It seems like just last week that I was raving about Unbound – and that’s because it was. However, there is now yet another amazing app for browsing the photos in your Dropbox.
It’s called Heliog, and it is the equal of Unbound – although it takes quite a different approach.
Unbound’s UI is pretty much based on the native Photos app, and this is a very good thing. You can pinch to expand stacks (which map to Dropbox folders) and you can swipe and tap around as if you were in the Photos app itself. Plus you get to use a whole bunch of great sharing features.
Heliog has a UI all its own, somewhere between Adobe’s minimal iOS style and the clean tiles of Windows’ UI-formerly-known-as-Metro. It looks fantastic: all your photos are arranged in a grid (which adapts to the shape of your pictures to leave no gaps), and the folders list concertinas into view when you want it.
The app also shows metadata for your photos if you pick the expanded view (Unbound doesn’t do this, but the developer’s Flickr App – Flickring – does, so I expect this to be added at some point).
Heliog also bests Unbound in folder selection. In Unbound, you have to manually type in the name of the folder you want to view, like some kind of command-line nightmare come true. In Heliog, you can browse folders, and also mark them as favorites for easy access later (long-press a folder to “star” it).
Unbound is better at pre-loading image previews, though – when you tap on a thumbnail in Heliog you are presented with a detail view, but you need to wait for the bigger preview to load. Unbound shows you a bigger but still low-res preview, and will grab the full-res version if and when you zoom. It’s noticeably faster.
The differences are small, though. It’ll come down to which implementation your prefer. The apps are all so cheap that you can just test them out for yourself. And like Twitter clients, the barrier to entry is low thanks to the fact that both apps draw on the same Dropbox storage. Heliog, it’s worth noting, is Universal, while Unbound comes in separate versions for your iPad or iPhone. All of these are $2 a pop.