There is a ton of Instagram-like apps for mobile devices, but PC users are left in the dark. Sure, there’s always Photoshop, Gimp and a plethora of other photo editing apps but what if you just want to apply some hipster filters? XNRetro is a free Windows program that will allow you apply retro effects to your photos and more.
What is it and what does it do
Advanced photo editing apps have one serious problem when it comes to casual users, they take quite a bit of time to learn and often to use. Of course, there are alternatives like Photoshop Elements, which are tailored for quick photo editing sessions but none quite as fast as something like Instagram. XNReto is a remarkably quick, and easy to use photo editing application.
- A plethora of quick filters and effects to apply spread across four tabs
- 20 retro filters
- 15 light effects
- 5 vignette patterns
- 30 photo frame designs
- Standard photo modifications also possible (brightness, contrast, gamma, exposure, and more)
- Global reset button to erase all changes
- Individual reset button for each filter tab
- Quick rotation buttons
- Share button allows you to upload directly to various social networks, or email to friends and family
- Portable and can run from USB drive
- Can save files in JPEG or PNG formats only
- No support documentation included, but there is a dedicated online forum
There’s no need to install anything because XNRetro is fully portable. That also means you can store and run it from an external USB drive if you so desire. The app is also available for mobile devices (iOS and Android) as well as Mac OS X and Linux.
Hipster filters are intrinsically pre-configured filters that you can just activate using photo editing software in order to transform the way a photo looks quickly and efficiently. It usually involves some kind of retro theme or filter. Apps like Instagram made the practice trendy. Now, virtually every photo editing app out there implements similar features, not that they didn’t already. In fact, photo filters have been around for quite some time especially for PC users.
Why would you use hipster filters instead of just editing the photos yourself? Quite simply, they’re fun to use, stylish and incredibly easy to apply. I think the real question is, why wouldn’t you use them? Not every photo needs to be passed through a retro filter, but a lot of them sure do look better that way.
When you start XNRetro, you’ll notice that all of the editing options are pretty much right in front of you. On the right hand side of the window are the usual photo editing meters like brightness, contrast, exposure and more.
At the bottom of the window are four panels, all separating the individual photo filters. The first tab is reserved for retro themed filters. The second tab includes lighting effects or light based filters. The third tab includes different types of vignettes. The fourth and final tab includes photo frames. Personally, I’ve never actually liked adding digital frames to my photos, but some people do so at least the option is there.
In order to apply one of the filters to a photo, all you have to do is click on it. That’s how you preview filters too, you just select them to apply it to the photo. Don’t worry, it can be easily reversed by selecting a reset button just to the left of the filters list.
After you’ve processed a photo, you can share it via a unique button in the top toolbar. More specifically you can upload the edited image to social sites like Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, Imgur, Tumblr, and more.
Also included in the top toolbar are buttons to zoom the image, rotate it or reset all edits.
Once you’re finished with a photo you just simply save it to your computer, or upload it to a social site using the share button and that’s it.
The charm in apps like this come from the fact that they’re easy to use, and fun too. At least, I have fun applying smart filters to my photos every now and then. It’s not something I would enjoy doing all day every day though.
I know how to improve my photos in Photoshop, Gimp and Photoshop Elements just fine but sometimes I just don’t want to take the extra time to do it. Apps like XNRetro are perfect for that because you can just apply the filter, save and then continue on your merry way.
Conclusion and download link
XNRetro is certainly not for everybody. I already know I’m going to end up seeing lots of comments from folks who already have a favorite photo editing suite. This program certainly isn’t a photo editing suite. Instead, it’s specifically designed for people who want to throw a hipster filter on their photos real fast and be done with it. The interface is easy to use, so you don’t need to be tech-savvy at all to get your photos looking real nice. The share button is a fantastic way to upload edited images to your favorite social networks too. There are no advertisements that interfere, despite the fact that XNRetro is free. Better yet, it’s portable, so there’s no messing around with a pesky install process either.
Version reviewed: 1.26
Supported OS: Windows (XP, Vista, Seven), Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS
Download size: 21.7MB (compressed), 40.5MB (unzipped)
VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/46 
Is it portable? Yes
XNRetro homepage