Qbro Burnt filter

Version 2.0
Price $0.99

Bottom Line: A decent Instagram alternative with tons of filters and customization that suffers from some navigation flaws and poor implementation of full resolution.

Rating 3 1/2 stars

Qbro is charmingly described by developer JellyBus Inc as an app that “makes you happy.” The recent update to version 2.0 did just that for me, delivering full resolution and doubling the available filters from 27 to 54 (50 filters included with app purchase, 3 for $0.99 in-app purchase as a pack, 1 “normal” filter that doesn’t alter your image).

The app is one of many Instagram clones that have hit the App Store over the past 6 months. You can take a photo from within Qbro, or import and crop an image from your photo roll, and apply a filter and border. This is a square-format only app, with touch to focus and a rule of thirds grid overlay available if you’re shooting within the app.

Qbro editing screen

The filter selection is varied, and includes color overlays, textures, monochrome, Lomo, tilt-shift, soft focus and bokeh effects. The Film Bag screen allows you to add, remove and reorder filters on your editing screen. It’s a nice touch that helps keep the 50+ filter choices from becoming overwhelming. Chaplain, Xross, Greenwich and Lucidream are particular favorites of mine, but your mileage may vary.

Some of the filters are fairly similar to each other, but overall there’s a decent array of options. The slider icon at the top of the editing screen lets you adjust the strength of the selected filter as well as select alternate frame styles, or no frame at all.

Accessing your images within Qbro is a bit confusing at first. Unfiltered original photos, and those imported from your camera roll, are available through Stacks while filtered images are accessed through the Gallery.

The Gallery is sorted by filter, so you’ll always be able to tell which effect you used on an image. Another nice touch is that the Gallery features a Re-edit option, which brings the already filtered photo back into the editing screen, allowing you to stack filters easily. Combined with the fact that you can adjust the strength of filters this provides for a lot of flexibility. (You might want to turn off frames until you’re on your final layer.)

Qbro Film Bag

Sharing options currently include Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr and Chinese sharing sites me2day and Cyworld. Unfortunately sharing from within Qbro results in a measly 612×612 pixel image being uploaded, forcing you to use an alternate app to share the full res version saved to your camera roll.

Qbro suffers from some navigational issues, requiring multiple taps to get back to the camera from the editing screen. Another flaw is that the unprocessed image isn’t saved to your camera roll, although it is preserved within the app’s Stacks. It is possible to circumvent this, by applying the “Normal” filter and saving the resulting image.

The rapid development cycle between the release of 1.0 and this update to 2.0, along with the follow-through on their promise to add full resolution support and dramatically increase the variety of filters, bodes well for the future of Qbro. It’s already worth the $0.99, but if they keep up improvements at this pace it will be a bargain.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.

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