As my esteemed colleague Charlie pointed out yesterday, Polaroid releasing an “official” app that takes Polaroid-style pictures now is a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Then returned, bolted again, walked at a leisurely pace to an airport 2000 miles away, paused for a week, gone trekking in Bhutan, spent some time finding itself in Goa, and finally bolted some more for good measure.
So let’s all just agree that this app is woefully late, because there are already twelve dozen Polaroidish apps on the App Store, many of them very good at their job. So is Polamatic actually any good? The answer’s yes. Yes it is.
First of all, it’s fast. I’ve seen some photo apps that take many seconds simply to get themselves ready to take a shot, which is pretty useless for capturing the moment. This one opens and is ready almost immediately. A good start.
There are 12 varieties of Polaroid photo frame on offer, and 12 image fx filters. Applying the filters was a little slower than I’d like, but not unbearably so.
It’s also possible to add some text to your photo’s “chin” – the wide strip that used to provide a useful handle for picking up prints without getting fingerprints on the images themselves. You know, back in the old days.
Compared to some of the Polaroid pretenders, the text option is pretty limited. There’s only one font on offer, and it’s quite large so you can’t get much text in. But it works. There’s one minor irritation: if you write some text on a photo, then save it, then return to shooting mode to take another picture, the same text will be visible on that second image. You have to manually delete it. That’s a pain.
But other than that, this is a nicely made little app. There are three one-dollar upgrades built in, adding more effects, more frames and so on. I don’t think any of them are necessary – you get plenty of Polaroid for your initial one dollar purchase.
If you’ve already got a retro camera app that does a similar job and that you’re happy with (and there’s a good chance you have), there’s no need for you to splash out another dollar on this one.
But if you haven’t – or if you’re one of the millions who’ll be buying an iPhone in the coming years, and is still fair game for all camera app developers to chase – then this one is a good choice.
Pro: Fast, responsive, decent.
Con: One or two weird behaviors and bugs.