Amid a slew of weird design and censorship choices, Pictorl for iOS, Android and PC (!) has one standout feature that sits above the sea of confusion: a fantastic non-destructive editor that uses your online images as its source.
It’s also a rather beautiful app, presenting photos with almost no chrome or clutter.
Pictorl is a kind of social network mixed with an online photo album. Like 500px, it lets you view images in a beautifully simple interface, and to follow other users. And like Flickr, it lets you edit and organize your photos into albums.
The very best part is the editor, which offers a simple range of adjustments (a handful of filters, plus contrast, white balance, saturation and brightness), applied by swiping up and down on the screen. The editor has a live, RGB histogram, and you can return to the original at any time – edits are applied but the original is left untouched.
However, even when I upload high-res shots, the display shows them as if they’d been through JPG compression around 20 times. Also, for an app that showcases full-screen images, the 256MB (yes, megabyte) free storage tier is a little stingy.
And then we get to the social aspect. I spent a few minutes browsing and never really got the hang of it. It seems like you can follow people, and browse their albums (the main unit of organization in Pictorl is the album), and follow them, but I never worked out how to do it. In fact, sometimes it seem like the app is playing a joke on you, and no matter how many times you tap buttons to see albums, users, and so on, you never actually get to a place where you can subscribe to anything.
Persevere, though, and you can do it. If you can stand the very non-iOS interface design, with odd reactions to your swipes and pinches (pinches seem to register as sideways swipes, and the only way to flip to the next picture in a list is to swipe up, even in landscape mode.
And then there’s the censorship. No nakedness, and nothing “offensive.”
A shame. I like the editor. In fact, I’d love non-destructive editing like this for my Flickr account. But everything else is lacking. Maybe this is good enough for Android, but not for iOS.