The top app preferences of an Android fanboy
Why would anyone want to read a list of my favourite Android apps?
Well, here’s why:
1. I love tech, everything associated with it, hence I pride myself in finding and using the best of everything tech.
2. Although a late adopter of Android (I had a Windows phone earlier if you can believe it), I am a huge fan of the operating system and love to play around with it.
3. Trying out new and useful apps is a hobby of mine, and I strive to stock my phone with the best and most useful ones from the pack.
Let’s get on with the list:
Microsoft SMS Organizer
Although the default Android Messages app has gotten better over the years, it still lacks some of the more nuanced features that are provided by third-party alternatives. Although ironical, the best SMS app in the Android Playstore is one made by Microsoft — the SMS Organizer.
I need to add a disclaimer though, this app is not for people who still use SMS for conversations. As the name suggests, the app organizes all your messages into neat little buckets like personal, transactions, promotions and starred. In addition, you have a separate tab that automatically creates reminders from your messages, including trains and online order tracking!
The icing on the cake is the final feature — it gathers all your finance messages and provides a neat little window with all the balances and transaction details. Pretty useful, right!
I know that I need to tread carefully here as everyone has their own favourite wallpaper app(s). Personal preferences aside, I have to declare Tapet as the winner here — just because it ticks the most boxes.
Tapet automatically generates the highest quality pattern wallpapers for your phone without internet. With the total permutation of patterns and colours running into millions, it is virtually impossible to get the same wallpaper again, and what more, you can set the wallpapers to auto-update at intervals of your choice. You also have the option to customize a colour palette and configure your favourite patterns to reappear at a set frequency.
And if all this doesn’t already seal the deal, it has an insanely simple UI which consists of just swipes in four directions for different actions.
Digital Detox is all the rage these days, and Forest is way ahead of the curve with some pretty cool features. Although Google’s Digital Wellbeing deserves a mention for its noteworthy features, Forest takes it a bit further by giving the entire process a purpose — growing plants. This two-front approach comes coupled with a brilliant strategy — the longer you stay away from your phone, the more trees you help plant! In simple words, the app lets you grow virtual plants (with a lot of interesting plant choices) and build a forest, and when you have enough coins/minutes in your name, you can spend it to plant a real tree. You can add friends and join a group detox event, earn achievements and view a bucketload of stats for the time you detox-ed (not a real word).
If any of you think Mint deserves the first spot, I say no — its Money Lover. It's simple to use and has quite a few positive points (at least enough to balance out the terrible naming). Having used both Walnut and Mint in the past, I found them lacking in certain departments. Money Lover requires you to manually enter your expenses, which I still believe is the best way coz we all know how absurd things can get when apps read payments automatically from SMS (read Walnut). I have been using the app for three years, and even found it useful enough that I spent a few bucks for the premium version. The app lets you create events, set budgets, track debts, and monitor your bills.
(Selecting an app for finance was entirely a personal preference based on my specific set of requirements.)
OK. You caught me. I created this category just to add Google Recorder to this list and I don’t regret it. The app is downright phenomenal! The standout feature is that you can transcribe the speech in real-time. With the latest update, you can copy, edit and share portions of your transcription as well.
What’s the catch then? Sadly, its availability is limited to Pixel devices.
Hear me out before you dismiss this off as rubbish. People dislike Google Fit because it had bare minimum features and abysmal tracking capabilities. Google has tried hard to fix it and even succeeded to an extent. The new feature update has added plenty of features to the app and has also vastly improved its UI. Against the likes of Fitbit, Runtastic and other premium names in the fitness spectrum, Google Fit never stood a chance in the tracking department. Where it shines is as a platform to consolidate all the health metrics from various specialized apps and give you a complete picture. Having integrations with every fitness app imaginable is an added bonus.
Personally, I have integrated Google Fit with my smart band (Mi Fit App), smart scale (Lifetronics app) and Strava.
This may not be news for most of you, but its a pretty big deal for a staunch Google loyalist like me. Having been a vocal advocate of Play Music in its heydays and one of the first adopters of YouTube Music, I never expected to be this disappointed by Google. Unsurprisingly, I switched to Spotify premium last month and I have kicked myself a million times since then for not doing it earlier. Unless you have been living under a soundproof rock, you will know what Spotify is and how it works. As compared to Youtube Music, Spotify has better playlists, more songs and more intelligent recommendation engines. Period.
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