60 BEST Android apps for phones and tablets
The best Android apps for phones and tablets - including news apps, entertainment apps, travel apps and more
Smartphones are getting more powerful every year with faster processors, bigger screen resolutions and sharper cameras, but without the right apps it may as well be a hunk of plastic in your pocket. Here we've gathered together the top 60 everyday Android apps to make your phone even better than ever.We've tested everything from news and navigation apps to time lapse cameras and fitness trackers to make sure your phone is the best it can be. We've tried to pick those that will be useful, fun or creative for the widest possible number of people. Much of the information on offer in apps can be found through your browser of course, but apps are quicker to launch, present content in a way that's friendly to small displays, provide pop-up notifications of live events and let you tailor the content you see.It's never been easier to download apps either, as you can browse the Google Play Store on your PC and install them from there to any Android device that's registered to your Google Account, including your Android tablet.
Travel and Transport
Recently acquired by Google, Waze is the ultimate navigation app for drivers. It's a travel mapping service that uses your phone's GPS to provide a real-time picture of the roads around you. Simply pick your destination when you hop in your car and Waze will identify the quickest route while also showing the average road speed in areas of heavy traffic, any user-reported incidents, such as road hazards or accidents, speed camera locations, and which petrol stations are nearby and how much they're charging per litre. It will also learn your preferred routes and departure times for home and work and adapt them if there's an unexpected jam or hold-up. If you invite your friends to join as well, you can keep track of their movements if you need to co-ordinate arrival times at an event.
Price: FreeIf you don't commute by car, keeping track of train times is probably part of your morning routine. TheTrainLine gives you live departure times from your nearest and most recently used stations, and tapping on an individual journey will show you all the calling points as well. It uses the same information that powers the National Rail Enquiries app, but TheTrainLine has a clearer, more streamlined design and less intrusive adverts. It also has the added bonus of being able to buy train tickets online and browse and book hotels at your intended destination.
Google Maps may be the more ubiquitous navigation tool, but the free OpenStreetMap-based OsmAnd Maps app is far more detailed. You'll need to download the maps you want to view from the Settings menu while you're online, but these colourful maps have individual shop listings and street numbers, public footpaths, bench locations, filters that can be toggled on and off for points of interest plus longitude and latitude co-ordinates to name just a few of its extra features. It also gives you car, cycling and walking directions to help you get where you need to be, with optional voice-guidance and different maps styles to suit each type of transportation.
Price: FreeCitymapper only covers London and New York at the moment, but it's one of the most comprehensive travel apps we've seen. Set your destination and CityMapper will give you routes and estimated times for walking and cycling (along with the number of calories you'll burn), taking a cab, bus routes and tube and rail, showing you which one's the cheapest and what the weather's like at your intended destination. It's great for anyone watching their fitness, but it's also useful if you need to take a sudden detour. There's also a tube map you can view offline, live tube service updates and distances to each respective tube line from your location, a list of nearby bus stops, train stations and Boris bike ranks, complete with how many bikes are free and how many spaces there are for incoming bikes.
Price: FreeMost newspapers have their own app, but BBC News remains one of the few news apps that doesn't make you pay or subscribe to get the best content. It’s not quite as extensive as the main website, but it’s great for those who simply want a digest of the day’s top stories. You can tailor which topics appear on the home screen, giving you more control over your news feed, and it can send you breaking news notifications direct to your phone. Add in the ability to tap into live TV coverage of the BBC News channel and this is one of the most flexible news apps currently available on the Google Play Store.
Price: FreeSports fans in need of their daily news fix need look no further than the Sky Sports News app. As well as all the day’s top stories, Sky Sports News has separate tabs for football, cricket, rugby union, rugby league, golf, tennis, formula one and boxing. Its football and cricket coverage is particularly good, as it includes upcoming fixtures, live scores, results, league tables and TV listings for every game that’s being broadcast on Sky Sports. It’s a shame it doesn’t cover athletics in the same level of detail, but it’s still a great resource tool that doubles up as a handy news app.
