Version 1.0
Price: $0.99

Rating 1 star

Bottom Line: There is little good to say about this app. Seriously, avoid it.

Despite the odd hours of some of my posts here on Life In LoFi, I really do like to keep my Saturday nights open for things other than writing reviews. SpotlightCamera by Contradictory (the website is a link farm) is so frustratingly bad, that I felt compelled to review it while I was still frustrated and angry enough to throw my iPhone across the room. Really, don’t buy this app unless you need motivation for anger management therapy.

Screenshots of SpotlightCamera in action

The app was free the first day it was in the App Store — a blatant attempt to gain downloads and rank, which generates sales. It’s now selling for $0.99. Six of the eight reviews of the app are obviously shill reviews or they are six iPhone users with absolutely no clue as to what constitutes a good app.

I’m not sure exactly what the app does. It creates a sort of spotlight effect in your photos. I had to reboot my iPhone to get the app to work. When it did work, it was less of a spotlight app and more of an overall color wash app with a small movable not-so-dim spot. It adds more of a small flashlight effect.

This is one of the buggiest pieces of software I have ever downloaded. The app is simple. There are four controls — Clear Image, Load Image, Save Image, and a button to choose the color of the effect. None of them worked until I rebooted my iPhone 4. I still can’t get the app to work on the older 2G. The spotlight effect was pretty weak. Using a finger, you can position it onscreen. It seemed to be inexplicably brighter on the right side of the screen as if all the light were focused only on that side. If you’re trying to highlight an object on the left side of the frame, you’re out of luck.

Save image is cranky. A confusing message screen often would pop up when saving, until I realized that after you positioned the spotlight effect, you sometimes had to to back and “set” it with another finger tap of the screen. Why the extra step? Also, during my tests, it would sometimes save the photo as a completely black image. After rebooting, saves were more reliable.

The slider at the top of the main window controls the intensity of the color wash. If you buy this app and the slider doesn’t work, try rebooting your iPhone.

Upon opening images, the app asks you to zoom and crop to a square frame, but it saves images at the unusably tiny rectangle of 320x410px. That’s less than screen resolution on an older iPhone. Saved images are fit to the rectangle and badly distorted vertically like the sample photos in its App Store description.

SpotlightCamera is a horrible app. It sucks on both my iPhone 2G running OS 3.1.3 and an iPhone 4 running iOS 4. It’s an app for which there is little good to say. Even when it was free, the frustration of trying to figure out how to get the app to work and what it does wasn’t worth the free download. An app that requires rebooting the phone to work had better be worth the trouble — SpotlightCamera isn’t. At a dollar, it’s an app to be completely avoided. SpotlightCamera is an app that is so bad, it undermines buyer’s expectations of the quality of products in the App Store. This isn’t a “let’s bash an app” review. It’s a warning. Don’t waste your time or your money with this app.

App Store link for you to avoid: SpotlightCamera



UPDATED: The app functions after rebooting my iPhone 4. One star for working.