We were all astonished at last week’s news that Facebook had acquired the photo editing and sharing app Instagram for a mind-blowing 1 Billion USD. A two-year old startup which as Colbert says “ruins your photos” with filters was worth 1,000,000,000USD. But, I’m sorry to say that Instagram is not the best app out there, and that I still prefer Lightbox, even though I do acknowledge that the acquisition will help Instagram come on top (or destroy it, depending on what the Zuckerberg is planning). Here’s a breakdown of why Lightbox is better than Instagram in my opinion.
Instagram dominates the iOS market, with virtually everyone with an iPhone at least trying out the app if not religiously using it. Lightbox is the biggest player on the Android market. But, two weeks ago, Instagram beat Lightbox to it, and released its Instagram for Android, making it “cross-platform”, while Lightbox is exclusively on Android for now (which I think is good, keeping all the “#iPhonographers” and their silly breakfast-shots away from my timeline).
However, Instagram’s website is practically useless. Lightbox has a magnificently sexy website which does all the same features its app does. In other words, it’s a fully-functional, stand-alone website meaning anyone can use it, regardless if you carry a smartphone. It’s also very handy compared to Instagram, where you can’t even edit your profile picture from the “website”.
Screenshot of the Lightbox Website
Screenshot of the Instagram “website”
Apart from which platforms these apps support, there are several advantage I have noticed which Lightbox has:
- The photo can be any size, not the square-shaped ones of Instagram, meaning photos like my panoramic shot of Zaintunay Bay, can be beautifully edited and shared on Lightbox, but not on Instagram
- More artsy layout in presentation mode. That might not be an advantage, after all, minimalism and simplicity are of the utmost importance in mobile, and even though Lightbox is much nicer, Instagram is definitely faster
- The filters in Instagram are annoying, and make sure the photo looks rendered. Lightbox filters, especially “Instafix” merely make your photo better, without the obviousness of a filter, making it more of a pro-thing versus an amateur poking fun at what photography has come to today.