We go hands-on with LINE Camera, the new free photo app that's apparently #1 in 16 countries, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan and...Luxembourg. Read on to see why we found this app so surprising, if a little disturbing.
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LINE Camera from NAVER is another in a long line of free creative photo editing apps for Android and iOS, allowing users to add hundreds of filters, frames, stamps, and text to their photos. What sets apart LINE Camera is the app's slick presentation, sheer volume of frames, and collection of cartoon (if perhaps disturbing) characters that you can add to your photos.
LINE Camera touts itself as "the #1 photo app in 16 countries The number 1 app in the camera category of Google Play in 16 countries, including Iceland, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Nicaragua, Kenya, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Senegal!" We're note sure Hong Kong counts as a country, but it has about 14 times the population of Luxembourg, so we'll allow it.
The app's actual function in Android isn't all that different from many other apps. The one thing that we instantly liked was the integration of the camera right into the app. While this is common on iOS apps, on Android typically you have to press some sort of "take a photo" button, which then prompts you to select a camera app to shoot with. LINE Camera offers a much more streamlined solution, simply letting you take a photo within the app (or select one from your phone's memory) and then move on to editing.
Making creative changes to your photos is a pretty standard operation with LINE Camera, as once you've selected a photo you're thrown right into editing with five tools to choose from, including filters, frames, stamps, a brush tool, and text. The direct text entry isn't something we've seen on a lot of apps, and it pulls fonts right from your phone, presumably allowing you to add any font you wish.
Most of these effects are things we've seen from other apps: washed out color filters, Polaroid frames, and stamps of different cartoon hairstyles, catch sayings, hearts, fruit, and stars. What really puts LINE Camera over the top is its manic, odd, at times disturbing collection of character stamps. The main white-headed character from the app's logo, Moon, is presented in all his glory; sometime he's angry, sometimes he's sad, sometimes he's being goofy, other times he's laying face-down in a pool of his own vomit.
There's also a blonde character named James, a bear named Brown, a rabbit named Cony, and some other characters, though none seem to have a life that can match the dizzying heights and depressing lows of Moon.
All in all LINE Camera doesn't need these crazy characters to make a solid impression; its slick interface, impressive functionality, and streamlined performance already make it one of the better creative editing apps we've seen. The crazy character stamps only add to the overall experience, in our opinion, and explain the app's popularity in so many countries.