Apps of the week

More great applications to install and try

Happy app-day Sunday, everyone. We're back with another list of applications we want to tell you about, because we think they're pretty darn great and think you will like them, too. We do this because we know how hard it can be to find the best apps when you have well over 1,000,000 of them to dig through.

And as always, we want you to join in the fun. This isn't just for us to talk about the apps we like, it's a place where you can share your favorites with everyone, too. Check out our picks, then dive into the comments and share yours. We're all reading, and always looking out for the best of the best to install on our phones and tablets.

Phil Nickinson — Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager

This should be one of the first apps you install on a new device. In fact, if you don't already have it, go download it now. I'll wait. ... Back? Good. Android Device Manager — an official Google app — is the easiest (and cheapest) way to find a lost device. If it's just in the other room, buried under a couch cushion or a mountain of stuffed animals (it happens), you can trigger the missing device to ring so you can find it. If you've got a sneaking suspicion that you might have left your phone or tablet somewhere, you can lock it down until you're sure. And if you absolutely know that it's gone on walkabout, you can tell the device to self-destruct. Wait. Scratch that. You can set it to erase itself. Explosions, however small, would be bad. Whatever. Just download this app now.

And Google, if you're out there (and we know you are), this really should be part of the setup options on every device. Work with your partners who have their own "find my phone" clone, and make this a seamless thing. Do it for the children.

Ara Wagoner — StarWatch Watch Face


Well, I'm still looking for a kick-ass watch face with large peek cards, but StarWatch is a pretty watch face to get me by in the mean time. StarWatch is a dead simple face with a not so simple concept: it pulls a starmap according to where you are on Earth and puts it on your wrist, complete with a direction indicator so you can do a bit of stargazing with just your watch. The second-hand is a akin to a shooting star with a fading tail that spirals around your choice of a digital or analog face. It even gives you the option of 24-hr time, if you don't think your hours should reset at noon just because you need a nap.

There are more options coming, but for now it's both a pretty and pretty functional watch face — if you happen to have some clear sky and maybe a mug of cocoa to drink while you pick out constellations above.

Russell Holly — Syfy Sync

SyFy Sync

The folks at Syfy have been slowly building up their second screen app, and it has finally reached a point where I genuinely enjoy using it when watching their content. Syfy Sync uses the mic on your phone or tablet to listen in on the show you are watching, and syncs up second screen info about the cast or background on the show you're watching while it is happening.

It's cool stuff if you're a fan of the extra info, and if you're a Philips Hue owner the way Syfy is syncing the lighting in your living room to this season of 12 Monkeys is more fun than the plot of the show so far.

Andrew Martonik — NBC Sports Live Extra

NBC Sports app

The state of streaming television is improving every week, but one area that's sorely behind the times still is sports. The newly-formed NBC Sports Network is trying to step in the right direction with its NBC Sports Live Extra app, and I use it every week. The app lets you watch both live and replays of games and shows, covering a huge list of sports and events on the network. I use it personally for watching the EPL because NBCSN carries every single game, but you can also snag college football, some NFL games, the Golf Channel and more.

The big catch is that NBCSN still requires you to sign in with your cable provider to authorize that you (or, let's be honest, someone you know) have cable access. Luckily most cable packages include NBCSN, so you won't be hunting down some special expensive package to get it — though you will be able to watch the Super Bowl without signing in a week from today.

But if you have cable with the channel, there's no reason not to have this app installed. It runs on both phones and tablets, and though it isn't the prettiest thing ever it gets the job done and lets me watch games live whenever and wherever I want them.

Jerry Hildenbrand — AZ Screen Recorder

AZ Screen Recorder

I've found my unicorn.

I've been wanting an easy way to do screen recordings on Android — easy means no cables or computer required — that delivered great results, had no time restraints, and didn't need me to root my phone. A lot of apps have been working on tackling these issues, but I've found AZ Screen Recorder to work best for me.

It's simple. Go into the settings and tell the app things like what bitrate you want things recorded at, whether or not to include sound, and if you want touches displayed. Then tap the red button on the small toolbar and start recording. When you're finished, hit your notification bar for a stop (or pause, as needed) button. The finished file is sitting in your device storage ready to send to a video editor or anywhere else you would want to send a video.

If you're looking for an on-device way to make screen recordings that doesn't derp out or drop frames, AZ Screen Recorder is about as easy as it gets.