Price: FreeIf you want a slightly broader picture of the sports world or your favourite sport isn’t covered by Sky Sports News, Eurosport is here to fill the gap. It has headlines, videos, results, and live scores for every sport you can imagine, from football to figure skating. Not every sport is covered in the same level of detail, but you can usually rely on its extensive database of results to at least give you a run-down of the latest competitions. Set it up to send you score alerts as well and you’ll never miss a goal, try or point again.Alternatively: ESPN Goals (Free)Sometimes all we want to know are the football scores. ESPN Goals gives you all the scores and stats you’ll ever need, and there’s even an option to set your favourite team and its main rival.
Price: FreeFor those short on time, sifting through the news everyday can be a tiresome and laborious process. Flipboard tailors the news to your liking, drawing together stories from across the web that match your interests. You can subscribe to broad categories like film, news and technology, but you can also follow individual outlets and sites if you do a little digging. It organises content in a flipbook style magazine format to catch the eye, but you can always search for specific news stories as well. You can even save stories to create your own magazines and share them with your friends. It makes the news a little more personal than your average newspaper app and saves you the trouble of having to visit multiple sites to get the information you need.
Price: FreePulse is very similar to Flipboard, but rather than collect personalised news stories randomly from a multitude of different sources, Pulse collates all your favourite sites and publications into one place. You’ll often only get a snippet before you’re prompted to read the rest of the story on the web, but luckily Pulse opens new in-app tabs for this so you don’t have to keep going back and forth between the app and your web browser. It’s far more convenient than checking each site individually, and it works with popular read-later apps like Pocket, see below.Alternatively: Pocket (Free)If you're short on time and want to bookmark an article to read for later, Pocket collates all your reading material into one handy list.
Price: FreeIf there's one thing we love to check more than train times, it's the weather, and Accuweather is by far the most detailed weather app on the Google Play Store. You not only get the current temperature, humidity, UV index, dew point, visibility, pressure, wind speed and wind direction, but it also gives you all this information in detailed hourly and daily weather forecasts as well. It does have some downsides: the blocky weather maps don't match the rest of its slick, minimalist design and the weather related news and videos aren't always particularly relevant to your location, but if all you're looking for is a quick rundown of the weather, AccuWeather is our app of choice.Alternatively: BBC Weather (Free)
Price: FreeBanana for Scale. TIL. AMA. All these Reddit treasures and more can be in the palm of your hand thanks to Reddit Sync, our favourite Reddit app for Android. Ditching the 'classic' (out-dated) Reddit look you find on the desktop website, Reddit Sync instead adopts a Google Now-style card interface, which is easy to navigate. It has native Imgur support, meaning you don’t have to leave the app to view photo galleries, and it also supports those all-important animated gifs and YouTube videos, too. You can log in with your Reddit details for a more personalised experience. TL;DR: Excellent Reddit app.
Price: FreeBBC Radio is brilliant, and if you don't agree then you're not listening to enough of it. Now you can listen to the huge range of excellent shows either streamed live or download them as podcasts and enjoy them when you're out-and-about without any mobile signal or data cost worries. There's everything from Radio 1 to Radio 6 plus regional stations and the World Service too. It's easy to browse, you can add favourite shows to a list, and so it's entirely replaced the various radios we have at home for sheer convenience. Pair it with a Bluetooth speaker and you're sorted for music too.
Price: FreeTV CatchUp is a slight misnomer as it's actually not a catch-up service at all. Instead, it lets you watch live TV (albeit at a five second delay) from over 50 channels. You still need a TV licence, but it lets you watch TV on the move as long as you have an internet connection. All the usual favourites from terrestrial TV are here like BBC One and Channel 4, but it also has popular Freeview channels as well, including E4, Film 4, Dave, and BBC News. You can tweet about what you're watching, too, as long as you don't mind leaving the TV screen for a few seconds. It's a shame you can't tweet and watch at the same time, but the picture is smooth and lag-free – presuming your data connection is up to it.
Price: FreeOne great thing about Android handsets is that you can simply drag-and-drop video files to their internal storage from a PC via a basic USB lead. Every phone has its own native video player, but MX Player is one of the most stable and easy to use media players we've tested. It supports a wide range of file formats thanks to its extensive number of codecs, and its multi-core decoders make it very fast and powerful. Pinch-zooming to change the aspect ratio is quick and simple, so you can resize video to fit the screen to your liking. If your phone runs out of battery while watching a film or video, MX Player will even remember where it stopped when you return to the app.
