Snapchat first launched in 2011, and since then, along with Instagram, it has become one of the main ways that millennials consume images in the 21st century. The app is currently only available on mobile (or Mac and PC if you know how) and its unique selling point is that all images you send out will disappear after a set amount of time, allowing users to send irreverent pictures to each other, knowing that they won’t go any further (users are notified if screenshots are taken). In late 2015, Snow an app similar to Snapchat was launched by South Korean company Naver, and it has exploded in popularity within the Asian market. Snow takes one of Snapchat’s other inventions, the face effect and takes it up to a hundred. If you use Snapchat for face effects, you must try Snow too.
The Snapchat face effects (or “filters,” as they are often called) have become a full-blown cultural phenomenon. Allowing users to transform boring selfies into vibrant and humorous art pieces to send to their friends. Snapchat is most famous for its face effects, such as the festival-style floral wreath, the hilarious face-swap, and those ubiquitous dog ears. Snow offers not only these options but also a plethora of exciting and unusual filters, many of which are more Asian-oriented than Snapchat’s selection. Furthermore, whilst Snapchat rotates its range of face effects, seemingly at random, Snow has all of its great effects available at all times. Some highlights from Snow’s selection of face effects include:
- Sleeping koala bear
- a Joker-style face
- A female animé character to stand next to you
- Legendary Japanese characters like the kitsune, and Oni masks
- a Lord of the Rings-style bearded dwarf
- A boyfriend you can kiss
- A huge variety of animé-style eyes and effects
- Pictures of the South Korean idol group B1A4
- Gorgeous Asian hairstyles
The range of funny, cute and weird face effects on Snow manages to put Snapchat’s meager selection to shame.
How to sign up to Snow
Signing up for Snow is really simple and easy. First, you must search for the app in your device’s App Store. The full title of Snow is “SNOW – Selfie, Motion sticker, Fun camera” and the app icon is white with a large, rounded and stylized blue squiggle on it. Once the app as downloaded you can choose to sign up using Facebook or do so manually – it’s often easier to use the former option as this way Facebook fills in all of the sign-up information on your behalf – though some may prefer not to use Facebook because of concerns about privacy. You can now choose a username, and, using your cell phone number and contacts app (if you give it permission to), Snow will attempt to find any of your friends and contacts that already use the app. Once this is done, you are free to fully use Snow and enjoy the excellent face effects.
Snow VS Snapchat
Whilst on the surface, the two apps seem very similar, Snow has a number of advantages (and a few disadvantages) when compared to Snapchat.
- The number of filters – as already highlighted, Snow has an astronomical number of face effects when compared to Snapchat. For selfie addicts, this alone is an absolute deal-breaker.
- It’s fresh – The app is hot out of South Korea, automatically making it cooler than Snapchat, but that’s not all – because the app is newer, you could become one of those effortlessly trendy early adopters, at the forefront of tech trends, and might even be able to get yourself a decent username before all the good ones are taken.
- It’s sleek, simple and to the point – Though Snapchat was originally just used to send pictures, over time the developers realized they would need to make money somehow, and so they launched This function allows media companies to advertise their news stories, but do you know anyone who actually uses it? Snow also lacks the incomprehensible (without a guide) emoji friend icons.
- Social media integration – Snow lets you send your creations to Facebook and Instagram directly from the app.
- Truly international – Like a lot of Western social media platforms, Snapchat is banned in China, whereas Snow is not.
- Extra features – Snow has a lot of features which Snapchat lacks, such as video chat and the ability to create animated gif files. It even lets you post Stories for up to 72 hours, compared to Snapchat’s 24.
- You might not know many people on it – Because Snow is currently only popular in Asia, unless you live over there, or know a lot of people that do, it’s unlikely that many of your friends and family will already be on the platform. You could always start a local trend, though.
- Lack of celebrity users – Whilst there are certainly a lot of Korean celebrities using the app, you’d have to be a real K-Pop aficionado to know who most of them are. In contrast, Snapchat has a huge number of famous users, including pop culture icon Kim Kardashian.
- You can’t save other people’s pictures – Most likely because the app is quite new, unlike Snapchat – which has many ways to save other people’s content (though we don’t suggest doing so) – there is no way to save other users pictures if that sort of thing appeals to you.
Snow takes the trend of Snapchat’s face effect filters and takes it to the next level. If you use Snapchat for face effects, you really must try Snow too; it’s fun, irreverent and – despite its obvious inspirations – unique in its own way. Those interested in Asian and animé culture will get a lot from this app. It might not yet have the prestige and user base of Snapchat (in the West at least), but if you’re looking for a fresh way to create the kind of selfies your friends will never have seen before, then Snow is absolutely worth checking out.