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Browse Instagram on your iPad with Pictacular

Pictacular is a free iPad app that lets you browse your Instagram feed. It boasts a number of compelling features, but I found the app to be a bit buggy.

Did you know you can use an iPad as an Instagram viewer? Instagram does not offer an iPad app, so you'll need to find a third-party app. And while Instagram does not let you post photos with a third-party app, there are such apps that let you view your Instagram feed writ large on an iPad. In addition to letting you browse your Instagram feed, these Instagram iPad apps offer a variety of fun and useful features, from commenting on and liking photos to sharing on other social networks and browsing Instagram via a map view

Pictacular is a free iPad app that offers a number of ways to browse Instagram photos, and it's the best app I've encountered in terms of displaying comments up front. It can also be prone to freezes and crashes. Let's have a look.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After launching the app, signing into your Instagram account, and authorizing the app to access Instagram, you're taken directly to your Instagram feed. Pictacular works only in landscape mode, filling four columns. Unlike other apps such as InstaFlow that display only photos, Pictacular displays who took the photo along with recent comments. If the author of a photo posted a comment, it shows up under the thumbnail as a caption. If there are additional comments, Pictacular displays the three most recent. It also shows you the number of likes and comments a photo has received.

Tap on a photo to expand it. A panel to the right of the photo features author info, a like button, three sharing buttons (Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter), likes, comments, and a comment box. You can swipe sideways to browse the next photo in the feed you were viewing. You can double-tap a photo to like it, and it works for either the thumbnail or the full-size image.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

In the upper-right corner are five buttons to browse different feeds. From left to right they are your regular feed, popular, your photos, nearby photos, and photos you have liked. When viewing the feed of your own photos, you'll see buttons for your followers and those whom you are following: tapping on either calls up a list. Next to each person on either list is a Follow button, but it's listed as such whether you are already following that person or not. Making matters worse, tapping the Follow button removes that person from the list instead of the more useful action of being able to toggle the button between Follow and Unfollow. In addition to this bug, the app occasionally froze and crashed during my time using it this week.

Usernames below a thumbnail image and those in the comments are linked, which makes it easy to jump to a feed of particular user. You can also search by username or tag. Tap the either of the two buttons to the right of the search box to toggle between tag or username, and while the underlying functionality changes when you tap the buttons, but text in the search box -- "Search for a tag" -- does not.