There’s never been a better time to get into Android apps, as the Google Play store has exploded in recent years, with a proliferation of titles that can cater to your every need.The problem is: there are just too many of them, even with Editors’ Choice, Featured and Best Selling, Top Paid and Top Free categories there to help.You can filter, see Google’s lists or read the reviews – but the easiest (and best) way to find top quality apps is to have someone else do the searching for you.
That’s where we come in. Like you, we want the best apps for our Android phones. The apps that are going to revolutionize functionality or, at the very least, offer something so great that it becomes one of the must-have apps that has to be downloaded whenever you get a new handset.The following apps will be constantly updated and are a mixture of paid and free ones that have been chosen by our Android experts. So, even if you do dip into actual cash for one of these apps, you can be safe in the knowledge it’s a worthwhile purchase.We’ve also sorted them into categories, so you can find what you’re looking for more easily. Click through to the following pages for those or check out the best Android apps of the week below.
Best Android apps of the week
These are the two apps that we’ve chosen to highlight each week. They’re usually new apps or apps that have recently received a major update, but occasionally hidden gems and other essentials will also be highlighted.
Vivaldi Browser Beta
FreeDon’t let the ‘beta’ in the name put you off – this one’s worth getting excited about. Vivaldi Browser Beta is an Android version of the Vivaldi desktop browser, a browser which is enormously customizable and full of thoughtful features.The Android version has things like Speed Dial, giving you quick access to your favorite sites whenever you open a new tab, a built in notepad, and the ability to switch search engines from the search bar itself, just by typing the first letter of their name before your query.Vivaldi Browser Beta also lets you sync your bookmarks, notes, passwords and more across devices (using end-to-end encryption), use private browsing, add searchable descriptions to bookmarks, screenshot entire web pages, switch to a dark mode, and more.If you’re used to Chrome then the layout might take a little getting used to, but this Android app is well worth the effort.
Free + $1.19 / £0.99 monthly subscriptionWe’ve covered Pocket Casts before, but it’s worth highlighting again because it’s now free. That doesn’t mean you’ll be bombarded with adverts or have your data sold; this Android app is truly free with no strings attached.Those who want more or want to support the developers can subscribe to the new Pocket Casts Plus service (for $1.19 / £0.99 per month or $11.99 / £9.99 per year), which unlocks extras like desktop players, additional themes and the ability to upload and play non-podcast files on Pocket Casts.But for everyone else, it’s the same app that so many have known and loved for years, complete with a slick interface and all sorts of handy tools, such as a volume boost for speech, the ability to change the playback speed and trim silence, Chromecast support, and a whole lot more.The developers promise that the free version won’t be neglected either – this is still their core product and will continue to get updated and have new free features added. So if you’ve not already tried Pocket Casts there’s never been a better time.
The best Android camera apps and photo editors
Our favorite Android apps for shooting, sorting and editing photos and videos.
Free + $6.49/£5.99 IAPGlitch Lab is a photo editor packed full of digital glitch effects. You’ve probably seen apps like this before, and the style of effects offered won’t appeal to everyone, but if you like making your pictures look a bit glitchy or retro, this is one of the most capable and versatile ways to do it.There are over 100 effects here, and many of them are customizable, ensuring that your glitches won’t look like anyone else’s.As if to demonstrate the power, it’s even possible to generate an image from scratch, building it up through a number of effects and tweaks.There’s plenty here even for free, but to get the absolute most out of Glitch Lab you’ll need to grab the Pro IAP for $6.49/£5.99. This at the time of writing adds 42 extra effects, 37 new parameters for the free effects, increases the output quality, and more.
$1.99/£1.89DoodleLens is perhaps a bit of a gimmick, but it’s a fun one. Simply doodle something, then point your phone’s camera at the doodle from within the app, and you can copy it and paste it on top of the world around you in augmented reality.You can also change the color of the doodle and even make very basic animations by copying multiple doodles and having the app cycle through them. You can then record and save the results.DoodleLens probably isn’t an app you’ll use often, and we found it a bit hit and miss at recognizing our doodles, but when it works it raises a smile, which is all you can really ask for at $1.99/£1.89.
