17 must have apps for any Android device (plus alternatives)

By Nikhil Pradhan | Updated 27 Nov 2014
article-img
1/34

As Android reaches into every nook and corner of the country, more and more people are waking up to the world of smartphone apps. However, in order to get the best possible apps on Android you need to do a little more research than on iOS. This is primarily because curation in the Play Store, while improving steadily, is miles behind that in the Apple App Store. This is especially a shame because you can do so much more on an Android smartphone with the right app.

If you’ve ever felt confused about which app to pick for a specific purpose out of the hundreds that show up every time you type in a search query in the Play Store, then this story is for you. If you’re an Android power user and have already decided on a set of apps that work great for you, then this story may not tell you anything new but we’d suggest you still give it a read to see if there’s any interesting app that you’ve missed or we’ve missed. If it’s latter, then do let us know the name of the app in the comments section below.

We’ve also mentioned the alternatives for every app and while in some cases the alternatives are similar to the main pick, in some we’ve picked an alternative that’s different and caters to a different type of user or use-case scenario.

Alright, so these are the best apps that you should download on your Android smartphone, as per the popular categories:

2/34

The best Office Suite app for Android

Google Drive

Download

Even though Microsoft has released its office suite as a completely free product for Android, we find Google’s solution better. This is because Google Drive allows for seamless (and completely free) collaboration and lets you freely work on files on both your mobile device and desktop, provided you have a working Internet connection.

3/34

The best Office Suite app for Android

The Alternative: Microsoft Office

Download

Microsoft took a long, long time to bring a completely free solution to Android and as a result, lost momentum to Google. Despite that, Office remains an excellent productivity app and will suit you if you already own a valid Office license on the desktop and don’t want to depend on online connectivity to do your work.

4/34

The best Music Player app for Android

PowerAmp

Download

PowerAmp best exemplifies how similar Android is to Windows. Just like popular music players in Windows such as MusicBee and Winamp, PowerAmp revels in its customizability. The app lets you not only change the way it looks and works through an exhaustive set of menus and submenus but also how your audio sounds with downloadable DSP packs. If you tweak the audio settings and let PowerAmp minutely control volume settings, you will realise that your music also sounds better on PowerAmp. PowerAmp is available as a Trial version that needs to be unlocked in 15 days.

advertisements
5/34

The best Music Player app for Android

The Alternative: MusixMatch

Download

If PowerAmp is the power user’s fantasy of a music player, then on the opposite side of the spectrum stands MusixMatch. MusixMatch doesn’t have all that many settings and makes do with a simple equalizer. However, it has a beautiful interface that puts your music library front and center and an exceptional synced lyrics viewer that works better than even PC alternatives like Mini Lyrics or Evil Lyrics. If you’re not a fan of PowerAmp’s exhaustive suite of features, MusixMatch will surely win you over.

6/34

The best Navigation app for Android

Google Maps

Download

This is perhaps the easiest one yet. Google Maps is by far the best navigation app for Android, especially for India. You’ll not find a better navigation app to use in both Indian cities and towns and best of all, it’s free. Google Maps is also constantly updated which means that it keeps improving, as exhibited by the vast improvements in turn-by-turn voice navigation. Google Maps is so good that there’s no alternative app that gets close to what it offers.

7/34

The best News Aggregation app for Android

NewsHunt

Download

As a single app that covers an incredible number of newspapers, websites and magazines published in India, across multiple languages, it doesn’t get much better than NewsHunt. While NewsHunt doesn’t offer much in terms of aesthetics and customization, the sheer breadth of news it serves you is enough to make it a must download.

8/34

The best News Aggregation app for Android

The Alternative: Flipboard

Download

In this day and age, Flipboard needs no introduction. If you’d like to customize your news feed and take a more global outlook, then you’ll like Flipboard. Flipboard is also one of the best looking apps out there and has been designed purely for use on touchscreens.

advertisements
9/34

The best News Aggregation app for Android

The Alternative to the Alternative: Google Play Newsstand

Download

If Flipboard is too heavy for your phone, and there have been reports that the app makes budget phones cry, then Google Play Newsstand should serve you well. It has a clean interface, offers plenty of sources (both Indian and global) to create your custom newsfeed and is lightweight enough for budget phones.

10/34

The best Photography app for Android

Camera ZOOM FX

Download

If you’re not happy with default camera on your Android phone, or you’re just looking to try out something better, then give Camera ZOOM FX a shot. The free version of the app offers a bunch of features such as filters and frames, time lapse shooting, touch to focus and other controls. If you’re happy with how the free app performs, then you can buy the premium version of the app for Rs. 180 which unlocks a huge number of features including HDR, voice activation and burst mode among many others. If you intend to spend some time shooting photos with your Android phone, you owe it to yourself to try this app out.

