Tech

5 Android apps you need to download

So, around the office, I feel like I’m known as the app guy. I’m always trying to optimize my workflow, and all but one of these apps were totally new to everyone here. Some of these are available on iOS as well, so if you’re an Apple device, you can still have some fun.

Let’s start with Robinhood. I’ve never been much into stock trading. I mean, I’m not exactly independently wealthy, and I don’t know much about what I’m doing. All I really know is not to panic if the market dips, though we’re not here to gauge my economic acumen. What we are here to do is talk about an app that lets you buy and all stocks without a fee. It’s incredibly easy to use, and it gives you lots and lots of information to help you make your decision. I’ve yet to cash out with Robinhood, but the rest of my experience with it has been overwhelmingly positive. Not to mention, it is a gorgeous app on both Android and iOS.

Let’s shift gears for a minute. Vrse is some of the most fun you’ll have with Google Cardboard. Vrse is a curated source for incredible 360 VR video. Google has its own Google Stories that work with VR, but Vrse has been working with the likes of New York Times Magazine and Muse. The music video for Muse’s track ‘Revolt’ is available on Vrse and it’s so much fun to experience with headphones on and a VR headset. It’s really some of the most fun you can have with Google Cardboard. While you’re at it, go grab the Cardboard app if you haven’t already. If you were wondering why 2016 is shaping up to be the year of VR, you should have a better idea after watching a few videos with Cardboard.

ClearFocus is one of my favorite ways to execute one of my favorite productivity methods. One of my best friends from NYC turned me on to the Pomodoro Method some time in 2009 or 2010. Since then, it has become one of my most useful tools for getting things done. Long story short, one Pomodoro lasts 25 minutes. The goal is to complete one task in that amount of time, without interruption. After that, you get a five minute break. Do that four times and you get a longer break; 30-45 minutes or so should be enough. That’s it! ClearFocus is just a beautiful way to track your Poms. You can unlock more functionality with a pro option, too. If you’re looking for a way to get your productivity act together, this is a great place to start. The app isn’t available for iOS, but there are plenty of alternatives.

Series Guide is a phenomenal way to track what you watch across services. With plugins for Netflix and Plex, you can connect your viewing habits to Trakt.TV, which syncs to Series Guide. Once it knows what you watch, you can track your favorite shows and movies. It’ll let you know when there’s new episodes airing and which shows you might like based on your viewing habits. It’s not ideal in that if you’re watching on a service Trakt doesn’t support, you’ll need to track manually by checking in, but if you’re like me and watch a lot of TV, it’ll be a godsend to know when a favorite show comes back. Plus, it’s downright gorgeously designed and incredibly stable, in my opinion. It pulls from TVDB, fetches posters, and pulls from IMDB, too. It’s an entertainment nerd’s best friend. Again, there’s no app for iOS, though TVShow Time is a pretty great alternative.

Finally, you guys know I’m not nuts about the stock camera app on Android. Manual Camera costs $2.99 on the Play Store and it’s a great buy. It’s a stable and powerful replacement for your stock camera that gives you an enormous amount of control over your shots. What I love is that if you want to leave it in full auto, you can. It doesn’t force you into taking control of everything. It does great in full auto mode with a nice fast shutter button. For those times you need a bit more work to get the shot you want, you just need to decide what aspect you need to lock in, adjust it, and you’re good to go. You can even lock in as many options as you want and leave the rest in auto. It’s a breeze to use. I wish it had more going for it in terms of the flashier stuff like slow motion and its ilk, but I’d happily be able to catch more shots in exchange for explicitly deciding I need slow motion.

These are just five apps I’ve been using a lot lately. I use a lot of apps. Let me know if you know of any I need to check out!

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