Best Android apps 2019: Our favourite applications for Android phones and tablets
With smartphones getting more and more powerful every year, we’re starting to see some amazing Android apps appear on the Google Play store. And without the right apps, that expensive smartphone is nothing but an overpriced hunk of metal. In this list, you’ll find the best Android apps for working on the go, editing photos, hoarding podcasts, or finding that hidden gem restaurant – plus a whole lot more.
If you’ve come in the hopes of finding a new hyper-addictive Android game to while away the commute, then we recommend you head over to our definitive list of the best Android games to play in 2019. And if you’re a keep-fit fanatic, we have a handy list of the best fitness trackers to help you track your stats and train to the max.
And now we present to you our roundup of the best Android apps for both smartphones and tablets on the Google Play store.
READ NEXT: Best Android smartphones
Best Android apps 2019: Food and entertainment
Happy Cow (free)
Why is the cow happy, you ask? Well, because it’s not being killed and eaten, we suppose. Happy Cow is a free-to-use restaurant locator which caters to vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians. The basic search function finds restaurants based on distance (the closest to you being the first on the list) and can be filtered by ‘Vegan’, ‘Vegetarian’, and ‘Veg Options’.
Price-levels are also indicated on most of the eateries, and in major cities nearly all will have customer reviews (including photos) to help you make your decision. It’s also indispensable if you’re looking for suitable restaurants whilst on holiday, as Happy Cow can turn a vegan’s sorry evening spent dining on chips and salad into a memorable night of feasting and rejoicing.
Finding good restaurants can be tricky no matter where you live, but Zomato can leverage your phone’s GPS to track down the best eateries in your local area. You can browse by location or cuisine, search for something specific to satisfy your cravings, or check out one of the carefully curated collections, ranging from trending restaurants that week or new places that have opened to even something like rugby pubs or gluten-free cafes. You can also follow other users, whose posts are listed in your own Zomato feed.
Zomato is frankly overflowing with features. Listings include opening times, location and average cost for two, as well as a menu, photos+ and user reviews. You can call a restaurant direct from the app to book, or save your selection for another day; some listings even display accepted payment types and local public transport/taxi services.
Bandisintown Concerts (free)
Bandisintown is the ultimate database for every live musical performance happening on this good Earth, and now it has also put its name to an award-winning gig-finder app. Choose your favourite artists and you’ll be notified whenever they announce shows or tickets go live, and you can select preferred genres to receive recommendations for artists that you may not have heard of.
The app makes keeping track of and organising your musical social life so much easier, allowing you to share events on social media and invite friends to gigs you’re interested in. It’s also the go-to for bookings tickets as well, as it provides links to literally hundreds of trusted ticket vending sites from each of its individual events pages. Every music lover needs this app, from Doom Metalheads to Jazz-Funk connoisseurs.
If you have a burning desire to learn about a stranger’s personal experiences or simply have a question you need answering, Quora is a perfect choice. It functions as a community Q&A, but in this case, anyone can ask and anyone can answer.
However, you don’t need to use it just to answer questions – in fact, once you’ve given Quora a couple of personal interests, it can provide great entertainment by generating a feed of answers it thinks you’ll find interesting. As a result, it’s incredibly easy to find yourself lost down a rabbit hole of questions like “have your neighbours ever called the police on you?” and “is there a limit to the number of cheeseburgers I can buy at McDonald’s?”
Best Android apps 2019: Travel and transport
There’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 surprisingly good knowledge of a totally new language.
Google Translate (free)
Heading 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.
Uber does away with the typical hassle of intra-city public transport to provide a smooth, stress-free taxi ride to any destination across the capital. And better yet, it’s also available in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Portsmouth, Glasgow, and Merseyside in the UK.
When you open up the app, it can access your phone’s GPS to show you every Uber driver in your immediate location, allowing drivers to pick you up from anywhere – even if you don’t have a set address. You’ll receive a text with your driver’s name and car details so you know which car to get into, and you can follow your driver’s progress to see how close they are. Once you set your destination, all payment is handled electronically via your linked bank card or PayPal account, and you’ll be emailed a receipt of your journey once it’s been completed. Even better, the app lets you split your fare with a friend, so one person doesn’t have to take a massive hit to their wallet at the end of a night out.
If 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.
Best Android apps 2019: News, sports and weather
BBC News (free)
Most 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 Google Play.
Sky Sports News (free)
Sports 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.
