Do you think you are already set on an app for viewing your pictures? Well, I can almost guarantee that app is slow and full of stuff you don’t need, as most of these are bundled as image viewers, image editors, and social network apps all at once. But what if we were to show you the simplest app for viewing your images without any hassle, just perfect for that occasion when you are trying to show your latest trip pictures to your family? One that, even, aims to be faster and simpler than OS X’s Quick View.
The app we are reviewing today — LilyView, from the team that brought us Unclutter and DaisyDisk — tries to remove any kind of complexity from an image viewer app. It provides a super simple way to view your pictures, and that’s about it. The concept sounds a bit lackluster, but maybe that’s good thing. Let’s see?
From the get-go, LilyView’s main marketing point is its simplicity. There’s nothing to configure, nothing to setup, no buttons, no complex interface. It just exists as a simple image viewer with a barebones interface and some hidden interactivity. There’s no instructions or welcoming page, you’re just left to figure out how the app works through intuition. Let’s figure out then how intuitive the app really is.
How It Works
Once you’ve got LilyView installed, the first time you fire it up it might be a little bit disconcerting. There’s just a window where you are told to drop an image, but that’s about it. If you look through the menus, there’s not much there. In the preferences, you’ll only find some configurations for selecting which extensions you’d like to manage through LilyView. Is that all, drop an image and see it through the app? Well, not quite.
As soon as you drop a picture through its little window, LilyView will display it, but there’s not much else you can do with it on first sight. The app’s gimmick lies in that whenever you select a picture through the app, it will automatically select the folder that’s holding the picture as a default folder and it will load every single picture in that folder as the set of pictures that you are browsing.
That’s not it, though. Once you’ve got your set of pictures going on in the app, navigating between them is the easiest thing ever, just swipe two fingers on your trackpad left and right to move throughout your folder. Cool, right? Well, there are a few more things you can do with trackpad gestures, such as rotating your pictures by twisting two fingers and zooming in by pinching.
As much as LilyView tries to be intuitive, simple and cute, I actually think the app fails at addressing its clients that are least familiar with the Mac. It may come as second nature for a long time Mac user to swipe two fingers on the trackpad to communicate that he wants to go forward or back, but if anyone else were to grab a computer with this app running, it probably wouldn’t be as easy to figure out how to flip through a set of pictures. That’s a minor gripe, though. My main gripe with the app is its price, which leads me to…
Is It Worth It?
LilyView is cool and all, but it doesn’t really do much. I mean, it’s a very convenient app, but any savvy Mac user already has a way for quickly browsing through his pictures, and it’s probably one that they didn’t have to pay for. Be it Preview, iPhoto or even QuickLook, your Mac comes installed with many ways to deal with photos, and there’s even more third-party options out there.
What’s the point then? Well, convenience. Having the ability to drag-and-drop a photo and getting the app to automatically load every other picture in that directory makes for a quick and easy way to showcase your most recent pictures without having to import them into weird places or making new folders. That’s about it, though.
LilyView’s premise is pretty good and I can relate to it. Sometimes all I want to do is to be able to select a folder and have an easy way to slide through all of my images for showing them to my family and friends. However, there are plenty of ways to do that, even if they take you a couple more steps to do so.
I would say that the main disadvantage of LilyView is its price, particularly since pretty much any other photo viewing app is free. Sure, Preview, iPhoto and QuickLook might not be as fast to manipulate as LilyView, but they can do a hell of a lot more things and they have another huge advantage on their side: they’re completely free and come installed in your Mac.
Deciding whether the few seconds that you might save with this app are worth the five bucks, is entirely up to you. LilyView is drop-dead simple, it’s fast and it’s very convenient, but would you pay for it?