BeFunky is a photo editing app that lets you apply various effects and frames on your pictures. While there are quite a few apps that do the same, I’ve found myself using BeFunky most of the time.
This review covers the paid version BeFunky Photo Editor Pro which is available for $3.99 on the Android Market. The free version is called BeFunky Photo Editor and works mostly the same way. The only constraints of the free version is that there are less effects and frames available to spice up your pictures.
First of all I need to mention that BeFunky is built with Adobe AIR and therefore needs this runtime to be installed on your device. I’ve always hesitated installing apps requiring the bloat of additional frameworks, but for such a promising looking photo editing app I had to make an exception — and I didn’t regret it.
When you open up BeFunky it lets you choose whether you want to edit an existing picture from your gallery, or to take a snapshot with the default camera app and work on that.
After you’ve opened a picture you’ll see the main menu of five buttons: Home, Edit, Effects, Frames and Save. It’s no problem switching between the Edit, Effects, and Frames modes, so you could apply a frame first and still change the contrast later.
When you’re done modifiying your photo you can hit the Save button, then either publish your image to Facebook, Flickr or BeFunky’s online service or simply save it to your SD card.
After taking or opening a picture there are three steps BeFunky lets you do, each of which is optional:
Basic Image Operations
The Edit mode lets you perform the most common image adjustments: change brightness, contrast, hue and saturation to your liking and apply two different kinds of sharpening. Rotating and cropping functionality is also found here. The cropping function offers a noteworthy function: it lets you lock the aspect ration to square, 16:9 or Golden Ratio.
This is the most interesting part of the app: you can choose between 55 effects to apply on your picture, from lomo style to various vintage effects to grunge and fake HDR, there’s almost anything you can think of.
Besides the good quality of the filters, I like that each effect is shown as a tiny thumbnail preview, which you can tap to see that effect applied instantly on your current picture.
Because 55 filters is quite a lot to scroll through there’s a handy possibility to filter effects by various categories such as Instant, Old Photo, Black and White, Toy Cam or View Finder. You can open this selection by tapping the little blue arrow above the picure.
Last but not least BeFunky Pro lets you choose from 40 photo frames. Instant camera or film frames help give your photos the retro style everybody seems to love.
Personally I’ve been a fan and heavy user of Vignette for a long time. I just love to be able to fool around with beautiful filters and effects. The thing it lacks most is an instant preview of the effects you’re about to apply; you have to know the exact name of the effect or go through a lot of trial and error. Here’s where BeFunky’s instant preview feature shines.
Loads of effects are good to have, but useless if they don’t look good. Although not every single effect is totally awesome, I really do like the quality and look of most of them and I’d have a hard time choosing a favourite.
Another feature I don’t want to miss again is the slider control that lets you change the opacity of an effect. Some effects are just too heavy on some photos, so it really is a good thing to be able to weaken it a little.
Compared to the competition BeFunky has a great design, with a simple yet elegant user interface. Navigating its main functions is easy and intuitive.
One thing that may annoy some users is that the app runs in full screen mode, covering the notifications bar. Rather irritating if you want to see the time while using it.
Speed and Stability
Starting the app takes about ten seconds on a HTC Desire, which feels sluggish, especially if you just want to take a quick snapshot. Fortunately you can use BeFunky to edit photos you’ve taken with another app, so if I need to quickly capture a moment I usually opt for the stock camera app and add some funky effects later.
Once BeFunky is running I can’t complain about its speed and stability. Rendering thumbnailed previews for its 55 effects takes roughly seven seconds, and the full-size view of a chosen effect is then available instantly.
While using BeFunky for over a month almost daily it didn’t crash once, so in my experience it is stable.
No app is perfect and I don’t want to hide any nuisances, so here they are:
- Adobe AIR required
- Starting the app takes approx. ten seconds
- Exif data doesn’t get saved when taking a new photo, and will be discarded when editing an existing photo
- Sharing options are limited to Facebook, BeFunky and Flickr. If you want your picture to appear anywhere else you need to save it to SD, open up your gallery and share it from there
- Limited resolution: the pictures edited by BeFunky get scaled to 1296 pixel maximum width or height, or even smaller when frames are applied (different resolutions depending on different frames)
Personally, the only thing of those that really annoys me is the loss of Exif data. Almost any photo management software like Picasa relies on Exif data to sort and present your pictures correctly – pictures without that data can mess up your collection’s structure badly. I really hope that Exif data handling will be added in future versions of BeFunky
Requirements and Pricing
BeFunky Photo Editor pro needs Android 2.2 (Froyo) and the Adobe AIR framework.
At $3.99 on the Android Market, BeFunky Photo Editor Pro is not the cheapest app for improving your snapshots, but regarding the feature set and the fun one can have playing around with all those effects I think it’s well worth its price.