Last year we covered some of the best apps available on the Play Store for playing your locally stored tunes, and even though a ton of music listening has gone in the streaming direction, many people still prefer keeping music on their phone or tablet. If you’re dealing with low monthly data caps or you’re going somewhere without an internet connection, solid music players are still fantastic to have. We figured now would be a good time to update our previous guide with some newer apps along with updated info on the apps that made it over to this year’s list. Hit the break to get started.
Poweramp made our list of music players last time around, and it’s only gotten better since last year. It still offers a ton of features aimed at power users that other music players can’t match, and the themes and tweaks in Poweramp make it one of the best in the business.
Poweramp excels when it comes to tweaking how your music sounds and handling any file type you throw at it. FLAC formats tend to be the preferred format for storing audio without sacrificing any quality, but if you’ve ever tried to listen to a FLAC file on a mobile device, you’ve probably noticed it can be tricky to get them to actually play in a music player. Fortunately, Poweramp handles FLAC files like a champ, as well as other slightly less common files like OGG, WMA, ALAC, and… well, you get the point. Few apps can handle as many different file types as Poweramp, which makes it an excellent tool if you happen to store your music collection in differing formats.
In addition to just playing all of your odd music formats, Poweramp supports a ton of music enhancements that make your music sound that much better. There’s a built-in 10 band equalizer that’s infinitely better than what you’ll find preloaded on any Android device, separate bass and treble tweaks, support for gapless playback, crossfading, replay gain correction, and mono mixing. These features may be a bit overwhelming for extremely casual music listeners, but for the power user, they’re extremely useful to have.
A powerful app just isn’t complete without some personalization options, and Poweramp addresses that, too. There are multiple themes available on the Play Store, and there are four built-in widgets and a configurable lock screen for you to set up. Poweramp will also fetch lyrics and fill in album artwork for you, keeping your music library looking fantastic.
Poweramp is free to try for two weeks, after which it costs $3.99 to buy the full version.
doubleTwist has always offered more features than other music players, and they haven’t stopped improving or adding new tricks to the app. Plus, it’s one of the few apps that can painlessly sync your iTunes library to your Android device, and with how popular iTunes is, that’s a fantastic feature to have.
Since the introduction of KitKat, doubleTwist has revamped the interface to better align with Android’s newer design standards. The interface is fantastic and arguably one of the best on this list, allowing quick navigation around your music and playlists. The slide-out drawer gives you quick access to moving to different parts of your libraries, including podcast and video libraries, as well as different settings.
On top of the excellent interface, doubleTwist offers a ton of extra features, including the iTunes syncing that made the app so popular in the first place. It can also act as an Airplay device, similar to an iOS device, allowing it to stream content to any AirPlay receiver. There’s no real unified streaming protocol on Android like AirPlay, so having that functionality is unique and extremely useful, especially if you’re already invested into any other AirPlay devices. doubleTwist premium also throws in a customizable equalizer, auto-fetching album art, and automatic podcast downloading.
A relatively new feature of doubleTwist is its Magic Radio, which is a competitor to services like Pandora. It creates custom radio stations based on the usual artist/song selections, but it can also build radio stations off of words or phrases, too. It’s a very cool feature with a 7-day trial, but after that, it runs a relatively steep $24.99 per year. If you’re in the market for a new streaming service, it’s not a bad option as compared to others like Pandora or Google’s All-Access, but if you’re simply looking for a music player, you’ll probably never really use this feature.
doubleTwist can’t do quite as much as some of the other power-user friendly players like Poweramp, but it can give you an excellent listening experience with a fantastic interface, and that counts for something. The basic pieces of doubleTwist are completely free with a few in-app purchases to add in some of the more premium features.
Google’s Play Music is mostly known as a front-end for listening to music you purchase from the Play Store and stream from Google All Access, but even if you don’t plan on using either of those features, the Play Music app makes a fantastic offline music player.
