What Are Some Essential Android Apps for a Brand New Device?

Hi Android Masters,

I'm still quite new to Android, been on an old Xiaomi for about two months now. I've got an 8" Samsung tablet coming in on Monday finally (thanks to Troll and Kogan), as I really wanted to see how well palm rejection works and the idea that I might actually do some drawing is appealing. So far I found the following apps on my phone worked somewhat, wonder if there's good apps specific to Android that could make my life easier.

App Experience
SwiftKey Keyboard I can't get used to this and I don't know why. It's just difficult to type on Android compared to iOS.
Nova Launcher Not too fiddly, default settings are reasonable to get going straight away.
QuickEdit Had to find something that has search to work with my text files in Dropbox. Syntax highlighting is a bonus.
Squid Handwriting support is pretty good. Looking forward to try it on the tablet.
Business Calendar Closest to Calendar+ but doesn't look polished enough.
Strong Same as iOS.
Camera Can't go to photos from Camera (except to view the last photo taken), very frustrating.
Stardew Valley Great as always. I just like to promote this game lol
Contacts A lot of duplicates I had to sort through. Seems to be an issue with Whatsapp?
Moovit Same as iOS. Trip planning for all states. Awesome for the absent-minded who tends to miss their stop on public transport.

What are some good apps I might want to try for the phone as well as for the tablet? Please teach me sensei :]

Edit: spell check, thanks for pointing it out :)
Edit 2: added Moovit.



    Maybe a spell check one as you misspelt Android multiple times in your post ;)

    If your Xiaomi has NFC and you travel on public transport, you can get mobile myki. Can't help with tablets sorry (I have a Pixel 4, but I use an iPad mini 4)


      Thanks I just edited xD

      Ah yeah I've seen myki ads here and there. Last time I tried to use Google Pay at a Woolies for the points, it didn't work. Maybe my phone is borked.


        I find that with trying to tap at Woolies for Rewards points, it's very finicky. Same with paying (not as much these days, but probably around 18 months ago, I'd have to place my phone multiple times to the EFTPOS machine to get it to work).

        In Sydney, if you download Opal Travel, you can also scan Opal cards to see how much money is left on them, whether it's registered, etc.


          Last time I was in Sydney trying to get an Opal, I was told to use my credit card instead. So I did. I went into a station for a few minutes to wait for a train, a friend decided to pick me up, so I came out and tapped again to cancel the charge (as it would with Myki). Transport NSW didn't charge me as it showed $0 on the website, but there was a $10 in my bank statement. I think I should get an Opal next time…


            @frugalftw: Get an Opal. Credit cards play up more often. I got slugged default fare taking two stops on the bus because the Opal reader lagged and didn't register my tap off. There was another time I got slugged full-fare instead of half-fare when tapping off on the train as well. I only use credit cards if I get a rebate e.g. Amex.

            Opal Travel doesn't actually act like mobile myki, it's just an app that helps you plan journeys, check Opal balances, etc.


    some sort of firewall, such as noroot firewall if not rooted or adguard to stop ads

  • +2 votes

    Firstly, I'd 100% recommended "Waze" as your GPS app instead of anything else. I used to use Google Maps and swore by it, but Waze is so much better in everyway.

    Secondly, I'd recommend you get the "Google Camera" app instead of the stock camera app on your phone. You may need to custom install it via an APK file if your phone is not a Pixel.

    Thirdly and finally, get a highly reviewed call recorder app. The ability to summon past calls will definitely help you when you least expect it.

    EDIT: Also get the Emergency+ app? It basically uses the GPS to locate where you are pretty accurately when you need to tell emergency responders your location.

    • -1 vote

      Thanks for the write up. Got Waze. Google Lens came up when I looked for Google Camera, presumably it's the same thing? I've actually looked for recorder apps, it's very mixed bag, in the end I just gave up and decided I'd use my physical recorder. Do you have any recommendations? I do need to record phone calls for professional reasons.

      Emergency+ is awesome, this could literally save my life some day. Kudos.


      I'd say that whether Waze works better than Google Maps would be location specific (basically whether there's an active Waze community about). In WA I much prefer Google Maps.

  • +1 vote

    Google keep
    Here Maps(good offline maps support)
    Resplash(for wallpapers)
    Snapseed(Photo editing)
    Google Photos
    Xplayer(Video player)
    Stocard(loyalty cards)

    • +4 votes

      Stocard(loyalty cards)

      Can just use Google Pay for this though.


      How does Google Keep compare to Trello and/or Evernote? They look similar. I'm a bit hesitant with everything Google unless I have to. (Yes, I'm very paranoid.)


