Lightbox – Android’s Answer to Instagram [App Review]

March 5, 2012 | by Ben Crawford

Android App Reviews, Android Apps, Android apps, Casual, Communication, Entertainment, Entertainment, Free apps, Lifestyle, Media & Video, Multimedia, Personalization, Photography, Reviews, Reviews, Social, Social, Tools, Tools


Evaluated version:

Pros: Tons of features, integrates with multiple social networks, beautiful UI

Cons: Not enough people

We’ve talked about Lightbox before, but now it’s out of beta and looking to compete for your retro and 8-bit pictures. While Lightbox has a lot of downloads (more than 1 million), it doesn’t seem to me to get enough recognition, especially with people clamoring for Instagram. I’ve never used Instagram, but I get the idea, and Lightbox seems to have all the features without enough publicity. I’m here to set the record straight because Lightbox is one of the prettiest, broadest, and most useful apps I’ve used.

First and foremost, Lightbox is a social network. You can share pictures to different outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and share your location with Foursquare. Not only can you share your pictures with these sites, Lightbox lets you view pictures from Facebook and Twitter within the app making it your one-stop-shop for your social pictures. Each picture in your feed can be liked, commented on or shared with other apps conveniently. There is a Spotlight tab to view some of the most liked pictures on Lightbox (I even made it to the spotlight!), and in this same tab you can find Facebook or Twitter friends, suggested users, or users from a specific region or interest. This unfettered functionality marks the first step to being a successful app for Lightbox.

As we hear daily, Android users want Instagram, but Lightbox has all the easy picture changing features of Instagram, and it’s already on our favorite platform. Instead of using your phone’s camera, you can use Lightbox’s quick camera to upload conveniently or simply share from your camera app. After taking the picture, there are seventeen filters along with mirroring, rotating, and cropping adjustments. Some of the notable filters are an 8 bit style, fisheye, and Ansel for black and white. Lightbox also has check number two for successful apps – ease of usability.

Lastly, for a social media app, you must have people. User-generated content and genuinely interesting people must be on your platform. Lightbox does have a lot of cool people and artists. Places like Society 6, NASA, Flickr Interesting Photos, and National Geographic all have a presence on Lightbox. These groups are certainly interesting and worth looking at, but the biggest disappointment with Lightbox is that most of your friends aren’t using it. I only have one friend currently using Lightbox (my girlfriend). Though you can easily share to Twitter and Facebook, and Tumblr, Lightbox can’t be satisfied with only being a medium through which to share your pictures. In this category, I can’t give Lightbox my full blessing. I have a few friends that should be using Lightbox or at least have installed and tried it, but I had zero contacts  through Lightbox.

Lightbox is hands down a top-5 beautiful app on the Android Market. From swiping tabs to loading pictures and altering your own, Lightbox has the design that all other apps should emulate. I’m unsure if it’s the richness of the design or not, but Lightbox can have its moments where it doesn’t load a picture or pictures from Facebook and Twitter are all broken. It doesn’t happen often so it could be a myriad of things, but this could easily be fixed with an update.

Stop waiting on Instagram. Install Lightbox and enjoy sharing your filtered pictures with your favorite social outlets and the world. Even if you know you will use Instagram in the future, install Lightbox now and enjoy it for a while. You won’t be disappointed in the features, and maybe you’ll enjoy the experience so much (because it’s so good) Instagram will disappear from your mind. So go populate Lightbox and spread the word that Android has a great photo-sharing app, and its name is Lightbox!