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 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.
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.
- Superb user interface
- Massive amount of cloud storage
- 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.
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