Price: Free (subscription required)The range of devices that Netflix works with is a key reason it's our favourite TV and movie streaming service; LoveFilm is also excellent but there's no Android app for it as Amazon wants to promote its own Kindle tablets. The range of content is excellent and the resume function means you can start watching on one device and then switch to another seamlessly. There's a one-month free trial if you don't want to hand over your money straight away, but TV and film buffs won't regret it. One of our biggest hopes is that the service will one day let you download content to watch on the go, but there's no sign of that yet.
Price: FreeYouTube's just got even better with its mid-September update. With a new cleaner design, you can now watch a video while searching for the next one. The video currently playing minimises into a small overlay window, letting you browse the rest of YouTube's content at your leisure, but we'd recommend keeping your phone vertical as the window becomes unreasonably small and obscured by your keyboard in landscape. You can also now search for playlists and take advantage of the "play all" button so you enjoy uninterrupted entertainment without having to pause and find the next video. Better still, the next update, due in November, should allow users to download videos to their handsets and watch them on-the-go without a data connection.
Price: Free (optional subscription available)If you've got a smartphone or tablet from a manufacturer other than Google, there's a good chance you're using the stock music app rather than the excellent Google Play Music. It's the ideal way to take a huge collection of MP3s on the move, even if you don't have room for them on your device, without having to pay a monthly fee.Uploading a huge library of files can take a while, so it's a good idea to leave Google's upload tool running overnight. Once it's done, though, your music will be stored safely in the cloud for accessing through the mobile and tablet apps, or any web browser.Admittedly there is an optional paid tier that lets you stream music you don't own, but even if you don't break out the credit card you can upload a whopping 20,000 music tracks to Google's servers for free. You can stream over Wi-Fi or mobile data, or pre-load your favourite tracks to your device before you leave the house for offline listening. Google constantly updates the app with new visual styles and extra features, and the current Material Design interface is particularly simple and easy to navigate. We love the big album art, cover view for choosing what to listen to and Instant Mix automatic playlists for when you simply can't make a decision.
Price: Free (subscription required)The best thing about BT Sport for Android is its support for Chromecast. If you've got a Chromecast dongle plugged into your TV and you have BT Sport then you can use it to watch BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN. Video streaming quality is excellent both on your device and via Chromecast. As well as live coverage the app also has catch-up content and additional video streams during some MotoGP events. The app is easy to use, well designed and most importantly of all great for watching loads of live sport.
Price: FreeInitially, TED conferences brought together the brightest minds of our day to deliver educational talks about technology, entertainment and design, but the number of topics now covered under its "ideas worth spreading" umbrella extends to science, business and global issues as a whole. If you're looking for something more discerning or inspiring to enlighten your day, TED is bound to have a talk that interests you. You can either watch or listen to them straight from the app or download them for later, but you often miss crucial slides and onscreen information if you choose the audio option, so we'd recommend watching them to get the full experience. With every video translated and localised in 21 different languages, expanding your horizons has never been easier.
Price: FreeYou don't need to be a Kindle owner to use the Amazon Kindle app, as this effectively turns your tablet or smartphone into your very own eReader. Sign in with your Amazon account and you can browse the Kindle bookstore straight from your Android device and read books in full colour and high definition. The app also lets you change the font size and adjust the margins and line spacing just like a normal Kindle device and there's a downloadable dictionary and Wikipedia support as well. Kindle owners won't be disappointed either, as you can sync your entire library, and your progress through each book, to your Android device. This lets you keep on reading your book seamlessly even when away from your Kindle. Nook and Kobo have similar apps as well, but neither library's as well-stocked as Amazon's bookstore.
Price: FreeWith 70,000 live radio stations at its disposal, TuneIn Radio is an essential app for music fans. You can pick from local radio stations or browse by location and continent to discover radio stations across the world. Once you've picked a station, it keeps playing even when you've put your phone to sleep, so you don't have to worry about keeping it open while you're on the move. The audio quality is superb, too, with minimal buffering and lag to disrupt your listening experience, but TuneIn Radio isn't just limited to music. It's also home to 2 million podcasts, concerts and shows, and there's sports, news, talk and comedy to be found among its ranks as well.
