Vine for Android review: Better, but still not as good as iOS version

What's interesting about Vine's recording interface is that it only records while you're touching the screen, so you can record a very short clip, let go, then start recording again, and continue making clips until you reach your 6-second limit. Though it might seem simple at first, the tool does take some getting used to. And once you do get the hang of it, you'll be surprised at how efficient it is for creating really nice 6-second narratives. Also, exclusive to the Android version is a zoom feature. While you're recording (or in between recordings), you can use your device's physical volume buttons to zoom in and out on your subject.

With recent updates, Vine for Android became more inline with the iOS version, as it got a number of useful recording features. The camera switch button lets you toggle between front-facing and rear-facing cameras while you record. There's also a tap-to-focus feature and a grid in case you need to keep your horizon line straight. Finally, there's a nifty "ghost tool," which gives you a semitransparent overlay of the last frame that you recorded. This makes it easy to create seamless transitions between cuts.

Vine for Android
You can save up to ten videos at a time to publish later. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

When you're finished shooting, you can add a caption before sharing with the Vine community, and you can choose to share your creation to Twitter or Facebook by using the onscreen sliders.

Thanks to the latest update on October 24, 2013, you can now save up to ten Vines at once that you can post at your convenience. That means you can record a video when you don't have a signal and upload when you do or record multiple Vines of the same subject and pick your favorite.

The process to save a session, which is what Vine calls each recording, is easy. Once you finish recording a video, you can tap the X button and select "save for later" from the pop-up menu. To view your saved Vines, tap the camera button and look for the little box with a number on the far right of the camera controls menu. The number represents how many video drafts you've saved.

Another new recently added feature is called Time Travel. It lets you delete and rearrange individual shots to create a completely different video than the one you originally captured.

Unfortunately, there are no autocomplete functions for hash tags or mentions, so that's an important snag in the workflow. However, this app has caught up to the iOS Vine app when it comes to sharing. In a previous version, you couldn't post a video to your social networks again after you published and shared it a first time. Now you can share and reshare any video to Facebook or Twitter.

With all of its recent improvements, especially those to the recording interface, the Android version has been doing an admirable job of keeping pace with the iOS version. In fact, the Android version even comes with a capture widget that lets you start recording right from your Android Home screen. Still, the conveniences that are missing can't be ignored.

New advanced recording features like the Grid and Ghost tools make it easier to create artistic videos with seamless transitions. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

One weakness that both apps share is that neither lets you import videos from your Gallery to be shared on Vine. Admittedly, this is likely a difficult feature to add, but we're still hopeful that the developers over at Twitter will someday make it happen.

Vine for Android is a must for getting on to the video-based social network, and it is quickly improving, as evidenced by recent additions of Sessions, Time Travel, search, front-facing camera support, and advanced recording features. If you're a fan of short-form social videos, and you're not keen on seeing photos in your stream (a la Instagram), then definitely give Vine for Android a shot.

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    Vine (Android)

    Part Number: co.vine.android
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    Quick Specifications See All

    • Category Social networking
      Video and screencasting
    • Compatibility Android