If you've ever read any of my iPad portfolio App reviews here then you know that I usually ding them all on one thing I'd like to see and that is syncing with Dropbox.com. I love Dropbox and use it all the time for all kinds of things. I pay for their top tier (100GB of space) and have been very happy with the service to date. One of my uses for it is that I use one Adobe Photoshop Lightroom's features called "Hard Drive Publish Service" and this allows me to publish and update a select number of photos to a folder on my hard drive. That folder happens to be in my Dropbox folder. This way I can use sub folders for each subject of my portfolio (beauty, fashion, etc.) and that folder is then sync'd to not only all my computers, but it's also available via the Dropbox App on iOS and Android. What I would LOVE is a portfolio App that not only can load photos from Dropbox (which most do), but actually keep them in sync!
CloudAlbums answers this request
CloudAlbums is NOT a portfolio App. It doesn't have all the cool features of the dedicated portfolio apps such as customization, music, slideshows, transitions, etc., but what it does do is the one thing that the dedicated portfolio apps don't. It can actually "sync" your Albums with the photos in your Dropbox folder. This is great and it's exactly the feature I've been asking for from several developers. The problem is is that it's in the wrong app. Don't get me wrong, CloudAlbums isn't trying to be a portfolio app, so it's not their fault. CloudAlbums is an App that designed for ANY user that is tired of having to manually sync photos between your iOS devices and your computer via iTunes. While Apple is promising some cloud photo syncing features with iCloud, CloudAlbums is delivering this functionality today!
How does it work?
Once you launch they App you will be prompted to sign in or create a FREE Dropbox.com account. You can then create your Albums in the App and add photos to those albums via your existing photos on your device. As you might expect this is creating folders (one for each album) in an "Albums" folder in your Public folder. The minute you tap the sync button those photos will be uploaded to your Dropbox folder. While that's great, the real magic is when it works in the other direction. Now you can just drop photos into that folder from your computer and the next time you tap the sync button those photos will be added to your album in CloudAlbums. It's this two way syncing that all the other Apps lack.
As you would probably expect, there is photo sharing via email, Facbook and Twitter right in the App. You can also save images to your Camera Roll to be used by other Apps. There is one catch. While the App is FREE, you only get ONE Album for Free. If you want multiple Albums you can unlock unlimited Albums via a $1.99 In App Purchase. Once you've made the In App purchase you'll be able to easily create additional albums either on your iDevice or on your computer by just creating additional folders in the main Album folder.
The Bottom Line
CloudAlbums does EXACTLY what it claims to do and nothing more. The App is targeted towards a broad user base of iOS users that want to easily and wirelessly sync their photos to their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. If you want more in terms of presentation of those photos then you're going to be disappointed. You can see your photos full screen and swipe between them and that's about it. It would be nice if you could rearrange the photos in an Album but I didn't see a way to do that. Lastly and probably most surprising is that there doesn't appear to be any support for landscape orientation and I find that to be very odd for ANY App designed to sync and display photos full screen.
If you're looking for a way to "sync" photos with Dropbox.com and display them on your iOS device, this is it.