Take great pix and more with your Android device with Camera360 Ultimate

Shoot, share, edit, and store your digital snapshots with this free Android app.

It's easy to see why PinGuo's Camera360 is one of the most popular camera apps for Android: just look at your screen. This free app is a great choice for handling snapshots and other basic camera duties, but it also lets you apply and preview all kinds of cool effects before you save an image. You can download and apply Scenes to create your own photo postcards and displays. Camera360 also manages your image galleries, including batch processing. We tried the latest and greatest version of this Android freeware, Camera360 Ultimate. Among its many upgrades is the Camera360 Cloud, which stores your images online. You can access and share them from any browser, and if you lose your phone (don't do that) your pix will be safe.

Chances are, your smartphone or tablet has a decent camera app, but if not, Camera360's clean, logical layout will be a definite improvement. Simple toolbars at the top and bottom of the screen give quick access to all the main controls. The top toolbar contains camera controls, while the bottom toolbar holds a clearly marked Camera button, Effects and Settings controls, and a small but useful preview pane. There's also a handy (or thumby) zoom slider. A pop-up menu accesses other frequently used features and their settings: Sound, Auto-Focus, Composition, Screen Shoot, and More, including the Advanced Settings (lots of those) as well as an online User Guide, updates, and Cloud options. The Stabilizer, Timer, and Burst mode controls are also a thumb-swipe away. One extra we like: a built-in Flashlight app that lets you illuminate a subject instead of using the flash. It makes a big difference when composing snapshots in poor lighting!

But the button we liked best is the magic wand icon that accesses Camera360's effects. We started by composing a plain old snapshot. With a few thumb swipes, we brought up the Effects list and selected one that makes pictures look like grainy black-and-white images from an old magazine. Cool! Our first shot turned out so well, we saved it. Templates made it easy to share images directly, too. Camera360 Ultimate is a keeper on our phone.

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