The latest version of Android is finally rolling out on different phones other than just the Pixel lineup of devices. However, Android 11 is mostly just an incremental update to the previous version, so the user experience is more or less the same.
You can improve the experience by switching to different alternatives to apps you already use. Nowadays, app developers are testing the limits of the Android ecosystem and trying to make radical improvements to the user experience.
In reality, so many quality Android apps hit the Play Store that it’s hard for anyone to keep track of them all. Such vast libraries also discourage users from looking out for new apps to try and force them to download the app with the most positive ratings.
It’s pretty much impossible for new apps to dethrone a popular choice in Play Store, but you always have the option to try out something new in case you are bored with the current apps you use. Check out our selections for the top five best Android apps you can get before the end of the year.
GameOn is Amazon’s new social media service exclusive for mobile gamers. With support for over a thousand popular Android games, the app lets you record gameplay and clips, and share them with your friends and followers on GameOn and various social media platforms.
You can showcase your mastery in games like PUBG Mobile, Angry Birds 2, Among Us, Crossy Road, War Robots, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Gardenscapes, Bloons TD, Clash Royale, Asphalt 9, and many more via GameOn’s social network. The app gives you 30 seconds to 5 minutes of recording time, so you can capture your gameplay highlights, lowlights, funny moments, commentaries, tips and tricks, etc. The integrated screen recorder can also be used with a compact facecam overlay to add an extra layer of interaction with your audience.
On supported devices, you get HD screen recording with internal audio, which you can enable at any moment from the GameOn overlay. You can record your gameplays for up to five minutes. It also offers a built-in editor, which helps you remove the unnecessary stuff from the recorded clips.
GameOn also has additional features like achievements, weekly game challenges, and limited-time content sharing competitions, quite similar to what Omlet Arcade offers. However, it’s totally free and doesn’t have any premium subscription tiers.
Most third-party Android launchers share the same design language, with common customization and theming options. Olauncher takes a minimal approach to the launcher UI design and removes the customization bloat on purpose.
According to the developer, Olauncher is designed to help you focus on more important things and free you from distractions. One of the highlights of Olauncher is its lack of support for app icons. Instead, all you get on the home screen is a list of apps you use on a daily basis. Similarly, the app drawer is just a down-scrolling list of installed apps on your phone.
The absence of customization options is truly what makes Olauncher unique. The fewer the distractions, the more you get out of your screen time. You get access to only a few options, such as the ability to hide apps and double-tap to lock screen. You can also set daily wallpapers in the launcher.
Surprisingly, Olauncher is an open-source Android launcher, and it’s totally free to download. It weighs only 1.2 MB in size, offering a lightweight and bloat-free launcher experience. Furthermore, there are no advertisements or premium tiers. Apart from the heavy emphasis on minimalism, Olauncher also respects your privacy and doesn’t collect any usage data.
For some reason, Android never had a decent system-wide audio equalizer. While there are certain apps that can drastically improve the audio quality of Android devices, they rely on root access. Wavelet isn’t one of them.
Wavelet is a headphone-specific equalizer developed by XDA Senior Member pittvandewitt, but you can also use it to improve your phone’s speakers and Bluetooth-enabled audio devices. It’s currently the only viable solution to get system-wide EQ on Android without root access.
With Wavelet, you can use the AutoEq feature to equalize your headphones to the Harman standard. It has over 2700 calculated sound profiles for different headphone models. You get a view of the applied compensation on the graph.
The app also offers a 9-band graphical equalizer that you can use to fine-tune the sound signature to your preference when your pair of headphones isn’t listed in Wavelet’s database.
Other effects you can tweak include virtualization, reverberation, and bass boost. The bass tuner option is also a bonus if you are a basshead, but you can reduce the bass as well. You can also find gain controls, such as the limiter feature for reducing dynamic range and channel balance feature for balancing the volume of your headphone’s individual audio channels.
Wavelet works with almost every app, including Spotify, Tidal, Neutron, PowerAmp, SoundCloud, YouTube, YouTube Music, Shuttle, etc. However, it mostly depends on how your device handles the system audio framework. Wavelet does have a legacy mode, which offers limited functionality while providing maximum device compatibility.
Wavelet is free to download on the Play Store. Although most of its useful features (e.g., AutoEq, Graphic equalizer, Limiter, Channel balance) are freely accessible, you need to pay $5.49 to unlock the Virtualizer, Bass tuner, and Reverberation options.
4. Solid Explorer File Manager
Solid Explorer is an advanced and capable file browser for Android devices. It consists of a material theme and provides almost all the features you expect from a file browser app.
As usual, you can manage files on your device’s internal storage, SD card, and external storage devices over a USB OTG connection. Solid Explorer is compatible with FTP, SFTP, SMD, and WebDav network protocols, meaning you can access your files from NAS (network-attached storage) drives from the browser over a wireless connection.
However, if you use cloud storage services, you can link your account to Solid Explorer and manage your cloud-stored files directly from the app. It supports Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Mega, MediaFire, SugarSync, Yandex, etc.
Solid Explorer also offers strong AES file encryption. You can secure your private files by moving them to a secure folder, and setting up a password or fingerprint for authentication.
Besides, you can customize the theme and icon sets in Solid Explorer to your preference. Here are some of the additional features you might find useful:
- Multi-window file management: You can open two different storage spaces in a dual-pane layout and manage the files.
- Organized file categories: Your files are automatically categorized in Recent, Photos, Videos, Music, Documents, Apps, and Downloads.
- Indexed search: It makes searching for files basically instantaneous.
- Support for different archive formats: You can read and extract ZIP, RAR, 7ZIP, and TAR files.
- Batch rename: You can batch rename the same types of files in a folder.
- Root explorer: You can browse and edit system files on rooted Android devices.
Overall, Solid Explorer by NeatBytes is an excellent choice if you are looking to replace your device’s existing file browser. However, some of its features are exclusive to the paid-tier, which you can unlock for only $2.99. It also removes in-app advertisements.
Crisper is a new customizable wallpaper app for Android devices. Its collection is mostly built upon Unsplash’s royalty-free wallpapers, offering over two hundred thousand quality backdrops for your home and lock screen.
However, Crisper has a built-in editing tool you can use to adjust the brightness, contrast, blur, vignette, and contrast, and other variables. You can also apply emboss, pixelation, sepia, and dozens of different effects to further customize a wallpaper. Of course, you can resize and crop the wallpapers to make them a better fit for your personalized home and lock screen.
Crisper is available in early access at the time of writing, meaning it’s still in development. However, you can install it for free and enjoy customizable wallpapers. It’s worth mentioning that the app contains ads, as well as in-app purchases for unlocking a few editing tools.