The just-launched Instagram for Android is great news. Now all your Android-using friends who insisted on putting photos up on Facebook can finally leave the dark side. But will they get the same great Instagram experience as we do on the iPhone? Matthew Panzarino of the Next Web decided to find out, and loaded up his account on both his iPhone and a giant Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
The surprise is that — in some respects — the Android version is better than the iPhone one.
As you can see from his screenshots, the extra size of the Nexus’ screen gives a little extra breathing room, but this is mostly used for extra space round the other elements. Otherwise, the browsing and viewing experience is almost identical, with one big exception: Head to your profile screen (above) and you see a big grid of your photos and profile details. This is a lot better than the settings screen the iOS version dumps you into, and also makes it more obvious that you can view your photos as a grid or a list.
After that, though, things go downhill.
Probably because Instagram is designed to be compatible with handsets running Android 2.2, there are no live filters, and no tilt-shift. Neither can you frame an image while shooting. So, thanks to Android fragmentation, users of the latest phones get no advantage over those using shitty old phones.
According to Matthew, the Instagram also runs slower on the Nexus, pausing to render filters before posting, for example. The interface layout also slows you down — thanks in part no doubt to the hard-to-reach corners of the big screen.
Still, It’s a lot better than nothing. And remember, Instagram was designed for the iPhone back when it had a really crappy camera, and those filters are meant in part to hide its shortcomings. In this respect, it is almost a perfect fit for Android.