    Adobe Scan


      No more business cards, this is good. I used to have to take photos then it takes up too much space. Thank you.

  • +1 vote

    Authy for 2 factor authentication
    Sync for Reddit (pro)
    Files by Google, it's just like CCleaner
    AusPost app
    Google Rewards
    Live Transcribe / Google Translate
    My Opal (you can tap your Opal card to it via NFC and it'll tell you remaining balance)
    PowerAmp mp3 player
    SystemPanel2 for battery histogram widget

    Also Samsung Smart call has been great lately, it's exclusive to flagship samsung devices but it's based on the Hiya call screening service.


      Smart call has always been great. Do you know if the "Report number" button is the way of sharing info about unknown numbers?

    • +1 vote

      google rewards FIRST!

      especially if you work near the CBD and the shops

      last 2 to 3 years, 283 bucks earned from answering a survey or two a day! takes 10 seconds


        I live in a regional area.. no wonder I only get about $10 a year or whatever ;)

  • +5 votes

    On iOS/Android it is actually worth buying the "pro" versions of the Apps you use the most often. You will probably rely on them for many years, which makes the purchase so cheap its virtually free. For instance, just stretch $50 total over 10 years… you can pirate it, but its not worth it, especially from a security/privacy point. Talking about security and privacy, if you can, you should delete some Stock Apps from your phone. The ones you don't use will be taking up space in your storage, in your memory, wasting power as background task, wasting internet allowance slowly, be stealing your personal data, and can be an avenue to be hacked. If you're serious about privacy, then this applies to all Google Services… I personally take a balanced approach where I still use a few Google Apps that come loaded Stock on the phone (Keyboard, Phone, SMS, Contacts, Calendar, Gmail, Translate, Maps).

    Here's what I'm running:
    Paid Apps:
    Apex Launcher Pro, 500px Firepaper Pro, Calculator Widget Pro, WatchMaker Premium, Solid Explorer Pro, Tasker, ACR Pro, PowerAmp Pro…

    Apps for Root:
    Official TWRP, Magisk Manager, Titanium Backup, Viper4Android FX, Franco Kernel Manager, RootChecker, YouTube Vanced, Lucky Patcher, f.lux, No More Accidental Touching…

    Free Apps:
    VLC media player, Firefox Browser, Signal Messenger, LastPass, Waze, WPS Office, Malwarebytes…

    And here are some OPTIONAL Apps that may be useful (I've used all of them at one point or another):
    Spotify, Uber, AirBnB, Venmo, Giphy, Zedge, Slack, LinkedIn, Meetup, Tripview, Yelp, Quora, Reddit, Imgur, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy, Twitch, Moonlight Streaming, Speedtest, ExpressVPN, Authy, Duolingo, Evernote, StoCard, CamScanner, Cookpad, ComiXology, …

    Some Games I recommend:
    RetroArch (Atari, Mame, Sega, NES, SNES, GB, GBA, DOS Emulation). Some standalone Mupen64, ePSXe, PPSSPP, ReDream, DraStic, Dolphin Emulator, PCSX2, Citra…

    2048, Words with Friends, 4 Pics 1 Song, Unblock me, Infinity Loop, Solitaire, Duck Warfare, Antbuster, Plague Inc, Devil's Attorney, Dumb Ways 2 Die, Fallout Shelter, Pocket Tanks, Worms 4, Glow Hockey, Soccer Stars, Hole.IO, Hungry Shark, Death Worm, Sling Drift, Fisherman, Dragon Fly, Angry Birds 2, Temple Run 2, Adventure Lama, Jetpack Joyride, Age of Zombies, Downwell, Major Mayhem, Stranger Things, Minecraft, Terraria, Stardew Valley, Doom 2, Duke Nukem 3D, Carmageddon, GTA San Andreas, CoD Black Ops Zombies…

    • +1 vote

      Going by most of the recent reviews, ACR Pro doesn't work any more. Or at most only records one side. Any other recommendations for an unrooted Galaxy phone? Cheers


        Also interested in this.


          Sure. I still have ACR Pro installed. With Android 8.0 I think Google changed their Terms of Service, so that now Apps aren't allowed to read the phone number that's incoming/outgoing. ACR personally sent everyone a message about this, and said they were not going to ignore Google, but wanted to prepare all users a few weeks in advance. They also apologized that refunds were not available, but if you were not happy that they would hear your case and maybe oblige.

