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Recent Reviews

Top Android App: MultiPicture Live Wallpaper

Posted on Jan 22, 2011 in Themes, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

MultiPicture Live Wallpaper enables you to display a different picture for each panel of your Android device’s homescreen.

  • Version: 0.4.8
  • Size: 111KB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Themes
  • Price: Free



This MultiPicture Android app is not exactly a live wallpaper in the sense that we are used to. In essence, it’s an advanced homescreen wallpaper manager. To setup, go to [Home] > [Menu] > [Wallpaper] > [Live Wallpapers].

The easiest way to get this live wallpaper up and running is by editing the default settings (instead of changing the settings for each homescreen panel). First, in the “Type of screen” section, choose where you’d like the app to look for pictures. At first, this was rather confusing because the default was set to use a single picture but nothing would show up (even if it’s set to randomly use an image, it won’t initialize until you go in and adjust this setting at least once). I’d suggest the album option, which lets you check/un-check the albums you’d like pictures displayed from.

Other settings include background color, crop/resize ratio, saturation, opacity, and picture selection order. I’d recommend using some sort of crop/resize setting instead of fit to full-screen to avoid blurry images. Play around with the different transition types (for when you switch homescreen panels) and picture change intervals (anywhere from 5 seconds to 1 hour to never).

Pros:

  • Assign different images to each of your Android homescreen panels
  • Extensive list of setup options, e.g. transition effects, image settings, etc.
  • Double-tap to refresh pictures



Areas for improvement:

  • Initial setup was rather confusing, a short tutorial/help section would benefit new users



Conclusion: An Android live wallpaper that lets you display different pictures on each homescreen panel, a functionality that should be included with stock Android!

[AppBrain Link]

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Top Android Game: Glow Hockey

Posted on Jan 20, 2011 in Games, Top Rated Games | comment

Glow Hockey is a colorful, fast-paced air hockey Android game.

  • Version: 1.0.2
  • Size: 3.66MB (apps2SD enabled)
  • Category: Games
  • Price: Free



Glow Hockey features an exciting synthesis of colorful graphics and realistic physics gameplay. If you aren’t familiar with air hockey, the goal of the game is simple; use your paddle to ricochet and power the puck through your opponent’s goal.

This Android game offers 4 difficulty levels ranging from easy to “insane”. I’d suggest starting on easy until you get comfortable with the controls and how the game works. Once you’ve built up some confidence, increase the computer opponent’s difficulty and prepare for a challenge.

Some comments posted to the Android Market complained about how easy it is to score on yourself. However, this is one of challenges in original air hockey and is actually a good strategy. Use the ricocheted angles off the walls to get the puck behind your opponent’s paddle to increase the likelihood that they’ll score on themselves.

Pros:

  • Brings back the fun and feel of arcade air hockey!
  • Incredibly attractive interface and bright, vibrant graphics
  • Gratuitous customizations include your choice of paddle and puck colors



Areas for Improvement:

  • Some difficulty with controls, mainly due to finger covering paddle/bottom portion of the screen
  • Multi-player with other Android users is a must!



Conclusion: If you’re a fan of air hockey or fast-paced, physics-based games, then you’ll definitely enjoy the Glow Hockey Android game.

[AppBrain Link]

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Top Android App: SwipePad

Posted on Jan 19, 2011 in Productivity, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

SwipePad is a quick launcher panel which responds to a swipe on the edge of your Android device’s screen.

  • Version: beta 0.7.2
  • Size: 82.21KB
  • Category: Productivity
  • Price: Free



The SwipePad Android app will increase the speed at which you switch between applications and tasks. It enables you to setup shortcuts that can be accessed regardless of the app or screen you currently are in. To use, touch the bottom edge of the screen (until you feel the haptic feedback), then move your finger towards the center of the screen. This will bring up the pad with all 12 slots available. Release your finger on a specific slot to select/assign an action.

You can assign an application, shortcut (e.g. bookmark, contact, direct dial, etc.), or tasking option (task-killer add-on is separate). If you don’t want to use all 12 slots you can choose to hide the remaining slots so you don’t accidentally select them later (and for aesthetic appeal). If you wish to change the assignment of a slot, continue to hold your finger over the slot until the selector turns orange, then release.

In the app’s settings, you can choose to change the region used to initiate the pad. Options include bottom left/right corners, bottom edge, left edge, right edge, left edge (top half), right edge (top half). I personally found the right edge the best since it didn’t interfere with other actions or features, and was easiest to initiate. In the settings is also where you can find the “undo hide” button as well as a link to the task-killer add-on.

Pros:

  • Increased efficiency in switching between important apps or shortcuts
  • Multiple activation region options to fit how you use your Android device
  • Since this is the beta version, updates with improved functionality are sure to come



Areas for improvement:

  • Some difficulty in getting the activation region to register, may be alleviated with slightly increased region sizes



Conclusion: One of the best quick launchers for Android that will surely increase your Android productivity.

