We’ve written about photo-sharing website 500px before. This is an online community of photo enthusiasts and professional photographers, with impressive amounts of beautiful works showcased from all over the world. Browsing 500px on the go has been possible for some time, thanks to unofficial Android apps such as 500px Land.
But now, 500px have an official Android app letting you interact with the website, and view beautiful photos no matter where you are. Best of all, this free app doesn’t even require a 500px account to use.
Many Android front-ends for websites ask for your personal information right when you launch them. You simply can’t use them without opening an account, which usually means providing at least your email address. 500px is one of the few apps that don’t do this: Install it, launch it, and bam – you are faced with a grid of beautiful photos. Just like that – no forms to fill, no banners to endure.
Tapping a thumbnail focuses it instantly, but that doesn’t mean the hi-res photo has downloaded yet: It will be overlaid with a “wait” circle. Even on my home W-iFi connection, the circle would usually linger for around ten seconds. I wish 500px didn’t place it right in the middle of the viewport, obscuring the photo. Once it’s gone, you get a clear view of the picture, and nothing else.
Pinch-to-zoom doesn’t work though, which is another minor drawback. You can double-tap the image to zoom it so it takes up the whole screen, but you can’t pan around.
The UI is beyond minimalistic, it is virtually hidden. This is what the picture looks like once loaded:
Okay….not much to work with here, right? Now tap the bottom of the screen:
Suddenly, photo stats pop up. Nice. Now, drag the stats bar up:
There we go! Photo comments appear, as well as detailed metadata:
Very slick, if just a tad too minimalistic to be obvious. The Menu button, if you were wondering, doesn’t hint at this option.
You can move to the next photo by swiping left. If you are currently displaying the stats bar, it will remain on. You won’t have to tap the bottom of the screen for each and every image.
Another bonus – the annoying “wait” circle doesn’t appear with every new image you swipe to, making browsing much more pleasant and fast.
Photo Categories & Nudity
Here is a closer look at the vertical toolbar that lets you pick photo categories to browse. Pickings are very basic and streamlined: If you want something specific, just tap Search and look for it.
I searched for “red car,” and the results were indeed mostly about red cars.
Now, that bit about nudity:
I know – finally MakeUseOf has a screenshot about nudity, and it shows… a checkbox! 500px has a lot of nudity, some of it artistic, some less so. By default, the app filters all of it. If you do want to see nudity in your photo stream, just tap Menu > Settings, uncheck this box, and you’re good to go.
And no, I won’t show you what the stream looks like with nudity enabled (you might be reading this at work for all I know!).
The 500px app for Android sets out to do one thing. Make it easy for you to look at beautiful photos on your Android device. I feel it does its work very well, with a sparse interface that doesn’t get in the way, and beautiful images. I’m not saying 500px for Android is perfect. Pinch to zoom would really come in handy. That said, it is a lovely app, and with its price tag (free) would make a fine addition for any shutterbug’s home screen.