Starmatic: retro camera app for iPhone

Can this new photo-sharing app challenge the might of Instagram?

Our Verdict

Nice enough, but offers nothing new, and won’t tempt people who are already heavily immersed in a rival network.


  • Nice enough filters
  • Decent UX design
  • Grid overlay when taking photos


  • Nothing new or different
  • Slow uploads during testing
  • Filters aren’t applied live
  • Some minor interface bugs

Why you can trust Creative Bloq Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Familiar photography app 'lens staring at you' icon, but does Starmatic stand out?

Familiar photography app 'lens staring at you' icon, but does Starmatic stand out?

If we got wildly excited about a great new app that apes toy cameras, effortlessly allows you to add filters to amusingly retro square pics, and lets you upload the lot to a photography-oriented social network, you might say: “Um, you do realise Instagram came out two years ago, right?” But the app we’re talking about isn’t Instagram, although it is, in effect, pretty much Instagram.

Quality over quantity

Confused? So were we, but Starmatic’s creators are bullish about their product, arguing it’s Vimeo to Instagram’s YouTube, pushing quality over quantity.

That’s all very well, but in an App Store environment packed to the rafters with wannabes and also-rans, products have to stand out, and we’re not sure Starmatic makes the grade.

Best iPhone apps: Starmatic

Familiar-looking interface but no live filtering - unlike rival Instagram

To be fair, the app does what you’d expect and does it well: you take a shot, apply a filter and upload; subsequently, you share your work or rummage around other people’s photos of lunches, pets and overly saturated sunsets.

Minor victories

In a couple of areas, Starmatic even beats its dominant rival: you can fiddle about with the app before signing up, there’s a grid overlay when taking photos, and the streamlined interface provides plenty of space for photographs.

Best iPhone apps: Starmatic

Social element is key to Starmatic's appeal

But the network is currently smaller than its rival’s, the filters are objectively no better (with half only accessible via a 69p/$0.99 IAP), the link to Eastman Kodak’s classic camera that inspired the app is tenuous. Even some Instagram-style immediacy is gone, with there being no live filters - they’re applied only after you’ve taken a snap.

Starmatic is by no means bad, and as an initially free download it’s worth a punt for anyone who just can’t get enough toy camera apps installed on to their device or who’s freaked out by Facebook now owning Instagram.

However, for the most part, it’s hard to see the point.

Words: Craig Grannell

Key info

  • Price: Free with IAP
  • Universal: No
  • Version: 1.0.0
  • App size: 9.2MB
  • Developer: Starmatic S.A.
  • Age rating: 12+

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The Verdict

out of 10


Nice enough, but offers nothing new, and won’t tempt people who are already heavily immersed in a rival network.

The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of seven full-time members of staff: Editor Georgia Coggan, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, Tech Reviews Editor Erlingur Einarsson and Ecommerce Writer Abi Le Guilcher, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.