And that's why we made this list. Like you we want the best apps for our Android phones. The apps that are going to revolutionise functionality or, at the very least, offer something so great that it becomes one of the must-have apps that has to be downloaded whenever you get a new handset.
The following apps will be constantly updated and are a mixture of paid and free ones and have been chosen by our Android experts. So, even if you do dip into actual cash for one of these apps, you are safe in the knowledge that it is a worthwhile purchase.
Free (premium version needs a subscription)
No, wait. It is free. Sort of. Spotify now comes with a stripped-down playlist/radio combo for users who don't pay for the service but still want to use it on mobile, accompanied by a swish new tablet interface that has much more in common with the free desktop browser player. So yes, it's free. Hobbled a bit, but free.
The premium version drops the annoying adverts, ups the audio quality and provides additional features such as offline play, so it's worth splashing out for the subscription if you use the service often.
If you're serious about running or cycling then you should be serious about Strava. As smartphone fitness tools go it's one of the best, allowing you to track your performance, set goals and see daily progress updates.
There are leaderboards and challenges to give it a competitive edge and if you're ever not sure where to run or cycle you can find user created routes on the app, or share your own. All of that comes free of charge, while a premium version adds even more tools.
Evernote is the original and the best note-taking app. It allows you save ideas for that book you are always nearly about to write, syncs across devices and you can also create to-do lists, record voice reminders and capture photos straight from the app. It's a seamless way to organise your probably very messy life.
Even in 2015 there are still times and places where we can't get an internet connection, but this doesn't have to mean you can't read websites, however, thanks to the excellent Pocket app. It allows you to save articles, news stories, blog posts, videos and much more, letting you read and watch them offline.
You can also synchronise your saved articles across every device you've installed Pocket on, allowing you to pick up where you left off and continue reading.
If you spend a lot of time at a computer and don't want to dig your phone out every time it vibrates thenPushbullet could be the app for you. Download it to your phone and get the extension for your browser and any notifications that appear on your handset will also appear on your computer screen.
So not only will your calendar reminders pop up but you'll also be able to see who's texting or calling and decide whether it's worth replying before you ever look at your phone. You can even reply to texts from your computer and you can easily mute notifications from apps which you're not interested in seeing.
But Pushbullet is a two way street, because you can also use it to easily send files and links from your computer to your phone. Just tap the icon in your browser, attach the relevant file or information and push it.
Periscope, Twitter's live video streaming app, has made its way to Android and it's an essential download for anyone who likes the immediacy of Twitter but craves something more visual.
You can easily create your own live streams or watch other people's, send comments and hearts in real time and if you miss the action there's a 24 hour window with which to replay streams. In short it's simple enough to dive straight into but has enough to it that you'll keep coming back, whether you're more creator or viewer.
The instant messaging behemoth WhatsApp is an essential Android install, especially if you can convince the people you message most frequently to use it too.
The concept is simple - it takes over text messaging on your mobile, routing messages through any Wi-Fi connection instead. Which means no more SMS allowances, no size restrictions, plus images are sent at a decent resolution.
For the most part, social media is fleeting, but Timehop is all about digging up precious memories from the past. You link it to whatever social media services you frequent (and your on-device photos) and it shows you what was happening years ago on today's date.
Instagram is the go-to app for quickly taking photos, adding quirky filters to them and sharing them with the world. Over 300 million people use Instagram and thanks to the social aspects and effortless interface it's easy to see why it's such a hit.
You're not limited to sharing your snaps on Instagram either, as you can easily add your photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more with just a few taps.
There are probably hundreds of photo apps around, but Google Photos stands out as it gives you unlimited storage for photos and videos, all for free.
That's reason enough to jump on board, especially as it works not just on Android but on iOS and computers too.
But with basic editing tools and the ability to make collages and albums this is more than just photo and video storage, it aims to be your first and last stop after taking a picture. To achieve that it will need a few more features, but it's well on its way.
Uber is transforming the way we travel. You can quickly and easily request a taxi using the app and get picked up within minutes and you can compare rates and get quotes, as well as paying with Google Wallet, PayPal or by adding your credit card to a secure Uber account.