11/34

The best Photography app for Android

The Alternative: Google Camera

Download

If you’ve never owned a Nexus smartphone or one that runs stock Android, then you’ve probably never run across Google’s own camera app. The app is perfectly suited for users who are looking for a quick and simple camera that still offers some features and options for shooting photographs. It offers features such as Panorama, Lens Blur, HDR+ and also lets you control your phone’s camera with a smartwatch running Android Wear.

12/34

The best Photo Editing app for Android

Snapseed

Download

Another app from Google’s stable, Snapseed is the best photo editing app you can download on your Android phone thanks to the fact that it offers both simple features to quickly enhance photos and advanced features to tweak images to your heart’s content. Snapseed offers some great features such as auto-correct, tilt-shift and a whole host of options to fine-tune your photos.

advertisements
13/34

The best Photo Editing app for Android

The Alternative: Instagram

Download

Over the years, Instagram has grown to become one of the most popular social networks that completely revolves around photography. However, it’s easy to forget that Instagram also offers a great set of photo editing tools that extend beyond mere filters. If you want to edit your photos using a well-designed, simple interface, then Instagram is for you. If you’re already an Instagram user, then you really don’t need to look elsewhere for a photo editing app.

14/34

The best Video Player app for Android

MX Player

Download

One of the most popular apps on Android, you will find many Android users out there who swear by MX Player’s capabilities. The reason for its popularity is its wide format support, powerful hardware decoder that makes use of your phone’s hardware and subtitles support. The only issue right now is that it still doesn’t support Android 5.0 Lollipop.

15/34

The best Video Player app for Android

The Alternative: VLC for Android Beta

Download

Just like on the PC, VLC for Android is a do-it-all video player with support for a large number of formats. It also runs on Lollipop, so if you own an Android phone with the latest OS update, then the VLC Player is the way to go.

16/34

The best Video Editing app for Android

Magisto Video Editor

Download

In case you always stayed away from editing videos that you shot with your phone, on your phone because you thought that it would be too complicated, then Magisto is for you. With the help of an algorithm, Magisto analyzes your videos and photos and helps you make cool short movies. If you unlock its premium features, then you can also tweak and edit your videos to make them better.

advertisements
17/34

The best Video Editing app for Android

The Alternative: VivaVideo

Download

VivaVideo is another video editor app that lets you enhance and tweak your videos in a simple way. The app lets you edit individual clips in a video, add effects and frames and also play around with recorded audio.

18/34

The best Airline Booking app for Android

ClearTrip

Download

The ClearTrip app is not only one of the best looking and usable apps in India, but, dare we say, it stands among the best in the world. The app makes it exceedingly easy to find tickets and plan your itinerary and also helps you keep a track of all your trips and tickets. Best of all, it lets you create a pass which can serve as a digital ticket and displayed by apps such as PassWallet.

19/34

The best Airline Booking app for Android

The Alternative: MakeMyTrip

Download

MakeMyTrip also has a great looking app for its Android users. The app lets you book flights, and hotels, and plan holidays. You can also store your profile in the app so that it remembers your preferred airlines, hotels etc. You’ll also occasionally be able to access discounts and deals on trips.

20/34

The best To-Do List app for Android

Any.do

Download

Any.do is a simple yet powerful app to create tasks and to-do lists and can be used to organise both your personal and professional tasks. Apart from creating simple tasks and lists, it also lets you attach videos, images and files from Dropbox to any task. Thanks to its presence on the Chrome Web Store, you can also have your tasks synced between all your devices. If you’re looking for a small app to help you organise stuff, this is the one for you.

advertisements
21/34

The best To-Do List app for Android

The Alternative: Google Keep

Download

We could have gone with Wunderlist but there’s no real difference between it and Any.Do and the latter is more popular. Instead, we went with Google Keep despite the fact that it’s quite lightweight in terms of features. The main reason for that is it uses Google’s login and thus, it’s relatively impossible for you to lose track of your notes and tasks, as compared to if you were using a third party app. If you’re looking for more features, then Any.do should be your pick.

22/34

The best E-Mail app for Android

CloudMagic

Download

If you’ve got a bunch of email accounts from different service providers, then you’ll find CloudMagic a heavensent app. One of the biggest advantages of this app is the universal inbox, i.e. all your emails are visible at once in the ‘All’ tab which opens up by default. If you want to browse your mails for a particular account, you can also do so. Plus, the app is lightweight and doesn’t really tax your phone’s battery.

23/34

The best E-Mail app for Android

The Alternative: Gmail

Download

At the end of the day, if you’re an avid Gmail user, you may find yourself quite satisfied with the default Gmail app. The app looks good and is plenty fast when it comes to search. The only issue is the lack of a universal inbox and the app forces you to switch to individual accounts to read your mails.

