Apps of the week

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!

Alex Dobie — BBC iPlayer Radio

iPlayer Radio

What to do if you find you've planned your time so poorly that you're on a two-hour train ride during a crucial Euro 2016 match? If you're like me, you turn to BBC iPlayer Radio. Like the TV service of the same name, iPlayer Radio lets you stream all the BBC's radio output over Wi-Fi or cellular data, and because the bandwidth required isn't anywhere near that of a video stream, it's possible to listen without interference or signal drops — even in patchy areas.

The app itself lets you choose between the live output from any of the BBC's stations, as well as allowing you to search back and browse past content by genre, airtime or station. Audio quality can be adjusted to save bandwidth, and like the main iPlayer app, you can save broadcasts to local or SD storage to listen on a plane, up a mountain or anywhere else you might not have a reliable data connection.

Download: BBC iPlayer Radio (Free, UK only)

Russell Holly — Sensor Sense

Sensor Sense

Sensor data apps are booooooooring. They never look good, and there's a whole lot of numbers that spits out the raw data from all of the sensors on your phone, and as long as you know what you're looking for there's no problem. These aren't apps you're going to tell people who aren't nerds to install, but that doesn't mean they can't look nice. This is where Sensor Sense comes in, it's a nice Material package, and it's free as long as you're happy with a little banner ad at the bottom (of course if you don't, pay the $3 to make the ads go away and support developers).

Download: Sensor Sense (Free with ads)

Ara Wagoner — XHangouts


Say what you want about how Hangouts has behaved recently (awkwardly), whether or not it's days are numbered as we count down to Allo (they're not), and how it handles SMS (clumsily), Hangouts is still one of my most used messaging apps. The majority of the friends I talk to regularly, I talk to through Hangouts, because they met me on Google+. So when I rooted my Nexus 5X, it made sense that the first customization I'd download would be something to make Hangouts easier on the eyes.

XHangouts is an Xposed module, and it is blissfully simple for an Xposed module. You enable the module, you enter the Theme subject, and you pick a new color to replace that Mean Green Hangouts color. You can also turn on a dark theme, and whenever I can replace the bland, bright white of a Google app with a softer, darker hue, I'm gonna do it.

XHangouts (root and Xposed required)

Andrew Martonik — FIFA 16 Soccer


Okay, I enjoy soccer. You may have figured that out. But I honestly haven't ever bothered with the FIFA (or any other franchise) games on mobile devices ... I always stuck to the console versions where I had a controller. But a couple weeks ago I picked up the massive download for FIFA 16 Soccer, and I've really started to enjoy it.

The controls are surprisingly good and intuitive for an all-touch interface, and the graphics and gameplay are above what I'd initially expected for a phone. Just like on the console you can start up with a low-end team, and play matches through a league as you build the squad and improve on your skills. It's rather surprising how deep the off-field gameplay gets.

Sure it's not the same experience you'll get on your Xbox or Playstation, but when you have a little time to kill it's great to be able to pick up a game that's well put together and only takes a few minutes to play each match.

Download: FIFA 16 Soccer (Free, in-app purchases)

Jen Karner — Zombies, Run! (Free)

Every year when it gets warmed out, I convince myself that this is when I'm going to start going out on runs more often. I'v never really enjoyed running, but getting in shape is a regular goal that I fail to properly chase down. Until I remember that Zombies, Run! is a thing. It combines your own music, with a story about the zombie apocalypse, in which you are a survivor.

Each mission is a different part of the story, and in it, you are Runner 5. You'll need to collect supplies, dodge zombies, and try to survive in a world gone awry. The best part though, is when you are running you can hear zombies chasing you. I don't think I've ever sprinted so fast in my life, as I did the first time I heard the moans of a zombie in my ear. This app really brings out the motivation to run, especially since you want to continue the story and find out what happens next.

Zombies, Run! (free)

Daniel Bader — CloudPlayer


These days, I tend to get most of my music from streaming services like Spotify and Google Play Music, but there are still some essential albums that aren't available online. For those, I use CloudPlayer by doubleTwist, a company many Android veterans will know for its best-in-class music player.

CloudPlayer takes the MP3s and other audio files stored in services like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive and creates a catalog of tunes based on artist, album or song. Its most recent feature, launching this week, allows users to create playlists that are stored in the cloud, too, for streaming from any Android device.

CloudPlayer is great because it is easy; it handles thousands of remote music files easily, and even streams lossless FLAC files with no trouble. It also has a 10-band equalizer and Chromecast support, which is super handy. It even supports Android Auto, which Phil will appreciate.

While the basic version doesn't cost anything, the premium version, which enables the cloud streaming feature, costs $7.99, after a 30-day free trial. It's worth it, even for someone like me who only occasionally listens to his own collection. CloudPlayer is well-designed and reliable, and a great example of an Android app that does one thing really, really well.

CloudPlayer by doubleTwist (Free)