What would you say is the best thing about android? Of course, if your answer is not the fact that it is open source, it’s probably “Customization”. The ability to make your phone work the way you want is what every android user loves about it the most. Whether you like filling it up with widgets or you love a minimalist approach Android lets you do all of that.
I used to be someone who changed home screen setups almost every 2 days or 7 at max if i invested a lot of time in it. I used to get bored pretty easy. But now i don’t do a lot of fancy things and i just love the way android looks by default. Not necessarily the stock android though because I am not much fan of the stock look, nor a fan of heavily skinned versions. Something like a stock build with a Cyanogen theme engine would be my perfect android.
But since there is no such option yet, I prefer the Sony Xperia skin. It is quite close to stock except for the icons and colors which are more fun and colorful than stock in my opinion and it has some useful features like audio controls and some call quality controls and other small but handy features that don’t bog down the overall experience. With that out, let’s show you what’s on my android and maybe you’ll find something useful that you like.
P.S. Grab some cold drink and popcorn because this can be long depending upon your definition of long.
If you’ve read my blog before you probably already have guessed I use a Sony Xperia device as my daily driver even though I do on a few more rather inferior phones as well and i clearly love this one which is something I do not try to hide. Do I think it’s the best? Absolutely not, of course. Like I said, I enjoy the Xperia feel which unfortunately I might not be able to in the coming years seeing the sorry state of Sony.
My home screen as you can see is very basic and almost at factory setting. I like it that way. There are just the phone, messaging, contacts and camera app icons in the dock and just a Playstore icon to the right and a Google folder to the left which houses not all the google apps i keep but the ones I do use the most. Most of these apps are the basic google apps that come pre-installed on most android smart phones with the notable exception of Inbox, Street View, Docs and Snapseed.
Now Docs and Street view have pretty suggestive names as to what they do, and you probably already know how cool of an email client Inbox is. Although I don’t use it as often but I just keep it because its nice and i can. My main email client is still Gmail. Snapseed if you didn’t already know is one of the simplest and better photo editors and should be enough for your Social Media photo editing needs. If you haven’t already, do give it a try.
Swiping left on the home screen i have Google Now which I find very helpful and I check it often when i am bored because it keeps a collection of stories it thinks will interest me. It’s a little creepy for some but I don’t mind Google keeping tabs on me really. I’m cool. Swiping to the right I have a clean and nice looking weather widget which changes its background depending on the weather and as of the time of writing this post, its raining quite hard here which you can see on the widget. Underneath it at the bottom I have the pre-installed Xperia media apps of which I love the Music and Album app but I’m not that much a fan of the Video app, but it’s just there to complete the collection and look good. Like a lot of Android users my go to video player is Max Player. There is also Sony’s Lifelog app in the right which is Sony’s equivalent of Google fit, and for the most parts it works quite well but you only get to use its full potential if you have a smart band or smart watch connected since it not only records your steps and calories but also your heart rate, your sleep patterns, your media consumption habits, your gaming habits and the amount of time you spend on social media. That is a lot of creepiness and this app sounds like someone from Google created this but it is very helpful if you would like to keep a log of all your activities for the day. It is free to download from the playstore and works on non Xperia phones as well in case you wish to try.
Most people probably use Google Play Music or Spotify on android for listening to songs but i am not much of a song streamer and i like keeping all my music on the local storage, If there is a new song I want to try I have the Saavn app which I use to stream songs, and If I like it, I store it on my phone. And for these local music files I believe there is nothing better than the Sony Music app earlier branded as the WALKMAN app.
As you may see from the pictures it’s a very simple music playing app with the current playlist and most played songs on the default screen, you have the option to browse your songs categorized in different menus such as albums, songs, artists, playlists and all the general stuff. It also has a podcast option which I have disabled. But behind all this simplicity are very basic and useful features that are surprisingly missing from most of the popular music apps such as Play music which are , the option to share the songs directly from the app or set sleep times if you listen to music in the night like me, and downloading album arts and info for all your mp3 files that lack it. My personal favorite are the sleep timer and sharing features.
I like checking out weather predictions often and i don’t need a lot of details so once again Sony’s default weather app is my default go to weather app as well mostly because It looks really neat and nice just like the widget I showed you above. The widget comes with the app. And as you can see this one is pretty basic and to the point. You have the option to select various locations and change from Fahrenheit to Celsius and vice versa, all the basic things you would expect. You can also set the widget transparency from the app’s settings.
This is my tools folder here and you may find a few useful apps here. As you notice i have two file explorers here because I actually like Solid Explorer and it’s material design approach but sometimes it doesn’t work for me and i have to rely on ES to do the things that is well under Solid Explorer’s capabilities but for some reason it just fails to do. Then I have Midnight which is a screen dimming app and is nothing more special than any other screen dimming app but i don’t really need a fancy one either. It has color filters, and it works so yeah. Now Device Frame Generator is pretty self-explanatory and It generates frames for popular smart phone devices which you can use for several purposes such as showing off your current home screen setup. Appwrap does the same thing except it’s frames are more minimalist and It has a larger collection. If you’ve seen my previous posts and were wondering how I got those beautiful frames, they were from Appwrap. Star Music Tag Editor is another helpful app that you can use to edit meta tags for mp3 files and add any album art you like or find the correct one. Then there’s the official Stack Exchange app nothing too fancy. Dr.Phone is another really helpful app which is supposed to recover your files in case say you accidentally deleted one of those pictures you took on your friend’s wedding. But fortunately, since I have installed this app I have never needed to use it. The last one in this folder is Titanium Backup and if you don’t already know what it is, it’s not for you anyways.
Now there are some more apps here that are really useful and I don’t use them often but i like having them for when I need them. First in the top left corner is Adaway. This one works only if you have root access and It works pretty well. As the name suggests it blocks annoying ads from popping up here and there and I mainly use this for a better web experience but this app also blocks ads within other apps such as the free version of Mx Player but if you want you can go into the app and whitelist some apps, although, I highly doubt anyone would do that. Next is Flynx which if you’ve read my previous blog post is a highly useful app and its a must have if you use social media apps like Facebook, twitter and google+. Next is just a simple Delhi Metro app from google made for the Indian national capital region, then there’s the official MEGA cloud storage app, Toolwiz photos is a pretty cool photo editor with a lot of fancy effects. Try it if you want to or stay tuned to know more about it my next post which should be coming within 24 hours after writing this post.
The next two YouTube like apps are essentially one single app that is used to download videos from YouTube. I don’t usually use it but its good to have when I don’t have my laptop and need to download something. More about it in my next post as well. Moving ahead is Mr.Phone. This is one app you must definitely have if you’re the tech guy among your friends and family and they ask you before buying smart phones. The app has spec and pricing info on every phone released and you can compare devices, read news about them and more. Go download it already.
DevCheck is just a standard “device info” app that tells you all about your hardware, nothing special but it does look pretty. There’s hardly anyone that doesn’t know what adobe reader is, right? Next to it is Photo Lab PRO Photo Editor its a paid app which i bought in a sale for a mere 10 rupees and it is the best 10 rupees ever spent on an app after my 5 rupees Nova launcher Prime purchase. This app is really good. that’s all I will say for now. You can check it on the Playstore or wait for my next post where I will brief you about this app and you can decide if its worth paying for since it’s no more under sale. The rest of the apps on this page are quite basic and there is nothing to explain about them which I think, if you’ve been reading all this, you will appreciate probably.
So there it is, a quick and partial look on what’s on my android which wasn’t really quick but you have no Idea how much longer it would’ve been had I shown everything. I will show more another time if you guys like it.