There has never been a better time to get into Android apps because the Google Play Store has exploded in recent years, with a proliferation of titles that can meet all your needs.
The problem is: there are just too many, even with editors & apos; Choice, recommended and best-selling, best-paid and free top categories to help you.
You can filter, view Google's lists or read reviews – but the easiest (and best) way to find top-quality apps is to have someone else do the search for you.
That is where we come in. Just like you, we want the best apps for our Android phones. The apps that revolutionize functionality or at least offer something so great that it becomes one of the must-have apps to download when you get a new handset.
The following apps are constantly updated and are a combination of paid and free apps chosen by our Android experts. So even if you plunge into real money for one of these apps, you can be sure that it is a valuable purchase.
We have also sorted them into categories so that you can find what you are looking for more easily. Click to the next pages & view the best Android apps of the week below.
Best Android apps of the week
These are the two apps that we have chosen every week. They are usually new apps or apps that have recently received a major update, but occasionally hidden gems and other supplies are also highlighted.
Free + different IAP
Mission adventure wants to make every walk a mission or, uh, an adventure. It is primarily aimed at young children and enables a route planner (that's you) to make a walking route on a map of the area around you.
The route will contain a number of markers and with each mark a part of a story will unfold. You get free access to a swashbuckling story, where players interact with pirates and explore the seas by walking (or sometimes running) from one marker to another, and by answering nautical questions.
The story consists of three chapters, with each walk forming one chapter. There are then two additional stories that can be purchased for $ 2.99 / £ 2.99 at the time of writing. So there is not much content, but stories can play differently based on the decisions you make and whether you get questions right or wrong. The developers also have more story packages in the making. By the time you read this, some may be available.
And while it lasts, Mission Adventure has the potential to have a lot of fun for young people, and a useful tool to get them out of the house – if not away from screens.
Voicepop actually does one thing: it converts voice messages into text, so you don't have to listen to it.
Why would you want to do that? You may find yourself in a quiet public environment without headphones and you don't want the whole world to hear the message. You may have heard the message before and want to search for something specific without listening to it again. You may want to save time (reading is usually faster than talking). Or maybe you just hate spoken messages.
Either way, Voicepop is easy to use. Simply share a voice or video message of up to two minutes and Voicepop will transcribe the message almost immediately. The transcription appears in the Voicepop app, wherever it is saved so that you can return to it later.
You also get the results in the messaging app you use, so you don't have to jump between apps to read your voice messages. It is a smooth system.
The only problem at the moment is that the translation is not always perfect, but it is close enough that you must be able to understand the essence of what is being said.
The best Android camera apps and photo editors
Our favorite Android apps for photographing, sorting and editing photos & videos.
Free + $ 6.49 / £ 5.99 IAP
Glitch Lab is a photo editor full of digital glitch effects. You've probably seen such apps before, and the style of effects offered won't appeal to everyone, but if you want your photos to look a bit glitchy or retro, this is one of the most capable and versatile ways to to do .
There are more than 100 effects here, and many of them can be adjusted so that your glitches don't look like someone else's.
As if to demonstrate the power, it is even possible to generate an entirely new image, which is built up by a number of effects and tweaks.
There is even free enough here, but to get the most out of Glitch Lab, you have to grab the Pro IAP for $ 6.49 / £ 5.99. This adds 42 extra effects at the time of writing, 37 new parameters for the free effects, increases output quality and more.
$ 1.99 / £ 1.89
DoodleLens may be a bit of a gimmick, but it's fun. Just scribble something, then point the camera of your phone from the app at the scribble and you can copy it and paste it on the world around you in augmented reality.
You can also change the color of the doodle and even create very simple animations by copying multiple doodles and running the app through it. You can then record and save the results.
DoodleLens is probably not an app that you use often, and we found it a bit unstable when recognizing our doodles, but when it works, it evokes a smile, that's all you can really ask for for $ 1.99 / £ 1.89.
Free + different subscriptions
Pixtica is one of the many tools that want to replace your phone's standard camera app. Camera apps vary enormously and their success largely depends on the make and model of your phone, but Pixtica is a good option if you're looking for something new.
It is packed with features including countless filters, a GIF recorder, panorama, hyperlapse, manual operation and oddities such as a "Planet" mode, which distorts images into a spherical shape using Pixtica ' s "advanced stereographic projection algorithm ".
There are also all sorts of other modes, whether you're taking photos or recording video, and the app is intuitively laid out. Although many of the functions are free, you have to pay to unlock higher resolutions and remove watermarks when using filters.
The payment also gives you other things, but those are the most important things that make the purchase almost essential if you plan to use Pixtica. And that would be fine, except that the app opts for a subscription (from $ 1.25 / £ 1.25 for a month with discounts for six months or a year) instead of being available as a one-time purchase. We are not fans of paying a subscription for a camera app, but if such an app is worth it, it's Pixtica.
Free + $ 5.49 / £ 5.49
Scribbl is a photo editor that allows you to add animations to your photos. With ' animations ' we mean basically light paths, but there are different ways in which they can be animated, countless colors you can choose, and you can choose exactly where they appear on images and how large they are.
In essence, it is an app that does one thing, but it does pretty well. After adding an animation, you can save the result in your phone's gallery, ready to share.
The basic app is free, but for a one-time fee or a monthly subscription you can delete ads and unlock additional customization options, as well as the option to remove the Scribbl watermark from your creations. If you like the app, this is worth paying for, but you can taste it well without spending anything.
Free + $ 0.99 / £ 0.89 monthly subscription
Watermark photo does exactly what the name suggests – this allows you to add watermarks to photos – but the types of watermarks you can add are quite varied.
Not only can you add custom text as a watermark (including changing the font, size and color), you can also use your signature (or other handwritten text) as a watermark by writing on the screen.
You can also apply stickers, a time stamp, a location, a mosaic effect or "graffiti" (with which you can simply let your photos live on with a digital brush). Whether you want to protect your photo or just log where and when it was taken, there must be a tool for this.
Photo Watermark is free, but it is pretty heavy for ads. You can remove them for $ 0.99 / £ 0.89 a month, but unless you add watermarks to a lot of images, it's probably not worth it.
StoryZ Photo Motion & Cinemagraph
Free + $ 1.99 / £ 1.79 monthly subscription
StoryZ Photo Motion & Cinemagraph is an app for editing photos in two parts. The first of these is "Ripple", a mode that allows you to add motion to a static image by drawing the area and direction in which you want the motion to happen.
This can be an effective way to make it look like water or smoke is moving, for example, or just to add a slight trippy effect to things that you expect to be static.
The "Motion" mode, which allows you to combine a video with a photo, gives you an "image" that is partly static and partly moving.
In both cases it can be difficult to make the effect look convincing, but it is good to do, as is apparent from all the impressive public submissions shared in the app. StoryZ also holds competitions with specific themes, such as "stairs" or "sand", which you can enter by submitting a relevant creation. The best are displayed on the home page and the competition page of the app.
You can use StoryZ for free, but if you have more talent for it than we do, then there is also StoryZ Premium, which removes advertisements and watermarks for a monthly subscription, increases the allowed length of video ' s in Motion mode, improves the toolset in Ripple mode and you can save and share in high resolution.
Free monthly plan of £ 2.91 (around $ 3.70)
KineMaster is probably one of the most powerful video editors on Android, but it is also intuitive enough for everyone to enjoy.
With the app you can add audio and visual filters to image material, add text, stickers and other overlays, adjust and trim video ' s frame by frame, adjust speed, add transition effects and much more. You can also record videos directly from the KineMaster app. It may feel a bit tight on a telephone screen, but otherwise everything works well.
You can use KineMaster for free, but all of your videos have a KineMaster watermark and you cannot use them commercially. To remove the watermarks, allow commercial use, and unlock additional assets (such as securities and overlays), you have to pay a subscription, but for £ 2.91 (about $ 3.70) per month, it remains affordable.
Moment – Pro Camera
$ 1.99 / £ 1.79
A really great camera app must demonstrably prevent both clutter and be packed with manual controls, so you can create an image exactly the way you want, but that is a difficult balance to manage and few to manage. Moment – Pro Cameramaybe.
It gives you full manual control, including RAW images, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, exposure compensation and focus. There is also a tap to focus, a timer, a grid and different lenses. It is an impressive toolkit, where the app focuses more on powerful ' s tools than on gimmick filters, but it all looks very sleek and minimalist.
And it is designed for ease of use. You can double-tap each setting to return to automatic or double-tap the viewfinder to make everything automatic again and all controls are within reach.
The main disadvantage of Moment is that it is currently unable to make videos, but for photos there is a good chance that you want to replace your current camera app with this, and video is apparently in the making.
Free + optional subscription
Your phone may have a powerful camera, but chances are it doesn't offer many photo editing functions. Happy, PhotoDirector can fill in the gaps.
With this app you can adjust the tone, saturation, white balance and colors of photos that you have taken previously, and add filters and effects, which you can use to adjust and apply the strength of and part of an image.
You can also add text, stickers, frames, change the perspective, mirror the image, cut sections and much more.
There are many tools, but PhotoDirector is easy to navigate and you can always undo your changes so that you can experiment safely.
And that's just the editing part of the app. There is also a built-in camera with which you can take new photos with different effects and watch live through the viewfinder how they affect the image.
PhotoDirector is largely free, but if you want to be at your best, there is a premium version that costs £ 2.59 (about US $ 3.70) per month, with discounts if you commit for three months or a year. This unlocks additional tools, increases output quality and removes advertisements.
LightX Photo Editor
Free + $ 3.69 / £ 3.49 IAP
Do you want an all-in-one photo editor for Android? LightX Photo Editor is a good choice, not least because most functions are free.
You can merge photos, add effects and filters, selectively apply colors to areas of an image, adjust color balance, make images smoother and sharper, crop, rotate, draw on, add frames and stickers, add text, create collages and much more.
All that is handled via an intuitive interface; open the main menu with a tap, select the category of edits you want to make (for example filters or frames) and you will be taken to a menu with all relevant options.