24/34

The best Online Shopping app for Android

Flipkart

Download

Say what you will about Flipkart but it’s pretty clear that it’s a technology oriented company. The best example of that is its app that’s one of the best designed and most usable shopping apps you’ll find. If you’ve got a Flipkart account then you can also use the app to view and track your orders and save your preferred payment options. A neat little bonus is that Flipkart also supports Android Wear, so if you’ve got a Moto 360 (or any other Android smartwatch), you can browse through your wishlist and check out notifications sent by the retailer on it.

The Alternative: You can check out the apps from other e-retailers and choose based on where you like to shop.

advertisements
25/34

The best Web Browser app for Android

Chrome

Download

Quite honestly, unless you’re looking for something specific, there’s no real reason you need to look anywhere else. Chrome is one of the easiest to use, best looking and fastest browsers on Android. If you use Chrome on the desktop, then the app is an even better proposition since it syncs all your passwords, bookmarks and browsing history. We realise that this will be a controversial choice and some of you will have your own favourite browser, but for the vast majority of Android users out there, Chrome is more than enough.

26/34

The best Web Browser app for Android

The Alternative: UC Browser

Download

It was a tough choice between UC Browser and Opera Mini but the former wins out on account of better overall experience. Opera Mini is quite fast for browsing but it also has problems with JavaScript which means that not every website will be displayed properly. Anyway, UC Browser is a worthy runner-up because it is fast, has a clean, good looking interface and also lets you customize it with different themes and add-ons.

27/34

The best System Utility app for Android

Clean Master

Download

Out of all the apps we’ve mentioned so far in this story, this is the app that you should install first on a new Android phone. Clean Master is like the consiglieri from the Godfather movies- always around with practical advice that will help you. Clean Master notifies you every time your phone faces an issue, be it constant app crashes, unnecessary space taken up in the phone’s cache or your processor heating up, and lets you fix the issue with the touch of a button. Along with helping you speed up your phone, Clean Master also keeps track of apps you install on your phone and scans them for malware and viruses. Like we said, this is a must have app for every Android phone.

28/34

The best System Utility app for Android

The Alternative: DU Speed Booster

Download

DU Speed Booster has almost exactly the same features as Clean Master, so if there’s any particular reason you don’t want to use the latter, then you can opt for it.

advertisements
29/34

The best Wallpapers app for Android

Background HD Wallpapers

Download

One of the great things about Android phones with large high resolution screens is that you can really make your phone look good with the right wallpaper. Background HD Wallpapers is an app that offers you a huge selection of hi-res wallpapers for your phone and lets you quickly crop and use them on your phone. You can select wallpapers from a number of categories and filter them based on popularity and recency. You can also ‘favourite’ wallpapers and come back to them later.

30/34

The best Wallpapers app for Android

The Alternative: Muzei

Download

Muzie is an app that selects a famous painting every day and applies it as the wallpaper on your phone. By default, the wallpaper is blurred so that you’re still able to see your icons and text properly and you can double tap the wallpaper to bring it into focus- an action that looks cool no matter how many times you do it.

31/34

The best Music Streaming app for Android

Saavn

Download

With a massive library of free tracks spanning genres and languages including Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu, among others, Saavn is an excellent streaming app to have on your Android phone. While you can listen to all of the music for free, you can also sign up for a Saavn Pro account (Rs. 220 per month) and enjoy 320 kbps audio, no ads and the ability to download songs to your phone.

32/34

The best Music Streaming app for Android

The Alternative: 8tracks

Download

If you ignore the fact that you can access Spotify in India through VPN, and if international music and discovery is more your cup of tea, then 8tracks is an excellent app to download. While the app doesn’t let you search for and listen to individual tracks like other streaming apps, it lets you listen to any track as part of a playlist created by other users based on genres, moods, artists etc. You can also create your own playlists online and listen to them on the app. If you’re willing to live with its limitations, then 8tracks is a very good app for streaming music.

advertisements
33/34

The best Restaurant Finder app for Android

Zomato

Download

Zomato is one of those apps that you’ll find on every smartphone owner’s phone in India, whether it be an iPhone or Android. If you’re a fan of eating out or delivery and also like to occasionally hunt down new places to eat in your city, then Zomato is tailor made for you. With thousands of menus from the biggest restaurants to the smallest roadside eateries, reviews and users, Zomato is an excellent guide to big city life.

34/34

The best Restaurant Finder app for Android

The Alternative: Times City

Download

Apart from restaurants, if you’re also looking for events that may be happening in your city, then the Times City app should serve you well. Like Zomato, it has a very usable interface and an impressive database. We’d still suggest you rely on Zomato for finding restaurants though.

ASK DIGIT

Recent Questions

Which tablet is best Apple iPad Air or Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 ?
Vivek Bhatt
Aug 14, 2014
Responses