Whether you are in search of new apps to use on your Android phone or looking for better alternatives, there are thousands of options on the Play Store. However, the best of apps often don’t show up on the featured or search page, due to how Google emphasizes app download counts over everything.
We have shortlisted five of the best underrated Android apps below. As always, you are welcome to check out the Android apps and games that we have previously covered from The Best section.
1. Shortcut Maker
Some Android devices don’t seem to play well with third-party launchers, resulting in some system apps completely missing from the app drawer. In such instances, you can use the Shortcut Maker app to create a shortcut of the app on your launcher’s home screen.
Shortcut Maker lets you create shortcuts of not only apps but also activities, folders, files, contacts, and more. You can also rename the shortcut and add a custom icon, as well as set up biometric authentication to lock the shortcut. It offers plenty of customization options for the shortcut creation, including a list of system-wide adaptive icons to choose from. Furthermore, it’s possible to make shortcuts to your favorite websites, and you can set a website shortcut to open up in your preferred web browser.
The app does offer full custom control, letting you create shortcuts to certain functions of apps installed on your device. It even has a favorite and history section, from where you can check out the lists of all the shortcuts you create or mark as favorites.
The Shortcut Maker app is a must-have utility tool for your device in case you use third-party launchers on incompatible Android skins. The app also has a native dark mode, and it doesn’t serve intrusive pop-up ads. You can download Shortcut Maker for free, and donate if you like the app and want to support the developer.
2. Notch Pie
Even the most recently launched Android devices aren’t shy to incorporate a punch hole or a notch on the screen, given that under-screen cameras are quite risky to implement in its current state. Although notches can look quite ugly sometimes, you can put it to fair use using the Notch Pie app.
With Notch Pie, you can place a battery indicator overlay around the notch on top of your device’s screen. All you have to do is grant the app permission to show as an overlay and disable battery optimization for the app to work in the background. It doesn’t drain your battery by any means, and you won’t have to root your device in order to get Notch Pie working. It is optimized to use less CPU and memory resources so that it doesn’t hamper your device’s performance.
The app offers four presets for the most common notch sizes: Rounded, Teardrop, Medium, and Large. You also get granular controls over the size of the notch, along with the height, width, radius, and X-Y positions in both portrait and landscape mode.
Notch Pie also lets you enable/disable landscape support and a cool charging animation. You can also manually define color levels for different battery percentages.
3. VLC for Android
If you are looking for a video and audio player on your Android device, then definitely give VLC for Android a try. It’s a toned-down version of the VLC Media Player on PC and Mac, but it still retains some of VLC’s media playback capabilities.
You can throw any sort of video and audio format at the VLC for Android app, and it will start playing back. It can also play corrupted media files. In addition, you can playback network streams and your collection of video files from network-shared drives, similar to what the desktop version of VLC offers.
You won’t have to download separate codecs to get media files working on VLC, as all the popular ones come pre-installed with the player. You can toggle on subtitles and change audio tracks while playing back a video. The app also has a file browser built-in, which you can use to find and play media files stored on your Android device.
VLC for Android even offers aspect-ratio adjustments and auto-rotation settings. On top of that, you can use gestures to control brightness and volume without interacting with the navigation bar or system volume control overlay. The media player also offers an audio control widget and manual control over the audio output source. It has an equalizer built-in as well, giving you granular options to tune your preferred sound signature.
VLC for Android is open-source and free to download, just like its Windows and Mac counterparts. It has no in-app purchases or premium features, along with zero advertisements throughout the app’s user interface. It has a separate version for Android TV devices too.
4. Microsoft Math Solver
Microsoft Math Solver is an excellent app for students who often encounter difficulties with math problems. It uses AI and machine learning to figure out complex equations in real-time. You can either type in the math problem in the app or use your device’s camera to scan handwritten or printed texts. It uses OCR technology to auto-identify numbers and symbols. In addition, you can import images of math equations from your photo gallery.
The app gives you a step-by-step explanation of the math problem you are trying to solve, along with interactive graphs and web suggestions to similar math problems. It can also help you plot X-Y data tables for linear and non-linear functions. Here are the math topics Microsoft Math Solver can help you with:
- Elementary: Real and complex numbers, arithmetic, LCM, GCD, roman numerals, factors
- Pre-Algebra: Fractions, matrices, radicals and exponents, determinants
- Algebra: Inequalities, quadratic equations, system of equations, rational expressions, linear, exponential, and quadratic graphs
- Math Concepts: Volume, surface area, probability, number theory
- Basic Calculus: Integrals, summations, limits, derivatives
- Statistics: Standard deviation, permutations and combinations, mean, median, mode
Microsoft Math Solver is a free app with no in-app advertisements. It can also help you learn math in your preferred language, including Hindi, French, German, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish, etc.
5. Shade Launcher
Shade Launcher is an open-source launcher for your Android device. It’s based on the stock launcher that comes with Google’s Pixel lineup of devices, but it adds a plethora of user customization options on top of it.
The launcher automatically adapts to the system-wide theme on your device. However, you can also manually switch between light and dark mode as per your preferences. You can also enable Google’s news feed to get access to your list of personalized news directly from the launcher home screen.
In addition, Shade Launcher offers icon grid division adjustments from both the home screen and app drawer. It has support for adaptive icon packs as well. Google’s iconic “At a Glance” widget is also built-in to the launcher, which intelligently adapts to the most important notification on your Android device and gives you quick access to it. You can control the music playback with taps and gestures on the widget.
Shade Launcher even lets you hide apps in the app drawer. It natively supports Android 10’s gesture navigation bar, which you can take advantage of without rooting your device. It also works on devices running Android 7.0 Nougat.
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