Price: FreeMusic streaming apps that give you a wide selection of songs for free are about as rare as a blue moon, but there are a few good alternatives if you don't want to pay up for a subscription service like Spotify. Amazon MP3 was one of our favourites as it's tied in with Amazon's Cloud Player service, which not only gives you access to every single MP3 and CD album you've ever purchased from Amazon, but it also lets you upload or import an additional 250 tracks from your iTunes library or PC for free. It can also be used as a general MP3 player for music stored on your phone, or you can buy more music directly from the app's MP3 store. You'll need to watch your data allowance if you're streaming on the move, but the option to download your music and listen offline should keep bandwidth usage to a minimum.
Price: FreeIf you can’t get from A to B without a canal full of earphones, you might as well be learning something on the way. Podcasts are a great way of doing this, and our podcatcher of choice is DoggCatcher. It’s comprehensively customisable with all manner of automated features including automatic download, synchronisation and deletion of files when you’re done with them.Perhaps the best thing about it is the developer, who since launching the app, has updated it in excess of 100 times and takes on board user feedback very quickly indeed.
Price: FreeIf you've ever shouted at the car radio when a DJ's failed to tell you the name of a song you've just heard, Shazam is for you. Just open the app and place your phone next to your speaker and Shazam will identify the track in seconds. You don't just get a name and artist, though, as Shazam gives you the song lyrics and discography of the particular artist as well so you can find out more about them. If it's a track you really like, you can buy the song directly from Amazon MP3, listen to it on Spotify and Rdio or watch the video on YouTube. It also tags the track with the time and date you heard it so you can keep a log of everything you've listened to. You don't even have to be online to use it, as Shazam will match the song and add it to your tag list as soon as you regain a connection. There is a paid version of Shazam, but all it does is eliminate the ads.
Price: FreeWith a huge range of comic books and graphic novels both past and present, Comixology is your one-stop shop for buying and reading the latest comics and graphic novels. Its smart interface is largely a storefront where you can buy new issues or browse its extensive back catalogue, but any titles you purchase from the main website will automatically sync with your phone, making it easy to read your comics on the move. Marvel, DC, Image, IDW and Disney comics are all present, but there's also a large library of exclusive digital titles you won't find anywhere else. Reading comics is as simple as downloading them to your phone and you can sort them by series, name or use the search bar to pinpoint specific issues.Alternatively: Manga + (Free)Comic book fans looking for an extensive library of free Japanese manga need look no further than Manga +. You have to download each chapter to your SD card, but it's by far the most user-friendly manga reader on the App Store.
Price: FreeThere's tons of brilliant content produced by the BBC every year, both on radio and TV. A recent update to the BBC iPlayer app now lets you download programmes to watch later on your phone. You can keep them for up to 30 days, but they'll expire 7 days after your first play so you don't clog up your phone's internal storage. At the time of writing, only certain Android handsets are compatible with this update (although the BBC promises more devices will be enabled soon), but if you have an HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S2, S3, S4, LG Nexus 4 or Sony Xperia Z, you're in luck. Android tablet users, on the other hand, need an Amazon Kindle 8.9, Google Nexus 7, Google Nexus 10 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0.
Price: FreeThere's nothing more entertaining than learning German and Duolingo helps you do it for free. The app actually makes learning a new language fun and engaging, with challenges using a mix of typing, talking, listening and comprehension to develop your skills. As well as German you can use Duolingo to learn French, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch. Rather than overwhelming you with information Duolingo presents everything in bite-size chunks, ideal for swatting up on a bit of French while on the train or waiting for the kettle to boil. The more you use it the more challenging the tasks get until you've developed a suprisingly good knowledge of a totally new language.
Price: FreeFlickr is one of the most generous photo storage apps around as it gives you a free terabyte of space when you first sign up. All your photos are stored at their original resolution to give you the best quality, plus if you fancy being a bit more artistic, Flickr lets you add a variety of fun filters when you upload them as well. It's easy to share your pictures with friends on other social networks, too, as you can upload them to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr or send them in an email, all the while tailoring your privacy settings so you can keep track of who sees your photos.
