The best (unofficial) Instagram apps for Windows Phone

Facebook has yet to bring Instagram to Windows Phone, but there are four apps available now that help you take selfies and food pics and share them with your Instagram friends.

Though Instagram has become a top app on iOS and Android, it still hasn't made its way to Windows Phone -- not yet at least. While we wait for that day, plenty of independent developers have built their own versions of the social photo network that let you snap, share, and keep up with your friends on Instagram.

A handful of those apps are beautiful, well-built options that could easily pass for the real thing thanks to all of their features. I've rounded up four of them here, for all the Windows Phone photographers out there who want to experience what Instagram has to offer.

6tag Windows Phone
Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

6tag (free with ads, $1.29 for ad-free version)
6tag is one of the most well-known Instagram clients, with more than 20,000 reviews. Much of its popularity comes from the fact that the app is as close to the real Instagram as we've seen on Windows Phone, with all the original Instagram filters, a photo map, unlimited photo uploads, and easy photo sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other services. It also gets my vote for favorite Instagram client because of its sleek design and long list of features.

Not only can you log in to your existing Instagram account, you can create one in the app and even add multiple accounts. 6tag will autoplay videos and you can double-tap any image to Like it, both features you'll find in the official app. You can also, of course, capture photos and video.

Good: The app has all the major Instagram features I want and a nice design.
Bad: You have to pay to get an ad-free version.

InPic Windows Phone
Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

InPic (free)
InPic has fewer features than 6tag, but it has the same "modern" design found in other Windows Phone apps, with text headers and left-to-right swipe navigation.

You can snap photos with InPic and grab photos from your phone's photo app to edit and upload, but you can't shoot video. The app is also missing Instagram's official filters and only has a handful of its own. A plus is that you can sign up for a new Instagram account and manage your profile in the app.

Good: InPic has extra navigation options, like swiping horizontally through your feed.
Bad: The app can be sluggish.

Pictastic
Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Pictastic (free)
Pictastic is a recent addition to the ranks of Windows Phone Instagram apps. The app started as a way to edit photos with filters and share them with your Facebook friends, but got a major makeover in early September of this year and now solely focuses on bringing you your Instagram feed.

You can log in to your existing Instagram account to see your feed and follow new users, or you can browse the app with an account. You can't, however, create a new account with Pictastic. The app has a pleasing design, with a beautiful log-in page, but it's not as intuitive to use as the other apps on this list.

Good: You can view all the photos you've liked on Instagram at once.
Bad: The app's design is plain and unpolished.

Instance for Windows Phone
Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Instance (free with ads, $1.49 for ad-free version)
Instance has the most colorful design of the apps listed here, but it's missing the most Instagram features. You can't snap a photo or shoot a video in the app, and you can't even play videos in your feed.

While it's missing the official Instagram filters, Instance has several of its own. Unfortunately, you can't add any blur effects or share photos from the app on other social-networking services. If you pay $1.50 to upgrade to the pro version of Instance, you can sign up for a new Instagram account and share your photos.

Good: Instance sports a pleasing, colorful design.
Bad: The app is missing a lot of key Instagram features.

Honorable mention, Hipstamatic Oggl : It's worth mentioning that if you only want to upload photos and want a few more editing options than Instagram's limited filters and settings, you can use the Hipstamatic Oggl app for Windows Phone to snap photos, use Hipstamatic's powerful editing features, and then share them on Instagram.

 

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