Most are pretty obvious, but there are also tutorials & videos for if you get stuck, and for a one-time IAP of $ 3.69 / £ 3.49 you can remove ads, unlock additional stickers and frames and add the option to save images in PNG format.
$ 1.49 / £ 1.39
There are many photo editing apps, but while most offer filters and effects, you can change the perspective of a photo very little SKRWT is doing.
There are no stickers here, no makeup modes and no real effects. Instead, there are tools to shift the perspective, change the ratio, and correct lens distortion.
You can also mirror, rotate, mirror and crop images, but SKRWT is not so interested in changing photos in unnatural ways, but in showing them exactly as you envisioned them when you took them.
It's a professional tool, but it's easy to use and you can always undo your changes if you don't like them.
Our favorite Android apps for painting, drawing, sketching, design and animation.
Free + $ 5.99 / £ 4.59 per month
Tattoodo at the core is a tattoo search engine, with which you can search through millions of tattoo images, images that you can filter by style, motifs or artist.
In addition to searching and browsing, you can also follow artists so that their latest work appears in your feed and you can save images on boards so that you can build a library of designs that you like.
If you already have tattoos and want to share them with the world, you can add images to the app, and you can even book tattoo appointments and get free consultations through the app.
If you are a tattoo artist, you can add your store and designs and possibly also find new customers through the app. It's completely free if you're looking for or looking for tattoos, but if you're an artist and want to get bookings through the app, you have to pay for a monthly subscription of $ 5.99 / £ 4.59.
Houzz is a one-stop app for decorating and decorating your home. The app has many different sections, including a database of more than 19 million photos to give you decor ideas, which can be filtered based on style, space and other things. These images can also be sketched and shared.
With Houzz you can buy millions of products (such as furniture) and materials from the app, and there is a tool that lets you use augmented reality to see what a product would look like in your home.
There are also articles and videos about renovating and improving your home. You can find and hire interior decorators, architects and other professionals, and there is a community where users can ask and answer questions.
Houzz is not an app that everyone needs on their phone, but it is definitely worth viewing if you are considering renovating your home or making other improvements.
Free + $ 59.99 / £ 54.99 per year
About is primarily intended for adding text to images, which you might want to do when creating a poster or Instagram message, for example.
The app allows you to choose from a wide range of canvas sizes, including some that have been specially created for different purposes of social media, such as Facebook cover photos. You can then add images, text and images.
For images you can adjust the exposure, contrast and various other things; for text you can choose from a range of fonts, alignments and colors; and for images you can choose from a series of pre-made designs and then adjust the color, position and the like.
Projects can have multiple layers and when done, you can save the result as a JPG or PNG, or share it.
It's a handy app and everything we've described so far is free, but for a hefty $ 59.99 / £ 54.99 per year you get access to an ever-growing library of templates, hundreds of extra fonts, much more images and the promise of additional features in the future.
This is probably not necessary for the average user, but if you use it for work or if you have to combine images and text regularly, it may be worth it.
Free + different IAP
Digital devices seem to be ideal for drawing tutorials, but few drawing apps seem to use them. Instead, they often assume that you already know what you are doing or will learn outside of the app, while many of those who teach you rely on static images and text, but Draw.ai is more interactive.
Although not a comprehensive drawing guide, it offers a wide range of images and guides you step by step, one line at a time. By this we mean that the app draws a line or two from the image and then makes it appear vague so that you can draw the same over it.
This continues until the image is complete, after which you can color it (without a guide). When you are finished, Draw.ai shows a short video of the entire process that you have completed.
The actual drawing tools are more limited than some apps, but there is at least one handy undo button that erases the last line you've drawn or that you've changed – something that beginners will use a lot.
Many of the images are free and more are added, but to access everything you have to pay a weekly subscription of $ 5.99 / £ 5.49 (with big discounts if you pay monthly or annually instead) – you can get an entire year for $ 59.99 / £ 52.99).
Sketch – Draw & Paint
Free + different IAP
Sketch – Draw & Paint is a photo editor, a sketch app and an art community in one, and while it's not the deepest option for all those things, it's fun and easy to use.
On the sketch side you get different pen and brush types of different sizes and colors, along with the option to add text and stickers and some basic tools, such as a ruler and layers.
You can start with a blank canvas or take or import a photo, which brings us to the photo editing aspect of Sketch, an aspect that relies on the same set of tools.
Regarding the community, with Sketch you can upload your creations and share them with other Sketch users, because you can also browse through people's artworks. There are categories for this, including "trending" and "newcomers", or you can simply search for something specific.
You can respond to or share parts of the shared artworks and follow the maker, so that you can follow all the other work they produce more easily. The actual quality of work in the community is varied, but that means it should be less intimidating to share your own work.
Sketch – Draw & Paint is usually free, but you can purchase additional sticker packages or subscribe to Sketch Premium for £ 0.99 (about US $ 1.30) per month to unlock all stickers, remove ads, get a transparent background and a custom canvas size.
Free + $ 7.49 / £ 5.99 subscription
Desygner let go of your inner graphic designer on your phone or tablet, but with an intuitive interface and thousands of templates, it's easy enough for beginners to use.
You can combine text, shapes, images, stickers, backgrounds and more to create logos, posters, advertisements, PowerPoint-like presentations, postcards or a number of other things where images and typography are important.
Each part of your design can be moved, adjusted, rotated, rotated, duplicated or its color changed, and you can work with multiple layers. The results can then be saved on your device and used wherever you want.
We suspect that it might be a bit limited for professional graphic designers, who may want more freedom to completely redesign, but for everyone, Desygner is a great way to create something that looks professional.
The basic app is free, but certain features, as well as most templates, require a monthly subscription that costs $ 7.49 / £ 5.99. That is probably worth it if you are going to use the app semi-regularly, but if you want to design something as a one-off, you might find the free version good enough.
$ 7.99 / £ 6.99
There is no shortage of apps for digital artists, though Infinite painter is one of the most comprehensive functions, with dozens of brush presets and the ability to create your own settings along with layers, blending, editing tools and more, plus the option to export your images as JPEG, PNG, PSD or ZIP.
But not only is it full of features, but Infinite Painter also takes the time to show you how they all work, with detailed tutorials and manuals, although the interface is so simple that you have to be able to swing through most things.
Many of the features are hidden behind a payment wall, it costs $ 7.99 / £ 6.99 to unlock everything, but the app includes a free seven-day trial period that you can use to try everything before you decide whether to deposit money , what if you are a fan of digital art, you will probably do that because you get a lot for your money.
Our favorite Android apps for learning new things, from history to music to coding and more.
Elements of photography
Free + different IAP
Thanks to smartphones, most of us now always have a reasonably capable and versatile digital camera in their pocket, but many of us will not know how to get the best out of it.
That is not necessarily a huge problem – phone cameras are usually designed to work well when you just aim and shoot, but if you want to take your photography to the next level, something like Elements of Photography can help.
This app contains a number of tutorials that guide you through the different principles of photography, from basics such as shutter speed and composition to more advanced lessons.
Elements of Photography keeps everything aggressive and engaging by using small bits of text and lots of images instead of walls of explanation or time-consuming videos.
You also get tips, tools (such as a depth-of-field calculator) and a quiz, although these, along with many of the tutorials, are hidden behind IAP. Still, unlocking everything costs just $ 7.99 / £ 5.49, and there is enough free content to decide if the rest is worth the money.
£ 8.99 / $ 9.99 per month
Fluent Forever is one of a growing number of language apps, but while most focus on gamification of the learning process, Fluent Forever is rather more serious in its approach.
That can make it a little less accessible, but if you seriously want to learn a language, it can also work better, especially if Duolingo does not do it for you.
There are lots of different exercises in the app, along with explanation videos, but one of the core functions are personalized flash cards, with which you can select a card with an image of your choice for each word you are trying to learn.
That, along with pronunciation lessons, and a focus on just the words and grammar that are important to you, can be the trick to make you fluent forever.
At the time of writing, the app supports French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. It costs £ 8.99 / $ 9.99 per month, but there is a free two-week trial period.
Free + $ 3.99 / £ 3.99 per month
Taking care of many plants is more than putting them in the sun and occasionally giving them a sip of water. Some need water more often than others, others have different temperature or lighting requirements, some even require pruning or other care and attention.
However, it is not always easy to know exactly what a particular plant needs and we are sure that we are not the only one who wonders why plants that we thought were well cared for had died. But with SmartPlant you no longer have to wonder and you are more likely to keep your plants alive.
With the app you can create a database of all the plants that you own and it automatically creates a calendar for each of them, advising you on what to do at specific points of the year – for example, telling where to place it, when repot it and how much water it. And if you are not sure what a plant is called, you can take a photo of it to let SmartPlant identify it.
The app also has general information about a wide range of plants, such as the type of soil that they like and when they bloom.
If you need more, you can talk to experts with an optional in-app subscription. They can advise you on general plant care, problem solving or other plant related questions.
Free + $ 19.99 / £ 17.99 monthly subscription
Flowkey is meant to teach your piano, and it can give you feedback on your playing just by listening through the microphone of your phone – no cables are needed.
In addition to real feedback, Flowkey also offers a large number of video tutorials on things like "Note Value and Rhythm" and "Mastering Key Jumps", plus a selection of more than 1,000 songs that you can learn.
These songs cover a range of genres, including classical, pop, jazz and more, and include famous pieces such as Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen and Perfect by Ed Sheeran. The selection also contains numbers that are suitable for different skill levels.
There is a lot here, but most are not free. There are a handful of free numbers and tutorials to get you started, but to get a lot out of Flowkey, you have to invest in a monthly subscription. That is not cheap and comes to $ 19.99 / £ 17.99 per month (albeit with big discounts if you commit for six months or a year).
That can be a heavy sale because you probably still want good lessons, but you certainly get a lot of content for your money.
Learn Java Pro
3 $ / £ 3
Learn Java Pro is one of the many apps aimed at teaching you to code – in this case in Java, but where most guide you through bite-sized exercises, it has both a coding area (where you can practice your Java skills) and an extensive library lead you through basic and advanced aspects of Java with tutorials.
