Apps of the Week

See what apps we're using this weekend

It's Saturday, and that means its time for our weekly post where we show off the best apps that the Android Central writers are currently using. Each week we ask the folks here at AC to chime in with a few words about an app that is sticking around on their devices and why it works for them.

This week we're looking at a beautiful way to check the weather, a way to cut down on spam in your (physical) mailbox and a few games to help you pass the time. Hang with us after the break and see how the picks stack up this week.

Sean Brunett - Yahoo! Weather

Yahoo! Weather

We have featured the recent updates to Yahoo’s apps on the site, but I wanted to particularly emphasize their weather app, because it’s gorgeous. Marissa Mayer has been making great changes to Yahoo! since becoming CEO and the weather app displays this. For one thing, it’s one of the most beautiful apps and widgets I have used. The widgets that occupy the homescreen are things of beauty and they make you aware that the addition of hd photos can drastically improve your app. I have been using the Yahoo! weather widgets for a few weeks now and I don’t think I’ll be changing anytime soon. If you press the widget and scroll vertically, you can access detailed weather information like the upcoming forecast. You can also set favorite locations and swipe horizontally to view current conditions in them. If you like weather widgets or can appreciate gorgeous apps, I highly suggest Yahoo! Weather. 

Download: Yahoo! Weather (Free)

Simon Sage - Fractal

Fractal

Fractal is a smart, calm puzzle game with great music - which should be expected from the guys that made Splice. Though Fractal made its Android debut on the Humble Bundle a few weeks ago, it hit Google Play recently. Players are challenged to move tiles on a hex grid to form blooms (or clusters of seven tiles). To do so, they must push existing tiles from outside, though you only have so many pushes in a given level to do so. As boards become more complex, so do your options. The graphics are very sharp, and the occasional bit of commentary has a left-field sense of humor. If you're looking for something ponderous, be sure to give Fractal a shot. 

Download: Fractal ($2.99)

Casey Rendon - PaperKarma

PaperKarma

After moving across the country recently, my old mailbox address became my forwarding address. Any mail that still ends up in Los Angeles will be forwarded to me in Boston, which is fantastic. It comes at a price, however. My forwarding charges are calculated by weight, which means every piece of junk mail ends up costing me money. Having a little foresight, I've been using PaperKarma to cut back on the recurring pieces of junk mail. There's no way to tell for sure that it works every time it's used, but I've definitely seen a decrease in junk mail overall. All it takes is a photo of the offending letter(s), entering the address it was sent to, and the push of a button. PaperKarma then notifies the company that their junk is no longer wanted. Out of the 20+ times I've used it, only once did it have a problem recognizing the company (that submission is still pending). It's both free to download from the Play Store, and free to use.

Download: PaperKarma (Free)

Andrew Martonik - TuneIn Radio Pro

TuneIn Radio

A lot of my music listening has transitioned over to Google Play Music All Access as of late, but when it comes to plain old AM and FM radio, I keep TuneIn Radio Pro installed. Not only do you get access to local radio (some devices nowadays don't have FM tuners), but also pretty much every station around the world you could think of. You can search for stations by music genre or go straight to the new "live" section to see what's popular at the moment, and of course manage your favorite stations so you can come back to them later.

At $4.99 the Pro version is a little steep so you may be fine with the free version, but if you do spring for Pro you'll get the option to record streams directly to your device, which is a solid perk for a one-time purchase app.

Download TuneIn Radio Pro ($4.99)

Chris Parsons - He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe

He-Man: The Most Powerful Game

Back during GDC we learned the Chillingo has working on bringing their He-Man game to the Android platform and it has now arrived. Anyone growing up on the in the 80's is sure to be familiar with the franchise, and some of its failures, but Mattel has once again let it come out of the vaults and this time around it's been served some decent justice. Built as a side-scrolling action game there's lots of fun to be had here with the characters looking great in their pixel renditions and the game even includes the ability to unlock drawings and other goodies from the original series as well as the game Overall, well worth the $.99 you'll put in.

Download: He-Man: The Most Powerful ($0.99)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Sliding Explorer

Sliding Explorer

One tool that every Android power-user needs is a good file explorer. Some companies include a basic one by default (Samsung's is particularly nice in my opinion), and there are plenty of others to choose from in Google Play. As a bit of a nerd, I've always stuck with OI File Explorer (I've been using it since I had my G1, and it works) but I decided to have a look and see what new ones are available. Sliding Explorer has really caught my eye.

There are no "magic" functions that put it above the rest of the big names out there, but it does include support for everything you need it to support — root, zip file manipulation, image previews and the like. That's not what makes it my pick this week. That distinction goes to the app design and interface. The developers have incorporated the sliding menu drawer and hamburger menu I love so much, and they did a really good job with it. The app is speedy and responsive, and gives me almost instant access to the files and folders on my phone. And it looks good while doing it all. That's exactly what I would have asked for.

Download: Sliding Explorer (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 32 comments

MetalMike901 says:

I love weather apps and for the longest time Yahoo's app was pretty bad. Their latest update actually puts it near the top now for me, and i have like 8 others installed. Yahoo is doing a great job with recent updates. If you like weather apps I'd highly recommend it. The layout is indeed very attractive and the data format is nice.

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4

mcgowan398 says:

The new widget for the app are awesome!!!! Way better than Samsung's.

