Retro photo aesthetics is an interesting phenomenon. Technology has never been this sophisticated (and simultaneously easy to use and user friendly), and yet rather than creating hyper modern looking pictures we've gone old school and are taking photos that look like they're straight out of our parents'/grandparents' family photo albums from the 1960s and 1970s!
I'm the first one to admit that I'm a sucker for the retro look: the whole world looks so much more beautiful when caught on (virtual) film now that we've gone from stark, artificially lit shots back to vignetting, soft, blurry edges and warm, glowing colours.
I've tried and tested a good number of applications that will add vintagee-looking filters and frames to smartphone pics, and today I'd like to invite you to join me as we explore the options that XnView Retro has to offer, so let's jump right in!
XnView Retro takes no time to install and users are welcomed by a clean, easy to use UI. 20 filters/colour effects and 26 frames can be applied to already existing pics from the gallery, or you can shoot new photos from within the app. There are also options for cropping the pic to a square, as well as adjusting the image brightness, contrast and saturation. You can then save the image in three different formats: Small (512px max), Medium (1024px max) or Large (2048px max), and the same formats can also be used for sharing photos via Facebook, Picasa, WhatsApp, email and more.
Having the option to take new pictures and colour process/edit them directly is great, and during my test runs I took quite a few new pics and then applied various colour effects. I also uploaded some of my older pics from my gallery and found this to work out very nicely, with no delays or lagging.
The different effects can be viewed and applied by hitting the magic wand icon. The effects are simply referred to as Retro 1, Retro 2, Retro 3... all the way to Retro 20, and while there is a small yet clear preview for each one I would prefer more tell-tale labeling. The same goes for the 26 different frame options (labeled Frame 1 through 26), which can be accessed by hitting the fame-like looking button.
XnView Retro is nice and concise, right down to its rather neutral graphics and overall design. Some users will find this to be an advantage (seeing as this way it doesn't distract from the app's functionality), while other users will lament the lack of interface originality.
The light leaks and border effects are fun, if somewhat repetitive and not labeled clearly enough, to my liking. On the other hand, the great preview gallery gives users a pretty good impression of what's available.
The app is easy to use, making it a viable option for users who are into the retro look and looking for a very straight-forward photo effects application.
Screen & Controls
The XnView Retro interface cuts to the chase without any surplus graphics or design elements. The buttons are nice and big and the icons are well chosen.
The app is very easy to use which is a key element for any photo app worth its salt.
Speed & Stability
Absolutely no issues with XnView Retro in this category: it loads pics from the gallery with very little delay and taking new photos is just as simple.
XnView Retro is available for free and without any bothersome ads from both the AndroidPIT App Center and Google Play.