the pursuit of appiness
September 8, 2015 5:32 PM   Subscribe

I got an android tablet, which is the first mobile smart device I've ever bought. (I'm still in the dumbphone contingent.) What are the few apps that you've found to be the most useful or just plain neat?

I don't really know anything about what's out there.

I know this is a really broad question, but I'd rather not lead the question with my interests so I can just hear what you think is super awesome.
posted by threeants to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
- MAPS.ME is great for travelling, since you can download maps to your tablet and access them offline so as not to drain the battery;
- Comixology and Challenger Viewer for comics;
- Twilight to dim/warm the screen at night (similar to f.lux, if you have that on your computer);
- Orweb and Orbot together for secure browsing;
- CM Security and Clean Master for security and space management;
- Google Hangouts Dialer for calling people (there's also a Skype app).
posted by bettafish at 6:05 PM on September 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Moon+ Reader is great for ebooks (which you can download from all over the place, quite possibly including your local library).
posted by VioletU at 6:14 PM on September 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

BubbleUPNP for accessing media off of other computers in your (Windows) network
DicePlayer for playing any and all media you may have
AndSMB for copying files to/from your (Windows) network
CamScanner lets you use your tablet camera as a scanner. Also great for cleaning up pictures of documents that other people have sent you
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:19 PM on September 8, 2015

Timely is a great alarm clock app that beats the built in alarm function hands down.
Pocket works great for saving articles and pages you find on the web that you don't have time to read at the moment.
posted by Telpethoron at 6:23 PM on September 8, 2015

Seconding Pocket, which also makes reading articles from poorly optimized sites an e-reader-like pleasure. Google Keep and Calendar have spectacularly useful widgets.

Feedly is how I generally keep up with MeFi and Ask, again using its widget.
posted by lumensimus at 6:29 PM on September 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like TuneIn Radio, for listening to NPR in other time zones. I use the OverDrive app a lot for library books.
posted by yarntheory at 6:39 PM on September 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

ES File Explorer is great for everything file and network related. RealCalc is a great calculator and if you happen to be a programmer CALC-P will knock your socks off.

Seconding Moon+ Reader for PDFs and e-books. Consider VLC for movies and videos and Smart AudioBook Player for (of course) audio books.

I love the game Smash Hit (it's so much fun to break glass stuff and earn points for it). 2048 is a bit addictive.

Evernote is a great app and I find it to be a lot better on a tablet than a phone.

I also like Pinboard and Remember the Milk, though there are a variety of apps in those categories and you may not agree with me on these.
posted by forthright at 7:07 PM on September 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding Pocket and Camscanner, both of which I find indispensable.
posted by jpe at 7:09 PM on September 8, 2015

Emulators! Retroarch is a super easy conglomeration of most of the good(not necessarily the most absolutely bleeding edge or best of the best, but functional and working well) emulators, and you can basically play any console and most arcade games before the PS2, including dreamcast games(you might need reicast for that, but i think that's part of retroarch now?).

It works ok just on the screen, but with something like this, or even cheaper alternatives, that's tiny enough to pocket and throw in any bag, you have a full on game system for airplane/train/etc travel or waiting rooms or just... whenever.

And if your tablet has video out over MHL or an HDMI socket(or you use a chromecast!) then you can play games with other people or just on a big screen in hotel rooms, or at night when traveling, or whatever.

This is a killer app when it comes to utter classics like mario party 2, and just all around great fun in general.
posted by emptythought at 7:38 PM on September 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Google Sky Map is pretty much the first app I download onto a phone, I love casual stargazing with it to show me what I'm seeing..
posted by N-stoff at 10:08 PM on September 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Reading: Pocket is great for saving articles to read later. I like Challenger Comics Viewer for reading comics; it supports a lot of file formats. I also like the Kindle app; obviously, it shows books that you buy via Amazon, but you can also manually add MOBI files to the Kindle folder, and they'll appear in the app.

Videos: I have MX Player, Dice Player, and VLC installed for videos; MX Player can handle most file formats and codecs, but if you have something that won't play, it's worth trying the other apps.

Audio: MortPlayer for audiobooks, BeyondPod for podcasts, Spotify and SomaFM for music.

File browsing: ES File Explorer all the way.
posted by neushoorn at 12:58 AM on September 9, 2015

Squid (formerly Papyrus). The iPad has about a zillion great handwriting apps, Android has about a zillion dreadful ones. Squid (formerly Papyrus) is so far the only good one I've encountered, and it is pretty good.
posted by Chitownfats at 7:34 AM on September 9, 2015

ES File Explorer. It's the filesystem interface Android devices should have come with in the first place.
posted by werkzeuger at 8:38 AM on September 9, 2015

Pushbullet is great for sending links/images/anything between your various devices (including your computer). I love Google Keep for quick notes and Sunrise is a great calendar app that you can sync with other online services.

Also Beautiful Pixels has a bunch of other apps listed that are great and well designed!
posted by thebots at 10:52 AM on September 9, 2015

If you are in North America, Merlin Bird ID is great fun.
posted by superna at 2:13 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Quell is a fun puzzle game. Google Earth is pretty cool if you like stargazing. Seconding Feedly and Pushbullet, I use the latter to sync links and things all the time... it's especially good on phones because you will see your texts pop up on your computer, so you can leave the phone charging in another room and not worry about missing the text chime. I realize you have a dumbphone, but that may not always hold true. Duolingo is a great free language-learning app that can help you brush up on any of a whole slew of languages.
posted by axiom at 8:55 PM on September 9, 2015

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