Price: £1.99Lapse It lets keen photographers use their Android camera to make their very own cool time lapse videos – by automatically shooting a series of still images and then collating them. This can be tricky with normal cameras at the best of times, but Lapse It creates videos in a flash and renders to MP4, MOV and FLV files so they're easy to share on the web. A lot will depend on the quality of your phone's camera, but there are plenty of options to help you tweak the picture to get it just right, including focus, flash, colour effects, scene modes, white balance and frame interval. The free version limits you to a resolution of 240p, but the full version lets you capture video in Full HD and add a soundtrack.
Price: FreeEver wished you could share your phone's photos and videos simply by touching it to another Android device? Bump lets you do just that and without requiring NFC technology. You'll both need to install the app and be on the same Wi-Fi network, but all you need to do is select the files you want to share and then, quite literally, bump your phones together. It's quick, easy and you use the app to share files with your PC as well. Just visit http://bu.mp in your PC web browser and use your phone to press the space bar. You can share documents, contacts and apps with Bump, too, making it one of the simplest and quickest ways to share files with friends.
Price: FreeThe Google Play Store has no shortage of photo editing apps, but InsPhoto is by far the easiest to use. There's a great range of features, too, including filter effects, downloadable frame and sticker packs, red-eye removal, splash and whitening tools, text editors, a crop tool, and settings for focus, brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth, sharpness and picture orientation. All of them are controlled by touch-sensitive sliders at the bottom of the screen, making it easy to adjust your photos to your liking. You can also personalise pictures with the paintbrush and then share them with friends over social networks.Alternatively: Photoshop Touch for phone (£2.99)Easily the slickest photo editor on the Google Play Store, but it's a bit fiddly on phones with small screens. It's more suited to tablets, but the full tablet version will set you back £6.99.
Price: FreeVine may only let you record seven seconds worth of video footage, but this Twitter-owned app has become one of the biggest internet sensations of 2013. You record simply by pressing on the screen, and stop by lifting your finger off, making it perfect for creating stop-motion videos as well as continuous footage. Camera tools are fairly sparing, but its grid and focus tool are all you need for the short recording time. Stop motion enthusiasts will also like its ghost imprint feature, which captures a semi-transparent picture of your last shot so you can keep track of where everything is if you don't have a tripod handy. A tutorial on how to make videos would have been useful, but you can get plenty of inspiration from its healthy user-base and once you're connected to Facebook and Twitter, videos are easy to share with friends.
Price: FreeDropbox is one of our favourite cloud storage services. The Free version gives you 2GB of storage to start off with, but this can be upgraded to 18GB if you complete certain tasks. As long as your other devices have Dropbox installed, you can reach your files from anywhere you can fire up a browser. You'll have to upload videos manually with this app, but you can set it to automatically upload any photos you take on your phone. It's a shame you don't get more initial storage for free, but it's fantastic for transferring files quickly between your mobile and home PC.
Price: FreeGoogle Drive has always been one of the best cloud storage services, and recently it got even better as users now have 15GB of free storage to play with instead of 5GB. This is more than 7x what you get with Dropbox, but Google Drive's main strength is actually as an office suite. You can create and edit new documents straight from your phone, although editing can be a bit fiddly if your phone's screen is quite small. The best feature is being able to make your docs available offline so you can continue to edit them on the move, regardless of whether you have a signal. If your printer is Cloud Ready as well, you can even print your documents directly using Google Cloud Print.
Price: FreeIt's a shame you can't edit documents in OfficeSuite without paying £9.65 for the full Pro version, but the free version of OfficeSuite 7 does have its merits. You can use it to view files from your phone's document folder or those saved on the internal storage, but its most useful feature is being able to access files stored on a remote server, such as your Google Drive, Dropbox, SugarSync, Box or SkyDrive account. This brings all your cloud storage accounts into one place and you can use the app to view your office docs, export them to PDF and print them via the cloud.
