Wallpapers are fun, and they’re also one of the best ways to customize and personalize your tech. We’ve previously presented a few wallpaper collections of our own, such as this one featuring animal wallpapers; we’ve also looked at downloading Android wallpapers using nothing but your browser, and at several other sources for nice mobile wallpapers. But today I’m here with an app we haven’t looked at yet: Wallbase [No Longer Available], the mobile companion for the venerable wallpaper website (which we did cover previously). While the app is mobile and well-suited for phone use, the wallpapers are not phone-specific: It draws its selection from the endless well of desktop wallpapers on Wallbase, and the picking and cropping are up to you.
The Wallbase welcome screen offers several ways to start exploring the wealth of beautiful wallpapers for Android on the service:
You can search for specific keywords or colors (as we’ll see later on), scroll through popular or random wallpapers, go through saved wallpapers, or hunt through specific tags. You can also specify whether or not you want your wallpapers to be safe for work and/or “sketchy.” We’ll be going with the “safest” configuration, as you can see above: Everything’s safe for work, and no sketchy images.
Thumbnails, Large And Small
When you pick a category to dig into (Popular, Random, or any keyword), Wallbase switches to a tightly packed grid of thumbnails:
This makes effective use of even a relatively small screen, cramming no less than 18 wallpapers on my Galaxy S III’s screen at one time. Scrolling through thumbnails is fast and fluid, with one caveat: You definitely want to use Wallbase while connected to a fast and reliable Wi-Fi network. Using the app with a slower 3G connection can prove frustrating as you wait for thumbnails to load while scrolling through the grid — and scroll you will, no matter how accurately you specify your tags or search strings: There are a lot of wallpapers out there.
Once you find a wallpaper you like, tap it to switch into its individual page, showing a larger thumbnail, metadata, and related tags:
Once you get over that ferocious feline, the first thing you’ll note is the generous resolution: 2560×1600 pixels is certainly not phone-sized, and not even tablet-sized for that matter. To me, this is a good thing, because it means you can use the Wallbase app to pick and download wallpapers for your desktop at your leisure. Combined with the Dropbox app, you get a simple and fun way to fill up a folder with images you’re going to love seeing on your desktop later.
The buttons along the bottom of the screen are self-explanatory, save for one: The Open button loads the image in Android’s built-in gallery, which offers easy ways to tweak and crop the image to your liking.
Sifting And Searching
No matter your taste, the sheer wealth of wallpapers on Wallbase means you’re not going to like most of them. You’ll find them tacky, boring, or otherwise disagreeable — except for the few you’ll actually like, which is the point of the service. The challenge is reducing the amount of ugly or boring wallpapers shown on your screen at any one time, making it easier to sift through images that have a fighting chance to be featured on your homescreen. Filters and search strings will get you there, and Wallbase makes them easy to find. You’ll notice the tags on the puma image above. Tapping the Animals tag got me this:
Not a bad way to start focusing. I wish filters were finer-grained and that you could control sorting somehow, but even this is not bad. The start screen also features quite a few tags to pick from:
And finally, there’s the search feature, which works just as you’d expect, with one nice perk: Color search, whereby you can pick a hue and get a bunch of wallpapers that feature it:
Unfortunately, you can’t combine tags, keywords, and color search, something that would have made search beautifully granular. Having to filter with just one parameter at a time means you’ll always get numerous images back, which can be exhausting after a while.
While Wallbase’s search options leave much to be desired, it makes up for it by offering a very wide variety of beautiful wallpapers for Android to sift through. I wouldn’t say it’s the very best way to find wallpapers for your phone, mainly because of the resolution and search issues, but for what it’s worth, it is the app I’m currently using for my own mobile wallpaper needs. It’s easy to find beautiful wallpapers on the service, and in the end, that’s what really counts.
What wallpaper app do you use? Feel free to share links to your favorite mobile wallpapers in the comments!