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. 

Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Home Theater

What is Netflix Roulette, and how exactly does it work?

For years, educated viewers have been using Netflix Roulette to broaden their horizons. The web app can help you find movies and shows you'd never think to watch! What exactly is it, though, and how do you use it? We explain it all.

Going somewhere? Capture more than your phone can with the best travel cams

Hitting the road or doing some globetrotting this year? Bring along the right camera to capture those once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories. Here's a list of some of our current favorites.

Authentic, holistic, retro photography is in: Here are 2019’s predicted trends

What types of imagery are we most drawn to? According to recent stock photography data from Adobe, StoryBlocks, and Shutterstock, authentic, holistic, and humanitarian content will be in high demand in 2019.

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.

This A.I.-powered camera follows the action to produce epic selfie videos

Want to capture more epic action selfies? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. Using a handful of different modes, the camera works to keep the action in the frame.

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…

GoPro bumps resolution on Fusion 360 cam to 5.6K with new firmware

Currently available in public beta, Fusion firmware version 2.0 offers a new 5.8K mode that results in 5.6K output when the 360 camera's two hemispheres are stitched together. It also adds support for 24 fps video and RAW time-lapse…