Pixable: Your Life’s Photos In One Place

Everyone loves sharing and looking at photos. That’s why social networking sites are so hard to stay away from — that’s why Facebook bought Instagram and Google+’s latest app design places such high emphasis on photos.

If you find yourself catching up with friends and families’ photos on a daily basis – or stalking your favorite celebrities through theirs – Pixable will let you get the job done in half the time.

Pixable calls itself “Your Photo Inbox”, and this is a very accurate description. The app is an aggregate for all photos from your social networking accounts. It may seem like a simple idea, but as I used the app I began to see its value.

Main app page

The first thing you need to know about the app is its default integration with Facebook: you need to log in using your Facebook account, and only then can you add all other accounts like Twitter and Instagram. This was no problem for me, but it might be a deal-breaker for people who don’t have Facebook accounts. On the other hand, Pixable is targeted for heavy social media users – who most likely have Facebook accounts – so perhaps this won’t bother anyone.

The next thing you need to know about this app is it doesn’t store any photos on your phone. It only collects photo contents from different sources – like an RSS reader for photos.

Pixable links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Drive. It only links one account per service. Once you have your accounts authorized and linked, you should get an updated feed on the app’s main page. It may take a quick restart before the photos get updated.

Photos are presented in preview mode as thin strips of photos classified in several ways. These include the latest photos, top photos for the day/week/month, and new profile photos, all taken from your Facebook account. A separate feed is created for other accounts: in my case, I have a Twitter and Instagram Feed.

Feed types

The user interface sports the Holo theme, which shows in most of its visual elements. The design is clean and simple which makes for distraction-free photo browsing. Buttons and other functions are intuitive, and anyone who’s familiar with other apps like Instagram and Facebook will feel right at home.

The main page has three main buttons on top for navigation: the left one toggles different feeds, the right invites friends, and the P icon in the middle navigates back to the main page.

To change the type of feed, tap the left icon on top to see all other options. You can also go to the Settings page from here.

In addition to the default feed, there’s a Public Feeds section featuring popular photos from public accounts. These are also put into categories such as trending topics (right now: the Olympics), news, celebrities and humor. You can Fave, Comment or Share each photo.

Public feed

Although you can’t tap on a photo to enlarge it, the default size is big and clear enough that you won’t need another view. This is one thing I found impressive with this app and it’s very close to the way photos look in Instagram. Within a few days, I gradually found myself checking Facebook photos more with this app than the Facebook app itself. It’s really that good.

Facebook feed

Photos can also be shared via Twitter, Facebook, SMS and e-mail. They can even be saved to your phone — something you can’t do with the Facebook app. There is also a Fave button to push photos into the My Faves feed. Favoriting a photo will only be seen by your contacts within the app, but you can view and reply to comments from the app. I commented on a photo on my Instagram feed from this app, checked it in Instagram and saw it there, too.

Video posts from Twitter

Pixable also loads videos in all its feed,- which you can tap and watch from the app itself.

Notifications are also available for this app but there is not much customization you can do. Basically, you get notified about the top photos of the day – which again is only referring to the Facebook photos. I would have prefered being able to specify what kind of notifications I want to get rather than turning it off entirely. The Settings menu is very limited, only letting you manage your accounts and toggle several features on or off.

App settings

With a good Internet connection the apps runs fairly well. However, photos may take a few seconds to load when you first open it. Considering it’s accessing more than one account, this minor lag can be justified.

One thing I realized from using this app is that it’s primarily a Facebook photo client, with a few other services added on the side. While this is a good thing for heavy Facebook users, it may not be too appealing for others who avoid it like the plague. With this in mind, Pixable appears to be aimed towards Facebook users more than anyone.

With the default categories for photos, there really is not much room for tweaking. I would love to see a future update where a user can choose which photos show on his feed and which ones to hide.

Nevertheless, this app does deliver its promise efficiently enough for anyone to continue using it. Its biggest selling point would have to be convenience – not having to open several apps to view content. It saves time, energy and brings you relevant photos that you care about. With its clean, modern design and simple controls, it’s a great alternative for viewing and sharing photos.


Summary

An efficient photo-viewing app for Android.

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