Free + various subscriptionsPixtica is one of many tools hoping to replace your phone’s default camera app. Camera apps vary a lot, and their success largely depends on your phone make and model, but Pixtica is a decent option if you’re looking for something new.It’s packed full of features, including numerous filters, a GIF recorder, panorama, hyperlapse, manual controls, and oddities such as a ‘Planet’ mode, which warps images into a sphere-like shape using Pixtica’s “advanced stereographic projection algorithm”.There are all sorts of other modes too, whether you’re taking photos or shooting video, and the app is laid out intuitively. However, while many of the functions are free, you have to pay to unlock higher resolutions and to remove watermarks when using filters.The payment gets you other things too, but those are the main things that make the purchase close to essential if you plan to use Pixtica. And that would be fine, except the app opts for a subscription fee (of $1.25/£1.25 for one month with discounts for six months or a year) rather than being available as a one-off purchase. We’re not fans of paying a subscription for a camera app, but if any such app is worth it, it’s Pixtica.
Free + $5.49/£5.49Scribbl is a photo editor that lets you add animations to your pictures. By ‘animations’ we mean basically light trails, but there are various different ways they can be animated, numerous colors you can choose, and you can pick exactly where they appear on images and how large they are.Essentially, it’s an app that does one thing but does it quite well. Once you’ve added an animation you can save the result to your phone’s gallery, ready for sharing.The basic app is free, but for either a one-off fee or a monthly subscription you can remove adverts and unlock additional customization options, as well as unlocking the ability to remove the Scribbl watermark from your creations. If you like the app this is worth paying for, but you can get a good taste of it without spending anything.
Free + $0.99/£0.89 monthly subscriptionPhoto Watermark does exactly what the name suggests – it lets you 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 any other hand-written text) as a watermark by writing on the screen.You can also apply stickers, a timestamp, a location, a mosaic effect, or ‘graffiti’ (which basically just lets you go wild on your images with a digital paintbrush). Whether you want to protect your photo or just log when and where it was taken, there should be a tool here to suit.Photo Watermark is free, but it’s quite heavy on adverts. For $0.99/£0.89 per month you can get rid of them, but unless you’re adding watermarks to a ton of images it’s probably not worth it.
StoryZ Photo Motion & Cinemagraph
Free + $1.99/£1.79 monthly subscriptionStoryZ Photo Motion & Cinemagraph is a photo editing app in two parts. The first of these is ‘Ripple’, a mode which lets you add motion to a static image by drawing the area and direction that 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 simply to add a slightly trippy effect to things that you might expect to be static.The ‘Motion’ mode, which lets you blend a video with a photo, leaves you with an ‘image’ that’s partially static and partially in motion.In both cases it can be hard to make the effect look convincing, but it’s doable, as evidenced by all the impressive public submissions shared on the app. StoryZ also holds contests with specific themes, such as ‘stairs’ or ‘sand’, which you can enter by submitting a relevant creation. The best ones will be featured on the home page and competition page of the app.You can use StoryZ for free, but if you find that you have more of a talent for it than we do then there’s also StoryZ Premium, which for a monthly subscription removes adverts and watermarks, increases the allowable length of videos in Motion mode, improves the toolset in Ripple mode and lets you save and share in high resolution.
Free + £2.91 (roughly $3.70) monthly subscriptionKineMaster is probably one of the most powerful video editors on Android, but it’s also intuitive enough that anyone could enjoy using it.The app lets you add audio and visual filters to footage, add text, stickers and other overlays, alter and trim videos frame-by-frame, adjust the speed, add transition effects and a whole lot more. You can also record videos straight from the KineMaster app. It can feel a little cramped on a phone screen, but otherwise everything works well.You can use KineMaster for free, but all your videos will have a KineMaster watermark and you can’t use them commercially. To remove the watermarks, allow commercial use and unlock additional assets (such as effects and overlays) you have to pay a subscription, but at £2.91 (roughly $3.70) per month it remains affordable.
Moment – Pro Camera
$1.99/£1.79A truly great camera app arguably needs to both avoid clutter and be packed full of manual controls, so you can capture an image exactly as you want it, but that’s a tough balance to strike, and few manage. Moment – Pro Cameraarguably does though.It gives you full manual control, including RAW shooting, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, exposure compensation and focus. There’s also tap to focus, a timer, a grid and several different lenses. It’s an impressive toolkit, with the app focusing more on powerful utilities than gimmicky filters, but it all has a very clean, minimalist look.And it’s designed with ease of use in mind. You can double tap any setting to return it to auto or double tap the viewfinder to turn everything back to auto and all the controls are within easy reach.The main downside of Moment is that it can’t currently shoot videos, but for photos there’s a good chance you’ll want to replace your current camera app with this, and video is apparently in the works.