Price: FreeFocus@Will is aimed at anyone who finds it difficult to concentrate. While a lot of people listen to music while working or studying, most of the time the tempo or lyrics can actually make it even more difficult to focus. Focus@Will has a catalogue of music that is specifically designed to help you focus by using ‘attention amplifying’ music channels. In reality, this translates to a lot of instrumental or ambient sounds, which do seem to help, and there’s different levels of intensity. The Android app is free and the Free Personal account gives you restricted access to only some of the music, otherwise it’s $4.99/month or $44.99/year.
Price: FreePushbullet is a multipurpose Android app. Its main selling point is the ability to easily ‘push’ content, such as images, URLs or text, between devices. These devices can include tablets, smartphones or desktop Chrome browsers and you can easily label each device. Easily pushing content between devices will be a godsend to anyone used to emailing themselves links or information. You can also use Pushbullet to mirror the notifications from your tablet or smartphone to your desktop, which is handy if you don’t always have your device directly to hand. Nowadays, Pushbullet has expanded its repertoire to include universal copy and paste, which gives you a universal clipboard across your devices. So if you copy a link on your desktop, it’s automatically in your clipboard on your smartphone or tablet. Pushbullet has also added in the ability to send SMS from your desktop as well, making Pushbullet a must-have Android app.
Price: FreeIf you're prone to looking at your phone late at night just before you go to bed then it could be disrupting your sleep. The bright, blue-hued light given off by your phone's screen keeps the brain awake and stops you from nodding off. Twilight changes the hue of your phone screen to a red/sepia tone late at night, ensuring that you're never kept awake by a glowing screen. Settings can be fiddled to set the screen brightness and tone to get it just to your liking. By default the intensity of the filter is adjusted based on the time of day, so you'll always see a screen that's easy on the eye.
Price: FreeFinding good restaurants can be tricky no matter where you live, but Zomato can help you track down the best eateries in your local area. It only covers London, Manchester and Birmingham at the moment, but it uses your phone's GPS to give you instant recommendations based on your location. What sets Zomato apart from other finder apps, though, is its slick interface and its superb level of detail. You can either explore by location, cuisine or search for something specific to satisfy your cravings, but no matter which place you pick, you always get the address (along with a Google Map location), opening times, average cost for two, a menu, photos and user reviews. Some also give you accepted payment types and nearby tube stops if you're in London, but our favourite feature is being able to call the restaurant straight from the app to make a reservation.
Price: FreeIf you just want to find out what's on at the cinema, Flixster combines local show times with reviews from Rotten Tomatoes to show you what's hot in the world of film. You can browse through top box office hits or get detailed listings for individual cinemas up to a week in advance, and the upcoming films and DVD releases tabs keeps you up to date on everything being released in the coming months. IMDb addicts will find plenty to like here as well, as each film listing includes filmographies of all the major stars. It's not quite as comprehensive as IMDb, but this is an invaluable tool for cinema-goers.
Price: FreeIf you're in a new place and want a better picture of what's around you, Around Me uses your phone's GPS to quickly identify useful nearby shops and services. These include banks, bars, coffee shops, hospitals, hotels, cinemas, car parks, petrol stations, pharmacies, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, theatres and taxi services. Tap on your desired destination and you'll get a Google Map location, contact details plus hints and tips about it from Foursquare along with photos and the chance to leave your own comments for other users.
Price: FreeHeading on holiday and worried about your rusty French/German/Italian/Spanish? Fret not, Google's got your back. Google Translate has come along leaps and bounds in recent years and is now a really comprehensive tool. The app can translate back and forth between 80 languages and you can speak, type or take a picture to get a translation. You can even download language packs for offline use. So if you're off on holiday to Germany and never want to be lost for words, download the German language pack and you can translate anything into English even without an internet connection. This is an invaluable travel tool.
Price: FreeTouch Calendar pulls together all your online calendars into one easy-to-use app. It syncs with your Google Calendar (and by extension any other calendar you subscribe to on Google Calendar) and your phone's calendar so you're constantly up to date, and you can use it to add events, set starting and finishing times, reminders, event locations, add guests by email and change the privacy setting for each event. It defaults to a completely zoomed out view on start-up, but zooming in and out and scrolling through each month is quick and simple thanks to its snappy and responsive interface. The full version also includes a home screen widget that shows a semi-transparent overlay of the calendar which you can tap to immediately enter the app.