These tutorials are not interactive as such; they look more like a textbook, which is part of the learning that is missing in many other coding apps. But there is a shortcut to the coding area in the upper right corner of each tutorial, so you're never more than a tap away from practicing what you've learned.
There is also a library with exercise programs ' s, plus various questions and answers regarding all things that concern Java. Learn Java Pro works offline, so you can read and practice anywhere, and all content is available for the low price mentioned above, so while it's not free, it's still pretty generous and a great learning tool.
Learn Spanish with Lirica
Free + $ 9.99 / £ 8.99 monthly subscription
Learn Spanish with Lirica has a new approach to language learning because it tries to teach you Spanish through songs.
Met de app kun je luisteren naar een aantal Spaanstalige liedjes (waarvan er veel beroemd zijn) en leer je de woorden die erin worden gebruikt.
Je kunt de muziekvideo bekijken met de woorden die eronder verschijnen, met of zonder Engelse vertaling, en dan kun je vers voor vers een lied doornemen en vragen beantwoorden over wat je hebt gehoord.
Er zijn een paar verschillende oefeningen, zoals het herschikken van songteksten zodat ze in de juiste volgorde staan of het woord selecteren dat in het nummer werd gebruikt, en onderweg kun je punten en prestaties verdienen.
Lirica is meer dan alleen een gimmick. Liedjes zijn vaak pakkend en memorabel, dus ze zijn logisch als een manier om een taal te leren. Er zijn echter twee nadelen aan de app. De eerste is dat je alleen Spaans leert, en de tweede is dat veel van de inhoud verborgen is achter een redelijk duur abonnement.
Maar er is genoeg gratis dingen om ermee aan de slag te gaan en als je het leuk vindt wat je hoort, kan een abonnement de moeite waard zijn.
Mobile Observatory 3 Pro – Astronomie
5,49 $ / £ 4.99
Mobile Observatory 3 Pro – Astronomie is een uitgebreide astronomietool waarmee u details van de lucht kunt zien zoals deze vanaf uw locatie verschijnen. Je kunt het gebruiken om namen en beschrijvingen van hemellichamen te controleren die op dit moment zichtbaar moeten zijn, of je kunt veranderen naar een andere tijd of dag.
Je kunt ook meldingen ontvangen die je waarschuwen voor hemelse gebeurtenissen die je zou moeten kunnen zien, en er zijn allerlei andere hulpmiddelen, zoals een 3D-weergave van het zonnestelsel en de mogelijkheid om de hemel in augmented reality te zien met de details van waar je naar kijkt overlay.
Er zijn tienduizenden sterren en planeten inbegrepen, samen met informatie over maanfasen, verduisteringen en nog veel meer. Hoewel dit geen gratis app is, voelt het, ondanks de hoeveelheid inhoud die er is, nog steeds erg gul aan, omdat je de hele app krijgt voor een betaling van $ 5,49 / £ 4,99.
Shepard Fairey AR – BESCHADIGD
$ 4,99 / £ 4,59
We zijn niet altijd volledig overtuigd door digitale versies van praktijktentoonstellingen, maar Shepard Fairey AR – BESCHADIGD doet het goed.
De app is een digitale versie van de beschadigde tentoonstelling van Shepard Fairey en het is een geweldige optie voor iedereen die de echte show in Los Angeles niet kan bereiken.
Met de app kun je rond de tentoonstelling lopen met tikken en vegen, of je kunt het zo instellen dat het draaien van je telefoon ook je weergave in de tentoonstelling verandert. Of ga nog verder en gebruik een augmented reality-modus waarmee je fysiek rond de tentoonstelling kunt lopen, met behulp van je telefoon als een venster erin.
Het is ook niet alleen de tentoonstelling – je krijgt ook meer dan 100 minuten commentaar van Fairey waarin de verschillende kunstwerken worden uitgelegd, die gecombineerd laten zien dat de wereld – en vooral de VS – in een crisis verkeert, maar dat veel van de schade kan zijn gerepareerd.
Vanaf $ 89,99 / £ 84,99
Masterclass gives you lessons in various skills, from cookery to acting to creative writing and a whole lot more, but how it really stands out is that these lessons are all taught by some of the best in the business.
You can learn cookery from Gordon Ramsay for example, filmmaking from Martin Scorsese, tennis from Serena Williams or photography from Annie Leibovitz.
Of course, this is an app, not a face to face lesson, so you’re not interacting with these people, but they’ve created video lessons and various other materials – such as workbooks – for MasterClass.
This content isn’t free; in fact it’s quite expensive, coming in at $89.99/£84.99 for a single course or $179.99/£169.99 for an ‘all access pass’, letting you access every course for a year. That’s steep, but it could be worth it if you’re serious about learning and want some top-class tuition. You can also explore the app and see video previews of any of the courses before paying.
Free + $10/£8.99 monthly subscription
Apps have revolutionized language learning, but there’s more than one way to learn from an app, and while some focus on typing and speaking, Drops leans into the strengths of a smartphone by making all interactions swipe- and tap-based.
Drops gives you a series of exercises to carry out each time you use it, taking various forms. One asks you to swipe a word to its corresponding picture, another asks you to tap pairs of words and pictures, and one breaks up a word or phrase into several parts and has you tap them in the correct order.
There are others too, and Drops has a lot of content covering all sorts of categories from food to plants and even politics in a variety of languages. Impressively, it also feels as slick and polished as Duolingo, without imitating it.
Drops gives you five minutes of language learning each day for free, but the app is designed to be bite-sized and the makers claim this is enough to make progress.
If you do want more though you can pay for unlimited access at a price of $10/£8.99, with discounts available if you pay for a year upfront.
Free + various subscriptions
Few of us have time to read all the books we want to, but Blinkist can give you a fighting chance by distilling the key information in books down into something that only takes around 15 minutes to read.
Obviously, this only works for nonfiction, and you will be missing a lot, but you can genuinely take away many of the core points and messages, so it’s great for books that you’re only semi-interested in and would never read otherwise.
There’s a lot of choice, with over 2,500 books included in the app, though to access most of them you have to pay a monthly subscription (which starts at $6.67/£5 per month if you pay for a year upfront but is $12.99/£13.49 if you pay monthly). This also lets you listen to the distilled versions, so you can consume them even when you can’t or don’t want to read.
If you stick with the free version of Blinkist you get one book per day and the app chooses which one. It’s still well worth having on your phone, but if you get into it then the subscription is probably worthwhile.
Guitar Lessons by Fender Play
$9.99/£8.99 monthly subscription
While taking guitar lessons is probably advisable if you want to learn, it’s perfectly possible to teach yourself, and Guitar Lessons by Fender Play is probably one of the strongest tools for that.
Starting with the absolute basics, the app lets you choose the style of music you want to focus on and whether you’re playing electric or acoustic guitar, then it takes you through a series of video lessons, teaching you chords, riffs and songs.
Many of the videos are short, so you can learn in bite-sized chunks, and information is often also written out for you below the video.
You can also jump ahead to later lessons if you’re more advanced or just not interested in certain tutorials, and there are hundreds of different songs and lessons in total, so there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.
Guitar Lessons by Fender Play costs US$9.99/£8.99 every month, but that’s still a lot less than you’d spend on a weekly lesson, and you get the first month free.
Our favorite Android apps for having fun on your phone or tablet, through watching videos, reading, socializing and more.
Trill Project is an anonymous social network that lets you follow topics of your choice, post related content, reply to other people’s posts, and message them in private.
You don’t get a profile picture or custom username, so anonymity is easy to maintain, but while in some apps and services that can lead to abusive behavior, here content is heavily moderated, and there’s a real focus on users being supportive.
A lot of the topics on Trill Project deal with potentially heavy subjects like mental health, loneliness and sexuality, but there’s plenty of lighter content too, so whatever you want to say, this could be the place – as long as it’s in the spirit of the app and its community.
Goodreads is all about finding, logging and reviewing books, and it’s pretty much essential for any avid reader.
If you see a book that you think looks interesting, you can search for it on Goodreads and see the average user rating, along with often hundreds of user reviews. Still interested in it? Then you can add it to your ‘want to read’ list, so you won’t lose track of the books you like the look of.
Goodreads will also show you other books by that author and other books that readers of the one you’re looking at enjoyed, making it easy to find similar content you might like. There are also lists of books across a range of categories, helping you explore further and dig up books you might never have found otherwise.
When you’ve read a book, you can give it a star rating and leave a review if you want, and you can also join groups, and add friends, making Goodreads a bit like a book-focused social network at times.
With all that, plus reading challenges, personalized recommendations and a whole lot more, it really is a book-lover’s dream.
Free + various IAP
Smartphones have helped unlock new ways to experience stories and one great example of that is Unrd.
Falling somewhere between an app and a game, Unrd lets you “live someone else’s life” by overlaying a fake phone interface on your screen, belonging to a character in a story. You can access their messages – including photos, videos and audio – and piece together a story from them.
But you don’t get the whole story in one go – new messages arrive in real time over a number of days, making the experience feel more immersive and ‘real’.
There are numerous stories here, so you’re not limited to just one, and more are being added over time across a number of genres.
It’s worth noting that Unrd is different to something like A Normal Lost Phone, as while they’re conceptually similar, the latter allows for more interaction, having you do things like figure out passwords to access locked off parts of the phone. It’s more of a game then, where Unrd is more of a story.
The core app is free but there are various IAP to unlock additional content in stories or get to it faster. It looks like some future stories may be totally locked behind IAP too, but at the time of writing all the available ones seem to be free.
Depop is a bit like eBay, but with a real focus on second-hand and vintage clothing, which is a refreshing change in a world where fashion is often seen as disposable despite the clothing industry’s massive negative impact on the environment.
There’s a large selection of items often at low prices and while clothing is the focus that’s not all you’ll find. There’s also tech, books, jewelry, music, art, films, magazines, sports equipment and a few other categories.
As with eBay, you can sell as well as buy, and the app allows you to set up and manage your own store, as well as browsing other people’s. If you’ve got some clothes to clear out or just want to shop a bargain – while doing your bit for the environment – then Depop is a good place to start.