ⓖ◎◎ⓖⓛⓔ†ⓝⓔⓧⓤⓢ

thamenacing1 says:

Co-sign! I've been using it for a few hours and it already blows a complete hole into Samsung's widget

Posted via Android Central App

jlo3378 says:

The only complaint I have with the yahoo weather app is the white font color for widgets. Some of the pictures it rotates through make it hard to see the time. If there was more black border around it or an option for shadowing, it would be perfect.

jazbojenkins says:

+1

Posted via Android Central App

What else do you use if you don't mind me asking? I used My-cast weather on iOS before I switched to android, and the android version of the app is still my go-to weather app even though it hasn't been updated in years. It's fast and functional. But I've been looking for something new.. Trying out this new yahoo app now though.

neonworm says:

I love the yahoo weather app.

ACADM says:

I tried the Yahoo! Weather app and it was quite pretty, however it didn't seem very accurate for where I live, the pictures used certainly weren't from my area.

Would love to try He-Man but unfortunately it's not available for my country, booo.

Posted via Android Central App

TheDu9du says:

Seems to me like you just described a real-state problem not a software one. Just switch countries and problem solved.

icebike says:

Tune-In Pro is great due to the ability to record. Some of the radio shows I like to listen are from europe.

Also, you can pause live broadcasts, which is nice when you get a phone call or something while listening.

mwara244 says:

I like the fact you can rewind live play as well and I use the record all the time, any radio station in the world, I got to listen to a live concert in England on xfm

sakasune says:

Mmmm...hamburger menu ::drool::
</homer>

commonplace says:

Just tried the Yahoo! Weather app. Absolutely gorgeous... but not accurate and didn't have severe weather warnings on the widget. Or if it does support it, it didn't know that we're currently under a severe weather warning. Soooo... looks great, but useless to me. I'll keep an eye on it, though!

Posted via Android Central App

MetalMike901 says:

Not sure about the widget, but it does do severe alerts under the settings menu and by checking severe alerts based on location. Whether the widget shows them or not the app should notify you of severe weather.

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4

TC93 says:

The only thing the Yahoo weather app has going for it is the photos, but as a weather app its very lame. The best weather app on android is Weatherbug.

DirkBelig says:

Based on your comment, I went and got Weather Bug. I dunno. The Weather Channel manages to know what city I'm in while WB thinks I'm over a half-mile away. Fancy Widgets thinks I'm in the city across the street a few hundred yards away, but that's understandable; not sure what WB is smoking.

But worse, there's no widget! How does an app like this not have a widget?!?

ETW11 says:

Couldn't agree more. WeatherBug is probably the best. From what I can tell, the Yahoo app doesn't have moving radar. That is the most critical aspect of a weather app, in my opinion. I refused to use it after that.

Snapphane says:

I think I'm sticking with Solid Explorer. No hamburger, but a sliding menue non the less. It looks great and works greaat, so why switch =D

Wicket says:

I too just tried sliding explorer Jerry, I like it a lot. For me it's replacing ES which I have been using for years now. I'm not saying it's "better" than ES, just that I don't use 90% of ES's features. If you want a simple File Manager with Root abilities and none of the extras, Sliding is something you'll want to check out!

tcrosby86 says:

Astro file manger ftw. Not sure if the other file managers can (very possible), but astro let's me access all my cloud storage as well as SD card very easily. Copy and paste right to my dropbox/drive and others.

Posted via Android Central App

imtoomuch says:

I used to agree with you, but then Astro changed it's interface. It became uglier, harder to use, and some features, such as the sort, became harder to access. It became much less usable after it's "upgrade". I switched to ES File Explorer and I've been pretty happy. It can also access your clouds.

I'm going to give Sliding Explorer a try because I never thought ES was perfect.

speculatrix says:

I used astro too and switched to ES ad astro became ugly and the adverts were intrusive.
The good things about astro were the bluetooth and smb plug ins.

I'll try this new one.

speculatrix says:

I just tried it. Maybe I'm missing something but I could only see either the sdcard or /system. I couldn't navigate to the external sdcard or root.

dratsablive says:

Anyone know how to remove the default location from the Yahoo Weather App? No options are apparent in the settings. I can add my city, but it defaults to a "David Manor".

At the top when you're in the app, it says your city with a small corner icon. Hit that.

Posted via Android Central App

tf5_bassist says:

Does anyone know if the Humble Bundle version of Fractal can be updated to the Play Store version?

Posted via Android Central App

Simon Sage says:

I don't think so. The Humble Bundle app has its own update mechanism, though. 

Tune In Pro was one of the first paid apps I bought many many moons ago...back then I'm pretty sure I only paid $0.99 for it. $4.99 wow dang inflation!

Posted via Android Central App

speculatrix says:

I too got tune-in pro during one of their special offer days. Its a great app but I would probably hold off for another promotion. OTOH a few extra $ isn't all that much compared to the price of having to buy music instead of listening to the radio.

MarkMcCoskey says:

PaperKarma is a great app. It works!

-The Yahoo Weather Widget looks great, but... When you have something similar to the Samsung Widget with the large time display, you would think clicking the large time would take you to the time app, to set an Alarm. At least have this in settings, so you can set it to open the clock/time app.

afazel says:

I discovered today that Sliding Explorer can't check md5sums :-(

Posted via Android Central App