Price: FreeThis note-taking app has been going from strength to strength and the latest update lets you preview PDF files and add mark-ups to your notes to personalise them even further. This is on top of its already fantastic set of features which include being able to create voice reminders, searchable to-do lists and take photos, all of which you can share with your friends. Regular announcements and tips help you get the best out of the app and any note you create will automatically sync across all your devices that have Evernote installed.
Price: FreeThis works best if your friends use Foursquare as well, but it's still a great way to find out more about what's new and popular in your local area. You can search any area on the map for instant recommendations, but you get the best results if you use one of the pre-set categories. These include food, nightlife, coffee, shops, sights, arts and entertainment and outdoors, but there's also a dedicated option for special deals and offers, places that are trending on social networks or recently opened and the best places nearby based on your current GPS location. It's very much geared toward popular hangouts, but if you find somewhere under the radar you want to share with your friends, you can "check in" and leave tips for other users.
Price: FreeEndomondo covers a huge range of sports, but this fitness tracker is primarily aimed at runners and cyclists. You have to pay a subscription to get the very best out of it, but the free version still has an impressive amount of features. As well as tracking your own workouts, you can set your own goals, find exercise routes created by other users to follow, connect your heart rate monitor and a pair of headphones to get audio alerts every mile or kilometre, enter workouts manually, sync your results across social networks and take part in community challenges.
Price: FreeIf you've ever wished exercise could be more like video games, you'll love Fitocracy. You earn points for each exercise you complete in order to level up and earn badges, and you can even go on "quests" to earn bonus points. It's particularly good for bodybuilding and strength training, but it also covers more general sports as well. It's incredibly addictive and recommended challenges and exercises on our homepage actually made us want to try out new exercises at the gym more than any other fitness app we tested. Fitocracy gets even better when your friends use it too, as they can either give you "props" for impressive workout regimes or compete against you to improve your motivation.
Price: FreeGeneral fitness tracker apps are one thing, but there's nothing like having one specifically tailored to your favourite sport. Strava Cycling is by far the most detailed cycling app we tested, as it not only tracks and records your rides, but it also gives you live performance stats as you cycle and an even more thorough run-down of your ride once you've finished. It keeps a detailed log of your average rides, distance and time spent cycling every week as well as yearly and all-time round-ups of your achievements, shows you popular "segments" or cycle-routes nearby with standard, terrain and satellite maps (letting you earn achievements if you rank highly enough in the community leaderboards), and gives you monthly challenges to compete in. You can use it to view running routes, too, but you'll need to download the dedicated Strava Run GPS Running app to record your workout.
Price: FreeLux Lite is a brilliant little app, literally. It controls the brightness of your phone's display, letting you adjust how bright you want it to be at various ambient light levels (presuming your handset, like most, has an ambient light sensor). It does far more than though, allowing you to set how quickly it reacts to changing light conditions, the colour temperature of your display and even lets you reduce brightness below the minimal setting, for use in very dark conditions when you don't want to be dazzled. There's so much here it's astounding, but thankfully a wizard helps you get the most out of it straight away. Essential stuff.
Price: FreeIf you're having trouble with your phone's internet speeds, SpeedTest will show you the ping rate, download and upload speed of your mobile network using its quick and simple test. It's accurate and you can test other servers to compare results. We also use it at home as a quick test when things are lagging online, you can instantly see if it's your broadband that's at fault. Speedtest also keeps a log of your tests which can you can export to CSV or share over email, and you can pass on individual results via social networks.
Price: FreeClearing your phone's history can often make your device run a bit faster and free up some much needed storage space. History Eraser does exactly what it says in the title but you can choose which bits you want to delete, whether it's clearing out your internet searches, cleaning your apps cache or erasing an extensive call log. It extends to your SMS and MMS messages as well, separating them into sent, received, drafts and failed messages. You can set up auto clean intervals of up to three days to help protect your privacy.