If you’re really into apps that stick to Google’s design standards, there’s no better option than what Google itself puts out, and Play Music is no exception. The interface of Play Music is fantastic with its Google’s card-aesthetic, as well as plenty of fluid swiping and pull-out action bars. The main library of the app can sort through genres, artists, albums, and songs, and it can hide everything except the music you’ve got stored on the device. If you mix and match local music with cloud stored music, that’s a pretty useful trick.
That useful trick is also what makes Play Music stand out for many Android users. If you ever purchase a song from the Play Store, or if you do subscribe to All Access, that music will be stored in Play Music, but won’t be readily available anywhere else. So if you have some music stored in Google’s cloud locker, some music pinned in your library from All Access, and some of it stored on your SD card, you’d want it all to be uniformly available in one place, right? Play Music handles that perfectly, showing all of the music you own in one place, regardless of where it’s stored.
Unfortunately, Play Music doesn’t compete too much in terms of extra features. You can access your device’s built-in equalizer from the settings and search for any particular song from within the app, but that’s about as much as it offers. There’s quite a bit of Google+ integration, but that’s pretty standard for a Google app.
If you’ve dabbled with All Access or purchased any music from the Play Store, Play Music is arguably your best option for keeping all of your stuff in one easy-to-find location. If you really like simple music players that follow Google’s design guidelines, it’s also a fantastic player. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t bother with cloud storage and has more features, though, keep looking.
n7 Player is an extremely popular option that’s shaped up to be just as great as the other players we’ve mentioned. The interface and usability of n7 really makes it stand out from some of your other options.
When you first fire up n7, it automatically builds your library for you. It compiles everything on your SD card and internal storage, and will even fetch your album art for you. Afterwards, it throws you into the main screen of the app and gives you a few pop-up tips to help you navigate around, and these navigation features are really where n7 shines. The first screen displays your music as words and phrases, and pinching and zooming will narrow things down to help you find exactly what you’re in the mood to listen to. At first, using gestures to navigate around your library seems a bit confusing, but once you get the hang of it it’s extremely fast and very visually appealing.
Aside from the interface, n7 does have some other features that make it worth using. You’ll get a full 10-band equalizer (if you’re on Android 4.1 or up), support for many different audio files, gapless playback, and a fully featured tag editor accessible by long-pressing on a song. There’s also DLNA/UPNP and Chromecast support baked right into n7, which allows you to sling your media to just about any wireless device in your house, including smart TVs, computers, game consoles, and, yes, Google’s own Chromecast.
n7 Player is available with a free trial in the Play Store, and the full version only costs $3.49 through an in-app purchase. Give it a spin if you’re looking for something with a little more visual flair.
Fusion music player is an app that believes music discovery should be a major component of listening to music, which is a rare thing to find in a music player that isn’t a streaming radio service. It also features a pretty slick interface and a few customization options.
When you’re browsing your music in Fusion, you’ll notice that there are two extra tabs next to your artists and albums for Charts and Radio. The Charts tab shows you the current top songs that everyone is listening to, and tapping on it will search for different sources where you can listen to the song. If you’re trying to find some new music, this is a pretty handy way to glance over what’s popular. Unfortunately, you can’t really fine tune it to specific genres, so if you aren’t into pop music, this might not do you much good.
The radio tab is basically a front-end for Shoutcast radio, which is a little more robust than just glancing over top songs. You can look at the current top radio stations, search for specific keywords to find a radio station you like, and save any station as a favorite to find again later. Shoutcast isn’t quite on the same level as something like Pandora, but it’s nice to have that functionality baked right in alongside your music library in case you’re ever in the mood for a radio station.
You’ll also find the regular set of music player features in Fusion, including an equalizer and lock screen widgets. However, there are also a few unique features it offers, including shake and wave gesture support (think Samsung Air Gestures) for devices with proximity sensors, direct sharing to social media sites, custom ringtone trimming, and even a visualizer. For power users, these features aren’t going to be as valuable as what some of the other apps offer, but for most users the features are fun to use and definitely worth looking into.
These are five of the best music players available that cover a ton of features, depending on how you like to listen to music. Are there any apps you really enjoy using that we missed? Let us know in the comments.