Instagram review: Sleek new design, same popular features

After only a few minutes of use, it's easy to see how Instagram's video features could unseat Vine as the go-to social video app. With Instagram, you get more time to shoot, you can choose from several filters, you can pick your cover frame, and you get the giant Instagram audience to showcase your work. There will still definitely be an audience for creative, six-second videos on Vine, and the continuous loop is something not found on Instagram, but for the most part, Instagram is the best of class.

You can also choose to import an existing video from your library. Not all file types are supported, but the app can handle almost any mobile video you throw at it. The feature lets you scrub through your video to mark the start and end points you want, but of course, it limits you to 15 seconds. For now, Instagram lets you import only one video at a time, but perhaps in the future, the app will add basic editing features so you can cobble together multiple clips.

It's important to note that with the video-creating functions comes an influx of videos to your Instagram feed. And what many may not like is that, as of now, there is no way to filter the videos out. Videos and still photos are mashed together into a single feed, which can get annoying if you're just looking for one or the other.

Unfortunately, the video features are not supported by all Android devices. Those running Android versions 2.2 and above will be able to see Instagram videos, while only those running 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above will be able to record.

Explore others' photo and video moments
Even with just the features mentioned, this free app would already be easy to recommend, but a couple of added features make it even better. Once signed up with Instagram, you can follow other Instagram users on the Feed page, which shows recent images taken by you and your friends. Here you can comment and "like" photos and Facebook integration means you can also "like" it on Facebook. Switch tabs to look at a Popular list that shows all the most popular Instagram images from all users. You can search for tags and users in the recently added Explore section. You also can look at a News tab, which shows the latest actions by your connected friends (liked, commented, or otherwise), so you can see what your friends are currently looking at. These features make Instagram an app you might look at every day, just to see what your friends are up to.

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Location features
Instagram also can categorize your photos and videos by location. The app automatically gathers all your past Instagram media where you activated geotagging and puts them on a map so you and your followers can browse by location. The app defaults to showing all geotagged images and videos (once you have given the OK), but you can select or deselect photos and videos if you don't want certain locations to show on the map. There's a Photo Map button on your profile page that you can touch to show a map of all your images.

It's important to note that sometimes you won't want to post location information (like where you live) to the public. Parents of kids who use Instagram would be wise to make sure their kids do not geotag their photos and videos for the same reason. With that said, this interface change makes it so your work doesn't disappear down an endless feed and gives people a much easier way to see all the images you have created.

Final thoughts
Instagram for Android's sleek new design keeps it feel fresh and easy to get around. Its extensive filters and video recording features also help it stay a cut above competitor Vine.

Instagram is an excellent way to take retro-looking photos and videos and share them with anyone. The popularity of the app gives you tons of content to browse and offers the possibility that your photos and videos will be seen by a large number of people. For shooting and sharing photos and video, we don't think there is anything that's easier, or more enjoyable, to use.

Jaymar Cabebe contributed to this review.

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    Where to Buy

    Instagram (Android)

    Part Number: com.instagram.android

    Free

    Quick Specifications See All

    • Category Photography and image editing
      Social networking
    • Compatibility Android