Free + optional subscriptionYour phone might have a powerful camera, but chances are it doesn’t come with much in the way of photo editing tools. Fortunately, PhotoDirector can fill in the gaps.This app lets you adjust the tone, saturation, white balance and colors of photos you’ve previously taken, as well as adding filters and effects, which you can adjust the strength of and apply to all or just part of an image.You can also add text, stickers, frames, change the perspective, mirror the image, cut sections and a whole lot more.There are lots of tools, but PhotoDirector is easy to navigate and you can always undo your changes, so you’re safe to experiment.And that’s just the editing part of the app. There’s also a built-in camera, which lets you shoot new photos with various effects and see live through the viewfinder how they will affect the image.PhotoDirector is largely free, but if you want to direct to your best there’s a premium version that costs £2.59 (around US$3.70) per month, with discounts if you commit for three months or a year. This unlocks additional tools, boosts the output quality and removes adverts.
LightX Photo Editor
Free + $3.69/£3.49 IAPIf you want an all-in-one photo editor for Android then LightX Photo Editor is a good choice, not least because most of the features are free.You can merge photos, add effects and filters, selectively apply colors to regions of an image, adjust the color balance, smooth and sharpen images, crop them, rotate them, draw on them, add frames and stickers, add text, create collages and a whole lot more.That’s all handled through an intuitive interface; bring up the main menu with a tap, select the category of edits you want to make (filters or frames, for example) and you’ll be taken to a menu with all the relevant options.Most of it is fairly self-explanatory, but there are also tutorial videos for if you get stuck, and for a one-off $3.69/£3.49 IAP you can get rid of adverts, unlock additional stickers and frames, and add the ability to save images in PNG format.
$1.49/£1.39There are plenty of photo editing apps, but while most offer filters and effects few allow you to alter the perspective of a photo in the way SKRWT does.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 flip, rotate, mirror and crop images, but SKRWT isn’t interested so much in modifying photos in unnatural ways, as in making them look exactly as you envisioned 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 monthTattoodo at its heart is a tattoo search engine, letting you search through millions of tattoo images, images that you can filter based on style, motifs or artist.As well as searching and browsing you can also follow artists, so their latest work will pop up in your feed, and you can save images to boards, so you can build up a library of designs that you like.If you have tattoos already and feel like sharing them with the world then images of them can be added to the app, and you can even book tattoo appointments and get free consultations through the app.If you’re a tattoo artist then you can add your store and designs and potentially find new customers through the app too. It’s completely free if you’re looking for or at tattoos, but if you’re an artist and want to get bookings through the app you’ll need to pay for a $5.99/£4.59 monthly subscription.
FreeHouzz is a one-stop app for decorating and furnishing your home. The app has numerous different sections, including a database of over 19 million photos to give you decor ideas, which can be filtered based on style, room and other things. These images can also be sketched on and shared.Houzz lets you buy millions of products (such as furniture) and materials from within the app, and there’s a tool that lets you use augmented reality to see how a product would look in your home.There are articles and videos related to remodelling and improving your home, too. You can find and hire interior decorators, architects and other professionals within the app, and there’s a community where users can ask and answer questions.Houzz isn’t an app that everyone needs on their phone, but it is one that’s definitely worth looking at if you’re considering redecorating or making other home improvements.
Free + $59.99/£54.99 per yearOver is designed primarily for adding text to images, which you might want to do if you’re making a poster or Instagram post, for example.The app lets you select from a wide range of canvas sizes, including some created specifically for different social media purposes, such as Facebook cover photos. Then you can add images, text and graphics.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 graphics you can select from a range of pre-made designs, then adjust color, position and the like.Projects can have multiple layers, and when you’re done you can save the result as a JPG or PNG, or share it.It’s a handy app and everything that we’ve described so far is free, but for an admittedly hefty $59.99/£54.99 per year you get access to an ever-growing library of templates, hundreds of extra fonts, far more graphics and the promise of additional features in future.For the average user this probably isn’t necessary, but if you’re using it for work or need to combine images and text regularly then it could be worth the outlay.
