Hands on with Hipstamatic’s new Snap Magazine iPhone and Web app

snap magazine cover

Hipstamatic arguably lost the photo sharing race when Facebook acquired Instagram and catapulted the already-accomplished platform to a new, unforseen social status. Then Google went ahead and acquired Nik Software for another photo sharing competitor, Snapseed. Rather than capitulate to the bleak future that photo sharing apps appear to have in the wake of Instagram’s overwhelming successes, Hipstamatic has gotten creative by launching Snap Magazine, a digital-only magazine that aggregates hand curated images from its users. While the app debuted on iPads, Hipstamatic today announced that it has expanded to Snap Magazine with its new iPhone and Web apps.

snap magazine gangster squad

The magazine isn’t just the self-promotional publication you might it expect it to be. Admittedly, there are mentions of Hipstamatic here and there, and the advertising inserts are all promoting Hipstamatic products, but all in all it’s a lifestyle magazine that could easily be found on the bookshelves at Barnes & Nobles. The editorial team explores music, visual art, travels, fashion, food, and just about anything else you can think of. Of course, Hipstamatic stays fairly true to its roots by favoring images over text and paying particular attention to graphics, design, and photography.

While the magazine is inarguably good-looking, we checked out Snap on the Web were disappointed with the user experience. There’s a delay when flipping through the pages and it unfortunately reminds us of the experience of flipping through digital magazines on self-publishing platform Issuu, which has its fair share of quirks. Really, things just feel rough around the edges here, like Snap is meant to be experienced via mobile. 

There really isn’t much of a discernable difference between the iPad and the iPhone versions of Snap – which isn’t to say it’s all that engaging. The issues are essentially image files and there isn’t a hint of the interactivity that traditional iPad-based magazines offer, save for the page turning animation. It’s like you’re reading a print magazine on a mobile device. For some of us, that’s enough; others want interactivity. We had to download each issue before perusing, but they are completely free.

snap magazine horizontal

On the iPhone, Snap Magazine’s iPad version has simply been ported to fit the smaller screen size (it’s also optimized for the iPhone 5). When it comes to reading Snap Magazine from an iPhone, you’re forced to squint or zoom into the pages to read the text. Since it’s a magazine packed mostly with photos, luckily, this isn’t a huge inconvenience. When the phone is flipped horizontally, two pages are visible side-by-side as opposed to just one when being viewed vertically. You’ll recognize that touching the bottom of your screen surfaces thumbnails of every page that you can easily scroll through to select a specific page.

There have only been five issues out so far, so the magazine is still in its infancy. Hispstamatic hasn’t released any official concrete figures for the number of users, but based on Appdata we can get an indication of how it’s performing. As of this writing, Snap is the 106 top free app in the photograph genre and the 101 top free iPad app in the same genre.

snap mag food

The magazine is filled with the beautiful images that nearly defy smartphones – really, it’s hard to believe that the collections of images published on Snap weren’t taken using a DSLR. Editorial-wise, Snap is on trend with editorials, like a feature on the band Imagine Dragons, and even journalistic editorials covering world issues. The company has also established a Hipstamatic Foundation for Photojournalism that it hopes to educate the next generation of photojournalists.

Snap Magazine is really a breath of fresh air among digital publications, even if many images are sourced from Hipstamatic users and Hipstamatic users alone. Still, it’s an interesting way to make use of the photos were creating and sharing – even if Instagram has laid claim to the market, Hipstamatic deserves props for continuing to explore it. 

Product Review

The new iPad Mini isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here's our review of Apple’s 7.9-inch tablet.
Mobile

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.
Mobile

How three simple words could be the difference between life and death

What3Words’ app-based address system gives a three-word code to every three-meter-square patch on the planet, with its accuracy and ease of use now catching the attention of first responders in the U.K.
Photography

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.
Photography

Loupedeck Plus can now edit video, audio with Final Cut Pro

The list of Loupedeck Plus-compatible software is growing. The photo-editing console now works with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition for video and audio editing. The controls can be configured to be used on either platform.
Photography

Photography News: Taking a smartphone photo probably saved this guy’s life

A man was snapping a photo in Australia when the smartphone stopped an arrow shot at his face. In this week's photography news, see Canon's plans for a stabilized mirrorless, Hasselblad's newest accessories, Samyang's latest lens, and more.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Photography

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Photography

Sony’s latest sensor is stacked, backlit, and equipped with a global shutter

Say this five times fast: Backlit, stacked, global shutter sensor. Sony managed to cram all three technologies into one sensor. The result is a high-speed sensor with a higher resolution without sacrificing low-light quality.
Mobile

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.