Flickr for Android

Flickr has been in the photo game for a looooooong time, and as you might expect, their Android app is very well done, even in a world rife with picture-sharing options.

At its core, Flickr lets you see all of your pictures uploaded to their service and see what your friends are posting. You can dive into detailed information on each photo, such as aperture, shutter speed, camera and lens model, category tags, license information, and location (if included). Auto-sync can easily make Flickr your go-to photo back-up option, especially with a full 1 TB of storage available for free.

Notifications offer rich thumbnails and interactive shortcuts, like following people back who follow you, and replying to comments directly, I found the app had issues dealing with multiple notifications. For example, a new Fave bumped out the notification for a new follow. If you're particularly busy on Flickr, this may be an issue. A persistent notification can also let you know how far along your auto-sync uploads are. The tablet layout is just as good as the smartphone, and scales up elegantly with per-user swipable filmstrips.

As a broader web-based service, Flickr quickly found its way into my daily workflow when they announced 1 TB of storage for free to everybody. With a quick connection to my Eye-Fi card (on Amazon), I had a near-limitless online backup of every picture I took with my DSLR, whether or not I wanted to keep it or share it. The pile has grown large, and eventually I'll have to prune it back, but until then, I don't have to worry about clearing off large images from my computer. I even found the baked-in web editor, Aviary, to be ample for quick adjustments, cropping, and downloading in a variety of useful preset sizes.

Flickr for Android

Flickr has a camera shortcut in the top-right to launch directly into taking a picture, but it's a baked-in camera app different from what you might be used to. It's extremely pared down, nearly to a fault. All you really have is tap to focus, a shutter button, and toggles for front/rear camera, flash, and still/video. If you want to get fancy with your shots when taking them, you're probably better off with the native camera app then importing your photo into Flickr.

On the flip side, the post-shot editor is very slick looking and reasonably functional. It has a half-circular carousel at either side of the picture. On the one side are artistic filters, and on the other are more practical adjustments, like white balance, contrast, exposure, and brightness. You can easily undo any adjustments you make here as well. Some cropping options would be nice. Though that's all pretty standard, the novelty of the interface takes a long time to get old.

Flickr for Android

Once you tie in with mobile, you'll be able to keep tabs on every screenshot and mobile photo you take. As a sharing mechanism in and of itself, Flickr has a very mature and developed community that loves high-quality pictures. There are groups you can join, there's a full commenting section available, and a Fave system similar to Facebook likes. One niggle I had about the Yahoo Weather app is solved in Flickr; now I can submit local shots directly to the official group for consideration in the Weather app. Some of the long-time Flickr users can be pretty intense folks to interact with, especially those that preferred how Flickr used to be, but the overall experience is great for smartphone and tablet owners.

Even if you've got other networks to share out to, it's easy enough to post simultaneously to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. It ties in with the system-wide share menu if you need to get your shots anywhere else. Shares out to Facebook are well-formatted with proper thumbnails and link to the Flickr page while duplicating it in your Facebook albums, plus they're defaulted to private.

Good

  • Superb user interface
  • Massive amount of cloud storage

Bad

  • Camera shooting could be more robust

The Bottom Line

It's easy for the crossover in photography and mobile to start and end at Instagram, but Flickr offers plenty for those that also want to indulge in high-quality images shot on big-boy cameras as well. There are plenty of backup solutions available, but Flickr manages to hit several bases at once: social networking, shooting, editing, and storage. In this sense, Flickr is extremely well-rounded. For more specialized sensibilities, there are plenty of options, but I think I'll be using this one more often.

 

Reader comments

Flickr for Android review

12 Comments

I just want to ask a couple of questions:

Do they scale down the quality of the pictures? I understand that you said large files are ok but you weren't really specific.
And if they do, what is the maximum upload resolution?

After editing, do they scale down the quality much like any other editing app?

Thanks! :D

There are some sites that I know that uploads at full resolution. They aren't as much as a celebrity or established like Flickr but they do upload at full resolution.

I think that's what he was saying. He just forgot the comma after "No". Flickr does upload at full resolution.

I don't use the social aspect of flickr, I just use it as a photo backup solution since I get 1 TB storage free. I wouldn't use it if it didn't upload at full res.

The fact that they completely removed any ability to access/contribute to group discussions makes the mobile app incomplete. Groups were the reason Flickr was so popular back when, and they should support those communities.

The larger screen interface is infuriating to me. There is a permanent left side menu that ruins the look I think. And as brpttmn said, they need to somehow get better mobile group use. I have no idea how, but I suspect it will be jarring because you only have so much space to work with.

The thing that makes Flickr useless for me is the way "folders" are protected.
With picasa, I can set sharing of folders easily and that protects the pictures in the folders. I can upload pictures to specific folders knowing they will get the right sharing options. With auto backup to picasa everything works the way I want.

With Flickr it seems you set the protection on the pictures themselves. If you don't want your uploads to become public you have to set the default to not share, and then remember to make public?

Please tell me if I am wrong in this and how to do what I want.