Free + various IAPDigital devices seem an ideal fit for drawing tutorials, yet few drawing apps seem to take advantage of them. Instead they often assume you already know what you’re doing or will learn outside the app, while many of the ones that do teach you rely on static images and text, but Draw.ai is more interactive.While not a comprehensive guide to drawing, it offers a large assortment of images and guides you towards recreating each one step by step, one line at a time. By which we mean the app will draw a line or two from the image, then make it appear faint so you can draw the same thing over it.This continues until the image is complete, after which you’re free to color it (without a guide). Once you’re finished, Draw.ai will show a short video of the entire process you went through.The actual drawing tools are more limited than some apps, but there is at least a handy undo button that erases the last line you drew or change you made – something beginners will be making use of a lot.Many of the images are free and more are added all the time, but to access everything you’ll have to pay a $5.99/£5.49 weekly subscription (with big discounts available if you pay monthly or yearly instead – you can get a full year for $59.99/£52.99).
Sketch – Draw & Paint
Free + various IAPSketch – Draw & Paint is a photo editor, sketching app and art community all in one, and while it’s not the deepest option for any of those things, it’s fun and easy to use.On the sketching side you get a variety of different pen and brush types of different sizes and colors, along with the ability to add text and stickers and some basic tools, such as a ruler and layers.You can either start with a blank canvas or take or import a photo, which brings us to the photo editing aspect of Sketch, an aspect which relies on the same set of tools.As for the community, Sketch lets you upload your creations and share them with other Sketch users, as you can also browse through people’s artworks. There are categories for this, including ‘trending’ and ‘newcomers’, or you can just search for something specific.You can comment on or like any of the shared artworks, and follow their creator so you can more easily keep track of any other work they produce. The actual quality of work in the community is varied, but that means it should be less intimidating to share your own.Sketch – Draw & Paint is mostly free, but you can buy extra sticker packs or for £0.99 (around US$1.30) per month subscribe to Sketch Premium to unlock all the stickers, remove adverts, get a transparent background and be able to use a custom canvas size.
Free + $7.49/£5.99 subscriptionDesygner lets you unleash your inner graphic designer on your phone or tablet, but with an intuitive interface and thousands of templates it’s simple enough for beginners to use.You can combine text, shapes, images, stickers, backgrounds and more to create logos, posters, adverts, PowerPoint-like presentations, postcards or any number of other things where images and typography are important.Each component of your design can be moved, resized, rotated, flipped, duplicated or have its color changed, and you can work with multiple layers. Results can then be saved to your device to be used wherever you want.We suspect it might be a bit limited for professional graphic designers, who may want more freedom to completely create designs from scratch, but for everyone else Desygner is a great way to make something that looks professional.The basic app is free but certain features, as well as the majority of the templates, require a monthly subscription which costs $7.49/£5.99. That’s probably worth it if you’re going to use the app semi-regularly, but if you just want to design something as a one-off you might find the free version good enough.
$7.99/£6.99There’s no shortage of apps for digital artists, but Infinite Painter is one of the most feature-packed, with dozens of brush presets and the ability to create your own, along with layers, blending, editing tools and more, plus the option to export your images as JPEG, PNG, PSD or ZIP.But as well as being packed full of features, Infinite Painter also takes the time to show you how they all work, with detailed tutorials and guides, although the interface is so simple that you should be able to muddle your way through most things anyway.A lot of the features are hidden behind a paywall, with it costing $7.99/£6.99 to unlock everything, but the app includes a free seven-day trial, letting you try everything out before you decide whether you want to put money down, which if you’re a fan of digital art you probably will, because you get a lot for your money.
Our favorite Android apps for learning new things, from history to music to coding and beyond.
Elements of Photography
Free + various IAPThanks to smartphones, most of us now have a fairly capable and versatile digital camera in our pockets at all times, but many of us won’t know how to get the most out of it.That’s not necessarily a huge problem – phone cameras are typically designed to work well when you just point and shoot, but if you do want to take your photography to the next level then something like Elements of Photography can help.This app contains a number of tutorials that guide you through the various principles of photography, from basics like shutter speed and composition to more advanced lessons.Elements of Photography keeps things bite-sized and engaging by using small chunks of text and plenty of images rather than walls of explanation or time-consuming videos.You also get tips, tools (such as a depth of field calculator) and a quiz, though these, along with many of the tutorials, are hidden behind IAP. Still, unlocking everything only costs $7.99/£5.49, and there’s enough free content that you should be able to decide whether the rest is worth the money.
