So you’ve just bought a new Android phone, and you’re in the process of setting up and customizing your device to fit your requirements. One of the biggest USPs of Android is its massive app store with over 2 million apps. The right apps can make your life significantly easier and help you use your phone just the way you want to. But do you know exactly what apps you want to have on your phone? If not, know that you’re not alone. Lots of people face this exact same quandary when they get their hands on their new device.
Don’t worry however, we’ve got your back. In this essential Android app starter pack, we list the best apps on the Google Play Store that fulfil all the common requirements of a typical user. Apps are listed by requirements – first we state the requirement, followed by the best app to fulfil that requirement. Some apps on the list are so awesome that they fulfil multiple requirements. For some categories where a large number of high quality apps are present, we also offer a “best alternative” suggestion.
We are not going to suggest any social apps. You know what you use, just go ahead and install it(yes, you can count on an app being available). We are also not going to suggest any calling, messaging or email applications, as generally the default provided one is the best alternative out there.
Requirement : Browser
The browser is definitely one of the most important apps on your phone. The Google Chrome browser is generally provided with your phone. And we feel that for your Android device, it really is the best out there. Various tests have shown that speeds and power consumption of various mobile browsers do vary somewhat from device to device. So in some rare cases, it might not be the best option for you. Chrome is really feature rich and quite user-friendly. It’s easy syncing with all your Google accounts is very handy. Although it’s not the most power-efficient option available, it’s generally a lot more bug free than most other browser alternatives out there.
Best Alternative : Dolphin
Requirement : Flashlight, Calculator, Unit Converter, Stopwatch
Mobile Utilities is really a wonder app. It contains many different utility tools all in one app. It’s very high on functionality, albeit a bit low on aesthetics. It takes care of many essential and some non-essential requirements very efficiently. It’s got a 1-touch flashlight, which can stay on even if you navigate to another utility. The developers had also published what is almost certainly the best unit converter app on the Play Store. In Mobile Utilities, they provide you the same converter among its many utilities. It also contains very efficient calculator, timer and stopwatch utilities.
Other features – Mobile Utilities also provides you a basic calendar – it’s pretty basic, shows you the dates and that’s about it. There’s also a ruler, with gradations in cm and inch. There’s also an app launcher and an app uninstaller – useful features in certain phones which don’t have an app drawer. There’re also a light meter, room temperature thermometer, barometer, gravity meter and psychrometer. The availability of these features depend on the sensors available on your phone – even many high end devices don’t have ALL these features. But if your phone does support them, it’s great to have something like a room temperature thermometer in your pocket at all times.
Requirement : File Explorer
Of course you need a file explorer. You need to be able to keep track of and manage your files and folders, and navigate around your file system without any hassles. And ZArchiver does that job brilliantly. Technically speaking, ZArchiver market themselves as a program for archive management. And that’s a very useful feature to have. It helps you manage and extract zip and rar files, as well as create them. That does not mean that it lacks in any way as a file explorer or file manager in any way. You can open, view, cut, copy, paste and share all your files using ZArchiver with ease.
Best Alternative : X-plore File Manager
Requirement : Music Player
Stellio Music Player
There’s so many music players out there. But we’d go with Stellio as the best option out there. It’s fast, customizable, feature rich and reliable. The UI feels snappy. The search functionality is great. The sound seems perfect, and you’ve got one of the most detailed equalizers around. You also get a bunch of themes to choose from to customize the appearance.
Best Alternative : Pi Music Player
Requirement : Video Player
VLC for Android
Just like the desktop variety, the VLC player is one of the best video players around. It can play almost any realistic file format or codec. The controls are very intuitive and easy. The video plays smooth. It can also play most audio files, but we definitely recommend using Stellio as a separate audio player.
Best Alternative : MX Player
Requirement : Calendar
The Mobile Utilities calendar was very basic in nature. If you want a more feature rich calendar, we recommend Google Calendar. You can view by month, week or day. You can easily set up reminders and alarms. You can create events, and even import events directly from your Gmail. This calendar can basically function as a fully featured personal diary cum planner.
Best Alternative : Simple Calendar
Requirement : Office Application (Word, Excel, Powerpoint documents)
Most people need Office applications, and there are a lot out there. But very few of them are actually reliable and easy to use on mobile devices. OfficeSuite 8 does very well in that regard. It’s especially good with the Word and Excel files. It’s intuitive and easy to edit. For PowerPoint presentations, we really feel the desktop is still the best bet. It can also handle PDF and text files. But we really feel there are apps out there that do those jobs far better.
Requirement : PDF reader
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be. Noone makes PDF Readers as well as Adobe. It’s simple, smooth, functional and reliable. It’s everything you would want in a PDF reader. Nothing else on the Play Store really even comes close.
Requirement : Text Editor
A text editor is one of the most essential applications on any device. And MobiPad is the Notepad of Android. It can open text files in any format. You can also open any non-text files as text using MobiPad. It’s simple, elegant, functional and easily the best text editor around.
Requirement : App Launcher
For most phones, an app launcher is definitely not a requirement. But there are many manufacturers nowadays who are deciding to do away with the default app drawer, and go with a more Apple-like approach. We like the app drawer, and if your phone doesn’t have one, we suggest you install Nova Launcher. It has a lot of different features, but we’re basically suggesting it for the clean and simple app drawer it provides.
Best Alternative : Mobile Utilties – Yes, the Mobile Utilities app launcher is another very clean, simple and organised alternative to the traditional app drawer.
There, you should be good to go now!
If you think we missed something, or you want to suggest some different apps instead, let us know in the comments section below!