Price: FreeIf you find your phone's continually running out of battery, JuiceDefender can help make the last few pixels of the bar last longer. There are three set profiles to choose from, ranging from balanced to extreme, or you can create your own customised conservation plan using the advanced profile option. Each profile gives you a detailed rundown of how the app will affect your phone's performance, and you can configure individual apps as well. It's very easy to use and once it's set-up, it works quietly away in the background to give you as much juice as possible.
Price: FreeWe often don't think about installing security apps on our phones and tablets in the same way we would a PC or laptop, but Android devices are increasingly targeted by criminals. AVG's free antivirus app not only scans your apps and files for malware and lets you browse the web safely and securely, but it also helps you find lost or stolen devices via Google Maps, kills programs that are slowing down your phone, protects you from phishing attacks and lets you lock or wipe your device remotely.
Price: £2.99Onscreen keyboards can often make or break a phone depending on how easy they are to use, but the best ones are usually only found on top-end Android handsets. SwiftKey Keyboard breaks down that barrier with its clean, simple layout and double-function keys. You can either tap out each word or form them by gliding your finger across the keys in one touch. It can learn your writing style from how you use Gmail, Facebook and Twitter so it can give you relevant predictions and you customise the layout to your liking, including whether it makes a sound when you press the keys. The bilingual can even download multiple languages.
Price: FreeThis voice and video call service is one of the best ways for keeping in touch with friends and family around the world for free. You can add new contacts using the Skype directory or use your own contact list to find your friends' Skype addresses or simply send them an instant message. You can also use the app to call other mobiles and landlines, but this will cost you a small fee and may involve data charges. Luckily, you can buy Skype credit straight from the app as long as your status is set to online, which can also be used for forwarding calls to a conventional phone number when you're offline.
Price: FreeFinding free Wi-Fi often feels like the Holy Grail for smartphone users, but Free Zone not only shows you every free and paid Wi-Fi hotspot nearby, it also uses Google Maps to give you directions on how to get there. If you find an undiscovered hotspot, you can add it to the map, too. You don't even have to search for hotspots to get connected, as you can set the app to connect automatically whenever your phone comes within range. This could quickly lead to a worn out battery, though, so you'll probably want to make use of its notification settings to alert you to hotspots instead.
Price: FreeThe official Facebook and Twitter apps may be the more obvious port of call for getting your social media fix, but Seesmic lets you post to both networks from the same app. It's particularly handy if you have multiple Twitter accounts for work and home as you can add each one and seamlessly switch between them without having to log in and out again. You can cross-post to all your accounts and set notifications when you receive new updates and we think it's easier to use than both of the official apps. Seesmic Pro will eliminate the app's sparing use of ads and let you combine your Facebook and Twitter feed into one screen for £1.89, essential for social media fiends.
Price: FreeReddit can be a confusing place for web users, but BaconReader is by far one of the most accessible apps for browsing the so-called front page of the internet on your phone. It's easy to use and posts can be either viewed as an endlessly scrolling list or a slideshow that opens any attached media files. A wide variety of subreddits are just a tap away thanks its simple menu system, and it separates What's Hot posts into New, Rising, Top and Controversial to make navigating its copious amounts of posts a little less daunting. It's not ad-free sadly – the Premium £1.23 version is there for that – but we didn't find them particularly intrusive.
Price: FreeIf you keep a blog, you probably already have the respective Android app for your blogging service, but for those who simply follow other people's blogs, Tumblr is one of the best ways to do it. The Dashboard artfully arranges all the latest posts from your favourite bloggers while the Search tab includes a search bar and trending tags and blogs options, making it easy to keep up to date with the latest internet hits. You can also blog straight from the app and keep track of posts you've liked in the past. You don't get as many menu options compared to logging in on the website and GIF files don't load automatically, but it's very easy to use and a great way to browse other blogs if you're on the move.
Price: FreeOfficial email client apps are fine if you only have one email address, but for those with multiple accounts, checking each one can be a tiresome and laborious process. Luckily, Mail Droid lets you access all your accounts from one app. Adding addresses is quick and easy and each account is listed individually below a combined inbox that aggregates all your emails in one place. Emails are colour-coded depending on which account they've been sent to, but there are additional filter options to let you search more effectively. With customisable notification settings and a split screen design for tablets, Mail Droid is our email client of choice.