£8.99/$9.99 per monthFluent Forever is one of a growing number of language apps, but whereas most aim to gamify the learning process, Fluent Forever is rather more serious in its approach.That might make it feel a bit less accessible, but if you’re serious about learning a language then it could also work better, especially if the likes of Duolingo aren’t doing the trick for you.There are numerous different exercises in the app, along with explainer videos, but one of its core features is personalized flash cards, which let you select a card with an image of your choice for each word you’re trying to learn.That, along with pronunciation lessons, and a focus on only the words and grammar that are important to you, could be the trick to making 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’s a two-week free trial.
Free + $3.99/£3.99 per monthThere’s more to looking after many plants than putting them in the sun and giving them the occasional sip of water. Some need watering more often than others, some have different temperature or lighting requirements, some even require pruning or other care and attention.Knowing exactly what any given plant needs isn’t always easy though and we’re sure we’re not alone in wondering why plants we thought we’d looked after well had died. But with SmartPlant you don’t need to wonder any more, and you’re more likely to keep your plants alive in the first place.The app lets you build a database of any and all plants you own and it will automatically create a calendar for each of them, advising you on what to do at specific points of the year – for example telling you where to place it, when to re-pot it and how much to water it. And if you’re not sure what a plant is called then you can snap a picture of it to have SmartPlant identify it.The app also has general information on a wide range of plants, such as the type of soil they like and when they bloom.If you need more, then an optional subscription lets you talk to experts in-app. They can give you advice on general plant care, solving problems or any other plant-related query.
Free + $19.99/£17.99 monthly subscriptionFlowkey aims to teach you piano, and it can give you feedback on your playing just by listening through your phone’s microphone – no cables are required.As well as real feedback, Flowkey also offers a large number of video tutorials covering things like ‘Note Value and Rhythm’ and ‘Mastering Key Jumps’, plus a selection of over 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 includes songs suited for various different skill levels.There’s a lot here, but most of it isn’t free. There are a handful of free songs and tutorials to get you started, but to get much out of Flowkey you’ll have to invest in a monthly subscription. That’s not cheap, coming in at $19.99/£17.99 per month (albeit with big discounts if you commit for six months or a year).That could be a tough sell since you’ll probably still want proper lessons too, but you certainly get a lot of content for your money.
Learn Java Pro
$3/£3Learn Java Pro is one of many apps focused on teaching you to code – in this case in Java, but where most take you through bite-sized exercises, this has both a coding area (where you can practice your Java skills) and an extensive library of tutorials taking you through basic and advanced aspects of Java.These tutorials aren’t interactive as such; they’re more like a textbook, which is the part of learning that’s missing from many other coding apps. But there’s a shortcut to the coding area at the top right corner of each tutorial, so you’re never more than a tap away from practicing what you’ve learnt.There’s also a library of practice programs, plus various questions and answers related to all things Java. Learn Java Pro works offline so you can read and practice anywhere, and all of the content is available for the one low price listed above, so while it’s not free it’s still rather generous and a great learning tool.
Learn Spanish with Lirica
Free + $9.99/£8.99 monthly subscriptionLearn Spanish with Lirica takes a novel approach to language learning, as it attempts to teach you Spanish through songs.The app lets you listen to a number of Spanish-language songs (many of which are famous) and has you learn the words that are used in them.You can watch the music video with the words appearing underneath, with or without an English translation, and then you can go through a song verse by verse, answering questions about what you’ve heard.There are a few different exercises, such as rearranging lyrics so that they’re in the right order or selecting the word that was used in the song, and as you go you can earn points and achievements.Lirica is more than just a gimmick. Songs are often catchy and memorable, so they make sense as a way to learn a language. There are two downsides to the app though. The first is that it only teaches you Spanish, and the second is that much of the content is hidden behind a fairly pricey subscription.But there’s enough free stuff to be getting started with it and if you like what you hear then a subscription could be worthwhile.
