April 25, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Evaluated version: 1.1.3
Pros: Quick-loading image browser, animated thumbnails for video,
Cons: No folder blocking or selection, Picasa photos not displayed, a couple of photos unrecognized
Every now and then, a third-party Android app emerges to give a built-in Android app a run for its money. The upstart typically does something better than the incumbent and makes users wonder if it might make sense to switch over to the new guy permanently. The latest such app is Scalado Album, an Android 2.3.7+ app that manages your photo and video gallery in a creative way. Creative enough to surpass most other options? Definitely. Creative enough to dump the built-in Gallery app even on Android 4.0? Maybe.
Scalado Album gets by on its unique organization and a level of speed rivaled only by QuickPic. My 1,000-plus images that I have stored on my Galaxy Nexus can take as long as 15 seconds to load in the default Gallery app. Album has a full library of thumbnails displayed in less than 2 seconds, and it loads full-screen views of selected images almost instantly. Scalado’s non-support for Picasa is one area where Gallery holds the advantage, but the app is still much faster even when disabling online photo storage in Gallery.
Album takes an interesting approach for displaying media. The Camera Roll (photos taken on the device) gets top billing, but users can also browse according to Folders, Months, Places, and Nearby. Using the EXIF data stored within a photo, Nearby shows photos that were taken near a given location. The same info is used for Places, which organizes photos according to the city or town they were taken. Places was slightly off on one location (it put me in Irvington when I was in Newark), but I was close to the border between cities, so I’ll cut it a break. Similarly, the Map function creates a zoomable Google Map view of the world, and then puts place markers where there are clusters of photos. Tapping on a marker shows how many images were taken near that location, and tapping again opens that gallery.
Scalado Album offers an attractive design that puts the focus on the images, and loads even large galleries in an instant. The app allows for basics like batch deleting, uploading to the Share function, and cropping or rotating images. However, it’s also missing out on some useful tools like folder selection so users can see only photos and wallpapers rather than icons and images stored for apps. That’s a small thing that can be overlooked, but to warrant paying for an app when similar ones are free, the tiniest of details need to be addressed. Luckily for Scalado, it performs well enough in other areas where I would feel comfortable paying a buck to get a much faster gallery.
Scalado Albums is available for $0.99 USD in Google Play. Android 2.3.7 or higher is required to use.