7 FREE Instagram Alternatives For Android
Over 15 million iOS users use Instagram, so it must be popular for a reason. The fact is, it’s a well-made app that’s easy and fun to use, adding a coolness factor to social photo sharing. It’s gotten so popular, in fact, that I’m actually starting to get a little tired of seeing the same retro filters applied to everyone’s photos. I mean, sure it’s cool looking, but if everyone’s photos have the same look, it’s not that unique anymore. This is a testament to how easy it is to use, of course.
Your love of retro filters notwithstanding, Instagram is here to stay, and with the Android version coming soon, it’s going to blow up even more. But what if you want the Instagram experience today? One thing Android already has is a huge list of apps that are similar to Instagram, some with more features, some with less. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.
Like Instagram, Hipster also has a bunch of filters and borders for your photos, but it also adds the ability to add text on top of your image in creative ways, making it look like a postcard in the process. As a matter of fact, Hipster calls its images postcards. The Play Store lists the following features for Hipster.
• Choose your postcard style from many gorgeous themes.
• Share your postcards on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr.
• Keep track of where your friends are and what they are doing.
• View the most interesting postcards that were sent from your location.
• Tag the friends who are in your postcards.
• Signup with Facebook or email (tap the more button).
The user interface is very straightforward and simple to use. The combination of filters and borders gives you plenty of options, and the text is a nice touch. Hipster also has its own web site for hosting your images, just like Instagram, making sharing more flexible.
Hipster is free in the Play Store.
Streamzoo is a pretty close clone to Instagram, offering over a dozen filters, 15 borders, tilt shift blur effects, and color controls. Hashtag support is also included for easy searching on Twitter and other social networks. You also get your own Streamzoo page with your uploaded images for more sharing. On top of all this, you can also share videos as well as photos. The Play Store lists the following features for Streamzoo.
3. Lightbox Photos
Lightbox Photos is a little different than other photo sharing apps. For one, it does not have built-in border or blur effects, though it does have over a dozen filter effects similar to Instagram. This means that when you click the camera icon to add a picture, you can choose to use any installed camera app on your device, including ones that provide a full compliment of effects, filters, and borders. This saves a step for users of alternative cameras. Sign up for a Lightbox account and get your own Lightbox photo blog. Sharing covers all the big social names, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and more. You can also share photos privately with friends or make them public. The Play Store lists the following features for Lightbox.
Pixlr-o-matic is made by Autodesk, an experienced graphics company, and feels very polished as a result. The biggest advantage it has over most other apps in this roundup is the sheer number of filters, effects, and borders it has. Pixlr-o-matic offers an astounding 68 filters, 73 lighting effects and 193 borders at last count. It even offers a randomizer which randomly chooses combinations of filters for you. Sharing is done through the standard Android share menu, which is actually kinda nice since you have tons of options available, such as email, that are not built-in to many of the other apps. Though there is no full web site like Instagram and others, Pixlr-o-matic does integrate with imm.io, which is a clone of photo hosting and sharing site imgur.com.
The slogan for picplz is “Snap a pic. Apply an effect. Share with friends everywhere!” Where Picplz goes a step further is with the editing of the photo before posting. Not only do you get the standard 17 retro filters to choose from, but you can also click the Edit button and modify the image with tools like crop, rotate, brightness, saturation, and more. Besides the standard photo editing tools, there are also some fun options, like Stickers, which allows you to add hats, glasses, and other props to the picture, and Meme, which allows you to add text to the top and bottom of the image similar to the infamous lolcat meme (think icanhazcheezburger). If that’s not enough, you can even draw on the image, blur it, fix redeye, and more. All this photo editing muscle is brought to you via an integration with photo editing web site Aviary. I’d love to see more apps us Aviary for editing. Unfortunately, there are no frames or borders available in Picplz.
EyeEm positions itself as more of a discovery photo app that allows you to find pictures based on topics, places, and events. When you use the app to take a picture, you are presented with the option to add a topic and location in the form of a sentence, such as “Lunch at Malibu Grill“. In this example, you can tap on “lunch” and change it to any number of existing topics, or add your own. These topics become albums of similar images. The “Malibu Grill” part displays a nearby location. Tapping it changes to another nearby location it finds using GPS. Pretty slick. This method of tagging your images becomes a sort of crowdsourcing for organizing all the images uploaded to EyeEm’s service. You also get your own page on EyeEm.com and you can share with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare, and Tumblr. Filters and borders are here, but not really the main focus of this app. There are only 14 filters and 12 borders, though they do look pretty good.
7. Pix: Pixel Mixer
Pix has 30 filters, 24 film layers, and 16 borders. Not bad, but Pix lets you stack up to 3 filters together to create new ones. Combine that with interesting film overlays and borders, and you get an almost infinite amount of permutations. Find that perfect combination and save it as a favorite for later. A randomizer is available for quick and easy exploring of effects combinations. Sharing is done through Android’s share menu, and that’s it. There’s no web site. Pix has potential with its filter architecture, and although that part of the app feels pretty mature, there’s not much else yet to make it feel more social and fun.
The Play Store page lists the following features for Pix. Apply Various Effects at Once! Create your own effects by using multiple effects at once! Add Your Effects to Favorites! Simply add and retrieve your favorite effects using our Favorites.
Random Effects with Just One Touch. You can apply various random effects with just one touch. Get ready to be surprised!
As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives available now, and since they are all free, it’s worth trying them out to see which strikes your fancy. For me, Pixlr-o-matic is the best as far as filters and effects, and Streamzoo and Picplz are probably the most socially mature, with EyeEm coming in next as an interesting photo discovery service. There are many other great photo filtering and sharing apps out there, and my list is surely not comprehensive, but I just wanted to outline some of the apps I feel are close to the spirit of Instagram.