Apps of the Week

Another great set of apps ready to make their way onto your device

It's Saturday, and that means we've got another great list of apps for you to check out in our Apps of the Week column. Each weekend the writers here at Android Central show off a single app that has been installed on their phone or tablet in the last week. Some are new, some are old but in any case they're still installed and that means they work for us.

Read along with us after the break to see how this week's list breaks down. You may just find an app or two that will work for you on your own phone or tablet.

Jared DiPane - Textra SMS

Textra SMS

When it comes to the way notifications are handled on Android I absolutely love them, but the one thing that bothered me was the lack of options for the stock messaging client. There was no quick reply, and it was just so boring, so I have hunted around for a better replacement. Some folks have recommended Textra SMS to me, and when I was a bit hesitant at first I gave it a shot, and I am in love.

Textra SMS offers a ton of great features and it has been super reliable so far. From the ability to set the color of the notification at the top of the display to the ability to select from a light and dark theme and change the colors of the conversation, this app is loaded with features.

Being able to view a message, tap on it and then have a pop up window display where I can reply right away makes the experience that much better. From here I can quickly shoot off a message, or click the contacts picture and call them if I wanted instead.  With so many options and an overall extremely fluid feel, I would highly recommend giving Textra SMS a shot if you are looking to replace your current text messaging application.

Download: Textra SMS (Free)

Simon Sage - Archangel

Archangel

Archangel is a new dungeon crawl-style action game with finger-friendly controls.  Players take up the fiery sword of an Archangel to lay the righteous smack-down on ne'er-do-well demons.  Draw patterns on screen to execute holy powers,  and employ a smart series of taps to teleport about the extraplanar battlefield and unload fireballs.  The progression system is pretty straightforward with loot dropping regularly and players able to buy new gear between levels.  New powers are unlocked as you level up.

Between the polished graphics,  mobile-first controls,  and all the smiting going on, Archangel is easy to recommend. 

Download: Archangel ($1.99)

Richard Devine - AllCast

AllCast

I have an Apple TV. I use it practically every day, though any mobile device interaction is pretty limited. Then Allcast came along and changed all that. OK, so it doesn't just work with Apple TV, but that's what I have and that's how I use it.

It's a simple app from the folks at ClockworkMod that allows you to send content from your Android device to a wide range of TV connected products such as the Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Roku, some smart TVs and more. With locally stored content it works like a dream with my Apple TV, though it can be a little shaky if you try and share streaming content with it.

Chromecast support would be nice (thanks, Google) but it's a great little app that does exactly what it sets out to do. And it also means I can get my Google Play Movies content onto my Apple TV (properly). 

Download: AllCast (Free / $4.99)

Andrew Martonik - Houzz

Houzz

We've likely all heard the saying, "I don't know art, but I know what I like." Well I'd venture to guess the same goes for interior design for most of us. We don't know the wording or rules when it comes to design, but if we see a picture of a space we instantly can tell if we like it or not. Houzz hopes to help you get inspired with great interior design ideas for your own home by just showing you pictures of complete designer rooms.

You have over two million photos to look through, with design ideas for mostly interiors but also home exteriors as well. Most photos offer tags to show you the name and price of specific items, and you can also post questions to be answered about the items as well. Sign up for a Houzz account and you can add items to an "Ideabook" where you can keep your best ideas together.

The app recently received a bit of a UI refresh in version 3.0 and works fantastically. Houzz will likely be just one tool you use when looking for some design inspiration in your own home, but it's a worthwhile one to have if you're in need of some help.

Download: Houzz (Free)

Phil Nickinson - AWEsum

AWEsum

It pays to show up at our meet-ups. I met with the folks from Nomad Apps in Las Vegas, who showed off AWEsum, a sort of Tetris-like puzzle game that throws a bit of a math twist into things. Numbered blocks fall, and you have to stack them up so that the sum (hence the name) forms the AWEsume number. Matching colors gets you a bonus. If you're stuck, use a Swap Sphere to change things up. The AWEsum number will change periodically. But if you're for a little less game and a little more learning, check out AWEsum+ for $1.99

Download: AWEsum ($0.99)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Roadkill Xtreme

The art style is clearly the highlight of Roadkill Xtreme (think Dragon Ball Z meets Harvest Moon), but the game around it is pretty darn good as well. In this arcade style game, you direct your hero Walter Noodles safely around traffic-filled roads and grab some coins as you go. There's plenty to try and stop you — things like trucks, thugs, rabid-looking dogs and even pretty girls with not-so-pretty intentions. Use the coins to buy power ups and equipment. You know the drill.

