Camera Features cont.

Gallery and Image Editor

The Moto X Gallery app provides an effective way to browse and edit photos (note that we looked at the updated app Motorola released in January, not the original).

The Gallery app offers a nicely flick-scrollable view of the camera roll.

Images are organized by album (any folder containing photos on the phone), time taken (the timeline view), or you can simply browse the camera roll. Icons of photos are large enough to identify, but you can easily build up enough speed flick-scrolling to zoom past a ton of them if need be. The timeline view clumps images under arbitrary-seeming time stamps: for example, a folder labeled “Feb 17, 3:53PM” contains photos taken between 2:00 and 5:00 that day. Still, it’s a potentially useful feature.

The Timeline view groups images by date and time taken.

Sharing is integrated into the Gallery, with any service that wants to tie in being included in the drop-down menu (it’s prepopulated with Google offerings; you’ll have to install Facebook and Twitter apps yourself). Unlike the standard KitKat gallery app, there’s no integration with Google+ albums, nor can images be sorted by location or person.

The powerful editor integrated into the Gallery app is largely the same as its KitKat-standard counterpart, which we discuss in detail in our Nexus 5 review. You get basics like a selection of filters and frames (though different ones than we saw on the Nexus), a cropping and straightening tool, exposure, contrast, and saturation adjustments. But there’s also vibrance, hue, sharpness, shadows, and highlights sliders and even an RGB curves correction. 

The one thing we missed on the Moto X was the Snapseed-powered control point adjustments. Also, while the stock KitKat editor saves changes nondestructively (so your edited file replaces the original, but edits can be undone), the Moto X simply saves a new file with the changes burned in next to the original.

If the Gallery app feels overwhelming, there’s also Google’s Photos app, which has its own gallery view and can include online albums from Google+. There are some nice tweakable filters, but no real editing power. Google’s Auto Awesome Movies is also onboard, but crashed every time we tried to use it. The Photos app also manages optional automatic backup of your photos to Google+, either at full resolution (which uses the Google Drive space allotment), or at 2,048 pixels on the long side (with unlimited free storage).