For those who take lots of photos and videos with their iPhones, the constant scrolling and jumble of all the photos and videos in your Camera Roll can get overwhelming. Flayvr, a new app for iOS devices (coming soon for Android) aims to eliminate that mess, automatically arranging photos and videos in chronological collections. We tested this slick mobile app to see if it's good enough to replace your smartphone's standard gallery.
When we first downloaded Flayvr, we were asked to share our photos and videos with the app, and we accepted. If you accidentally don't allow this setting, you can go into your iPhone's Settings tab, tap on Privacy, then Photos. You can then toggle the Flayvr button to On.
Flayvr instantly sorted our photos and videos by the date they were captured. For most of our Flayvrs, the app listed the exact date, but for those Flayvrs taken within the last week, it listed them by day -- for example, Last Friday. Note that Flayvrs will be created only if four or more media items are taken around the same time, and there must be photos in every Flayvr collection. For example, if you take one photo Saturday morning and 20 photos and videos Saturday evening, a Flayvr collection will be created for the evening, but not for the one morning photo.
We understand the reason behind this. Say you went to two different events in one day: You would probably want different Flayvr collections for each event. Still, if we take, say, two photos and one video at a particular event, we wish we could have a Flayvr for those media items. The developers of Flayvr say they're working on lowering the media item minimum.
Interface and Customization
Overall, we like the design of the Flayvr app, whose tile-based interface reminds us of Windows Phone. The photos/videos in each collection were different sizes, and photos/videos on the home screen and within collections alternated so you could see all the content over time. Flayvr's design eliminated the clutter of our usual Camera Roll while making the experience more interactive.
Tapping on a collection launches it, but only after a 2- to 3-second delay. Videos automatically start playing, and you can flip through photos by tapping on one and then swiping. You also can pinch to zoom on photos.
A part of us likes that videos auto-play when you open a Flayvr, but we also wish that you could toggle this setting. If you happen to be listening to music when you open a collection, your tunes will get cut off.
If you want a given Flayvr to reflect something other than the date, tap its tile. Doing this takes you to a page where you can modify the title, add a location and erase photos/videos from the collection. For example, you can name a Flayvr after someone's birthday or other special event.
Flayvr says you can currently remove only one photo or video per Flayvr, but that an update coming in the next few weeks will allow users to remove as many media items from a particular collection as they like. Unfortunately, the app seemed downright buggy when we tried to remove or re-add photos or videos to a collection.
For instance, sometimes we weren't permitted to delete any photos or videos from a collection, even when it had up to 10 photos. And when another person tried to remove items, at one point he could delete up to three photos, but the next second he could delete only one. Furthermore, Flayvr let him re-add those photos he had deleted, but when he tapped Done and went to view the Flayvr, those re-added photos did not show up.
Once you're happy with a given Flayvr collection, you can share it with friends via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, SMS or email if you so choose.
We tested the social sharing component by tapping on Facebook. We then had to consent to use Flayvr with Facebook. After logging in, we were given the opportunity to tag our friends, which was easily done by scrolling to find their names/profile pictures or simply typing their names in the search bar.
After tagging all of our friends who appeared in our photos and videos, we tapped Share. We then navigated to our Facebook wall via our desktop and saw a post on our wall stating that we had "experienced a flayvr moment on flayvr." The Facebook friends we had identified in the Flayvr were correctly tagged, and they could Like or comment on the post.
There's a play button in the lower left corner of the Flayvr, and pressing it opens a new window that automatically launches the collection, with photos fading in and out so friends can see every photo or video in the collection. Videos automatically start playing, and by tapping on that particular video you can view a larger version of the clip and pause it.
When we chose to email our Flayvr, all we had to do was fill in the To field. We sent the email to ourselves, and we viewed it on our desktop. When we clicked the View My Flayvr link, it navigated to the same Flayvr website page where our Facebook post directed us. Functionality was identical.
We tested out sharing via Twitter, and after allowing the app to connect with the social network, it crafted a tweet for us stating, "I've just magically created a @flayvr moment from my photos and videos." We tapped Send, then checked out our Twitter profile to see the results. The link directed us to the same webpage as our Facebook post and email did, with the same functionality.
Flayvr vs. Instagram
Flayvr exists to compile photos and videos from a particular event into a collection, and to share with friends if you choose. Instagram functions to edit photos and apply cool filters, then share with friends. While you can choose to keep media collections private with Flayvr, Instagram automatically posts all your photos, accessible to anyone. Flayvr exists primarily as an organizational service, while Instagram's main function is to share.
Note that Flayvrs cannot be shared via Instagram. Since a Flayvr collection is its own piece of multimedia and not simply a photo, it's impossible to drag a collection into Instagram to apply filters and share with friends.
We really like the idea of Flayvr. The app takes the work out of organizing photos and videos by automatically creating collections for you based on events and dates. The interface is certainly more appealing than the standard Photos app in iOS and Android's Gallery app. It's also easy to share collections with friends. In fact, if Apple and Google were smart, they'd be kicking Flayvr's tires for a potential acquisition.
However, there are some kinks the company needs to work out, such as the inability to delete more than one photo/video per collection and to create Flayvrs with fewer than four media items. We also wish Android users could join in on the fun, though a version is promised soon. Overall, if you're looking for a cool new way to enjoy and share your photos and videos, Flayvr is worth a download.