The controls (on-screen virtual joysticks) are solid and uncomplicated, the game is fun, and it's all free. Give it a try.

Download: Roadkill Xtreme (Free)


Happen to miss previous editions of our weekly app picks? You can check them out right here. Our continuing weekly app coverage can also be seen right here as well.

 
There are 53 comments

lion7718 says:

I tried Textra but went with their other app Chomp instead, I like having a user pic next to the comments.

Jdalton1111 says:

What's different about chomp? Textra is great! I have been looking for an app with a dark theme and this is the first I have found. I love how customizable Textra is.

Posted via Android Central App

draggnazzo says:

Me too... :D That black theme and customizable globes are awesome... and its Free!

zackmack7 says:

See I'm the other way around. I was using Chomp for a long time, but had never tried Textra. I wonder why the developer has two very similar sms apps in the play store.

tx_tuff says:

There is a user picture next to the comments on Textra, so you have me lost.

Posted via Android Central App

lion7718 says:

Chomp also has the user pic inside the text as well.

Anon8154066 says:

Yup both very good indeed but with you I prefer chomp.

Posted via Android Central App

Warrenisit says:

Apple tv? Booooooo

Posted via Android Central App

1ll1TERAT3 says:

For those of you that use twitter, check out the app called Talon that launched this week. It is so amazing!!

Posted via Android Central App on my Moto X

dakid2k6 says:

Love it but having a few issues with it, so waiting on another update

1ll1TERAT3 says:

The devs posted that the 1.10 update is coming soon

Posted via Android Central App on my Moto X

dakid2k6 says:

Textra is great chomp is great there alot of great apps for txt I use right now hello sms light weight and free no ads. I also am trying evolve sms

TomW093 says:

I actually uninstalled Textra this week, and switched to EvolveSMS. A really great app to try

KevinM2k says:

Agree with this, i'm using EvolveSMS, no lag for me and it is by far the 'prettiest'

bigmac44 says:

I like EvolveSMS a lot, but it doesn't handle MMS well at all. It constantly crashes. I was a logtime GoSMS user until it got so bloated, so I searched and found Textra. It does what I want it to do and doesn't complain. I may move on to EvolveSMS once it matures and fixes the MMS issue.

IceCold803 says:

I have been using EvolveSMS for about 2 days and it was so buggy and unusable I had to delete it. I just downloaded Textra and it's great. No freezing or lagging and locking up like EvolveSMS. I'm happy with Textra now.

Posted via Android Central App

XavierMatt says:

Evolve is just laggy. I've been using hangouts until something better Comes around.

Editor in chief of Futureproff.com

nickacs says:

I've been using Textra since the summer and works great. Had some MMS/group texts initially, but they fixed it perfectly. Nice and light weight too, unlike Handcent and other big sms apps. I've also tried 8sms too for an easy stock replacement and also is a great contender! So many to choose from, it's hard to pick only one

dbareis says:

Chomp & Textra by same developer, I was using Textra but just tried Chomp again and the bug that stopped me using it appears to have been fixed. I will use Chomp now :-)

Evolve SMS I didn't like as could configure how I liked (in free version anyway).

Joshua Kelly says:

EvolveSMS is a really good one too.
I always end up going back to Hangouts.

Posted via Android Central App

XavierMatt says:

This.

Editor in chief of Futureproff.com

TheDu9du says:

Hey Jared.. I just found out about SMS Popup by Adam K. Thought you may like to try it. Works great on my N4 on latest Kitkat using Hangouts for default.

Jay Holm says:

I prefer Handcent SMS. I can also change the the color of specific contacts icons that appear in the notification bar, Handcent is very customizable.

Posted using Android Central App on my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

NoNexus says:

I got away from that for some reason and just never got back. I guess that if I don't miss it it wasn't all that important.

It is a good sms app though

-----------------------------------------
Mommy posted this because I am not allowed to internets

So, no one is using Hangouts for their SMS/MS needs?

Posted via Android Central App

drokssilva says:

Hangouts is great. Hangouts for SMS / MMS is terrible

Sent from inside a cave.

paulw3 says:

Agree. It crashed every time a MMS arrives.

Posted via my Motorola Startac

photopaul65 says:

Agreed, it's soooo dammmmmmn sllooooooooowwwwwww compared to a dedicated sms app, especially when you just want to send a quick text. Drove me nuts and I immediately went back to Handcent. Textra looks nice, though, might have to give it a try.

