I was really excited to get a tablet because I was finally able to show off my photography portfolio to clients in a sophisticated manner — no clunky laptops or slow-to-load websites and galleries to worry about. It’s also a great way to accompany your vacation stories when you meet friends and family, discuss a mood board with colleagues, and enjoy pictures from your social networks.
So what’s the best app to view images with? Today, we’re taking a look at the cream of the crop of galleries and photo browsers available in the Play Store that are designed with tablets in mind, in the hopes of finding the ultimate photo viewer, taking into consideration performance, features and UI.
Looking for more tablet-optimized Android apps? Check this list of our most interesting tablet app roundups.
QuickPic is elegant, fast and loaded with features, and not just shallow bells and whistles. It can play video, rotate images as per device orientation, hide folders with a password, sort images logically — by following numbering systems in file names — and even use hardware acceleration for a smoother experience. It’s highly customizable and has perhaps the best slideshow engine I’ve tried so far. You can read more about it in our full review.
It’s rare that such a well crafted, polished app is made available for free, sans ads. QuickPic manages to pack great performance, plenty of functionality and a very usable interface into a small package, weighing in at under 400KB. And did I mention it’s free?
While I’m not a fan of the name, I really like this app. Fish Bowl is packed to the gills with cool features, such as the ability to store albums as favorites for quick retrieval, gorgeous responsive animations when you load, swipe through, zoom and rotate images, and even search — which works astonishingly well! It’s pretty, quick and does a number of things very well.
With Fish Bowl, you can tweak the image quality for displaying, sharing or using as a wallpaper to maximize performance, as well as lock images to hide them from view, check your trash can if you need to bring back pictures you deleted by accident, and of course, run slideshows. The interface is pleasant enough to look at, very usable, and well laid out. And it’s also free!
Looking for a fresh new image gallery for browsing your locally-stored images? This new kid on the block is no slouch. Monte Gallery packs a ton of features, including hidden folders, a lock for the app itself, EXIF data display, customizable slideshow, image rotation and cropping, file copying and moving, and more, into a pleasant UI that’s as fast as it is good-looking.
That’s not all. Monte Gallery also packs a comprehensive image editing suite, allowing you to adjust everything from curves to vibrance and includes a number of photo filters and frames to enhance your pictures. Plus, you can add voice and text notes to images, and even tag them and add them to custom albums. This is definitely worth the low asking price and sets the bar for other apps in terms of quality and features.
A fierce competitor in the image gallery space, F-Stop includes a nice feature set and a clean interface with a differentiating image viewer screen that uses fragments — or columns — to let you see your photo as well as thumbnails of other images inside the folder you’re browsing. The splash screen allows you to quickly access your local image folders, custom albums, tags, ratings, and password-protected folders.
F-Stop can also create smart albums, including or excluding images by folder, date taken, tag or rating. You can also sort your images, check out your most-viewed images and see them all on a map. It also includes the same image editing features as Monte Gallery. The free version is ad-supported, and the paid version removes ads and throws in a few extra features like nested albums and metadata writing.
If you ever let your tablet out of your hands and place it on a dock or stand, you can still enjoy photos with Dayframe. Still in the works, this clever app brings a continuous stream of photos from Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr to your device. You can see shared photos, as well as accompanying tweets/captions and user profile pictures.
Dayframe also includes a large voice command button which you can use to control Google Now on devices running Android 4.1. The functionality is standard on such tablets but the implementation makes sense for when your device is docked. You can additionally comment on photos using voice recognition. The app is still in the works and will see an official release — purportedly with even more features — this fall.
While a number of us are busy debating which, between Flickr and 500px, is the better photography community, the latter has released a lovely app — which we’ve reviewed earlier — for browsing through photos from members. The official app keeps things simple, with a simple category filter for images, image stats and comments, sharing and a basic slideshow. There aren’t any settings to configure here, but that’s probably best for most users.
500px does a nice job of giving you a glimpse into what the community is up to, and can feed your thirst for photography inspiration just the way you want in a clean no-frills interface that’s ridiculously fast. If you’re looking for more control over your photo browsing experience, you might want to check out the next contestant in this battle.
This is the 500px app on steroids. The app launches with a dashboard showing what’s New This Week; swiping left reveals your history and swiping right shows your bookmarks. You can browse the 500px community’s content by selecting a filter criterion — choose from Newest, Editors’ Choice, Upcoming and more — and categories of photos to include and exclude.
Digging into each user’s gallery by tapping the large thumbnail brings up his/her photos, that you can view large versions of, and additionally download, share, favorite and like them. Swiping left here brings up the user’s profile and favorites. Strangely, you can’t comment on photos with Brilliance, but that may be a limitation of the API. If you want to spend all day looking at beautiful photos, give this a try.
Glimmr is an elegant app to browse through pictures on Flickr, and stay in touch with those you know on the photo-based social network. You can swipe through the tabbed interface to see content from your contacts, your own photostream, your favorites and sets, and even groups that you’re a part of. Plus, you can check the community’s best uploads in the Explore tab.
Glimmr offers snappy performance, and the UI is really well done too: comments and image info look great, and even the lone navigation bar disappears with just a tap on any image for a clutter-free viewing experience. While the free version is great for most users, you can support the developer by grabbing the paid version and gaining access to high-quality thumbnails and the option to set images as your device’s wallpaper.
If you’re into 3D effects, you’ll love DroidIris+. You can view photos from your device, Picasa, Facebook or Flickr accounts as thumbnails on a wall that you navigate by flinging images across the seemingly three-dimensional space. It performs well enough once images are cached, and offers a smooth browsing experience, whether you’re looking at photos saved on your tablet or your Facebook albums.
My only gripe with this app is that it doesn’t take the 3D bit far enough — the slideshow feature is as plain-jane as it can get, and would’ve really benefitted from some interesting effects. Other than that, this is a fine solution for browsing photos on your tablet.
Remember how we loved Scope Beta, the app that brings together all your social network feeds into one place? Pictarine takes the same approach and applies it to photos from your contacts from all over the web. It features a beautiful, simple UI and performs pretty well, loading up images from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, Tumblr, Dropbox, Live, 500px, Photobucket and Shutterfly without skipping a beat.
With Pictarine, you can like, reblog, share and comment on photos you find interesting, which some other 3rd-party apps can’t manage. It can even show you photos stored on your device’s memory, pull up all your photos from your social network accounts, filter them by contacts, and even surprise you with random photos from all your sources. It’s easily one of the best multi-network browsing apps out there, and at the price of free is well worth a look.
Of the browsers we’ve looked at here, I particularly liked QuickPic and Monte Gallery for local photos, the former being my long-time favorite — since it’s free — and the latter winning me over with its great feature set. For social photo browsing, Pictarine is a must-have, given its ability to handle all your social networks and its above-average performance.
Sticking to a single photo community? 500px users should certainly check out Brilliance Tablet Edition which trumps the legacy app by way of additional functionality, and those on Flickr will love Glimmr for its minimalist interface that lets the pictures take center stage.
It’s only since recently that Android fans have been able to get their hands on quality tablets, and it’s great that we now have a fair amount of choice when it comes to apps we use to consume content. And with these wonderful image browsers, you can now show off your photos to friends and family with your device too.
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