VLC for Android
You’ve probably come across VLC before, but if not you really, really should, because it’s one of the very best video player apps on Android. Even if you have tried it before, it could be worth revisiting, as it’s received several recent updates.
This completely free app has almost everything you might want from a video player, including extensive file support (such as MKV, MP4, AVI, MOV, Ogg, FLAC, TS, M2TS, Wv and AAC), support for DVD ISOs, network streams and network shares, the ability to add and display subtitles, adjust the aspect ratio, and alter the look and sound with an equalizer and filters.
And those are just the headline features. There’s plenty more to dig into beyond this. We’re not the biggest fans of VLC’s distinctive orange color scheme, but that’s about the only thing we can find to complain about, and it can be partially hidden if you switch to the black theme.
Soon is an app for keeping track of all the movies and shows you want to watch, the music you want to listen to, the bars and restaurants you want to visit, the books you want to read, and various other things.
Simply tap on the relevant category (‘books’ for example) then type the name of the thing you want to remember. Soon will populate the entry with relevant details if it can find any. These might include the address if it’s a place, or the cast and crew if it’s a film, for example.
In this way you can build up lists and have them all in one place, so you’ll never lose track of them. If you’re planning a trip you can also create a list of the things you want to do on it, and even collaborate on the list with other people.
Each of the list categories also has a second screen where anything that you’ve marked as ‘done’ appears, so it doesn’t clutter up the main list, but so you can still easily check if you have watched, read or visited the thing, in case you can’t remember for sure. You also get a chance to rate the thing when you mark it as done, so you’ll have a record of what you thought of everything too.
RAM and Game Booster
Some smartphone makers have put a big focus on gaming modes, such as Huawei with its GPU Turbo feature, but if you don’t have a handset with these sorts of features there are still things that can help, such as RAM and Game Booster.
It helps by freeing up RAM, which it can do on-demand or when specific games are launched.
You can also set RAM and Game Booster to free up RAM when RAM usage reaches a set percentage, after a set period, or when the app judges that the device requires it.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an app aimed at freeing up RAM, but the various settings for when it happens are more comprehensive here than on most rival apps. This still won’t turn a low-end phone into a gaming powerhouse, but it could make a small difference to performance.
Free + $4.99/£4.49 monthly subscription
Pocket isn’t a new app, but it does have some new features and a new look.
For those who don’t already know, Pocket is an app that lets you save articles so that you can read them later. That both means you can read them offline and allows you to keep a list of content you plan to read so you won’t forget about it. And as Pocket works on a variety of devices, including Android and iOS phones and tablets as well as PCs, you can read what you’ve saved anywhere.
Thanks to a recent update you can also now listen to saved articles, with Pocket reading them out to you, so you can devour them even when you’re busy doing something else. The company is also planning to add Alexa integration, meaning you’ll be able to listen to articles through any device that has Alexa built in.
And the interface now has multiple themes, as well as a general overhaul designed to make reading for long periods more comfortable.
It’s good stuff, and it’s mostly free, but subscribing to Pocket Premium for $4.99/£4.49 per month gets rid of adverts, unlocks a powerful search tool, and ensures your saved articles won’t be lost even if they’re taken off the web.
One of the problems with smart homes today is that your devices are typically made by a variety of different companies and, as such, they’re all managed by different apps. It’s a messy and not particularly smart situation, but an update to Google Home aims to address that.
The app now lets you manage most smart devices from within it, whether they’re made by Google or not. Thousands of devices from hundreds of brands are supported; it’s just a case of finding yours and logging into them from the Google Home app, thereby giving it permission to manage them. You can then create groups of smart devices based on what room they’re in and manage everything from lights to thermostats to coffee makers all in one place.
Some devices still aren’t supported, and you don’t always have full control – for example, we can turn our LIFX lights on and off and adjust the brightness from Google Home, but can’t change the colors.
Still, for basic interactions with most of your smart devices, Google Home is a slick, streamlined option.
$9.99/£7.99 per month
In the age of the web, magazines can feel like a dated concept, but Readly does a decent job of bringing them up to date by offering a Netflix-like subscription service.
We say Netflix-like, but while most of the content on there is far from brand new, you have access to the latest issues of thousands of magazines on Readly, all in digital form and with unlimited access for $9.99/£7.99 per month.
You can read content from not just your own country but various others too and the selection is strong, with plenty of big names on offer, along with more niche magazines.
Readly is accessible on phone, tablet and computer, so you can access your magazines almost anywhere with a screen, and even download them for offline reading.
You also have access to back issues, and navigation is a breeze, handled by intuitive swipes and taps. Readly even supports crosswords and other puzzle content, so you can do just about everything you could with a paper version.
Our favorite Android apps for working out, reducing stress and crafting meals.
Many of us have struggles in our lives, but you don’t need to struggle alone. With Wisdo, you can join one or more groups focused on an issue you might be facing, such as anxiety, depression, or eating disorders. Though there are also groups for things like learning to meditate and becoming an activist, so it’s not all directly tied to health.
You can optionally share more details of what you’ve been through on your profile, while within groups you can post messages, and read and reply to other people’s posts, offering support and guidance.
You can also have private conversations with people in the app, with the idea being that people who have been through the things you’re struggling with can help guide you, or vice versa.
It’s an app that’s clearly connected with a lot of people – so much so that it’s a ‘2019 Google Play Award Winner’ for ‘Social Impact’, so if you think you could use a friendly ear – or offer one – then it’s definitely worth downloading.
Free + various IAP
Bedtime Creatures is an app that plays relaxing music and nature sounds to help you chill out, sleep, or to drown out background noise.
Lots of other apps have a similar goal, but Bedtime Creatures is unusually cute and colorful. Each sound has a related animated scene with a cartoon animal, including a raccoon by a campfire, a panda in a bamboo forest and several others.
Each scene has its own music and background audio, and you can unlock additional sounds to add to the mix using gems. You’ll also need gems to unlock additional scenes. These gems can be bought, but you start off with enough for a few scenes or a bunch of additional sounds and simply launching the app sometimes rewards you with gems.
You can also customize the appearance of the animals with clothes, which can be bought with a second currency earned over time through simply using the app. Though this currency can also be gained by watching adverts (which are never forced on you) or swapping gems for it.
Having two currencies in what’s ultimately quite a simple app seems excessive, but since everything ultimately can be obtained with gems and nothing is vastly expensive at the moment, you can just buy a pack of gems, unlock everything you’re interested in and ignore the rest.
Free + $10.99/£9.99 monthly subscription
FreeMind Meditations is one of many meditation apps on Google Play, but it aims to stand out through its use of music.
The meditations include bespoke ‘MetaMusic’ created by film composers and professional musicians, and beyond being enjoyable to listen to while meditating, this music includes trigger sounds that supposedly evoke specific states of mind and help you engage more deeply and easily with the meditations.
We can’t say with any certainty how well this worked for us, but it definitely doesn’t detract from the experience and if you struggle to get into meditations usually, FreeMind might be the solution.
That aside, this has most of what you’d expect from a mediation app, including a large library of meditations covering various topics. There are more than 250 in all, but only 14 are free – the rest require a subscription.
Free + £4.79 (around $6.35) monthly subscription
Breeze is a relaxation app that packs in so many features, it can easily replace several others on your phone.
It offers various guided meditations and relaxation exercises, as well as soothing audio of numerous kinds, including ASMR and nature sounds, all of which can be set to play for a duration of your choice.
There are even bedtime stories here, which will probably mostly be of interest to younger listeners, given that the books chosen are things like The Little Prince and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
You can also have Breeze automatically wake you up to soothing sounds and set it to remind you to take a break during the day.
There’s a lot here and much of it is free, but for the full selection of sounds, meditations and stories, and to remove adverts, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription. This usually costs £4.79 (around $6.35), but the first month is half price.
We’d say that if you’re mostly interested in just one particular part of Breeze – say the meditations or soothing sounds, then you can find better or cheaper options elsewhere, but if you like the bulk of what Breeze has to offer then the subscription should be worthwhile.
Shine – Self-Care & Meditation
Free or $9.99/£9.49 per month / $53.99/£50.99 per year
Shine is a self-care app that combines a number of things other apps specialize in.
You can start by ‘checking in’ every day, saying something that you’re grateful for and something that you’re doing to make yourself happy. This is a small thing, but by thinking about what’s good in our lives we really can feel better about them.
Shine will also send you a motivational text every week day, but the bulk of the app is a selection of articles and audio tracks covering a variety of topics. Some of these are meditations, but there’s also content on everything from improving sleep to avoiding burn out.
As with many self-help apps, much of this is hidden behind a paywall, with Shine costing $9.99/£9.49 per month or $53.99/£50.99 per year to unlock everything. That’s not cheap, but there’s quite a lot of content, including seven-day audio challenges that provide a deep dive on a specific topic.
Free + $3.95/£3.95
Quitting smoking is always going to be hard, but there are tools to help, including QuitNow!. The app first asks you how many cigarettes you smoke a day, how long ago you had your last one, how long you’ve been smoking, and a few other things.
It then shows you a dashboard, complete with the amount of time since your last cigarette, which constantly counts up in seconds. You can also see how many cigarettes you’ve avoided and how much money you’ve saved based on that.
A second screen shows how close you are to achieving certain health milestones, such as a lowered risk of sudden death and improved physical condition (all of which is based on World Health Organization data).
There are also achievements to unlock, such as one for going without a cigarette for two days, and a community page, where you can post your progress and encourage others.
That’s all free, but for a one-off fee of $3.95/£3.95 you can access 55 more achievements, a better community chat screen, custom achievements and more, as well as getting rid of adverts. If you’re serious about quitting and the app is helping, then that’s probably a price worth paying.
Free + $5/£4.49 per month
Most drinks you simply pour, but cocktails you craft, and if you want a little aid and inspiration then Cocktail Flow is a good place to start.
The app has a large library of cocktails, complete with ingredient lists, equipment lists and instructions, plus the ability to choose what measurement units you want to use and how many servings you want to make.
