instagram so popular?
It was the simplicity and the eventual mass appeal that made Instagram what it is today. It began as a simple app that would let you share pictures with a bit of tweaking. Over time, it has evolved into what it is today – click a picture, add filters/effects to it, share with a bunch of users on Instagram and also with your friends on Twitter and Facebook if you so wish. All this within one app, no need to switch between the camera app, gallery etc. to get all this done.
At the moment, it is available on Android and the Apple iOS, and BlackBerry 10 users can side-load the Android version on their devices and it works well. Windows Phone 7 and 8 users, however, have not been given that much loving.
Getting it: WP Store is weird!
The app can be downloaded from the Store on your Windows Phone device. The app is called Itsdagram Free, and actually costs Rs 80! How that is free is something we cannot fathom, except for the fact that Windows Store allows you a trial period for checking out the app. But, this is an example of the rot that sits in the Windows Phone app ecosystem.
Download the 5MB application and you are all set. Open the app and it asks you to register or log in with your Itsdagram account. Try registering, and the error prompt tells you that you need to buy the app outright to register. Now, how this is a trial in that case, we again are a tad flummoxed.
Interestingly, you can simply sign in using your actual Instagram account. Everything works, except that we landed up on this trick by the trial and error method, and not because the app guided us to do as, as it ideally should have.
Itsdagram is currently available only for Windows Phone 8 devices, and we checked this app out on a Nokia Lumia 920. Windows Phone 7 devices have currently been left out of the goodness sharing.
Interface: Will the real Instagram please stand up? No wait, keep sitting!
Once you have signed in, what greets you is an interface very similar to that of the official Instagram app on the likes of an Android smartphone or an iPhone. All the features are there, which is a huge bonus. The interface, more precisely the timeline that you see as essentially the first screen, is fairly reminiscent of what we see on Instagram for the other platforms.
You can browse the timeline, like pictures posted by other users, and comment on them. The tabbed and side scrolling user interface that Windows Phone deploys in messaging, photos, mails etc. has been replicated by the developers of Itsdagram. Swipe right or left from the timeline tab, labelled as Home in the app, and you can check out the popular pictures on Instagram and also check out the activity linked to your account – people following or your friends joining the network for the first time.
A strip at the bottom always remains open, with the basic options – Me (your account), refresh the page, add picture (upload and share, basically) and search (user or image search). The detailed settings allow you to control background refresh as well as Live Tile updates and notifications.
As far as the feature set is concerned, Itsdagram is pretty much carrying all of Instagram’s features. Nothing seems to be missing, and equally, nothing extra seems to have been added.
Performance: As good as it gets
When you tap on the add picture option, it opens up the photo albums in the gallery, and these include the ones you may have clicked on the phone or saved on your Skydrive space. If you wish to upload one of these images, you are good to go. Alternatively, you can tap the camera icon at the bottom of the screen. This opens the native camera app and you can take a shot. The good thing about Itsdagram is that it opens the camera app as is, complete with all the camera and picture mode settings available for tweak. Post clicking, you get the expected “crop” option, in case the image needs to be cropped. The filters can then be applied on the image. While the filters aren’t necessarily the same as the ones that Instagram originally offers, they still pretty much do the job.
Feature set and basic behavior aside, Itsdagram does have a couple of performance niggles. There are times when the app just freezes at any point in the UI. Also, when you try to do things a little too quickly, the app crashes.
So, does it take away the pain?
Yes, and we can’t really see why not. This app does what it is supposed to do. Unless you are pedantic to the extreme, and would not be able to live with yourself with the knowledge that this isn’t the official app, Itsdagram does the job for you. It is a paid app, and for Windows Phone users, we feel it is a small price to pay for getting the experience and freedom of using Instagram.