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Lumia Selfie App Makes Narcissism Easy, Fun

BERLIN — The selfie had an innocent enough origin: Use a smartphone's front-facing camera to take a low-res photo of yourself. The thing has mutated into something approximating a gross parody of modern Western society's self-obsession — and if that's your thing, Microsoft has the process down to a science with the Lumia Selfie app.

Microsoft debuted the Selfie app at its IFA 2014 press conference today, and I got to go hands-on with it (with much protestation on my part!). As the name suggests, the app does precisely one thing and aims to be the best-in-class program for that purpose.

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There are two ways to take a selfie: either with the front-facing camera or the rear one. Taking one with the front-facing camera is business as usual. But if you prefer to use a more powerful rear camera, the app will beep in increasingly furious increments as your face nears the center of the frame.

The real meat and potatoes of the app come in the filters and editing options. In addition to standard warm, cool, black-and-white and retro filters, users can also make use of some truly bizarre color schemes and even pretend they're gracing glamorous magazine covers. The editing options are also surprisingly robust, letting users control everything from the size of their eyes to the whiteness of their teeth.

The Selfie app will come with the Lumia 730 and 735 phones (also announced today) out of the box, while other phones can download it for free from the Windows Phone Store starting today. The rest of us can, of course, take photos only of other people and fade into the mists of history.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.