          So it still works, but it no longer saves the files with the contact name and phone number automatically. It's best to leave it running in the background. You can set it up for it to delete older recordings for you, or do it yourself. But if you come off a really alarming phone call, you simply have to remember to make a note of it manually. So if you have someone promising you something important. Otherwise, you can go back to your call-logs, and find the file based on the time and date.

          Or if you are rooted, you can still do these things by using a specific mod/app/rom.



            no longer saves the files with the contact name and phone number automatically

            Have a look for 'ACR Unchained' released by NLL Apps the developer of ACR Pro.

            It's available from non Google stores such as Samsung's Galaxy Store, and cough elsewhere cough.

            It accesses and saves names and phone numbers during calls automatically like it used to before Google changed the rules.

            It will also accept your current Pro Key without problems.


            @Kangal: I tried it too and got that message about auto save with numbers. Couldn't get it to work in the end, deleted the app…


    ACR Pro doesn't work any more.

    Still works on my phone v33.1 installed.

    Often audio gain, in settings, needs tweaking to get the optimum recording level.


    LastPass and Clipboard Manager


    Authy - for 2FA
    Nova launcher - for a near stock / or heavily customised experience
    Sync - Best reddit app by far
    MX - best media/video player by far
    FBreader - best ebook reader by far
    Bring! - shopping list
    Bitwarden - password manager
    Edison Mail - best email app if you have multiple to manage.
    Textra - best SMS app
    Brave - browser with built in adblock.
    Camscanner - for recipts/docs etc.
    FX - directory browser
    Xodo - Best PDF app

    I have the pro versions of all the above that offer it. All paid for by using Google Rewards.

    Some games
    Mini Metro
    Motorsport Manager 3
    Rebuild 3

  • +2 votes

    Its not about what you need but rather what you dont need

    DISABLE any apps you wont use
    Dont NO unpdate any apps which you dont use
    Only update apps when absolutely necessary i.e when the app refuses to launch
    Do not needlessly fill your phone with "must have" apps that you wont use


    don't forget 7 eleven app to lock in the fuel price.
    petrolspy to check fuel price.


    Thank you, those are gonna keep me busy for a few days… Tablet didn't arrive today, had to lodge a case with Aust Post. Can't wait to check them all out :)


    I prefer Google keyboard to SwiftKey these days.

    Sesame is awesome with Nova.

    Time Tree is really good at sharing calendars with others but no external calendar integration diminishes its value IMO.

    Ultimate Checklist is awesome if you like checklists.

    Weatherzone+ for the weather.

    YourHour is good for gaining visibility into your app usage.

    500 firepaper for amazing auto changing wallpapers.

    CallApp contacts for a smart dialler.


    Firefox + uBlock Origin = Web browsing without advertising, malware and other crap.


      I'm tempted to use Opera. Been back on it on my laptop for a while, it's quite good in that you can use all Chrome extensions, minus Google's restrictions on downloading videos. Just not sure about the mobile version yet.


        No, I spent a lot of time researching this.
        Firefox is now the best browser on Android. Throw uBlock Origin extension, and its unbeatable.

        Sorry, I should have mentioned this in my above post.
        And if you use the above 55 Apps I recommended, you likely won't ever need to research them, because they're really the best apps for their use case. There are a couple alternatives that come close, ie Swiftkey is keyboard vs Google keyboard, or MX Player Pro vs VLC Media Player. Case in point, I paid for the alternatives, so I am their customer, but I don't use them or recommend them over the "best" options I already listed (Google keyboard + VLC >> Swiftkey + MX Player Pro). You likely won't need to download any other app besides the ones I recommended, really, there's no need for the "millions of apps" in the Android Market (they're mostly Fart Apps anyway). Well, you might want to download some games. I did link the best nine emulators up there, so you don't have to research them either. Basically, I'm very particular, and always spend hours debating/choosing as to what is allowed to live on my phone (or any part of my life). Kinda like OCD or Perfectionist if you hadn't picked up on it yet. I also linked you to about 39 games (non-emulators) which I've spent hours on when I've either had free time, or travelling on public transport. I made sure to not put any duplicates in there (ie No Angry Birds 1, 2, 3, 4). But there are a couple hidden gems in that list that you'd have fun with.


          Thank you. First time come across the term 'fart apps' hahaha and googling for it made it worthwhile too xD TIL.

          I've stayed away from Firefox on my computer since the memory holes with some ad block don't ever get fixed, now I only use it for cashrewards/shopback without any extensions. But I'll give it a go on my phone per your suggestion :)

          Lol I thought you are just one of those listers who prefer things to be in-array ;)


      adguard pro blocks ads too across all browsers and other apps.
      I have quite a few free apps that I never see any ads for and have no reason to pay for pro.

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