Every now and then, interesting trends come along in the Play Store. Coloring apps have been constantly rising in popularity, especially among parents who want their children to start exploring their imagination. However, there’s also an increasing market for coloring apps for adults. Recolor tries to capture this market by offering a simple, robust, and good-looking app with an impressive amount of pictures to choose from.
Price: Free, with in-app subscription model
The first thing you’ll notice is the absolute lack of setup needed to use the app. You just open Recolor, and you’re taking directly to the main screen. In a world where apps want to know as much details about us as possible, it’s a welcome decision by the developer.
In order to classify the hundreds of images available, the app shows a tab bar at the top with different categories. You can choose among different types, such as animals, fantasy, food (you’ll love food, we all love food), people, and scenery.
There’s something for everyone here, so I’m sure you’ll find pictures that cater to your needs. Also, options are updated every day, so the library will just keep growing as time passes by.
There’s also a banner at the top that shows a counter. See, almost all of the images mentioned above are blocked behind a subscription. So, for those of you who would like to paint at digital images for free, the developer gives away a couple of the images in the collection for one day only.
When the counter reaches zero, another set of images will be available for download. There’s also a “Free” category in which you can download some images without charge.
Upon selecting an image, the app proceeds to download the necessary assets in order to start painting. You’ll get the image’s outline on a white canvas, and some colors at the bottom.
There’s four main categories from which you can choose colors: Palettes, Hues, Gradients and Custom. Under each of these categories, there are subcategories that contain the color themselves.
Special mention to the Palettes category, which offers colors that actually look good combined with each other, in order to prevent your images from looking like a clown’s outfit.
To paint, you can simply tap a section of the image. Obviously, this won’t be easy for more complicated images, so the app lets you zoom on it.
There’s also undo and redo buttons at the top, so you can experiment with confidence, knowing that your changes are not permanent.
When you’re done, the app lets you preview your image and change how your painting looks. You can leave it untouched, but you can also add effects like watercolor, crayon, woodwork, and pencil. Most of them look impressively good, so you may want to experiment a bit.
Finally, you can share your work to any app, but, surprisingly, you can’t save the picture to your device. Obviously, there are workarounds to this, but it’s a weird omission.
The app is easy enough to use, thanks to the images being classified into categories. Also, the sheer amount of available images is impressive, and there’s the developer’s promise that new content will be added periodically.
The flexibility offered by the developer regarding the different amount of colors and gradients makes it a really robust app for those of you who are into this. There’s one weird oversight, though: there’s no eraser. Sure, you can undo changes, and you can always go back to a section and paint it white, but I feel like an eraser should be an option anyways.
Also, I believe that, even though there are a lot of images to choose from, there may be a moment where the user would want to step into its own imagination and just paint something. A white canvas for you to explore what users can do would be ideal. Since the app has the necessary tools already, it would be a great addition and give more value to the app.
Even though the app deals with heavy resources and constant image painting, it performs outstandingly well on my Nexus 6. Everything flows smoothly, even when designs start to get more complicated and there are more colors on-screen.
Changing between different styles after finishing painting up your images is smooth as silk, something many other apps struggle with. Obviously, your mileage may vary, depending on your setup.
Let’s talk a bit about the subscription model I mentioned before. You can get an unlimited trial for one week. After that, you’ll be charged $2.24 a week. There’s also a monthly subscription for $6.75. If you are really into coloring apps, you can purchase a yearly subscription at a discounted price of $32.66.
Being an app developer myself, I know how expensive it can get to maintain an app, but if people wanted to burn Pushbullet’s HQ to the ground for charging $5 a month, then I can’t imagine what they’ll say about this. Anyways, it’s nice to have a trial in order to evaluate if the service is really worth it to you and then decide if you want to pony up.
Being an app that deals with beautiful images and artistic designs, it would be a crime to present a bad-looking user interface. Fortunately, the developer did his homework and produced a stunning-looking app that blends nicely (for the most part) with material design.
The banner at the top disappears when you start scrolling the images, giving more space to appreciate the pictures.
The screen where you actually paint the picture focuses less on flashy elements and more on what’s important: your painting. It’s good that the developer added a shortcut to jump between color categories, since there are a lot of subcategories and scrolling between each of them would’ve been a hassle otherwise.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot of scrolling to do if you’re using different colors, especially on the Hues category. Imagine you want to paint an image with only red and black colors. They’re separated by seven pages worth of colors, and you need to scroll page by page in order to jump between them. There’s definitely room for improvement in that aspect.
The developer clearly focused on giving users a good experience before, during, and after painting, and wants us to use the app as is, instead of providing options for the app. The only option available is to be reminded of new pictures every day.
Some options like deactivating picture categories would’ve been nice, as well as turning off some color packs. For example, I know I will never use a metallic gradient on one of my paintings, so I don’t need to scroll through them in order to get to the colors I actually use. A way to sort the color categories myself or define my favorite ones would be nice too.
What I like
- Beautiful UI
- Several color categories to make things easier to you
- New content added constantly
Room for improvement
- Subscription model has a steep price
- More choice regarding available colors
- Almost no options to setup the app to your liking
Recolor offers a wide range of images and several tools to make your paintings easy and satisfying. The business model proposed by the developer is something they should think about, since it might be expensive for a person looking for some minutes of fun once in a while. If you are into coloring apps, however, Recolor is a solid option that will keep you entertained.