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Compatible with Android phones running Android 2.2 or later
Even before the arrival of Instagram has it been popular to apply digital filter effects to your smartphone pictures. Nowadays most digital compact cameras come with filter effects too, but while on a camera you are typically limited to what’s built-in on smartphones, with their ability to install apps, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Traditionally, iPhone users have had more choice when it comes to imaging apps than the users of other mobile operating systems but Google's Android OS is catching up quickly. Uber Iris Pro is a new app for Android that offers basic retouching functions and 55 effect filters that can be applied to your images. Read on to find out how we got on with it.
The app’s user interface is very simple. When you start up Uber Iris Pro you get the option to either take an image with one of the camera apps that are installed on your device, or to select an existing image from the gallery. With the second option you can also edit images that have been captured with another camera or device and transferred into your phone’s gallery folder.
Once an image has been captured or selected it is displayed on the app’s main screen. You can zoom in and out of the image using the familiar pinch gesture, but unfortunately the screen does not rotate if you hold the phone in landscape orientation which means that images are displayed only relatively small. Annoyingly, this is also true for portrait images which are by default displayed in landscape orientation. You’ll have to rotate an image to view it at a screen-filling size. This looks very much like a bug and will hopefully be sorted out soon with an update.
At the top of the screen you’ll find another four buttons. The two on the left let you take or open another picture. The buttons on the right let you save the image as it is currently visible on your screen and share it via Facebook, Twitter or Flickr. There are no options to share images with other apps on your device.
Uber Iris Pro comes with a range of basic image editing options such as rotating, flipping, cropping and adjustment of brightness, contrast, saturation and hue. Operation of these functions is intuitive and on the Samsung Galaxy S3 that we used for this review rotating, flipping and cropping are applied instantly, but tone adjustments take a second or two to take effect.
Rotating, flipping, cropping and tone adjustments are all available in the standard Android Gallery, so for these features alone there is no need to install Uber Iris Pro on your Android device. However, if you tap on the far right icon at the bottom of the screen, you open Uber Iris Pro’s filter interface which is the app’s core feature. Here you get a thumbnail view of 55 different filters effects already applied to your image in thumbnail view. These range from fairly simple color filters such as ‘Monochrome’, ‘Sepia’ and ‘Vivid’ to more sophisticated effects such as ‘8-bit’, ‘Scanlines’ or ‘Pen Sketch’.
The intensity of many effects, but not all, can be modified via a slider at the bottom of the screen. Overall control of the effects is a little limited. However, you can combine two or more effects by applying them one after the other. Once a filter has been applied its intensity cannot be adjusted any more, so when you are ‘stacking’ filters you’ll have to start over again if you want to change the intensity of a previous filter in your 'stack.' Unfortunately modified images are not saved at their original size but in a smaller 816x612 pixels format.
It’s fun to play with this large number of filters effects and combine them to create new looks, but ultimately you’ve got very limited control over the end result and the apps lacks some more sophisticated filters such as fish-eye, miniature or beauty effects.
There is no shortage of filter effect apps in the Google Play Store but what sets Uber Iris Pro slightly apart is the sheer number of filters it offers. With 55 different effects to choose from you'll always find something that works well with your picture. And when you've tried them all you can experiment with combining two or more filters to create totally new effects.
On the Samsung Galaxy S3 it can take a couple of seconds for some effects to be applied, but in general the app works pretty swiftly. The user interface is very simple but on the downside you have little control the filters as, apart from filter intensity. Therefore Uber Iris Pro probably works best for you if you want a 'one-click-solution' rather than the ability to play with a range of settings and parameters to create your perfect result.
If you'd like to try before you buy there is also a free version of the app available that comes with ad banners and only a limited number of filter. All filters can be previewed but for some of them you have to make an in-app-purchase to save the image.
We like: Large number of filters, intuitive user interface.
We don't like: No borders available, limited sharing options, images need rotating for large-size viewing.
Here we have included a few additonal samples for you to see the modified images alongside their original version. Click on the thumbnails to see the full-size version.