Some call them low-res apps — I’m often one of them. But low-res apps also have the advantage of being bandwidth-friendly. Low-res photos use much less data when sharing. If your only goal is to share your photos to Facebook or Instagram without any need to enlarge or print, many of these “bandwidth-friendly” apps will work great for you and open up many new effects possibilities beyond Instagram’s fairly tame 17.
Super Photo – Effects & Filters is the first of these photo apps that I’ll be having a look at without a low-res output bias. The app claims to have 1131 effects at this writing. I’ll take their word for it. I stopped counting at “a lot.”
Super Photo has a ton of filters and effects. They are loosely organized into six categories — Filters, 3D effects, Combo Effects, Frames, Textures, and Backgrounds. I wasn’t able to find a separate Bokeh category in the latest version, although many bokeh effects turned up in the Textures category. There are thumbnail previews of all of the effects, even the locked ones. Most users will probably never come close to discovering all of them. The app comes with the first 26 filters unlocked in each category for a total of 144, which makes it easier to explore the app. Unlocking all the filters and effects in each category is an in-app purchase of $0.99 each. Due to the sheer number of effects, there is no organization beyond the six categories, no search tags and no way to save your favorite filters — all features that would make using this app more enjoyable to use.
All of the filters are quick and easy one-click filters. There’s no adjusting the intensity and no layering. The app lets you undo a filter, both before and after saving as long as you haven’t closed the image off your screen.
The effects are what you’d expect — basically party effects. Just because of the sheer number, there’s a huge variety of filters in the fully loaded version of this app, including color effects, embossing, a few retro-style camera effects, vignettes, frames, textures, overlays and many more. For me, some of the filters, combo effects, textures and frames looked good. Others looked interesting and fun, even though they’re not the style that I normally shoot. With over 1,000 effects, there’s also what I thought was a lot of filler, too, but every user has different tastes. This is not an app to create gallery work, but it’ll easily add a blingy frame, 3D effect, or heart-shaped bokeh before sharing your pics with friends on Facebook or Instagram.
Resolution-wise, Super Photo saves up to 642×804 pixels — on the larger end of apps in this class. It saves imported square format images at up to 700×700 px.
Rendering quality is hit-or-miss. Some of the effects and textures render well. Others are pretty badly pixelated. If you’re only viewing these images on the small screen of an iPhone, you may not notice these.
The sharing options in Super Photo are non-existent. The only sharing option the app has is by email, which crashed for me every time I used it, even after a reboot. You’ll have to save your pics first to your camera roll and share them using the Facebook or Instagram apps.
Super Photo needs an internet connection to work. In order to get over 1000 effects in the app without filling up your iPhone, the app processes on the developer’s servers. The app is unable to process photos while in airplane mode or while away from a data connection. It also means that it’s data-sipping will be offset by the off-iPhone processing. I prefer apps that process on the device, even if it means a larger app. Servers and service can go down. And even after a couple of updates, the app tended to crash on me occasionally.
Super Photo is free with several IAPs. It has a ton of effects to quickly add a virtual shiny coat to a snapshot before sharing it with friends. I wouldn’t normally use this app, but if you only share snapshots on Facebook and Instagram, there may be something here that you like. The app has a lot of quirks, but it might have the filter you need when you want to share an otherwise forgettable party pic out there quickly.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
In this series, I’ll be having a look at other bandwidth-friendly apps soon. This does not mean I’m endorsing low-res apps. It simply means I recognize that there is a demand for them and understand that for some users, high-resolution isn’t a priority.
Disclosure: Super Photo is an advertising partner of Life In LoFi.com.