Browse Instagram with universal app Gramatica

Gramatica offers some useful filtering tools for viewing Instagram on an iPhone or iPad.

With yesterday's release of universal Instagram app Gramatica, I wondered if it would be the answer to the question I asked last year, " Which app should you use to browse Instagram on an iPad? " Thus, I first installed it on on my iPad to see how it would stack up to the competition.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Gramatica is undoubtedly slick-looking and responsive, and it includes some useful filtering options, which I'll get to in a minute. It lacks the two features, however, that I am looking for in an Instagram iPad app. I want to be able to read at least the initial comment for each photo in my feed without needing to tap on a photo, and I want the capability to swipe from one full-size photo to the next. So, for me, the unfortunately named but free Pictacular remains my Instagram iPad app of choice.

Still, Gramatica has a number of features that might appeal to you. It lets you customize your feed by filtering and hiding certain people or photos and also by creating lists of groups of people or hashtags. It also makes it easy to switch between multiple accounts, and the layout works really well on the iPad.

First things first: the layout. In landscape mode, you are able to see six photos at once -- three columns by two rows -- which is just about perfect, at least to my sensibilities. Below each photo you can see who posted it along with the number of comments and likes. I'd still like to be able to see the first comment, since most people (that I follow anyway) add a comment when posting for context.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

A single tap expands a photo, but you can't then swipe on that expanded photo to move to the next one in the feed. You can pinch to zoom in on the photo, but that's less useful to me than would be the capability to leisurely swipe from one expanded image to the next. As you can with Instagram itself, you can double tap on a photo to like it. A tap-and-hold reveals two buttons: one to hide that user's photos and another to hide just that photo. If you are too polite to unfollow someone on Instagram, give them the ol' filter-and-hide treatment and they'll be none the wiser.

Along the left edge is your menu for navigating the app. The bottom-most button turns the filtering on and off. This way, you can hide a bunch of photos and users from your feed and with a single tap, you can return to your unadulterated feed. The top-most button with your Instagram profile picture lets you quickly jump from one Instagram account to another without the need to sign in and out of each.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Tap the list button from this menu to create a list. From the Lists menu, tap the "+" button to add a new list. Here, you can choose a list type, either by hash tag or by user. Give it a title and add the hash tags or users you want, and you now have a subfeed you can easily access. If you follow a great number of people on Instagram, you'll quickly come to appreciate Gramatica's list feature.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The iPhone app has these same features. To access Gramatica's menu on your iPhone, swipe to the right. A swipe to the left reveals mini thumbnails of the photos currently loaded in your feed, which is useful to jump to another point in your feed without the need for some power swiping.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Lastly, as with any third-party Instagram app, you cannot upload photos with Gramatica.

Gramatica costs 99 cents in the App Store and, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with the place-kicking brothers of the same name.

 

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