Although it’s pretty well equipped from the point of view of hardware and also pretty good to look at, a smartphone does little if it doesn’t have the right apps. That’s why today I want to offer you a list with the best Android apps that shouldn’t be missed for anything in the world.
Lower your eyes a few inches and you’ll find dozens of apps dedicated to the Internet, communication, multimedia, and productivity that are just waiting but being downloaded. Try them all out and I assure you that you won’t regret it. Most of them are free, apart from some small “gems” for a fee that I think are worth considering … because the work of developers should be supported and you want more functional, good looking apps!
Note: Some applications, such as backup and system maintenance applications, can require root access. This is a long but simple procedure through which you get administrator privileges on Android and the ability to change the system more thoroughly. I talked about this in great detail in my tutorial on how to get root access on Android. Follow it carefully and you can take advantage of 100% of the features of some apps listed in this post.
Let’s start with the best Android apps dedicated to online browsing, reading news and e-mail.
- Chrome – as well as on PC, even on Android Chrome has soon earned the title of “must-have browser”. It’s light, fast, and functional. It also supports the synchronisation of all navigation data with computers, tablets, and other smartphones. Free.
- Firefox – the mobile version of the famous Mozilla browser. Synchronises data with your computer and also supports extensions.
- Puffin Browser – the only browser for Android that 100% supports Flash Player. It’s based on a cloud system, so playing games and videos is not always very slick, but it’s definitely worth trying. Free.
- Feedly – after closing Google Reader, Feedly quickly became the favourite feed reader for millions of users. This is the official app that makes reading news very easy even on smartphones and tablets. Free.
- Pocket – sticking to the subject of news, Pocket is one of the best “read later” services that allows you to put aside articles you find online and check them out later, even offline. Free.
- Microsoft Outlook – a complete email client that provides support for all major email services and synchronises data with cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive. 100% free and doesn’t require Office 365 subscription.
- Gmail inbox – a great alternative to traditional mail clients. It automatically groups messages into categories and allows you to manage your mail as if it were a to-do list, postponing messages to be answered at other times and quickly archiving read ones. It works with gesture controls and is completely free. It works only with Gmail accounts.
- Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive – the official apps of the most popular cloud storage services of the moment. If you use them, install them!
- Infinit – this is an excellent free app that allows you to share files between smartphones, tablets and computers across a Wi-Fi network. It’s easy to use and supports all major desktop and mobile operating systems.
Calls and Messages
Now let’s move on to a collection of the best Android apps dedicated to communication, for free phone calls over the Internet, texting, and keeping in touch with your friends on social networks.
- Facebook Messenger – the app for free messaging with your Facebook friends. It also allows you to make free calls over the Internet. Simply a must-have for all Facebook members, along with the official Facebook app. Free.
- WhatsApp – Does this need any introduction? It’s simply one of the most popular free messaging apps available. The app is free forever (the annual fee of € 0.89 was abolished in January 2016).
- Telegram – another very popular messaging service. Many prefer it to WhatsApp, although in terms of privacy it’s less secure overall.
- Skype – despite the many alternatives available on the market, Skype remains the most used VoIP app in the world and the one that offers the most convenient rates for making calls abroad. It supports voice calls, chat, and video calls for free.
- Google Duo – excellent alternative to Skype developed by Google.
- IM + – allows you to use one app for multiple messaging networks like Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Jabber and Steam. Free.
- Fenix – one of the best Twitter apps for Android which you can use to monitor your timeline, watch videos, look at photos, and browse web pages without switching to app. It costs 5.49 dollars. If you think that’s too expensive, you can upgrade to the latest version of the official Twitter app which is completely free.
- Hangouts – the successor to the legendary Google Talk. It allows you to chat, hold video conferences, and exchange files easily. All free.
- Google Allo – Google messaging application. It has the distinct feature of providing information related to the topic of conversation using the artificial intelligence of “big G”.
- Ookla SpeedTest – a very famous app for evaluating network performance.
What are the best Android apps that you can use as a navigator to find where you have to go? Let’s find out right away together!
- Waze – an exceptional free browser that allows you to have (and to send) real-time information on traffic, petrol prices, speed cameras and much more. Its only flaw is that it doesn’t yet support offline map downloads.