Mobile Observatory 3 Pro – Astronomy
$5.49/£4.99Mobile Observatory 3 Pro – Astronomy is a comprehensive astronomy tool, letting you see details of the sky as it appears from your location. You can use it to check names and descriptions of celestial bodies that should be visible at the current time, or you can change to a different time or day.You can also get notifications warning you of celestial events that you should be able to see, and there are all sorts of other tools, such as a 3D view of the solar system, and the ability to see the sky in augmented reality with the details of what you’re looking at overlaid.There are tens of thousands of stars and planets included, along with information on moon phases, eclipses and plenty more besides. Although this isn’t a free app, given how much content there is it still feels very generous given that you get the whole app for one $5.49/£4.99 payment.
Shepard Fairey AR – DAMAGED
$4.99/£4.59We’ve not always been entirely convinced by digital versions of real-world exhibits, but Shepard Fairey AR – DAMAGED does it right.The app is a digital version of Shepard Fairey’s DAMAGED exhibit and it’s a great option for anyone who can’t make it to the real show in Los Angeles.The app lets you walk around the exhibit with taps and swipes, or you can set it so that rotating your phone also changes your view in the exhibit. Or go even further and use an augmented reality mode that lets you physically walk around the exhibit, using your phone as a window into it.It’s not just the exhibit, either – you also get over 100 minutes of narration from Fairey explaining the various artworks, which combined show that the world – and especially the US – is in a state of crisis, but that much of the damage can be repaired.
From $89.99/£84.99MasterClass 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 subscriptionApps 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 subscriptionsFew 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 subscriptionWhile 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.
FreeYouTube is packed full of great content for kids, but there’s also a lot of unsuitable stuff. The solution – assuming you don’t want to completely micromanage their viewing – is YouTube Kids, an app that’s been around for a while and has only got better with time.The app lets you select an age range for your child and will only show them age-appropriate content, though you can further filter what they can and can’t access if you want.YouTube Kids also lets you set up multiple profiles, so if you have more than one kid they can each have their own tailored safe space.You can also set timers to limit how long they can watch for, see the history of what they’ve watched, choose whether to let them search for videos manually (or be limited to channels that have been verified by YouTube Kids), and more. You have a lot of control, your kids get access to a lot of content, and it’s all wrapped up in a slick, colorful app that’s a joy to use.
FreeTrill 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.
Image credit: Goodreads / TechRadarGoodreads
FreeGoodreads 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 IAPSmartphones 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.
FreeDepop 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
FreeYou’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.
FreeSoon 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
$0.99/£0.59Some 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 subscriptionPocket 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.
$9.99/£7.99 per monthIn 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.
Free + various IAPMission Adventure aims to turn any walk into a mission, or, er, an adventure. Aimed primarily at young children, it allows a route setter (that’s you) to create a walking route on a map of the area around you.The route will have a number of markers on it, and at each marker part of a story will unfold. For free you get access to a swashbuckling tale, where players will interact with pirates and explore the seas by walking (or sometimes running) from one marker to another, and by answering nautical questions.The story has 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’s not a ton of content, but stories can play out differently based on the decisions you make and whether you get questions right or wrong. The developers also have more story packs in the works. In fact, by the time you read this, some might be available.And while it lasts, Mission Adventure has the potential to be a lot of fun for youngsters, and a useful tool for getting them out of the house – if not away from screens.
FreeMany 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 IAPBedtime 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 subscriptionFreeMind 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 subscriptionBreeze 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 yearShine 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/£3.95Quitting 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 monthMost 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 subscriptionIf 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 IAPEver 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 subscriptionSeven – 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 + $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.
Image credit: TechRadar / Luminary MediaLuminary
Free + $7.99/£6.99 per monthLuminary 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.
Image credit: TechRadar / AudmAudm
$7.99/£6.49 per monthAudm 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.
FreeLaughable 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.
$3.99/£3.99Pocket 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 IAPSerial 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
$3.99/£3.39Poweramp 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 subscriptionYouTube 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 IAPTaoMix 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
$3.99/£3.29Got 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 IAPAre 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 IAPWith 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 IAPIf 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 subscriptionWriter 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) IAPIf 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 subscriptionMicrosoft 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 subscriptionSometimes 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.
$4.99/£2.99There 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.