XavierMatt says:

Hmm. It does ha e glitches. Especially when trying to attach pics. I actually have ever to go to the gallery to do it. Other than that it's fine.

Editor in chief of Futureproff.com

wsmather says:

I use it. Very satisfied.

Joshua Kelly says:

I do it works great for me no problems.

Posted via Android Central App

jaime1822 says:

I've been using Textra for months now. It is a great app for simplicity and customizing!

Posted via Android Central App on my Big Red LG G2

TechZOnline says:

Ever since Hangouts was updated to handle SMS too, I tried some alternative apps and ended up on Textra which is simple and does what it says on the box. Great little app. The kind of stuff you won't mind paying for.

dancing-bass says:

I love Textra. I found it just before they added SMS to hangouts. I stuck with Textra then tried using Hangouts for my SMS. Not a good experience at all. It waslaggy like crazy, but only if I have SMS on. If not, it's pretty decent. Likely due to my aging Gnex more then anything.

Anyway I tried Chomp and Handcent but kept coming back to Textra. I can't give any specific reason, other then it's clean, fast, and simple. A few handy extra tweaks over the bone-stock app provided by Google, but those are the exact tweaks (no more, no less) then what I was looking for. I love it. Its gonna have to be one killer app to get me to switch away from it!

cgardnervt says:

I love Textra too!

Sent from my HTC One

shenryz_19 says:

I love uniformity. Hangouts has the same design as the KitKat dialer, gmail, and chrome. And I use aviate launcher as well.

Posted via Android Central App

dan1431 says:

I use Textra as well but have to wonder why offer it for free?

There are no ads, so where is the revenue for the company?

Dsn

Posted via Android Central App

neonworm says:

They make other apps too. That is how they make their money. For example, they are the same people who made Chomp SMS.

Sent from my out-of-this-world Galaxy S3

gonsa says:

i've tried textra, handcent, evolvesms, hangouts but always come back Go SMS Pro.
their customization is huge, more than textra.
recently installed the hangouts black theme and it is perfect.
No pop is that customizable as go sms.

FM2125 says:

I'm also satisfied with textra. I used chomp before for a long time. Textra actually makes the phone useful with messages. I miss the more in depth customization you could do with chomp but textra makes up for it by letting me not have to deal with that stupid android slideshow, it shows gifs, and I can swipe between pictures when I view them. Nifty little app.

Posted via Android Central App

willizen says:

Textra is great. Clean interface, reliable, handles group messaging with ease, and the quick reply feature is super nice. Great messaging app

VDub2174 says:

I'm giving Textra a try now :)

rudyy50 says:

Really like Textra and AllCast.
Hate Hangouts, and all other Google apps.

Posted via Android Central App

jdbii says:

The weekly app recommendations is one of my favorite AC staples. I can't tell you how many times I've been introduced to an app I otherwise would have never considered. Textra is just awesome and will be my default SMS from now on, and Houzz is a and came right in the middle of me painting and redecorating. Thank you AC crew!

Jdalton1111 says:

Never heard of a dark theme for hangouts. I switched to hello sms after hangouts was laggy. I like hello, but they didn't have a dark theme. Chomp and Textra are both great!

Posted via Android Central App

Tower72 says:

Does Textra allow for custom fonts to be used?

ysstog says:

I'll chime in for Ninja SMS and Sliding Messaging. Both excellent and with dark themes.

HeyImAlexD says:

Textra was the best thing I downloaded for my phone a few months ago. I needed something to rid myself of the stock messenger app and Hangouts wasn't going to be it. Textra really has been an awesome experience and I'm dang glad I downloaded it.

note3owner says:

Hello Sms is good too just a bit choppy at times
A few bugs but good concept

Posted via Android Central App

bigtnew says:

Textra leaves ghost notifications while using nils lock screen. I loved it but can't deal with the constant notification of an old message. Maybe I'm missing something.

Posted via my hTc one with a cracked screen!

keith2k1 says:

There is NOTHING Dragon Ball Z about Roadkill...haha

rap1 says:

This feature is one of my favorites too. Another thing I love about AC is the comments. I learn so much from those. Using hangouts for SMS currently. The N5 is my first smart phone so I just went with the default but looking to change. Thanks for all the great recommendations.

Ishgrath says:

Well I've tried 90 % off all texting sms apps out there and if there is one who beats em all its evolvesms it got all u need! Pics gif, mms, location sends, everything! Do download it

Posted via Android Central App