You can browse cocktails based on the type, base spirit or country of origin and you can favorite the ones you like so they’re easy to return to later.
There’s also a small library of tips to help you get better at making them. These include things like how to layer drinks and how to dry shake.
Much of the content is free, but for $5/£4.49 per month you can upgrade to premium, which unlocks hundreds of additional recipes with new ones added each week. It also lets you add your own cocktail recipes to the app and save notes, detailing tweaks that you like to make to cocktails.
These are genuinely useful features, but we’d be much happier with a one-off payment than a subscription to access them. Still, if you’re a mixologist in the making it should be worthwhile.
Free + £9.99 (roughly $13) monthly subscription
If you run, cycle or even like to track your walks then there’s a good chance you’ve come across Endomondo before. As one of the oldest, biggest and best apps in the business – it stays that way thanks to regular updates; at the time of writing the app was updated less than two weeks ago.
Even if you don’t run or cycle you might still want to check out Endomondo, as – despite its GPS-tracking specialities – it can also track more than 60 other sports, such as golf, climbing and ice skating.
Alongside route and distance tracking, Endomondo can also track your speed, pace, calories and more. Ff you’re doing a sport that can’t be tracked with GPS then you can manually enter your workout, so you’ve still got a log of your achievements.
Additionally, you can link Endomondo to heart rate monitors and cadence sensors to incorporate their data into your records. The app can also be connected to auxiliary fitness accounts such as Google Fit, Garmin Connect and Polar Flow, so all your health and fitness data will be in sync.
Endomondo also lets you create goals for individual workouts or for your week, so you have targets to hit – the app will even alert you when you achieve a personal best. Plus, you can create and participate in challenges against friends and other users of the app.
And if all that isn’t enough then you can also subscribe to Endomondo Premium, which adds heart rate zone analysis, interval training, personal training plans, access to advanced statistics (such as how far you’ve run in total each month), and more.
Free + $6.99/£5.99 IAP
Ever wondered how much you really snore or want to get your snoring under control? SnoreLab can help.
Simply set the app to run while you sleep and it will record snippets of your snoring throughout the night, telling you how loud you snore and giving you a ‘snore score’.
You can also play back the recordings, compare your snoring over multiple nights and log any factors that might be making it worse (such as alcohol) or any remedies you’re trying (such as nasal spray) to see how much difference they really make.
Doing this you can both see first hand how bad your snoring really is and more effectively work out what makes it better or worse.
The core app is free, but there’s a one-off IAP to access your full history and additional features, such as soothing sounds to help you get to sleep.
Seven – 7 Minute Workout Training Challenge
Free + $9.99/£9.99 monthly subscription
Seven – 7 Minute Workout Training Challenge is an exercise app for busy people who only have a few minutes to work out, or those who just don’t fancy spending longer than that building up a sweat.
There are a lot of apps with a similar focus, but Seven stands out in a number of ways, from its polished interface to its various achievements, which reward you for sticking with it. There’s even a ‘7 Month Challenge’, which tasks you with working out every day for seven months and causes you to lose one of your three ‘hearts’ for every day that you skip.
The core app has a range of exercises, none of which require any equipment, and there are specific training plans that give you different workouts depending on your goal, be it losing weight, building strength, or a number of other things. You can also create and save your own workouts.
Much of the content is free, but for US$9.99/£9.99 per month you can get additional workouts and exercises (with over 200 available in total), and get personal workout plans that are adapted to your fitness level. The price might sound steep, but it’s still a lot cheaper than most gym memberships.
Free + $7.99/£6.30 monthly subscription
Fitbit Coach is the new name for Fitstar, so it’s not a new app as such but it is worth highlighting.
Packed full of workouts and exercise plans, Fitbit Coach has a wide range of content with things suited for most abilities, most of which doesn’t require a gym membership.
There are dozens of bodyweight workouts, plus guided walks and runs and at the time of writing 24 different treadmill workouts, each of which has a duration and an estimated calorie burn that you can see before you start.
There are also various ‘programs’ which have you work through a selection of workouts each week.
Most workouts are videos, which you can cast to your TV if you prefer, but there are also audio ones for runs and walks.
The app aims to keep the workout variety up, which – along with built-in soundtracks from Fitbit Radio – should help keep you motivated, and despite the Fitbit branding there’s no requirement to have a Fitbit in order to use it.
The only problem is that most of this stuff is hidden behind a monthly subscription, but you can access a handful of workouts for free to get a taste of the app before putting any money down.
Free + $9.99/£9.99 monthly subscription
Meditation apps are meant, among other things, to relax and de-stress us, but if you’re anything like us they run the risk of doing the opposite, becoming chores that we feel guilty for neglecting.
Simple Habit doesn’t completely solve that problem, but it gets some way there, by offering short 5-minute meditations, that you can easily fit in at any point during your day.
Other meditation apps have short sessions too, but there are usually only a few of them, mixed in with longer meditations, while they’re all short in Simple Habit (though we do have to point out some stretch beyond 5 minutes to cater for those that do want a bit more relaxation).
Simple Habit also has a variety of different teachers to guide you, so if you don’t get on with one (or just get bored of their voice) there are plenty of others to choose from.
The rest of the app is as you’d expect, with meditations designed around specific life circumstances, goals or moods, and a simple interface that doesn’t get in the way.
Like Headspace, most of the meditations are locked behind a subscription, but you can listen to a handful for free to see if Simple Habit is for you.
Our favorite Android apps for making music, listening to music, finding podcasts and everything else to do with audio.
Free + $7.99/£6.99 per month
Luminary is a podcast app that, as well as packing in access to most of the podcasts you know and love, also has its own exclusive content that you won’t find anywhere else.
Access to those exclusive shows – over 40 of which are either out or in the works at the time of writing – is the main reason to choose Luminary over other podcast players, but to get that access you will have to subscribe at a cost of $7.99/£6.99 per month (following one free month).
These exclusives are ad-free and in many cases come from big names like Lena Dunham and Trevor Noah, but even if you’re not up for paying, Luminary could still be worth considering.
Stick to the free content and this is basically like any other podcast app, but it’s a polished one, with an attractive interface and loads of features, including the ability to cast podcasts to speakers, download podcasts for offline listening, get new podcast suggestions based on what you like, change the play speed, activate a sleep timer, and more.
The only real downside to Luminary at the moment is that while it offers exclusive content, it also lacks a few big-name shows that you’ll find on other platforms, such as Reply All and The Daily, so if any of your favorites are missing, you’re best off podcasting elsewhere.
$7.99/£6.49 per month
Audm essentially turns articles into podcasts, by having them read aloud. But unlike some apps this isn’t a robot doing the talking, it’s a real person, making it far more engaging to listen to.
In fact, it uses “celebrated audiobook narrators”, so it’s professionally done, and there’s a lot of content, with articles from dozens of popular sources such as Wired, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and many more, with new stories added every week.
The Audm app lets you browse all the content, or filter based on source or narrator. You can also read the articles, or read along with the narration, having it scroll in time with the spoken words. And you can change the narration speed, and have articles downloaded for offline listening.
It’s a good app, good enough to justify a subscription, which Audm charges at $7.99/£6.49 per month after a three-day free trial.
Laughable is another podcast app, but it’s not just any other podcast app as it takes a quite different approach to most.
It’s mostly focused on comedy, as you’ve probably guessed from the name, but really what it’s focused on is people, as not only can you subscribe to specific podcasts but also the people behind them, ensuring you’ll be alerted whenever they turn up as a host or guest on any podcast.
And while most of these people are comedians, Laughable also has politicians, actors, musicians and all sorts of other public figures.
Its focus on people also goes beyond highlighting the podcasts that they’re in, as Laughable will also give you links to their websites and social media handles, and – where relevant – links to their tour dates, so you can truly keep up with them.
The app’s focus on people over podcasts might mean this doesn’t become your main podcast app, especially if you’re not into comedy, but as a secondary app to sit alongside your main one it comes highly recommended.
Pocket Casts has long been our podcast player of choice, but it’s a very different beast today to what it once was, thanks to a major update bringing it to version 7.
It’s an update that’s mostly for the better in our opinion, but not without its critics. Love it or hate it though, it’s a big enough overhaul to warrant highlighting Pocket Casts again. It also makes the app worth revisiting if you tried it before but didn’t get on with the old version.
The changes include a whole new look and a wealth of new features, such as up-next syncing, listening history, the ability to play podcasts without subscribing, improved recommendations, the ability to search for specific episodes, new swipe controls, a draggable player and a whole lot more.
If you’re used to the old version of the app then version 7 will take some getting used to, but we reckon most people will come to love it.
Free + various IAP
Serial Box sits somewhere between Audible and a podcast player, as it delivers fiction stories that you can either read or listen to (and in the latter case they’re read by someone – no dodgy computer readings here). But they’re delivered in weekly bite-sized chunks, like a podcast.
You have to pay for the stories, but you get to listen to the first episode of each of them for free, so you can get an idea of whether you want to pay, and you get both the written and spoken version for one payment. You can also choose to pay episode by episode or for the whole story upfront.
Most of the content is also currently exclusive to Serial Box, so you won’t find it anywhere else. And because you can choose to either read or listen – and can access stories on all of your devices – it’s a lot more versatile than most methods of engaging with fiction.
Poweramp Music Player
Poweramp is an old favorite in the world of music player apps, but a massive overhaul has brought it to version three, complete with a new audio engine which supports hi-res output and additional file formats, including opus, tak, mka, dsd, and dsf/dff.
The overhaul also added tempo controls and a reverb effect, updated the UI to make it a whole lot more modern (complete with light and dark themes) and made navigation more intuitive.
That’s all building on top of an already brilliant app that has a 10-band graphic equalizer, support for most audio file formats, and all sorts of tools and options, such as gapless playback and crossfade.
The app can display lyrics and download missing album artwork, and there are widgets, a tag editor, and numerous additional themes available to download.
Few apps match Poweramp for features, and as of V3 it’s one of the best-looking music players on Android too. It’s well worth the price tag if you play much local audio, but it comes with a 15-day free trial, so you can try it out before paying.
