Scalado Album: The New Standard?

Viewing images on Android has historically been an exercise in frustration. I remember being wowed by the 3D scrolling gallery in my first Android 2.3 phone for a long 10 seconds. Took me a day to get fed up and install QuickPic, among other alternatives, just to be able to view my photos without having to take coffee breaks between swipes.

There haven’t been a lot of contenders for the crown of the best gallery app on Android, and Scalado – best known for their “Remove” and “Rewind” technologies for improving your photos post-shoot – have recently entered the arena to take a shot at it (yup, pun intended). Like QuickPic, Scalado Album aims to make the process of browsing and viewing your photos as painless and effective as possible. Here’s a look at how well it does.

Quick and Simple

Scalado Album seems to put an obsessive focus on simplicity and speed, something I find most critical in an app like this. The old default gallery app in Android 2.3 had me cursing it pretty much every single day because of how long it took to actually get me to my images. And even when I did, the amount of time it took to flip through them was atrocious.

This app addresses that problem ably by making sure folders are loaded and ready when I launch the app. Tap a folder and all images within appear almost instantaneously. Tapping to open an image, sliding through them, zooming in and out – everything feels quick and snappy.

The default album and gallery views

The default album and gallery views

The gallery also provides a number of different ways to find the exact image you are looking for. Of course, there’s the “folders” view that arranges images based on where they’re stored on your phone; but apart from that, you can use the “Nearby” view to find photos shot close to your current location, or the “Months” and “Places” views, which do exactly what you think they do. Then there is the “All” view, which chunks together every single image on your phone for times when you’re not sure how exactly to categorize what you’re looking for.

Months and Places views

Months and Places views

In any of the views, tap the globe icon in the top-right corner and all geotagged photos will be laid out on a map based on where they were shot. This is not going to be very useful if you don’t use the geotagging feature regularly when taking photographs, but if you do, this can be an excellent way to visually check out where you have been going around clicking with your phone.

The Map view

The Map view

Meaningful Video Previews… Finally!

Scalado Album’s video thumbnails are a feature I never thought I needed, but now I can’t live without them. Here’s how I used to find videos on my phone:

  • Go through the camera folder in Gallery.
  • Tap every video thumbnail that looks like it might be the one I need.
  • Scrub through the video only to find that wasn’t it.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Scalado changes that with thumbnails for videos that cycle through intermittent frames of the video. This is enough to give you a decent idea of the contents of the video without ever having to launch the video app and scrub through them. How convenient!

Hot and Cold Image Editing

Once you open an image, the editing features – as minimalist as the rest of the app – are simple and very basic. You can share images using Android’s built-in share feature, although a cloud upload icon made me wonder for a second whether there was any kind of automatic uploading to cloud services built in. Other features include a barebones crop tool, a rotate tool and the ability to set the image as a wallpaper.

Single image preview and toolbar

Single image preview and toolbar

I did run into a weird issue with the rotation feature, though. While trying it out, I had to rotate an image four times because there is only one control: rotate 90 degrees clockwise. By the time the image was back to its original orientation, there was a big fat black bar to the right of the image. When I checked using another gallery app, the image had been badly squashed vertically. I couldn’t find a way to fix this, so for all practical purposes, the image had been ruined for me. Interestingly, it happened only with that one image and only that once. Now I should note that I am using a pre-release version of the app and from what the developers tell us, they haven’t had anyone else report such an issue.

(Editor’s note: to be clear, this bug really does seem to be a one-off; we haven’t come across anyone else reporting it and we’ve been unable to replicate it.)

Wrapping Up

Scalado Album gets a lot of things right for those seeking a very minimalistic yet fast and reliable app for browsing images and videos on their Android devices. It is snappy, gives you a ton of different ways to sort through your lists and manages to make video thumbnails actually work on a mobile device.

Unfortunately, the one bug I encountered proved to be a deal breaker for me. I’m sure it will be ironed out with an update to the app, but until that happens, I’m going to stick with good old QuickPic.


Summary

An interesting alternative to the stock gallery app on Android, Scalado Album is good for those who want a no-nonsense way to browse through the pictures and videos on their Android device.

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