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. Jared DiPane — Yelp
Lately I've been pretty bored of the usual places that we go out to eat, but sometimes trying new places can be a bit of a risk. You never know if you are going to like it, if the food stinks, or if you don't order the hidden gem on the menu. Luckily, Yelp helps with all of that and much more.
From being able to see where the place is located, to its phone number, user submitted pictures and more, Yelp is a huge help when hunting a new place out. This week, Yelp let me know that the place we were going was both BYOB and cash only. While that may not seem like a huge deal, I avoided the $5 ATM fee from the restaurants ATM, and the $3 fee from my bank because I could plan ahead.
If you like to eat out, travel, or just want to know more about the places around you, be sure to give Yelp a shot.
2. Russell Holly — BB-8 by Sphero
Now that I've finally seen the new Star Wars movie, I can update the BB-8 app on my phone and enjoy the new features. There's new drive modes, and a new audio setup that makes BB-8 sound more like the lovable little rolly ball we saw in the movie.
It's also still a ton of fun to drive around and chase cats with, so there's a lot to be excited about here. Don't take it into the theater to drive around during the previews though, the people who work at the theater are apparently really tired of asking people to put their balls away.
3. Alex Dobie — Skyscanner
Air travel isn't the easiest thing in the world, and often the most difficult part of the process is finding the right flights in the first place. The Skyscanner app for Android aims to make this whole process a little easier, by helping you track down the right flights at the lowest possible price.
As well as showing prices from major airlines, Skyscanner lets you set price alerts, so you can see when prices change and act accordingly. Better still, the app sports a slick Material Design interface, and even supports Google Now, so you can track your price alerts through Google's predictive app. If you're a frequent flier, Skyscanner is definitely worth a look.
4. Ara Wagoner — Action Launcher 3
I've been a one-launcher girl for a long time. Like a really long time. I'd test out the pre-loaded launcher on a new phone, but then it would be back to Nova Launcher. Well, after months of listening to my editors, my friends, and my readers sing Action Launcher's praises, I decided it was time to give it the old college try.
I'm still getting used to the UI differences, especially how they relate to theming my phone. This is especially true of my dock, which is almost entirely folders. The switch to Covers for these folders has been interesting, but the change hasn't always been a welcome one. I also need to try shutters, which allow users to free up more space on their home screen by hiding the widget in the app icon. This could be very helpful in keeping widgets that might clash with your theme still easily accessible.
5. Jen Karner — Bubble Witch 2 Saga
I've been hooked on bubble shooter games for nearly two decades, ever since I first ran into Bust a Move on a laundromat arcade system. Now there are plenty of bubble shooters available on the Google Play Store, but my favorite is Bubble Witch 2 Saga. You play as a witch collecting colored bubbles for spells, and defeating wicked monsters along the way. Much like most bubble shooter style games, the levels start out very easy before quickly becoming challenging.
Playing along you'll collect various types of power ups to help roll through some of the more challenging levels. You can purchase extra lives, or power ups through the store, but 50+ levels in and I've been able to get by with what you get in game. You can expect to have to bounce balls off the walls to pull off hard to reach shots, and you'll run into obstacles like swirling vortexes that eat your bubbles. The levels are definitely challenging, and getting used to the control scheme was tricky at first but definitely worth giving a shot if you're a fan of the genre.
6. Andrew Martonik — Map My Run
A new year usually gives folks an extra jolt of energy needed to get into (or back into) a workout routine, and for a lot of us part of the deal is having an app to track our progress. Map My Run is one of the biggest names out there in workout tracking, and though the name targets runners it's set up to track pretty much any sort of workout or activity you're into. You can let your phone do the tracking, or even link up the app to all sorts of workout hardware and trackers to pull in data.
After you complete a workout you can get all of the pertinent information you need to follow your progress, and you can then link up with your friends and family if they also use the app to get some encouragement or participate in challenges. The app is free to use and offers quite a few features, but if you're really starting to enjoy it it may make the premium "MVP" subscription worth considering.
7. Richard Devine - Aperture Gallery
I don't like the Google Photos app. I don't use the service and honestly I just don't like using it as the default gallery app on my phone, either. So I needed a replacement and I found what I was looking for in Aperture Gallery. It's not flashy but it's everything I want in a gallery app. Simple, well laid out, no frills. There's not really a whole lot to say about it. And that's what I like.
You can easily, clearly view your images by camera roll, screenshots, downloads etc but you can also tell it to pull in specific folders from your phone, too. It's free, though the current version is still labelled as beta and the developer has had to cease further developments for now. It's open sourced though so if you're a dab hand with coding there's a chance for you to help out, too.