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Vine Insta Header.001

Hot on the heels of Twitter-owned Vine‘s long awaited Android release, Facebook-owned Instagram last week launched an updated app (version 4) featuring video capabilities for both iOS and Android.

For months and months we were told that Vine was coming “soon” with no indication of exactly how soon that would be. For what was one of the most anticipated app releases of 2013 thus far, eventually it just suddenly appeared without much ado or announcement. Vine’s Android app still lags behind its iOS counterpart in features.

Instagram was also slow to the Android party, but once it arrived its user base grew quickly – there were over 1 million downloads of the app on its first day to market. Last week’s launch covered both iOS and Android simultaneously – neither platform had to wait, although video stabilisation is only available on iOS (for now).

By now, social media buffs everywhere have had a chance to swing on the Vine (#shamelesspun). Video shares peaked at 2.9 million two weeks after the Android release, but just one day after the launch of Instagram video, those shares dropped by over 50% to 1.35 million.

Given Vine’s meagre 20 million user base, compared to Instagram’s 130 million, one has to ask, will Vine come out swinging and win the fight?

There are similarities between the two on a technical level – both are available for iOS and Android, both support stop and go style recording and allow Geotagging and discoverability, and both record in much the same format. But in terms of the videos themselves, there are definite differences – resolution, audio quality, frame and bit rates are all different, and could influence your choice. Lets compare!

(Test performed on my HTC One)

Vine-header Instagram-header
URL Click for Vine test video Click for Instagram test video
Video length Up to 6 seconds Up to 15 seconds
Time to render 15 seconds 5 seconds
Video format MP4 MP4 (in an MKV container)
Audio format AAC 62.3Kbps, 44.1KHz AAC 89.5Kbps, 48.0KHz
Resolution 480 X 480 640 x 640
Bitrate 1098 993
Frame rate 24 p/s 30 p/s
Available on 4.0 and above 4.1 and above to use video
Share on Vine, Facebook, Twitter Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr
Audio Always on Always on
Filters None Filters (different to standard Instagram filters)
Stop/Start filming Yes Yes
Delete segments No Yes
Loops in app Yes No


Vine uses a higher bit rate with better compression to output smaller files (and they take longer to process), while Instagram outputs higher quality video, includes editing abilities and has better sharing options.

If you’re a business looking to display your ads, you’ll probably gravitate towards Instagram with its larger install base and longer 15-second limit – although you’ll have to crop or matte your video to fit the square frame on either service.

For some reason, Vine videos also take an eternity to buffer before playback can begin – often longer than it takes to watch the 6 seconds of video itself, a definite mark against the service.

Instagram’s larger output size could be a downside to those browsing their timeline with limited data, but users can combat this by turning off auto-play in the settings menu. Apart from this, and the lack of looping playback, Instagram seems to be is the clear winner in this fight. Vine, in comparison becomes merely a point, shoot and post app – a swing and a miss (Ok, no more vine puns).

Do you have a preference? Does the video quality and features affect your vote? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: CNBCEdelman DigitalFirmology.
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    I checked out the two files, and apparently vine’s is 30 fps (not 24), where instagram is 29.97 fps. As for the mkv container, this is reaaaaly strange; i can’t see any other reason than Instagram choosing the mkv container for using mkvtoolnix to cut/merge the video ? For your video format list, i think it would be clearer if you use the following notation: MP4/H.264/AAC for the first one, and MKV/H.264/AAC (if they really are using mkv — which still baffles me)

    Sean Royce

    I choose neither, because personally, I hate them both.


    I like Vine myself, 6 seconds is just right IMO. But yes its loading times are bad, hopefully they can sort that out and also get the front facing camera to work on android. I’ve never tried Instagram but might give it go to check out the fuss.


    vine’s interminable loading time (across ALL platforms) has always baffled me.

    Luke Wiwatowski

    The vine app is really slow, laggy and it just pushed me over straight to instagram. Sorry Vine get your app together.


    oh god it’s a trainwreck isn’t it? that’s what happens when you rush an app out well before it’s finished i guess. it got marginally better with the last update but it’ll certainly never recover on the app store from all the terrible reviews.


    … where it’s currently sitting on a whopping 2.8.

    Michaela O'Leary

    Yeah I was pretty disappointed. Having never used Vine before I was prepared to be dazzled. I’ll probably uninstall it all together since everyone shares to twitter anyway.