Hands-on with the new Instagram Beta for Windows 10 Mobile (video)

Posted by:Staff Writer

Windows Phone users are finally getting an official Instagram app.

This new Instagram app is an unfinished beta version that Instagram is using to net feedback from Windows 10 Mobile users about any bugs and issues they encounter. To achieve this, the app is baked with a function that lets you physically shake the phone the invoke a feedback function. This function, between the two devices I’ve tested, doesn’t actually work though, leaving me curious as to how we’re supposed to guard the guards, metaphorically speaking.

Doesn't work...
Doesn’t work, at least one the two devices I’ve tested.

Aside from hideous app tile, this app virtually identical to the finished iOS version. Everything, from the layout, to the animations, to the gestures, the look and feel, and even the completely Apple-esque UI semantics are ripped straight from its Apple counterpart. I’m usually not a fan of these kinds of listless development efforts, but in this case I can’t complain: as the iOS version is quite good, beautiful even, and translates well to the Windows platform. I will say this though. Instagram, if you guys were just going to do a straight one-to-one clone, making no effort to adapt to the new platform, why did it take so long?

Twins. In a good way.
Twins. In a good way.

The UI is divided into five tabs, each delineated by beautifully transparent icon choices found on the navigation bar on the bottom. Of particular note are the “person” tab on the bottom right, which exposes the settings function on the top right, and the painfully conspicuous camera icon in the center, which exposes the photo and video capturing functionality.

You can select three sources self-aggrandizing content: your own photo or video library, your photo camera, or your video camera, each of which have very polished UIs with not very polished functionality.

For example, on my Lumia 950, the Lux adjuster, on top of being painfully slow, doesn’t actually work. And really the whole post-photo processing section doesn’t work reliably either, crashing quite frequently. On the instances it does work, though, it’s great.

Very polished user interface.
Very polished user interface.

Usually, with these kinds of betas, we get half-assed UIs with sloppy and jerky animation, but that isn’t the case. Even in this first release beta form, the UI is exceedingly polished, almost to the same standard as the finished iOS version. Even finer details like dragging filter items to customizable locations have been accounted for, along with a comprehensive suite of settings and preferences, another rarity in early betas like these. The aforementioned bugs are transparent enough and will sort themselves out in the near future.

And when they are, Instagram will have a Windows 10 Mobile app every bit as worthy as the official iOS version. And for good reason. Because they’re exactly the same.