Google Camera

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Best Android Camera App for Simplicity: Google Camera

You couldn’t simply download an official ‘universal’ Google camera app until fairly recently. Google Camera was only released in April 2014, and has quickly crept up the ranks of our favourite camera apps, regardless of platform.

Google Camera offers quite a lot of features, but the standard view hides all of them. The basic view offers nothing but a virtual shutter button. We also like that it shoots at the native resolution of the camera sensor – plenty of apps built into phones crop into the sensor to produce a ‘trendier’ 16:9 widescreen image, effectively throwing away loads of image data. 

Extra features are just a couple of taps and flicks away. With your thumb you can switch HDR mode on and off, and between the front and rear cameras.

Actual camera modes are accessible with a flick from the left of the screen, and there are plenty. But rather than focusing on Instagram-style filters, Google Camera leaves that to post-shoot editing.

Instead, the extra modes offer things a bit more dynamic in nature. There’s panorama, and the long-standing 360-degree Photosphere panorama. Easily the coolest of the lot, though, is Lens Blur. This offers the kind of background blur in photos the HTC One M8 offers, but without needing any specific hardware.

The way it works is dead simple. You just compose the scene as normal, press the shutter button, and then move the phone up slightly. This basically lets Google Camera emulate having a second ‘3D’ lens, letting it tell close objects from far-away ones.

The results aren’t perfect unless you’re careful, but to be honest they’re just as good as those of the HTC One M8, and better than the Samsung Galaxy S5’s go at the same thing.

Google Camera also offers a great look and feel, with quick snappy-but-swish animations. We do think there’s a way to go on the HDR front – it’s just not all that effective compared with the very best – but anyone who finds their native camera app a bit fiddly should give this one a shot.

Price: Free

Download Google Camera Android app