Microsoft To Do
FreeMicrosoft To Do has progressed slowly, but it has reached the point now where it’s genuinely one of the best list-making apps on Android.It’s now much prettier than it once was, for a start, with full-color customizable backgrounds and the sort of polished overall appearance you’d expect from an app by a company as big as Microsoft.The list-making part is good too. You can group lists, decide whether completed entries should be hidden or simply struck through, and star important tasks, all of which will then also appear on a separate ‘Important’ list.There’s also a ‘My Day’ section, helping you focus just on the tasks that you want to get done in the next 24 hours.Within each list you can choose to sort by importance, due date, creation date, or alphabetically. You can create collaborative lists or share a copy of a list. And if you’re currently using Wunderlist you can import all of your content from that (as Microsoft owns that too).
Expenses: Simple Tracker
FreeExpenses: Simple Tracker is a simple, speedy way to track expenses. Simply tap the ‘Add Expense’ button to add an expense, including the amount, the currency (though you can separately choose a default currency, so you’ll only have to change this when using another), and the date that the expense occurred – with the current date selected by default.You can also add optional notes and tags, the latter of which you create yourself. You may want to do this to separate your expenses into different categories, such as ‘bills’ and ‘groceries’. You can attach multiple tags to an expense if it fits into more than one category.The main screen of Expenses: Simple Tracker will then give an overview of your expenses. It initially shows your all-time expenses total, with a list of these expenses below, sorted by date. However, you can also choose just to see expenses from the current day, the week or the month. And you can filter by tags. So if you only want to see what you’ve spent on socializing, you can do that – as long as you tagged the expenses in the first place.You can’t connect a bank account to the app, which is both a blessing and a curse. It keeps it simple, but means you have to manually enter every expense. Still, it’s slick and it’s free – so downloading the app won’t be something you have to add to your expenses.
Free + $2.99 (around £2.45) monthly subscriptionChecketry is a file and download manager that lets you keep tabs on and manage downloads that are happening on your PC, from your phone.It can access downloads from Chrome and Firefox (with the appropriate browser plugins installed), manage torrents and even control your Steam downloads.The free version mostly just lets you view current, queued and finished downloads, but upgrade for a monthly or yearly subscription and you can also pause or cancel downloads and even access some remote desktop tools, such as the ability to shut down your PC from afar.It’s a great tool if you ever leave downloads running on your PC while you’re not at your desk, and is worth a download even if you stick with the free version.
FreeIf you use Chrome on your computer then with the help of Crono you can very easily get all of your smartphone notifications on your desktop, and even reply to messages.Simply install the app on your phone and the Chrome extension on your computer, then scan a QR code, similar to how you log in to WhatsApp Web, and from there – like WhatsApp Web – your messages will pop up in your browser.You won’t be limited to WhatsApp messages, though – emails, SMS messages and other chat apps are all supported, as is replying to the messages. You can view calendar notifications, any timers you have running, and pretty much anything else happening on your phone as well.Crono also lets you reject calls from your browser and ring your phone, which is handy if you’ve misplaced it. And all of the notifications sent through Crono sport end-to-end encryption, so it’s secure too.
FreeGoogle Go has had quite a lot of media attention, yet it’s likely to be quite niche. It’s basically a stripped back web browser made by Google, designed to use far less data, processing power and storage space than Chrome or most other mobile browsers.It’s been available in emerging markets for some time, which is understandable since they’re typically where a lot of people will have tight data limits and/or lower spec devices, but it’s now available globally and could be worth a look if you want to keep your apps or data use to a minimum.Being a Google app it’s predictably polished. It’s also packed with more features than you might expect, such as voice and GIF search, and the ability to take photos to have Google translate text in them or search for the subject.
FreeIf 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.
MyScript Calculator 2
$2.99 / £2.69At 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 yearNewton 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.
Our favorite Android apps for customizing your device and improving its security.
Image credit: The Tor ProjectTor Browser
FreeTor 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.
Image credit: Tom Bayley / TechRadarMIUI-ify Notification Shade
Free + $2.49/£1.99 IAPPhones 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 IAPWhile 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 IAPAbstruct 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.
FreeIf 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.
FreeResplash 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.
FreeSAFE 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.
$0.99/£0.89Widgets 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 yearBlur 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
FreeGoogle 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 subscriptionWhile 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 subscriptionsThere 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.
Image credit: TechRadarAppy Weather
Free + $3.99/£3.99 yearly subscriptionIt’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.
FreeWhether 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 subscriptionAtmosphere 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
$4.99/£4.49Fog 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 subscriptionAfter 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.
FreeMoovit 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.
FreeEver need some inspiration for where to eat? If so, 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.
$3.99/£3.49 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.