Free + optional $9.99/£9.99 monthly subscription
YouTube Music is a YouTube app that puts the shows and shorts to one side and is all about the music. It’s all here, presented with personalized recommendations and a constantly updated ‘hotlist’ of trending tracks. There are also numerous playlists, and you can create your own.
That’s all free, but to get the most out of YouTube Music you need to pay for YouTube Music Premium, which costs US$9.99/£9.99 per month and lets you listen offline, with your screen off, or while using other apps. It also gets rid of the adverts.
However, if that sounds appealing you’re probably best off paying for YouTube Premium. This subscription costs slightly more at US$11.99/£11.99 per month, but also gives you access to the main YouTube site and apps ad-free, lets you watch YouTube originals, enables you to play videos in the background, and more besides.
Free + various IAP
TaoMix 2 is an ambient noise app designed to drown out the outside world and help you relax, sleep or focus.
There are lots of sounds to choose from, such as birds chirping, rain, waves, wind, a fireplace, a thunderstorm and many more. But you’re not limited to one sound – you can build a soundscape by selecting several at once.
Each of these sounds appears as a circle on your screen and there’s another circle which can be made to move around the screen, and which makes each sound more prominent when it overlaps with them, so the soundscapes vary over time based on the movements of this circle.
You can save any soundscape you make to easily return to it later and you can set a timer, so the soundscape will automatically turn off after a set period of time. You can even record your own sounds.
The core app is free, but to get the most out of TaoMix 2 you’ll want to invest in some of the sound packs to bulk up the available selection. These start at £0.69/US$0.99.
Ringtone Maker Pro
Got a song that you want to use as a ringtone but want to cut it down first? Ringtone Maker Pro will get the job done.
It supports MP3, FLAC, OGG, WAV, AAC, M4A, MP4 and 3GPP/AMR files, and should be able to find any audio file on your device when you hit the scan button. Select the one you want to edit, then choose a start and end point for the ringtone right down to the millisecond.
There’s scope for more complex editing too; you can cut parts of the song, copy and paste sections, or paste together parts of multiple audio files.
You’re not limited to the music that’s already on your phone either – you can also record your own ringtone using your voice or any other noise you can create.
The app is fairly straightforward to use and in this form it comes free of adverts, but if you’d rather have the adverts and not have to pay there’s also a free version available.
Our favorite Android apps for taking notes, writing and editing documents and generally working on the move.
Free + various IAP
Are you bored of using the same old keyboard? If so, then you might want to give Fleksy a try, as it’s stylish and near endlessly customizable through dozens of themes.
Of course, it also does the actual job of being a keyboard admirably. In our experience you can type on it quite fast with minimal mistakes, and the autocorrect works well. It also has extras such as GIFs, handwriting support, gesture controls, and even a whole ‘Fleksyapps’ section, which lets you access a number of apps from within the keyboard.
Say, for example, you’re mid-conversation with a friend, trying to decide where to go for lunch. Usually if you want to look places up, you’d have to switch to another app, but with Fleksy you can just access Yelp from within the keyboard and keep on typing.
You can also access the likes of YouTube and Skyscanner, and we expect other apps will be added over time.
For the most part Fleksy is free, but certain themes cost ‘Fleksycoins’, which can be obtained through doing things like watching adverts (which are never forced on you) and earning badges from your use of the app, or purchased with real money.
Free + various IAP
With the death of Inbox by Gmail, there’s a good chance you’re looking for a new email app, and the clunkily-named Email TypeApp might fit the bill.
It’s absolutely packed full of features, such as a unified inbox for multiple email accounts, Android Wear support, a customizable look, account color-coding, configurable menus, read receipts, the ability to unsend emails, and more.
It also has customizable Do Not Disturb days and hours – a feature that’s sadly missing from some alternative apps.
Email TypeApp is also mostly free. A few extra features such as send later and VIP notifications are chargeable, but you can unlock everything for $6.99/£5.99 and chances are you’ll be happy with the free content anyway.
Free + various IAP
If you have an Android tablet with a keyboard you might be considering doing some serious writing, and if you’re considering that then you should definitely consider using JotterPad.
This isn’t a new app; rather, it’s an old favorite of many that’s regularly updated, ensuring it remains one of the best options for writing on Android.
The core of the app is a distraction-free text editor, but dig into the menus and there are all sorts of tools and options. There’s Markdown support for example, a word count, cloud storage, a phrase search, a built-in dictionary, a dark theme, a rhyming dictionary, numerous fonts, and more.
Some of this stuff is hidden behind IAP, the main one being ‘Pro’, which costs $14.99/£12.99. That might seem steep, but it’s a one-off payment and if you’re writing an essay or novel on JotterPad then you should easily get your money’s worth.
Free + $4.99/£4.99 monthly subscription
Writer Tools is a set of tools for anyone who’s setting out to write a novel. The app makes this daunting task a bit more manageable by letting you create characters and locations.
These sections store these details so they’re always readily available, and help you flesh them out. For example, the character creator lets you fill out all sorts of optional details such as their greatest fear and best memory.
Writer Tools also has a built-in thesaurus, lets you jot down ideas and notes, create timelines, set quarterly writing goals, and more. You can also back-up your work to the cloud, so you’ll never lose it.
This is all free, but for a monthly subscription you can get rid of adverts, access all your historic backups, add images to your characters and locations, switch to a night mode, and more. There’s a lot there, which goes some way to justifying the price, but many users will be fine with the free version.
Free + £8.49 (around $11.10) IAP
If you’re looking for office software on Android there are really only a handful of options, and OfficeSuite is one of the best, thanks largely to how feature-packed it is.
You can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations or PDFs, and you can start from scratch or use one of numerous templates as a jumping off point.
You can share documents and message contributors, save work to the cloud, open two documents and work on them both at once in split-screen, cast presentations across multiple devices, and a whole lot more.
Most of the features in OfficeSuite are totally free, but if you’re using it a lot it’s probably worth upgrading to OfficeSuite Premium, which, among other things, lets you save files in more formats and unlocks more PDF tools, such as the ability to convert PDFs to Word or Excel format, and create and use digital signatures.
Free + $6.99/£5.99 monthly subscription
Microsoft Word probably needs no introduction, but if you do much word processing on your tablet (or even your phone) and haven’t tried the Android app then you really should.
You essentially get the full version, allowing you to view, create and edit documents of various styles, including newsletters, brochures and more.
You can change the font, text color, margins, add bullet points and most other things possible from the desktop version of Word, via a slick, polished interface that’s pleasingly minimal most of the time. You can also save your documents to OneDrive, so they’re accessible from other devices.
Many of the features are free, but you’ll need an Office 365 subscription (which starts at US$6.99/£5.99 per month) to unlock the likes of page and section breaks, columns, different page orientations, and the ability to track and review changes.
Otter Voice Notes
Free + optional subscription
Sometimes you don’t have time to take notes. Recording audio can come in handy, but often means spending time transcribing it later. Not so with Otter Voice Notes.
The app will automatically transcribe what’s spoken using AI, and you can teach it to recognize your voice so it can differentiate between speakers.
Once the audio is transcribed you can read it and correct any mistakes manually. The audio is also recorded, so you can listen back to the recording as well.
The really clever bit though is that Otter will detect keywords automatically, so you can search for a word and the app will find where it appears in any of your recordings. It’s a great feature that makes it easy to find specific information, even if you’ve recorded hours of audio.
You can also create groups, allowing you to share recordings with others, and all of your recordings are stored in the cloud so you can access them on any device and they won’t take up space on your phone.
The only two problems we’ve found so far is that longer recordings can take a while to be transcribed, and the transcription isn’t always perfect. It’s usually good enough that you can tell what it means though, and you can correct any errors so it’s not a big deal.
There are a number of thesaurus apps on Google Play and some are free, but if you’re regularly writing – or looking words up – on your Android device, then Chambers Thesaurus is one of the best options, and worth the outlay.
It has entries for almost 40,000 words, along with around 400,000 synonyms and antonyms, and they’re browsable alphabetically so you can read through the thesaurus if you want, rather than simply searching for a word.
When you do search, you’ll get results as soon as you start typing, and not just for words that fit the spelling, but also similarly spelt words, those that sound similar, and those that are often confused for one another.
You can also bookmark entries and cross reference with the Chambers Dictionary or WordWeb apps (if you have them), or look the words up on Wikipedia, Wiktionary or Google, all with a tap from Chambers Thesaurus.
Data is stored locally, so you don’t need an internet connection to use the Chambers Thesaurus app itself, and there are all sorts of customization options, letting you change the color scheme, font size and more.
Our favorite Android apps for improving productivity, whether through to-do lists, focus timers or other tools.
Free + various IAP
WeNote is a feature-packed note-taking app that probably has the tools you need. It can be used to make both notes and to-do lists, and create reminders. But you can also sort your notes into categories (such as ‘home’ and ‘work’), lock them with a PIN, pattern or password, and pin them to the top of your note list or to the top of your status bar.
Other tools include the ability to change the color of notes, add images, change the theme, back notes up to Google Drive, and more.
That’s all free, but there are various IAPs to unlock additional themes, colors, stickers, widgets, and – perhaps most usefully – the ability to add audio recordings to notes.
Free + $0.99 / £0.99 IAP
ruff is a simple note-taking app, and while you’re not going to write your next novel on it, it’s great for quickly jotting down thoughts as they come to you, while its minimalist interface also means you might happily spend longer periods writing in it.
It contains both light and dark themes and a few other customization options, such as font sizes and whether to launch with the keyboard displayed or not, but for the most part it’s a writing app that tries its best to stay out of your way, with few distractions, and mostly just a blank page displayed (at least until you’ve filled it with text).
The basic app is free, but this is one that’s worth paying for, as if you want more than one note on the go at once you’ll need to upgrade. This also gets rid of adverts and supports the developer, which is worth being reminded of from time to time.
If you and your friends or family regularly owe each other money – say from splitting the check at restaurants, group trips, or shared household bills – then Splitwise could come in very handy.