[AppBrain Link]

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Survive Tax Season w/ TurboTax SnapTax

Posted on Jan 17, 2011 in Finance, Top Rated Apps | comment

TurboTax SnapTax is offered by Intuit Inc. to alleviate the fear and frustration associated with filing your taxes.

  • Version: 1.0
  • Size: 9.44MB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Finance
  • Price: Free (license to file: $14.99)



First off, this Android app is specifically for people who have an income of $80,000 or less ($100,000 if married), no dependents, no home or real-estate ownership, and income only from W-2s, interest, or unemployment. This is definitely just for a simplified tax filing, and anything more complex would have to be done online (or by other more traditional means).

Once you have answered the qualifying questions and determined that you’d benefit from filing through the Android app version of TurboTax, comleting the process is extremely easy. First, either manually enter your income information or snap a photo of your W-2 form(s). Second, fill in your personal information like SSN, DOB, and occupation (this app’s forms are secure). Lastly, preview your filing and if you’re ready, purchase the filing license and submit your tax forms!

Pros:

  • Quickly determines whether you qualify to file with the Android app
  • If you’ve used TurboTax, you know how error-proof their step-by-step process is
  • Enter income details by snapping a picture of your W-2
  • An affordable price ($14.99) required to file federal and state income taxes
  • Detailed FAQ section



Areas for Improvement:

  • Expand support for more complex filings
  • Reduce file size or enable apps2SD to reduce strain on Android device internal memory (although you may only need the app installed for an hour or two to get the job done)



Conclusion: The fastest, easiest way to file your federal and state income taxes all from a single Android app (if you’re situation qualifies).

[AppBrain Link]

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Top Android App: iTriage Mobile Health

Posted on Jan 16, 2011 in Health, Top Rated Apps | comment

iTriage Mobile Health was assembled by doctors to help you make better healthcare decisions.

  • Version: 2.72
  • Size: 1.43MB (apps2SD enabled)
  • Category: Health
  • Price: Free



iTriage provides a comprehensive database of health information including the ability to search symptoms, research diseases, and learn about specific procedures. You can use the real-time search box (narrows done results as you enter more text) or voice input to quickly find the facts you’re looking for.

With this app you can also easily find medical treatment or a doctor based on your location. You can further refine the results by specialty, e.g. cardiology, dermatology, or pediatrics. Details for medical treatment locations include their phone number, website, address and directions, as well as a description of their services and open hours. Quality reports and emergency room wait-times help you to make an informed decision about the care you receive.

Pros:

  • Information on more than 300 symptoms, 1000 diseases, and 350 medical procedures.
  • Directory of hospitals, urgent care, clinics, pharmacies, and physicians
  • Quality reports for hospitals and physicians
  • Emergency room wait-times for some hospitals



Areas for improvement:

  • Location-based information for non-U.S. users



Conclusion: The quintessential health Android app to pinpoint symptoms, learn possible causes, and find appropriate/affordable treatment.

[AppBrain Link]

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Top Android App: Newegg Mobile

Posted on Jan 15, 2011 in Shopping, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

Newegg Mobile lets you search, shop, read reviews, and make purchases through Newegg.com.

  • Version: 1.0.2
  • Size: 0.99MB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Shopping
  • Price: Free



I think it’s fair to assume that many of us know about Newegg and the fantastic deals they offer on electronics, computer components, etc. As you’d expect, the Newegg Android app features detailed specifications and over 1.7+ million customer reviews for an endless list of products.

You can quickly browse all items by specific categories like computer hardware, cell phones, and gaming. Or, if you already have something in mind, search with text or voice input. Better yet, if you’d like to see whether Newegg offers a lower price than a store you’re currently in, scan the barcode for instant results.

A truly exciting feature of the Newegg app is the support of gestures. It seems like many Android apps neglect the functionality of gestures and the ease and efficiency they can provide. For example, on product information pages, gesturing a “C” adds the item to cart, a “W” the wishlist, or a “S” to share it with family/friends.

Pros:

  • Main-page access to frequently updated deals like “Shell Shocker” and “Daily Deals”
  • Gesture support streamlines shopping experience
  • All purchases are processed through Newegg’s secure servers
  • Product details, images, reviews, etc.



Areas for improvement:

  • Needs to support apps2SD
  • Product images need to be much higher resolution



Conclusion: The Newegg consumer electronics Android app has harnessed the power of Android to enhance the mobile shopping experience.

[AppBrain Link]

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Challenge Your Geography Skills w/ MapMaster

Posted on Jan 13, 2011 in Top Rated Apps, Top Rated Games | 1 comment

MapMaster is an educational game where it’s your mission to pinpoint geographic locations.

