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Winsta review: the better Instagram experience for Windows 10

Winsta on Huawei Matebook X Pro
Winsta on Huawei Matebook X Pro (Image credit: Windows Central)

Instagram released an official app on Windows 10 years ago, but it feels a bit abandoned. It looks like someone zoomed in a phone screen and placed it on Windows 10. It works, allowing you to view feeds and stories and even upload content, but it feels out of place on Windows 10. In contrast, unofficial Instagram client Winsta (opens in new tab) features Fluent Design elements, scales well, and looks at home on Windows 10 desktops, laptops, and 2-in-1s.

It's a bit odd that Winsta fits so well into Windows 10 because it actually tricks Instagram into thinking the app runs on an Android device. As a result, new features that roll out to the Android version of Instagram are available in Winsta quickly, as opposed to people having to wait to see if Instagram updates its official Windows app. The app's developers, Mah Studios, took the benefits of Instagram on Android and combined them with a design and feature set that makes Winsta feel like a "true" UWP app.

What you'll love about Winsta

Winsta on Windows 10

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The best compliment I can give Winsta is that I simply love using it. It looks great. It runs smoothly. It uses Fluent Design elements everywhere you look, and it just provides an excellent Instagram experience on Windows 10. The more time I spent with Winsta, the more I like it.

On the Instagram side of things, it tricks Instagram into thinking your device is an Android phone. That sounds like a hacky solution that wouldn't look nice, but it does. The Android emulation ensures that more Instagram features are supported. You can view feeds, stories, make comments, and find new content in the explore tab. I manage the Instagram account of an American football team I coach, but I'm not an Instagram model or influencer. As a result, I can't say that every single Instagram feature is in Winsta, but I didn't find anything that I wanted to do that I couldn't.

On the Windows 10 side of things, Winsta features a modern design that fits right in with Windows 10. There's transparency behind some menus, light and dark mode that can be set independently or set to match system settings, and a design that scales well. It has nice little touches like a hidden title bar that seamlessly blends with the top of the app window.

What you may dislike about Winsta

Winsta uploading image

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The biggest complaint I have is that the uploading process looks a bit wonky. It always worked in my testing, but when you upload an image, you see what looks like an error message telling you that you can leave the page and that the app will tell you if the upload works. Quickly after leaving that page, the app always told me the upload was successful. This feels like the app is broken, but it never failed for me.

The only other downside is that it costs just under $3. The official Instagram app is free, but I'm willing to pay for apps that are well designed, and that works well, so Winsta's price doesn't bother me much.

Should you buy Winsta?

Winsta vs Instagram on Windows 10

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Winsta is an excellent Instagram client that combines the feature-rich nature of Android applications with the look and feel of the Universal Windows Platform. It looks nice, performs well, and lets you browse Instagram content and upload your own.

The complaints I have about Winsta are minimal, including the fact that it costs money when the official Instagram app doesn't, and that uploading images feels wonky. Neither of these deters me from using the app, and I plan to continue using it after this review to manage my team's Instagram feed.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

6 Comments
  • Thanks for the review, I will look in to it. The best Instagram client I use (yes still) is 6tag on my Lumia. It allowed you to "pin to start" people and #tags for years. I can easily keep track of friends and topics.
  • Hey there,
    You can also pin your friends on the start screen in Winsta too.
  • Hey!
    I tried it yesterday and found a problem, which makes it useless for me. I write my captions in OneNote and then CopyPaste into the app. When the caption is long, you can not reach the Upload button, as you can not scroll down. I had high hopes for it, but I guess I will have to stick with the app made by IG which is super slow.
    @jansw1976
    Jan
  • Hi there,
    I've got your problem. I will fix it in the next update
    Thanks for reporting.
    Regards
  • I just downloaded it and tried it out. This beats the official Windows 10 app, hands down. It is very much worth the $3 and I don't even know why the price is listed as a "con" when you spend more for a Frappuccino at Starbucks or on other things. For such a well-designed app, it's more than reasonable.
  • I explained in the body that I think it's worth it. It's only a con because there is a free Instagram app. I completely agree that it's worth the price and affordable.