Essentially, it makes it easy to keep track of who owes what, which is especially useful if you’re not settling up instantly.
You can create groups or use it just with individuals. Any time one of you owes money, you can add it to the app by typing the amount of money, who paid it, and how it’s split (equally, unequally, by percentages, by shares, or by adjustment).
Splitwise will then do the maths to work out each person’s share where possible. And when any money is paid back, there’s a ‘settle up’ option to account for that in the app.
Splitwise stores data in the cloud, so everyone that you’re splitting with can see who owes what from any device, and it supports over 100 currencies. In the US and India you can even pay people back direct from the app, but sadly that’s not currently possible elsewhere. Once it is, Splitwise will be even better.
Firefox is already one of the best browsers you can get on Android (not to mention desktop) but Mozilla – the company behind it – isn’t content to sit back on past achievements. The browser is improving all the time, but if you just can’t wait for the updates to be added to the main app, then Firefox Preview is for you.
This is an early version of an experimental Firefox browser. As such, it may not be as polished or stable as the main release, though we’ve had no problems with it so far.
And that caveat aside it’s very good. It’s up to two times faster than the main Firefox Android app, and has handy features such as ‘Collections’, which lets you save groups of related pages to quickly return to later.
Privacy is also a major focus, as with other versions of Firefox, which for one thing means tracking protection is built in and enabled by default. And of course, Firefox Preview is completely free.
Free + $9.99/£8.99 yearly subscription
There are lots of list apps available on Google Play, many of which aren’t particularly good, but AnyList looks to rank among the best.
The app lets you create as many lists as you want, and if you’re making a grocery list it will automatically sort entries into categories, for example ‘milk’ would be listed under ‘dairy’.
You can also create your own categories for if there aren’t any appropriate ones or if you’re making a different kind of list (such as a packing list or a to-do list).
You can save things to favorites so they’re easy to add back on to any list, and there are various settings you can apply, such as whether to sort a list manually or alphabetically.
Away from the lists there’s also the ability to store recipes and add the necessary ingredients to your shopping list with a tap. Lists can easily be shared with other people too if you want to make them communal.
This is all free, but for a $9.99/£8.99 yearly subscription you can unlock far more features and options, including a meal planning calendar, desktop support, item photos and prices, location-based reminders and a whole lot more. While we’d prefer a one-off purchase, there’s enough here to justify the price.
MyScript Calculator 2
$2.99 / £2.69
At times, MyScript Calculator 2 feels a bit like magic. It lets you write out a calculation by hand, so you’re not reliant on calculator buttons, then its turns it into neat text and solves it for you. In our tests – with our exceedingly messy handwriting – it knew what we were writing every time.
It goes way beyond the basics too, with support for brackets, logarithms, constants, roots, trigonometry, and more.
It also lets you write calculations over multiple lines, scribble out mistakes (or hit the undo button), and drag and drop elements of the calculation to move them around, updating the answer as you do so.It saves previous calculations so you can always return to them, and lets you share your sums with other apps.
The only problem our maths-muddled brain faced was remembering how to write complex sums in the first place, but if you know how to write them, MyScript Calculator 2 is sure to know how to solve them.
$49.99/£47.99 per year
Newton Mail was for a long time one of the best email apps available, but then for some reason it was discontinued. Thankfully, that decision has now been reversed, and Newton Mail is now back and just as good as ever.
It works with most email accounts and is packed full of features, such as read receipts, the ability to schedule and snooze emails, undo sent emails, save attachments to common cloud storage services, get push notifications and a whole lot more.
Newton Mail also works across most devices, including phones, tablets, Wear OS, PCs and Macs, and it has got a slick, intuitive interface.
It’s one of the most powerful email apps around but it comes at a cost – after a 14-day free trial you’ll have to pay $49.99/£47.99 per year. That’s too steep for us to recommend it to everyone, but if you live in your email then it’s definitely worth the outlay.
FX File Explorer
Free + $2.99/£2.79 IAP
FX File Explorer isn’t new – in fact, at the time of writing it’s recently been updated to version 7 – but that just shows you how well-supported it is, and it’s worth being aware of if you’re not already, especially as the version 7 update improves it significantly.
It’s a powerful file explorer and manager, with all the tools you’d expect, such as the ability to browse your files and folders, move or copy them, rename them, create new ones, sort them by their name or date and see which things are taking up the most space on your phone.
It goes beyond many rivals, offering things like a split-screen mode, which lets you view multiple folders at once. There are also gesture controls, customizable themes and more.
Most of the features in FX File Explorer are free too, but for US$2.99/£2.79 you can connect your cloud storage accounts and networked computers, create and explore encrypted ZIP files, and manage playlists for audio files.
Our favorite Android apps for customizing your device and improving its security.
Tor is probably the most secure and privacy-focused web browser available on desktop, and now you can get Tor Browser for Android.
The app uses multi-layered encryption, with your web traffic relayed and encrypted three times. It also blocks trackers, prevents surveillance and resists fingerprinting.
It is, if anything, probably overkill for most people, but the interface – based on Firefox v60 – is fairly slick, so there aren’t too many downsides to using it. And as well as making your online activity more secure, Tor can also bypass many regional restrictions on websites, so it achieves many of the same things as a VPN. It’s also completely free to use.
MIUI-ify Notification Shade
Free + $2.49/£1.99 IAP
Phones are getting bigger, but hands aren’t, which can sometimes pose a problem when it comes to accessing the notification shade, as this typically sits all the way at the top of the screen.
With MIUI-ify Notification Shade you can move it to the bottom, but this is more than just a simple switch of positions. The app also lets you customize the colors and overall look, the size and position of the area you have to swipe over to bring it up, and to pick exactly what shortcuts appear on the shade, among other things.
It works well too, and looks good doing it; the name might be clunky, but in practice MIUI-ify Notification Shade is anything but.
The core app is free but many of the customization options require a one-off $2.49/£1.99 IAP, which should be worth it if you plan to use this app.
Betta Fish Live Wallpaper
Free + $0.99/£0.69 IAP
While live wallpapers can be a little harsher on battery than their static siblings, there’s no denying that they often look great, and Betta Fish Live Wallpaper is one of the best examples.
It allows a betta fish (aka a Siamese fighting fish) to swim around your home screen, with beautiful animations and lots of detail. It’s even slightly interactive, as you can block the fish’s path with a tap or swipe on the screen.
That much you get for free, but for a $0.99/£0.69 IAP you unlock the ability to change the colors of both the fish and the background, change the fish’s movement path, turn the bubbles off, and more. We’d say it’s cheap enough that it’s worth the outlay if you like what you see, but either way you can turn your phone into an eye-catching digital fish tank.
Abstruct – Wallpapers in 4K
Free + $1.99/£1.99 IAP
Abstruct is the official wallpaper app of the man behind the wallpapers used by OnePlus phones, and it includes both those wallpapers and many others created by him.
At the time of writing there are over 300 in all and they’re all available in 4K resolution. They’re also absolutely gorgeous. As the name suggests, they’re mostly abstract, but they’re split into galleries that are each distinct from one another.
There’s one that shows real-world landscapes made to look alien for example, and another where all the designs are made up of polygons.
Many of these galleries are free but to access everything requires a one-off payment of $1.99/£1.99. Paying for wallpapers might seem odd when the internet is packed full of them, but these are good enough that if you like their style it’s worth the outlay – this is one of very few wallpaper apps that we’ve spent money on.
If there are any apps that you pretty much live inside then App Tiles could be for you, as it makes accessing them even quicker and easier.
It does this by letting you add a shortcut to them on your notifications screen, just like you probably have shortcuts to various settings up there now.
App Tiles lets you assign up to six such shortcuts for any apps on your phone, so rather than returning to the home screen to launch one of them you can do so with a swipe and a tap.
This won’t always be faster, especially if you’re already on the relevant home screen, but it gives you one more way to get into them and is sure to save time on some occasions. We wouldn’t say this is essential for everyone, but it works perfectly in our tests and it’s totally free, so it’s well worth checking out if the idea appeals.
Resplash is a wallpaper app that uses content from Unsplash – a site full of stock photography that you can use for free, for anything.
As it’s using content from such a well-established site, Resplash has a massive library, with over 100,000 images, but it’s still easy to find specific styles of photo by searching or browsing by category.
As well as downloading images or setting them straight to your wallpaper, you can also favorite them, so you’ll always be able to find them again, even from a different device. Resplash offers a surprising amount of personalization too, letting you change the theme and the way images are displayed (as a list or a grid, for example).
You can also choose the quality of images when you download them or set them as a wallpaper, with options ranging from ‘thumb’ to ‘raw’. Best of all, it’s completely free, though if you do feel like supporting the makers of the app there is an option to donate.
SAFE is an app that’s designed to, well, help you ensure your phone is safe. It guards against intrusion – whether it’s from hackers, viruses or nosy eyes.
It does this by giving your device four scores. One for its configuration, one for connectivity, one for apps and one for the operating system. Each of these scores is out of five, with higher being better and suggesting a greater level of security.
But you get more than just a number. You also get a breakdown of everything that affected the score, with positives in green and negatives in red. If you tap on any of these you can get additional information, complete with help in solving the problem if it’s a red thing.
Bear in mind that you might disagree with SAFE as to what is and isn’t a problem. For example, it will flag having Bluetooth or NFC on as security issues, which technically they are, but they’re also useful (and essential in some circumstances). You probably won’t want to fix everything, but SAFE could end up highlighting some issues you didn’t know about and making your device safer in the process.
Widgets are a potentially great feature of Android phones, but they can take up a lot of space and leave your home screens feeling cluttered. So, what if you could hide them, but in a place where they’re never more than a swipe away? That’s the concept of Widget Drawer.
The app places a ‘handle’ on your screen, which is basically just a narrow colored line running part way down one edge, and if you swipe it you can see a screen full of widgets.
You can choose which widgets to put on that screen, resize them and move them around. The handle itself is accessible just about everywhere other than your lock screen, so you can even access your widgets when inside other apps.
