We are spoilt for choice when it comes to apps that bring more FX and features to a device's camera, and as far as I’m concerned this type of smartphone application is one of the most useful and fun there is. Paper Camera has made a name for itself thanks it its solid performance and fun design, with tons of cartoon-esque filters that make photos look great. Find out what we think of it in today’s review.
|Reviewed version||Latest version|
|2.0g||Varies with device|
Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Android version: 4.0.2
Runs as of: 2.1
An app that directly accesses the camera and displays various effects (similar to Photoshop filters) minus the loading times? Paper Camera sets the bar pretty high—and I must admit that I was rather skeptic in the beginning.
Upon opening the application a display appears revealing an overview of the effect you have selected as well as the image that is to be photographed (with the corresponding effect). You can change effects directly and without loading times.
Aside from the filter effects there are also hot keys for switching the flash on/off, zooming in/out (up to 8x) and sending files off.
There are 12 filters to choose from:
• "Comic Boom"
• "Sketch Up"
• "Old Printer"
• "Neon Cola"
• «Con Tours"
• "Gotham Noir"
• "Half Ton"
• "Granny's Paper"
• "Pastel Perfect"
• "Andy Pop"
All filters can be adjusted according to the same three categories as the ones used in Photoshop: brightness level, contrast and line weight.
You can also apply all of these filters to video mode, although this mode only seems to work on a limited number of phones (on the Galaxy Nexus it worked just fine).You can even switch between filters while filming, as you can see in the YouTube clip below.
On the whole shooting pictures using Paper Camera is a very fluid and solid experience, and the results are great.
Screen & Controls
While the app harbours a host of different features, controls are very easy. All functions can be accessed via the main screen and the symbols used for changing filters are easy to identify and well positioned on the display.
The Paper Camera design is great: fun and quirky, it has a white scrunched up paper-like look to it and it feels as though you were holding an actual camera in your hands.
The image you’re going to shoot covers approximately two thirds of the display and the name of the filter you wish to apply to it can be found below. Two arrows on the right can be used to switch filters. The three lines below can be used to change the luminosity, contrast and line weight.
Hit the camera symbol in order to take a picture. The symbol next to the camera allows you to select an image from the gallery.
Hit the menu button and the symbols disappear only to be replaced by others (zoom, flash and share).
Photos are saved to the standard gallery. The only hiccup is that the quality of the images is dialed down slightly.
As far as video quality is concerned, Paper Camera shines in a range of comic book -esque filters that evoke everything from film noir to Andy Warhol's pop art. The sound quality was decent and the filters jived well with the camera's movements. The video is in a format called WebM, which we'd never heard before but apparantly it runs just fine on Windows Media Player. Uploading the video to YouTube was a breeze, although the format is not full screen. We've heard that the video mode doesn't work on every device, but it worked just fine on the Galaxy Nexus.
Speed & Stability
We’re very impressed by Paper Camera’s performance. The app takes mere seconds to load the main screen from where all features can be accessed. The different filters are applied to the live image without any problems or any loading times whatsoever, and what’s more: the app never lags.
Selecting already existing photos is also a cinch.
The application costs 1,49 € and can be downloaded from the Market. Sure, there are alternative apps that don’t cost anything, but Paper Camera trumps them thanks to its great performance, friendly UI and easy controls. No loading times, super smooth sailing and nice features—what more can you ask for?
Paper Camera is one of the most useful camera tools I’ve come across and it’s worth every cent in my eyes.