Using this mode allows you to easily review the shots you're taking at a macro level, with the ability to pinch-and-zoom in tight on images to inspect minute details. If you notice something that's not quite perfect, you can easily tweak your camera and reshoot. It's an ability that professional wedding and landscape photographers would adore, but alas, it's only available to the market that would purchase a D3200. We'd actually recommend using an Android tablet to best take advantage of this; being able to zoom into a full-res image on a TF700 or the like would be hugely valuable if you're trying to scrutinize details mid-shoot.
The "Take pictures remotely" option is supposedly toggle-able by just sliding a switch while in the mode that we just spoke of. In our experience, the slider didn't work. At all. Perhaps it's a bug that's only seen with Android 4.1, but there it is. We had to back out to the main menu, and select the 'remote' option. From here, our D3200 took around two seconds to send over a live view of what its lens was seeing, but annoyingly, you only get what amounts to a thumbnail view of the proposed shot. We're guessing it's a pixel-for-pixel representation of what would appear on the D3200's own VGA-level display, and there's no scaling whatsoever. So, even on a pixel-packed Galaxy Nexus, you still can't get a "better look" at what's downrange until you shoot the image and then review the full-resolution result.
Along with the live view look, you'll also see the shutter speed, aperture, available image space and battery level. Of note, all of these values are treated as live; if you spin the camera around in Aperture Priority mode, you may see the shutter speed move as the camera compensates for changing light levels. In our experience, the live view look -- and the live changing of the values -- was ridiculously fast. Lag was practically imperceptible.
Once you've lined up the shot you want, a tap on the circular on-screen button will fire the camera. Be aware, however, that the same shutter lag seen when capturing an image while using the live view option on the rear of the DSLR is present here, too. This is effectively an extension of live view, so that shutter lag will be unavoidable when using this app. Bummer. It's also stupefying just how bantam the on-screen shutter button is. Just look at the blank, unused space in that screenshot above, and then ask yourself: "Why?" We have no good answer. If Nikon won't allow the live view look to be expanded, at least make the shutter button size customizable. It'd be hugely valuable to have the entire bottom of the screen act as a trigger, so you can focus on what's downrange of the lens instead of how to direct your fingernail to land on the speck-of-a-button that'll trigger the shutter.
Sadly, that's just the start of the bad news. In what can only be described as a ghastly oversight, Nikon doesn't allow the WMAU app to control any of the settings. Hoping to change ISO sensitivity, aperture or shutter speed via the app? Keep dreaming. At this point, you're probably wondering what exactly the point of this app is given the severe limitations of control, and that's a fair thing to wonder. Worse still, in our testing with the Galaxy Nexus, the app refused to work properly while the D3200 was in "Manual" mode. Regardless of what settings we chose on the camera itself, it reverted to shooting at 1/30 of a second at f/5.6. Settings chosen in the other priority modes transferred properly.
That's a shame, too, because one of the things we were hoping to accomplish here was to use an Android phone as a remote trigger for long-exposure shots at night. The idea was to pop the D3200 into manual mode, force the shutter to stay open for 30 to 60 seconds while on a tripod, and use the camera to trigger the shutter as to avoid camera shake from mashing the button on the body itself. Plan: foiled.
You may also notice a litany of poor reviews in Google Play. Those folks aren't liars.
It's also worth mentioning that the app outright ignores any shutter mode outside of a single shot. Select continuous, or the famed 10-seconds-and-then-shoot, and the app just ignores it. Even if you've selected one of those alternate modes, pressing the shutter button in the Android app fires off a single shot right away. It's just another disappointment in an experience that came to be defined more by what it lacked than what it offered.
Moving on to the third menu option, "Share pictures," we're happy to say that this actually does seem to work as advertised. Choose it, and you're able to sift through shots you've imported from the D3200 and share them via any number of services -- Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Evernote, you name it. Of course, you can bet your carrier will compress that 10MB JPEG before it ever hits your social network of choice, so if you're looking to actually retain some level of quality in your share, we'd still recommend doing it the old-fashioned way: by using a real computer with a legitimate broadband connection.
The fourth and final menu option, "Download pictures from the camera," is useful when you've shot a gallery's worth just before connecting to your phone. In our experience, it sucked down 35 full-resolution JPEGs without so much as a hiccup. You'll need to allow two to three seconds per image, but if you've got the time, it seems to work swimmingly. (Also, if you're looking for these snaps on a Mac or PC later, you'll find 'em within the newly created Nikon_WU folder -> Capture.)
You may also notice a litany of poor reviews in Google Play, mostly concerning crashing or disconnect issues. Those folks aren't liars. While our first day with the unit was largely trouble-free (from a connection standpoint), subsequent days weren't so kind. We routinely had to reset the module for our Galaxy Nexus to connect, and upon setting the image mode to RAW or RAW+JPEG, the app itself crashed. From there, it became even more troublesome to reconnect, even with a module reset and a reinstallation of the app. In case it's not obvious: no, the setup doesn't support RAW files at all, but all sizes of JPEG seem to play nice.
Nikon has a ton of work to do if it hopes to make the WU-1a truly usable. And if we're being honest, we genuinely hope it does. The concept here is magical. Enabling users to turn a smartphone or tablet that they're probably carrying around anyway into a remote viewfinder and shutter trigger is downright brilliant, and if the package were executed properly, it'd be worth every penny of the $60 asking price. Being able to view full-resolution images on an Android phone or tablet (and again, soon on your iPhone, iPod touch and / or iPad) is wonderful. It enables the kind of in-the-field previewing that professional shooters have always dreamed of, helping them to spot problems on a larger panel and make tweaks on the fly.
Nikon has a ton of work to do if it hopes to make the WU-1a truly usable.
But the other half of the app -- the wireless triggering -- is dreadfully implemented. You can't change any of the camera's settings from the app itself, you can't adjust the size of the live view preview being beamed over, and you can't adjust the size of the inexplicably small on-screen shutter button. It also ignores the camera's "Release Mode" settings -- a crucial oversight in every sense of the word -- and wouldn't respond to our settings while the D3200 was in Manual mode.
The potential for this to be a differentiator for Nikon is huge. Having a remote trigger and viewfinder in your pocket at all times is an amazing idea, but the software simply has to improve by leaps and bounds before we'd recommend it. Moreover, the WU-1a truly needs to be available for Nikon's full-frame / professional assortment of bodies. Clients that buy those are most likely to appreciate this feature set, but until the company works out the significant limitations, there's no need in longing for body compatibility expansion.