You can customize the size and color of the handle, and when in the Widget Drawer you can return to the screen underneath either by hitting the cross at the bottom or just tapping any empty space.
It’s the sort of useful app that you might end up wondering how you ever lived without. Or at least it will be with a bit more polish. At the moment resizing widgets feels a bit more clunky than it needs to be and we can’t find a way to remove widgets from the drawer without reinstalling the app. There might be one, but it’s either not obvious or not working for us.
However, that’s not such a surprise, as Widget Drawer is still in early access, so we’d expect it will improve over time.
Free + $39.99 (around £24) per year
Blur is essentially a one stop app for privacy and security online. As you might expect then, it has a number of different features, but the most interesting is perhaps Masked Cards, which lets you shop online without ever entering or exposing your real credit card information.
This works through the creation of disposable virtual credit cards through Blur, so essentially you give retailers a temporary card number that will only work for that one transaction. You can mask your phone number and email in similar ways.
Blur also includes a password manager, so you can create and store passwords in the app and have them auto-filled when you go to a login page for other apps or sites.
Masked emails are free, but most of the other features require a subscription, costing $39.99 (around £24) per year, with discounts available if you commit for two or three years. Note also that the card masking element only works in the US, but Blur is working on making it more widely available.
Google Family Link
Google Family Link is an app aimed at helping you keep an eye on your child’s smartphone or tablet use.
The service, which actually requires two apps – one (Google Family Link for Parents) installed on your device, and the other (Google Family Link for Children and Teenagers) installed on your child’s – gives you all sorts of tools.
For one thing, you can choose which apps your child can access and install, either blocking specific ones or just preventing them from installing anything that you haven’t authorized. You can also see what apps they’re using at any given time, set screen time limits and lock the device when you don’t want them using it.
There’s also a feature that’s more about safety than monitoring, as you can also use Family Link to locate your child’s device at any time, so as long as they’re with it you’ll also have located them. There are other apps and services with a similar set of tools but few if any that are free while also being as feature-packed and polished as this.
Free + $1.49/£1.19 monthly subscription
While there are various security features already built into Android, you can’t be too careful, so it’s well worth considering adding Malwarebytes Security to your app arsenal.
Malwarebytes can scan your device for viruses, adware and malware, but it also offers proactive protection, with real-time ransomware shields, protection from phishing URLs when using Chrome, alerts when there’s a malicious link in a text message, and the ability to block unwanted calls.
Malwarebytes can also conduct a privacy audit on your phone, showing you at a glance what privileges your apps have.
Most of these features are only available in the premium version, which costs $1.49/£1.19 per month or $11.99/£10.99 for a year, but you get a 30-day free trial and if you don’t want to pay you can still scan and clean your phone with the free version.
Free + various subscriptions
There are loads of VPN services available for Android, but ProtonVPN stands out in a few key ways, starting with the fact that you can use it for free, with no bandwidth limits.
It also puts more focus on security and privacy than some – it doesn’t track or record your activity, it offers hundreds of servers all over the world, and its ‘Secure Core’ maintains your privacy is even if a VPN endpoint server is compromised. It’s also easy to use, letting you connect to a server with just a few taps. It might sound too good to be true, but as far as we can tell it’s not.
There are also paid plans that offer even more. For $4/€4 (around £3.50) per month, a basic subscription increases the speed, unlocks servers in all countries and lets you use the app with two devices, while for $8/€8 (roughly £7) you can use ProtonVPN with up to five devices at maximum speeds.
Our favorite Android apps for planning a holiday, checking the weather and getting around without getting lost.
Free + $3.99/£3.99 yearly subscription
It’s not easy to get excited about weather apps, and we can’t claim that Appy Weather changes that, but most of us probably do use one or more of them regularly, and Appy Weather is well worth consideration.
Once a Windows Phone app, it’s finally made its way to Android, where it stands out through an attractive, minimalist and easy to navigate interface that has a look unlike most other weather apps.
Whether you like the style will be subjective, but feature-wise it has got everything most users need, including forecasts for the current day and the next seven days, complete with the temperature, what it ‘feels like’, precipitation, cloud cover, visibility and a whole lot of other details.
Information is largely presented on easy to read graphs and with large, clear text, and the forecasts come from Dark Sky, which is generally accurate in our experience.
A sticking point might be the cost – the free version only lets you search for a forecast 5 times per day. To remove that limit, get rid of adverts, and unlock widgets, you’ll need to subscribe for $3.99/£3.99 per year.
Subscribing to a weather app might seem unappealing, but most users probably won’t need to. After all, how many times a day do you really check the weather? Plus, the app’s author does a good job of justifying the price, as not only is it a great app, they explain that the service used to retrieve the weather isn’t free, so for the app to be sustainable a subscription model is currently necessary.
Whether you’re heading abroad or just want to get more out of the city you live in, Culture Trip could help.
Search for a place or just use your current location and the app will serve up a selection of articles, covering things to see and do, and tips and tricks relevant to the location.
Some of these articles also include videos, and Culture Trip doesn’t stick just with the obvious stuff (for example, a search for New York turned up articles such as The Enchanting Witches of New York City), but there’s plenty of more conventional content too, like lists of the top 20 sights you need to see.
You can bookmark things you’re interested in and download content so you can access it offline – ideal if you’re going to be roaming abroad. There are also links to book hotels and the like straight from the app, and with images everywhere and a nice layout, it’s a pleasure to use and get inspired by.
Free + $3.99/£3.69 annual subscription
Atmosphere Weather aims to stand out from the weather-watching crowd by presenting the forecast like a 24-hour clock. Each hour of weather is presented by a segment on the clock face, giving you a clear way to instantly see the hour-by-hour weather for the next day at a glance.
As well as seeing written temperatures on each hour, there’s also color-coding to represent the different temperatures and how clear the sky is.
You can even get calendar events displayed on the weather clock, and away from that screen there’s also a radar view, complete with wind speeds and directions.
The clock is the main feature though and it’s a genuinely useful and different twist on weather forecasts.
The only downside is that after a two-week free trial you have to either put up with ads or pay a subscription, which will cost you $3.99/£3.69 per year. We'd have preferred to see a one-off payment option, but if you use the app regularly it should be worth the outlay.
Fog of World
Fog of World is a new, fun take on mapping apps, as it’s inspired by the ‘fog of war’ that you get in some video games (that being fog that obscures areas of a map that you’ve not been to yet) but applies it to the real world.
The app gives you a detailed world map, but applies fog to it. Unlike most games the fog doesn’t actually hide the map, it just dulls it a bit. When you’ve been somewhere the fog is removed, so over time you can see all the places you’ve been on a single world map, based on which bits don’t have fog.
To make it more interesting you can level up as you make progress and unlock various achievements, such as for visiting a certain number of countries or crossing the equator. You can also sync your data so it’s available on other devices.
Fog of World isn’t going to replace Google Maps for your navigation needs, but it’s a fun, visual way to see where you’ve been, covering everything from a trip to the local store to your various holidays.
Free + optional $3.99/£3.39 yearly subscription
After a long stint on iOS, CARROT Weather has finally come to Android, and if you like a dose of snark with your forecast it’s worth getting excited about.
Because as well as providing accurate forecasts powered by Dark Sky, CARROT Weather is home to an ‘AI’ that insults you and revels in your weather-related misery. This takes the form of more than 6,000 lines of dialogue, each of which can optionally be spoken aloud by its synthetic voice.
With cute illustrations as well and even a game that sees you following clues to hunt down secret locations, CARROT Weather has more personality than any rival app.
It’s also good for the important matter of telling you the forecast, as you can see hourly and daily forecasts, complete with humidity, UV Index, wind speed and more.
The core app is free, but for US$3.99/£3.39 per year (or US$0.99/£0.89 per month) you can unlock a customizable widget, animated satellite maps, and get rid of adverts.
Moovit isn’t new, but if you ever use public transport it’s well worth knowing about. Simply type a destination and Moovit will give you a selection of ways to get there, using all the public transport routes available.
Tap on a route to get full directions or even a map with live navigation (complete with alerts telling you when to get off the transport you’re on), or further filter your results to minimize walking, use the least number of transfers or cut out certain transport types entirely.
There are also handy features like the ability to save regular destinations and favorite the bus and train lines you use a lot, so you can quickly see their timetables.
Transport timings are real-time where available, so you’ll know if the train or bus is running late, and you can download various maps for offline use. You can also use Moovit all over the world, with transport details for new cities regularly added.
All in all, it’s one of the slickest, most feature-packed public transport navigation apps you can get.
Ever need some inspiration for where to eat? Als, Zomato has you covered.
The app can show you nearby restaurants in a list or on a map, and you can filter results in numerous ways. Only want to see Chinese restaurants? No problem. Need somewhere that accepts bookings? You can do that. After outdoor seating? That’s fine too. And those are just a few examples of the many filters on offer.
There are also ‘collections’, which highlight restaurants that fit a specific theme, such as ‘great breakfasts’ or ‘celebrity chefs’, and when you’ve found somewhere of interest you can get loads more information by tapping on it.
You can see the opening times, pictures, reviews and ratings from other users of Zomato, menus, average costs, recommended dishes, contact details and a list of pros and cons.
From here you can also add your own review, rating or photos, call the restaurant or bookmark it so you don’t forget about it.
There’s also a social side to Zomato; you can follow other users, allowing you to see when they review a restaurant or say that they’ve visited it. Zomato has a lot to offer, and it could help you get out of your culinary comfort zone.
The problem with weather apps is that, for the most part, they only use one source for their data, but Climendo uses lots, and then works out what the most likely weather at any given time is.
The complete selection of weather providers that it uses includes AccuWeather, Weather Underground, NOAA, Met Office, Foreca, Dark Sky, SMHI, YR and World Weather Online – though only the most accurate ones for your location will be used.
You can see hourly or ten day forecasts, complete with the likelihood of each being accurate, or you can dig down to the individual forecasts from each weather provider, to see how they vary.
Climendo lacks some of the more detailed information found in other apps – such as humidity and UV index – but if you just want accurate information on whether or not you need an umbrella then this app is up there with the best.