- TomTom Go – one of the most complete browsers on the Google Play Store. It is based on the very reliable TomTom maps and allows you to consult routes even in offline mode. It is free up to 75Km of navigation per month. To get rid of this limit you have to sign a plan costing 19.99 dollars per year.
- Sygic – one of the best GPS navigators for Android. Based on TomTom maps, it offers offline access and includes a number of features. You can use it for free for 7 days then you have to buy one of the map packages available (prices range from 40 to 120 dollars).
- Google Maps – the good old Google maps service allows you to find the best way to get anywhere. It also includes an excellent function that provides voice instructions on the routes to follow. Free.
- HERR WeGo – excellent free map service. It also provides detailed information on the routes to be done with car sharing and cycling services. It also supports offline browsing.
- Moovit – an excellent free browser focused on public transport. It provides detailed information on bus, train and metro timetables. It also includes real-time information on strikes, delays and breakdowns of public transport.
Music, Video and Photo
Now, who isn’t using their mobile phone to listen to music, watch videos or take pictures? Here are the best Android apps for all these activities.
- Spotify – the official client of one of the world’s most popular streaming music services. It allows you to listen to music in shuffle mode for free. By subscribing the Premium payment plan of the service (9.99 dollars/ month) you can listen to any song on demand and activate offline support for your favourite music.
- Google Play Music – the Google music service. It allows you to listen to streaming music (à la Spotify) by paying a monthly subscription and buying songs / albums locally (like iTunes). The monthly subscription costs 9.99 dollars.
- Poweramp – according to many, the best audio player for Android. It supports all major audio file formats (mp3, mp4 / m4a, ogg, wma, flac, wav, bee, wv, tta, mpc and aiff), includes a 10-band equalizer, allows you to increase the volume of music without excessive distortion and offers many other advanced options. Free.
- TuneIn Radio – the best online radio stations from around the world that can be listened to. Free.
- Podcast Addict – excellent free app for listening to podcasts. It supports streaming, episode searches and offers lots of advanced features that are hard to find even in paid applications.
- VLC – the hugely popular universal video media player is also available on Android. It supports all major video file formats. Free.
- BSPlayer – another great video player. It supports all major media file formats and allows you to play even the files on the local network. Free with advertising. To remove banners you can buy the full version of the player for 4.99 dollars.
- AndStream – allows you to play hosted videos on streaming and file hosting services. It also supports Chromecast. Free.
- LocalCast – allows you to send videos from the local network to the Chromecast. Free.
- Camera Zoom FX – one of the best apps for taking pictures other than the standard Android app. It supports a wide range of effects and advanced features that improve the quality of the shots. It costs 1.99 dollars. Alternatively there is Camera360 ultimate which offers almost the same functions and can be downloaded for free.
- VSCOCam – one of the best free apps for editing photos on mobile devices. It includes many advanced filters, effects, and allows you to manually adjust parameters such as shadows, lights and colours. To unlock additional effects and filters you need to make in-app purchases.
- SnapSeed – Another excellent photo editing app. It offers all the tools necessary to correct defects that are most commonly found in photos and / or render them small artistic works.
- Prisma – a popular free app for applying artistic effects to photos. Surprisingly its ability to recognize facial features and its accuracy with filters is very good.
- Image Combiner – allows you to combine two or more images and share them with other apps on the device.
- Instagram – the photographic social network par excellence, where everyone can take pictures, make them artistic with vintage effects and share them with users all over the world. Free.
- Google Photos – the default app for managing Google photos. It allows you to store your photos online in a completely free and unlimited way.
- Netflix – I don’t think it needs any introduction. This is the world’s most popular on-demand video service. It offers films, TV series, documentaries and cartoons in very high quality. The app is free, but the subscription to the service is from 7.99 dollars/ month. It also supports Chromecast.
- Infinity – one of the best alternatives to Netflix. It offers a slightly larger film catalogue, but Netflix series triumph. The app is free, but a subscription to the service costs € 7.99 / month (discounted to 5.99 € / month during the promo period). It supports Chromecast.
- Kodi – a popular free and open source media centre which, through special add-ons, allows you to watch movies, TV series, anime and TV streaming easily.
- ADV Screen Recorder – a free app that allows you to film the Android screen without using a computer. On Android 5.0 and later it also works without the root.
Working with smartphones and tablets, why not? And with these apps it becomes even more convenient and easy.
