Version 1.0.4
Price: $1.99

Rating 2.5 stars

Bottom Line: Good filters, but $2 is too much for a low-res app.

Since it’s humble introduction last year, Instagram has become more than popular. It has become a phenomenon. And by opening up the Instagram API to developers, Instagram has created a cottage industry of third-party apps, services and products.

Instaplus by Metal Red is one of the latest third-party photo apps which tries to improve upon the Instagram photo experience. The app has a lot of potential, but in the end, is nothing more than an decent photo app hampered by low resolution output.


Despite the improvements, recent updates of Instagram have disappointed many of the app’s longtime users with the retooling and in some cases removal of some of Instagram’s popular photo filters. Third-party photo apps, such as Instaplus, aim to fill a void and enhance the photo experience of Instagram by providing a wider variety and greater quality effects, filters and frames, as well as a more powerful toolset.

Instaplus claims to be a “better camera for Instagram.” It succeeds in many ways, but fails in others. The app is easy to use. It pretty much works the same way that Instagram does with a few enhancements. Shoot in the app or import from your photo library. It features an easy to use 6x digital zoom — something that the current version of Instagram lacks. Instaplus has a good set of 18 built-in filter presets. They are more varied selection of filters than the current iteration of Instagram, including a better set of analog and retro camera filters with much greater color variation and even lens and film artifacts, such as bokeh and light leaks. Many of the filters are accurate recreations of classic analog films. You can adjust the intensity and other parameters of the effects. It has a superior collection of of decorative frames. It’s a great set of filters and frames that’s a huge improvement over the standard issue Instagram set.

Images are imported direct to Instagram using the iOS’ SendTo… command. Easy.

Where Instaplus fails is matching its great filter set with its low 612×612 px resolution output. Even Instagram 2.0 has had full resolution support for all iPhones for several updates now. The low resolution of Instaplus renders photos useless for anything but, well, sharing on Instagram.

There are several other photo apps shoot square format photography and import directly to Instagram such as Squara, Cameramatic, Instant110, qBro and even FX Photo Studio has an excellent, easy to use square-frame mode and seamless Instagram integration. There are many, many other apps as well. All of these apps are a better value than Instaplus and do a lot more.

Instaplus isn’t a bad app. It’s just that its low-resolution output severely handicaps the app when compared to other photo apps to do the same thing. The frames are nice, the effects look good and lush. But at $1.99, it’s pricey for a low-res app, especially now when the bulk of iPhones being used are at least a 5 MP iPhone 4. Until Instaplus supports high resolution, I recommend checking out the many other Instagram “better cameras.”

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Instaplus - A Better Camera for Instagram - Metal Red Inc.