FotoRoid: Some Good Potential But It Isn’t Enough

by Pu on December 13, 2010

There are no official quality standards and guidelines when it comes to Polaroid — and more in general instant — photography: some photographers apply to it  the same rules that they are comfortable with and use in other genre of photography; some others completely change their style according to the medium they are using and prefer to consider instant photography as a world of its own, where general rules are not applicable. This is one of the reasons in Polaroids anything seems to be acceptable, even things that often wouldn’t be well-received in full-fledged photography. Many instant photographers for example are very much in love with the cheap look of Polaroids, and even those who converted to more up-to-date formats try to replicate it digitally. A cheap digital photograph isn’t like a cheap analog one, and if it’s true that in the case of Polaroids anything is acceptable, it’s also true that in the case of digitally imitations perhaps it is not.

Main Features

  • Full resolution available;
  • Zoom, pan and rotate;
  • Nine instant film types (+nine more with in-app purchase);
  • Four instant frames (+four more with in-app purchase);
  • Undo button;
  • Share via email and Facebook.

Appotography Opinion

FotoRoid is another of these apps that try to simulate the Polaroid effect on the iPhone. Differently from a few other apps in the same group, you don’t have any simulation of the developing process, so if this means for some people part of the magic will be lost, for others it will conveniently mean quicker results. You can use pictures from your camera roll or use the built-in camera. Using the camera, the app crashes easily. Saving can also cause the app to crash.

FotoRoid iPhone

FotoRoid combos: please note the annoying black border

Several films and frames are available, ranging from expired to black and white to overly saturated, etc. Some filters are OK, but the quality on average is quite poor. More than a few filters in FotoRoid just look ugly on almost any photo you will come up with, and just in very rare cases they will give you decent results. Some may argue this is what makes Polaroids what they are, but considering we are talking about digital photos instead of genuine Polaroids, on this point I beg to differ.  When you have to adapt your photography to the app, it means the app has serious issues. To adjust the photo to the frame, you can use your fingers to pan, zoom and rotate. These features, although very useful, don’t work very smoothly in FotoRoid and getting exactly what you want can at times become frustrating. A feature to save the original photo is also not available for the present moment, but in the case of this app it would be useful to have it. Not to forget, an annoying black border is added around the frame to each saved picture.

FotoRoid is free, but to better enjoy the app you have to purchase film and frame upgrades in order to broaden your possibilities — in-app purchases unlock either frames or films, or they disable ads. The problem is: are these upgrades worth it, in terms of quality and also of what they allow the user to achieve? To be totally honest, I don’t think they are.


Name: FotoRoid
Developer: Gen Kiyooka
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad. iOS 4.0 or later.
Price: free!
Vote: 2/5

FotoRoid - Gen Kiyooka

Fred Heins December 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I tried the free version and I didn’t like it. I deleted it after a few tries and i won’t download it again. Also 0.79 euro and another 0.79 for just a bunch of ugly filters and frames isn’t worth it.

Gen Kiyooka December 17, 2010 at 2:29 am

Hello – thanks for taking the time to review and comments. A couple of points:

1. FotoRoid (like a Polaroid camera) works best with photos taken outside on a bright day. The built-in flash on the iPhone (when available) is no substitute for the powerful flash on real cameras.

2. Regarding the “annoying black border”, if you save to iTunes Sync Folder, you will find your photo is a PNG with an alpha transparency panel, meaning you can save without a border. Unfortunately, the Camera Roll only supports JPEG, which means we have to put something in the background. Suggestions welcome.


Alysia December 17, 2010 at 4:36 am

About the border problem: I find it quite annoying too, becuase I directly use the iphone to upload photos on fb and flickr and so on and i don’t want to have to use a computer before uploading. Other apps that imitate polaroid fx have borders but don’t need to have a transparent border around the image that with iphone jpg will look bad. Everything you have you have inside the border and that’s how it should be. A square border with no drop shadow fx or else is better imo. I prefer that approach, personally.

Pu December 17, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Thanks for the feedback everybody. Thanks also to the developer for taking part in the discussion. I know about the limitation of jpg: of course there are ways to bypass it, as you were pointing out. But as Alysia explained, many users don’t find covenient to sync before they upload their photos. Also, just to make an example, some communities for iPhone photography discourage their members to use and submit files that are not in the standard format – as they would imply you could have edited them also with computer, etc. So yes, maybe letting the border be functional also within the iPhone limitations would be a better option for a wider number of users.

Anyway, rest assured that if there will be significant improvements with the future updates, we’ll be more than happy to review the app again and revise our score.

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