Our weekly app picks
It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.
Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!
1. Russell Holly — Moon+ Reader Pro
While I am well-versed in the art of stripping DRM from books and loading them into my Google account, it's still an obnoxious step in between me and a good book sometimes. Having an app that supports an absurd number of book formats is a much better solution for me, and that is probably going to be the biggest reason I seriously consider moving all of my ebooks to Moon+ reader.
As a standalone ebook reader, it lets me sync my reading progress through Dropbox and looks great in the process. The Material Design focus appeals to me mostly because it doesn't feel like I'm using a third party app, and it's feature list is going to have me poking around for quite a while. At the absolute least, this is where my next batch of books from Humble Bundle or Amazon are going to live.
2. Alex Dobie — GSam Battery Monitor
Most Android phones give you a pretty good way to monitor your battery usage and identify problematic apps. If you want to take your battery analysis to the next level though, GSam Battery Monitor is a great little app that can capture a bunch of really interesting info about how your Android phone uses its battery. You can track down apps that might be using excessive data or keeping your phone awake, see live readouts of screen-on, Wifi, cellular and Bluetooth times, along with predicted usage time remaining based on your usage. There's a ton of different features to dig into, including charts to track temperature and voltage over time — so if you're serious about squeezing some extra juice out of your phone, GSam is worth a look.
What's more, it's recently been updated with a Material Design-inspired redesign. The free version is ad-supported, and you can disable ads in the settings if you leave anonymous usage stat collection switched on. To disable both, you'll need to grab the paid premium version.
3. Andrew Martonik — Milk Music
Because Google has yet to budge on its ridiculous authorization/deauthorization limits on Play Music All Access, I have to be careful which phones I choose to get hooked up to my account. On the Galaxy S5 and S6 I've been using Milk Music instead of Google Play Music to protect those precious slots, and I've found it to be a good short-term choice. Milk Music is probably best compared to a radio-style service like Pandora — you spin a dial to choose different genres of music and instantly get a playlist of songs in that area. You get a limited number of song skips in the free version of the service, but I've found the music selections to be quite good. Your preferences will also be synced across devices if you sign in with a Samsung Account.
There's also a $3.99/month premium tier for unlimited skips and offline listening, but I've been managing just fine with the free version — it gets me popular music in the genres I want, and does it without taking up a Google Play Music slot. Of course it's only available for Samsung phones and tablets, but if you happen to have one it may be worth a look.
4. Phil Nickinson — Relay for Reddit
My Reddit app of choice rolled out a rebranding last week, with a new name — Relay for Reddit. There's been a little bit of a visual cleanup as well, but really it's the name change that's the big deal here. (Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.) Still, if you're looking for a lightweight-but-powerful reader for Reddit, this is one to check out.
5. Justin Duino — Hacked
My choice this week requires the user to be less of a casual gamer and more of a developer or at least someone with some coding background. Hacked is a combination between a game and an IDE. Using the H coding language, you play through challenges that require you to do real coding to continue onward in the app. In addition to the story mode, there are mini challenges and a freestyle mode that allows you to write your own programs right on your phone or tablet.
Hacker is still in beta and will require you to submit a request to join their Google Plus beta community. Once in the community, you can follow instructions found on the page to join the official beta and download the game.
6. Jerry Hildenbrand — Seafood Watch
I'm not much of an activist. Nothing against those who are, but you won't find me hugging trees or on a raft fighting against Japanese whaling ships. I am, however, a guy who loves to eat tasty fish and not pay an arm and a leg for it. I want to try and do my part whenever I can. The Seafood Watch app helps me do a little bit of good.
The Seafood Watch app lets me make better choices about the seafood I'm buying, and those better choices mean creating a more sustainable environment where the price of fish doesn't keep skyrocketing. It's also easy to use — just tell the app the type of fish you're thinking about eating, and you'll see what the folks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium think about the "environmental friendliness" of your future meal. Then it is up to you whether you want that Bluefin Tuna or to go for the Yellowtail. Good thing both are delicious!