- Microsoft Office – Microsoft’s famous suite is available as a single app. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and OneDrive are all free, with extra features for Office 365 subscribers. Alternatively, there is also the old Office Mobile app that allows you to work with Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. But it has more limited functions than the individual applications.
- WPS Office – one of the best “alternative” office suites available for Android. It lets you to create, view and edit all Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. It also supports PDFs and interacts with cloud storage services.
- Xodo PDF – the perfect app for those who need not only to read PDF files on the move but also to edit them with annotations, highlights and more. Free.
- Scanbot – a great app that turns your smartphone’s camera into a scanner and saves scanned documents as PDF files. It supports all major cloud storage services. It’s available in a free basic version and a more advanced version that costs € 4.49 and also includes text recognition OCR.
- Wunderlist – simple and essential application for managing to-do lists. It synchronizes with all devices and operating systems and there’s a convenient online version of the service accessible from any browser. All free. Alternatively there is Any.do which offers a more minimalist approach to to-do lists.
- Google Keep – the Google annotation service. Allows you to annotate any type of information with maximum speed and synchronizes the notes on all devices.
- Nimbus Clipper – allows you to customize screenshots with annotations, arrows, blurring, etc. It also includes tools for capturing web pages, adding annotations to PDFs and much more.
- Pushbullet – free application which, once installed on your smartphone, allows you to receive notifications and reply to messages directly from your PC through a special extension installed on Chrome.
- AirDroid – another excellent application that allows you to interact with your phone from your computer (in this case through an application and not via a browser extension). It also allows you to send and receive files from your smartphone and to command Android remotely (a function that requires root).
- ES File Explorer – the best file manager available on Android. It is completely free and on rooted devices it also allows access to system folders.
- Texpand – allows you to set abbreviations for phrases and words in order to “expand” them when they are typed. It’s free in its basic version (which supports a limited number of abbreviations) and the full version costs 3.32 dollars.
- Mobizen – excellent free application that, combined with a dedicated PC client, allows you to view the Android screen on your computer and register it.
- 1Password – one of the best password management services. It allows you to store all your passwords, annotations and documents in an encrypted archive synchronized over the Internet between multiple devices. It’s not free, but you can buy the standard version (with a one-time payment) or the subscription version for about 3 dollars / month (invoiced annually).
Safety, Maintenance and Customization
To round it off, here are some apps dedicated to the Android security and customisation. Use them and get the most out of your devices!
- Nova Launcher – one of the best launchers currently available on the Play Store. It’s light, fast and allows you to customize every aspect of the home screen of your device. It supports external icon packs and allows you to have a sliding dock bar. It’s free but there is a paid version that costs 4.50 dollars and includes advanced features, such as the ability to add folders in the drawer and gesture support.
- Google Keyboard – probably the best keyboard for Android. It’s very convenient, always includes precise tips and, thanks to its gesture system, allows you to type texts without ever taking your finger off the screen. Words are formed almost by magic simply by rubbing your finger on the keypad. Alternatively, there is also the excellent Fleksy Keyboard that supports very comfortable gestures and can be customised with many extensions.
- Titanium Backup – the best backup app available on Android. It allows you to make complete backups of apps, data and settings, but for more advanced features it requires root access. It’s available in two versions, one for free and one for a fee (5.99 dollars) which allows encryption of backups, keeps multiple versions of the same app, and includes support for cloud storage services.
- Avast Mobile Security – excellent free antivirus for Android that always comes first in comparative tests. In addition to protecting the system from malware, it allows you to track lost devices remotely, filter calls, and much more.
- SD Maid – this is an excellent system cleaning app. It’s not at all invasive and is very easy to use. It’s available in two different versions, one of which is free, which can delete only the system cache and “orphan” files and a paid one (2.44 dollar) which also deletes the cache of third-party applications. Alternatively, you can try CCleaner for Android which is completely free and allows you to clear the app cache, the history, and all the “orphan” files.
- Greenify – a very useful energy saving app that allows you to “hibernate” applications and prevent them from consuming power when the phone screen is off. It’s available in two versions, one for free and one for a fee (€ 2.29), which allows the ability to hibernate system apps and other advanced features. This requires root access.
- DiskDigger – one of the best apps for recovering deleted files on Android. It’s available in two versions, one that allows you to recover just photos and a paid version (3.37 dollars) that supports many different types of files. For more info read my post on root access.