  • Version: 3.4
  • Size: 5.46MB (apps2SD enabled)
  • Category: Games, Travel
  • Price: ~$1.79 (Free version available)



MapMaster offers 7 different challenges (with easy, medium, and hard difficulties) including European, Asian, U.S., South American, African, and Oceanian capitals, as well as 40 U.S. cities and famous places. All maps are offline and require no loading.

Each challenge gives you 25 seconds (or less) to place the pin. You’re awarded points based on how close you get to each location. Double-tap to zoom in for increased accuracy, up to four times. The level is complete when you have finished all of the targets without losing all of your pins (you lose a pin by placing it further away from the location than the specified limit).

A great feature to this app is that the pin is fixed on the screen while you scroll the map behind it. This avoids the frustrating problem that plagues apps that require precision tapping on the touchscreen. Now you can easily place the pin exactly where you intended.

Pros:

  • 7 different challenges with 3 levels of difficulty
  • Scrolling map increases pinpoint accuracy
  • Wikipedia integration provides quick link to location information
  • Ability to setup custom games, including multi-player



Areas for improvement:

  • Breakup challenges into more manageable stages of 10 or 20 pins (instead of all of them at once)



Conclusion: A fun and interesting way to learn geography and become more worldly!

Full:                              Free:

[AppBrain Link]

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Top Android App: VEVO Music Videos

Posted on Jan 11, 2011 in Multimedia, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

VEVO is the leading premium music video and entertainment service, and is now a mobile Android app!

  • Version: 1.0
  • Size: 748KB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Multimedia
  • Price: Free



VEVO lets you discover, watch, and share the latest music videos wherever you are, whenever you want. There are currently over 25,000 videos to watch from over 7,500 different artists.

This app has one of the best interfaces you’ll find on Android. In the “Videos” tab, you can see a list of top videos, video premieres, and newly released videos. Simply click the video of your choice to watch it in its entirety. Depending on your mobile connection, loading times may vary. Luckily, VEVO thought ahead and added interesting “did you know?” facts about random music artists to help pass the time (if need be). For the best possible experience, access via 4G or WiFi.

You can also quickly find music videos by artist by either browsing the “Artists” tab or by searching VEVO (access with the Menu button). A neat feature displays the artist’s latest tweet (if they have Twitter) on their page.

Pros:

  • 25,000+ music videos to watch for free
  • High-quality interface, images, and videos
  • Easily purchase favorite music from Amazon
  • Share any video via Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail



Areas for improvement:

  • Preferences for whether or not you want videos in HQ should be saved
  • Ability to create own playlists



Conclusion: One of the largest mobile music platforms for Android offers thousands of free HQ music videos.

[AppBrain Link]

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Protect Your Health w/ FDA Recall Watch

Posted on Jan 10, 2011 in Health, Top Rated Apps | comment

FDA Recall Watch allows you to stay up-to-date with the latest recall advisories from the U.S. FDA.

  • Version: 1.2
  • Size: 185KB (no apps2SD)
  • Category: Health
  • Price: Free



This health and safety Android app offers a simplified way to keep yourself and your friends/family informed of the latest warnings from the FDA. The app’s main page features a chronological list of advisories which provide the company involved and the date issued. Each recall can be clicked on to view specific product names and a detailed description of why the warning was issued. Furthermore, for applicable cases, symptoms of illness/contamination due to a recalled food item are also listed to determine if you may have been affected. Each recall also comes with a link to the FDA.gov website for the complete alert.

Pros:

  • Up-to-date recall warnings from the FDA
  • Share alerts via text message, Twitter, or Gmail
  • Simple, easy-to-access layout gets straight to the point



Areas for improvement:

  • Ability to clear alerts that have been read
  • Add Facebook share option



Conclusion: An Android app that will help you avoid health or safety issues with foods, drugs, or medical devices.

[AppBrain Link]

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Apps Review Guide for Android Magazine

Posted on Jan 10, 2011 in App News | 19 comments

BestAndroidAppsReview.com, Papercut Publishing, and Black Dog Media Ltd. have joined forces to bring you Volume 1 of the “Apps Review Guide for Android”.

The magazine is 160+ pages full of the content you’ve come to expect from Best Android Apps Review. Many of the over 369 Android app reviews were published directly from our website. Additionally, a large number of rated apps were added by the publishing team themselves and offer some excellent insight.

Our goal for this publication was to extend our reach to a broader audience, so that even more readers and Android users could unleash the power of their Android device. Because as many of you already know, apps are what makes Android so much fun!

The lion’s share of the distribution is in the UK, while a smaller number of copies are being sold in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and other English-speaking EU countries. If you do get a chance to pick up a copy, let us know what you think!

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