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Everyone knows in their heart they need to do a better job backing up their data. We need to make Time Machine a regular part of our lives, we need to hit Save a little more often, and we need to regularly sync our iPhones with iTunes to keep our data current. We know we need to do this stuff and we always mean to do it, but we don't. And then we wish we had.
Just recently after restoring our iPhone, we forgot to make a current backup and we lost some great shots of our dog playing basketball and some of our game prizes and badges. We can't get the prizes back, but what can we do about the pictures? Nothing as it turns out. Nothing, but be proactive and it just so happens there's more than one app for that.
DaVinciWare Inc. has quite a name to live up to, though their DropPhox is almost genius. Reviewed here before, there's no getting around to the fact that DropPhox is on to something smart. Tap the app icon to start things up and you're immediately in familiar territory. Snagging on to the camera action in the iPhone API, DropPhox looks just like the default camera when you start out.
Looks Pretty Familiar, But the Cancel Button is Tricky
Tap the screen, you get digital zoom. Ease the camera slider over to the video icon, and you're shooting video. You can even tap the screen to focus on what you want. So where's the magic?
The moment you take a snap on DropPhox, you are given the choice of accepting it or retaking. If you pick "Use" it should begin uploading to your Dropbox account. Ah, but here's where the app stumbles.
You've got it open, you've taken a picture, now what? The home screen gives no clue how you're to go about getting those pictures into Dropbox. Go to the iPhone Settings, and from here you can adjust the size of the uploaded photo, whether or not the app should save your pictures to the camera roll, and some date formatting, but not link to Dropbox.
You'd Think To Look Here, But No
Back to the app we went to look again. We tapped the screen, we rubbed the screen. Our pictures seemed to be hung in limbo and none of the on-screen controls helped. Finally, in desperation, we tapped the only button we hadn't tapped yet -- the Cancel button that sits in the lower left.
Works As Long as the App Is Open
Miracle of miracles! We were taken to a page in the app with four buttons across the bottom. One to return to the camera function, one to see our queue of pictures waiting to be uploaded, one to show our history of uploaded pictures, and a familiar gear settings icon. Tap the gear to link to your Dropbox account and you're good to go. There's really no good reason to not make the first step a little more obvious, but other than that, DropPhox had us solid rocking our photo backups without any effort on our part at all.
GUI Cocoa, LLC's app Quickshot with Dropbox makes no bones about how to go about setting things up. Launch it and you're presented with an interface not as immediately recognizable as DropPhox's, but with a clearly understood gearbox. Tap it to link to your Dropbox account and to change other settings. Our favorite change is to do away with the annoying habit DropPhox has of making us confirm a picture before we upload it. We want to fire off rapid shots and upload them right away without tapping the screen even more between each shot.
Easy To Use and Understand
While the home screen gear makes things easier as does the big shutter snap button, unfortunately Quickshot doesn't make full use of the iPhone's camera. There's tap the screen to focus, but that's it. No digital zoom whatsoever (which is probably all for the good anyway), but even more serious is the lack of video.
Turn Off Upload Confirmation for Faster Camera Action
In place of the camera to video slider is a recognizable file box icon. Tap it and you're knee deep in your camera roll. Tap the arrow box icon, then tap some picture, then the arrow box has become a blue upload box. Now you're uploading already taken pictures from long ago straight to your linked Dropbox account. That's a handy built-in feature and one you'd have to pay up another $0.99 to DropPhox's maker for.
We Set It To Upload 88, But That Might Take a While
But wait, there's more! Where DropPhox requires you to be in the app for the upload process to take place, Quickshot can work its magic in the background. That's right. Take your shots, then take that phone call or dash off that email, don't mind Quickshot. It's got things covered.
If both apps fixed exactly what made them different, they'd be almost the same app entirely. We certainly hope DropPhox is improving the first time set up process and will let us ditch the upload approval step. We suspect they're hard at work nailing down background uploading, beyond that there's little needed. Meanwhile, over at Quickshot's digs, no doubt they're beavering away at sliding in the right code to take better advantage of the iPhone camera including digital zoom and video. Neither is killer dominant with what features they offer over the other, though for our ease of use, we'd have to give the prize to Quickshot, which will be replacing our default camera app.
Now just don't be adding in filters and bogging down the apps, developers!
We Weren't Kidding About Our Basketball Playing Dog