August 23, 2014

Artkick review (Android)

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Artkick review (Android) Reviewed by on . Rating: 3.5

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Up for review today is a new Android app called Artkick. Developed by Zwamy, Inc., it’s designed to turn your television or monitor into a giant place to display artwork. Said art could be anything from sports photography to historical paintings to your own Facebook photos. At more than 50,000 pieces of work, there’s surely something worth staring at or putting on in the background.

Upon opening the app for the first time you are asked to create or sign in with an existing account. We found this a little off-putting as we couldn’t get a sense of what was to come without first logging in.

After creating an account and logging in we were able to feel out the app and have a look around. The menu system and overall layout could definitely use a punch-up; it feels like something out of the Gingerbread era of Android apps. But, given that the app is designed to utilize Chromecast and not work so much on the device we made allowances.

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There are fifteen main categories to choose from with topics such as artists, sculptures, photography, and museums. While we appreciate that there’s a degree of order at play here, we’d like to see a search tool or tags.

It’s possible to pick a category and display images to your Chromecast, which is okay if you don’t mind the white noise of random imagery on your TV. We tend to handpick our artwork and create playlists much like we do music. To that end, we found it more enjoyable to add in our own social media accounts.

The images that come in the Artkick app are all over the place in terms of size and aspect ratio. Some photos or artwork look downright stunning on a TV, others display somewhat wonky if they have a more portrait-like shape. Switching over to Instagram, we appreciate that every one had the same aspect ratio.

When connected to Chromecast, swiping within the app works decent, if not somewhat slow. It’s not a problem if you let the playlist just run on its own but it does get to be a pain if you’re the type to manually swipe.

We like the direction and overall aim of Artkick but don’t love the app just yet. On one hand we’re pleased that there’s nary an ad in sight. On the other, we’d be willing to put up with one or two provided the app had more polish. We’re also curious as to whether the app pulls images from the cloud and if it will be updated over time. An “Olympics” category would be nice, as would the Best of Flickr.