For those short on time, sifting through the news every day 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 such as 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.
If 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. For £3.69, you can purchase Accuweather Platinum, an ad-free version of Accuweather which has ‘more accurate’ weather forecasts, push notifications for severe weather alerts, five-day forecast summaries and – if you live in China or South Korea – Air Quality reports.
Best Android apps 2019: Music and video
Are you looking for a new way to experience your favourite games? No one plays exactly the same, and now you can see that firsthand. Twitch is a live streaming platform, on which you can watch and talk whilst streamers play.
Looking for a speedrun of your favourite game? There’s a stream for that. Trying to learn tips and tricks to dominate in your next online match? There’s a stream for that. Want to catch up on old episodes of pokemon? That’s right: there’s even a stream for that. People stream anything and everything, so sign in now and you’re guaranteed to find something fun to watch.
Music makers and music lovers alike need this essential app on their smartphone. With over 150 million tracks and counting on its constantly expanding musical database (the largest in the world), SoundCloud could keep your ears entertained 24/7 for the rest of your life – and then some. It’s an innovative music-sharing platform where users can upload their homemade songs and share them for free with followers.
Meanwhile, listeners can choose to follow their favourite artists as well as customise their personal tastes; SoundCloud then provides a daily dose of fresh material suited to your specific preferences. You’ll also find a lot of intriguing cover songs on SoundCloud, a large number of podcasts, and (if this is your thing) a disturbing number of Smashmouth – All Star remixes.
Spotify is the biggest music streaming service in the world, used daily by millions of individuals and businesses alike. It’s perhaps the easiest way to curate and save playlists, share music, and find the obscure tracks that other music sites – or even YouTube – don’t have.
It has simple search functions and allows the user to browse different collections by genre, listen to the newest releases, or simply pick their favourite song and hit ‘Song Radio’ to hear a theoretically endless number of tracks in the same sub-genre. It’s free, but if you want to get rid of the ads you’ll need to stump up for a Premium subscription fee at £9.99 per month.
TuneIn Radio (free)
With 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 two million podcasts, concerts and shows, and there’s sports, news, talk and comedy to be found among its ranks as well. Upgrade to the Pro version and you’ll get rid of the adverts and be able to record what you’re listening to.
If you’ve ever shouted at the car radio when a DJ has 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.
MX Player (free)
One 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.
Best Android apps 2019: Comics and books
Amazon Kindle (free)
You 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. Kobo Books is the most similar book reading app, and Kindle’s main rival, but its e-library is not as well-stocked as Amazon’s bookstore.
With 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.
Best Android apps 2019: Photo and video
Flickr 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.
Google Photos (free)
It’s becoming more common to see Google Photos pre-installed on Android devices, and for good reason. The photo storage software offers free, unlimited cloud storage of photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p in resolution. It’s a little barebones on the organisational front – opting for a folder-less layout – but will keep track of the date a photo was taken to automatically produce albums of your holidays or days out.
Google Photos is designed to be a personal storage space, and excels at being simple to use. It’s also pretty intelligent, suggesting rotations, creating collages, or stitching a pair of like images together. If you’re not fussed about the social media side of an app like Flickr, and need to clear a large amount of storage space on your phone, then Google Photos is your best bet.
Best Android apps 2019: Cloud storage, office and productivity
This 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.
Pushbullet 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. 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 it a must-have Android app.
Grammarly Keyboard (free)
The grammar-preening browser extension has finally been condensed into Android app form. After you have installed and activated Grammarly, you will have no excuse for ever making a typo again. The omniscient, omnipotent keyboard will check your spelling and police your grammar across all other apps on your phone – whether you’re sending a quick test or drafting a lengthy work email, Grammarly will ensure your prose is as tidy as can be, so you can forget all about “i before e” and get on with your day. Your English teacher would be so disappointed in you. But who cares about them? They wore a corduroy tie.
Best Android apps 2019: Tools and utilities
Speedtest by Ookla (free)
If 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.
RememBear: Password Manager (free)
From the developers of the popular (not to mention adorable) TunnelBear VPN app comes RememBear, a management system which securely stores all of the various passwords for all of your numerous online accounts. RememBear will log you into websites and apps with a couple of taps, saving you time, and your login details are guarded by fingerprint encryption and a ‘Master Password’. Reassuringly, RememBear’s security measures have been independently tested to ensure that they’re up to scratch. Best of all, though, there are cutesy bear animations.
If 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.