The Uber service is available in over 50 countries, and it's rapidly growing. Give it a try and you'll never want to hail a taxi the old fashioned way again.
Google Maps is probably already on your phone, but as the best free mapping option around it's well worth highlighting.
Transit directions, live traffic updates, voice-guided GPS navigation, Street View and more are all included, making this more feature-packed than even most paid options. Importantly it's detailed and accurate too, so you'll never get lost again.
Arriving in a brand new city is always exciting but it can also be a little daunting, especially if you need to get around using public transport. Citymapper - Bus, Tube, Rail is a brilliant app that brings you real-time information on public transport for cities around the world.
You can easily plan your route using all kinds of transport and you can be kept up to date with any disruptions or cancellations. An essential app for any city-bound traveller.
CloudPlayer, as the name suggests, lets you stream music you have stored in the cloud. This of course is something Google Play Music has been successfully doing for years, but with CloudPlayer you can link up your OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive accounts and access all of them in one place.
It also has both Chromecast and AirPlay support and lets you stream files in lossless quality, on top of which it's got all the basics you'd expect from a music player, like a 10-band equalizer and playlists. Some features are free but others require a one-time payment to upgrade to premium.
There are any number of podcast apps for Android but Pocket Casts is easily one of the best. Its slick, colourful interface helps it stand out from the drab designs of many competitors and it's feature packed, with Chromecast support, auto downloads, sleep timers and more.
There are even tools to improve the listening experience of podcasts, such as the ability to remove silent sections to speed them up or toggle video podcasts to audio only. There are cheaper and even free alternatives to Pocket Casts, but you more than get your money's worth with it.
VLC for Android
VLC for Android is an incredibly versatile media player that can handle pretty much any file that you can chuck at it, so if you've ever struggled to open and play a media file, then make sure this is installed.
It's recently got a major update which brings bug fixes and new features, such as support for DVD menus from ISO files.
There are a number of streaming radio apps available for Android but where Dash Radio differs from most of them is that it includes over 60 original stations, with real DJ's, no adverts and 24/7 content.
It's not FM so you can listen with or without headphones and there are radio stations covering numerous genres, so it's easy to find ones you'll like. It also has daily competitions and supports Bluetooth streaming to external speakers. The overwhelmingly blue interface could use a bit of work but we can't fault the content.
The idea behind Plex is that it assimilates your existing media collection and serves it up, through one standard interface, via the cloud. It's a bit of a struggle to get going as you need a free account on Plex's servers to access your stuff, but once it's all up and running it offers streaming and transcoding of files, meaning everything ought to play everywhere.
It also supports Chromecast too, so if you've bought into Google's own media-managing dream, then you're going to get a lot of use out of this app.
Running is a great way to get fit but it can also be a bit boring, which makes building up the enthusiasm to run a struggle in itself. The unique Zombies, Run! app manages to make running fun by creating an audio adventure game where you run away from zombies in a bid to rescue survivors.
As you run the story unfolds with missions asking you to reach certain distances to bring supplies for your base. Not only is the story entertaining but it makes running fun again, and you'll be getting fit without even noticing it.
A hefty price, but can you put a price on not dying of obesity at age 52? That fitness promise is what you pay for with the RunTastic Pro. It is able to map you, track you, automatically cheer you on, generate live feedback and more, also covering interval training and letting users create their own regular routes to attack again and again. Serious stuff for competitive people.
S Health has been around for a while, but until recently this Samsung-built app was only available for Galaxy devices.
There are any number of other health and fitness apps around, but few as jam-packed full of features as S Health. You can track everything from running, walking and cycling, to food, water and caffeine intake and even things like blood pressure and sleep.
There's also the ability to set goals and undertake training programmes to run 5K or 10K. So whether you're gearing up for a marathon or just want to watch what you eat, S Health could help you out.
You can lock your whole Android smartphone with a PIN or pattern, but out of the box you can't lock specific apps. That's where Hexlock comes in. It lets you set a PIN or password and apply it to apps of your choice, so even if someone borrows your phone you can control what they see and access.
Maybe you want to keep your messages private for example, or stop a child accessing the browser or Google Play. To make things even easier you can set up multiple profiles which lock down different apps and switch between them with a tap.
If you want to make things really secure you can even keep Hexlock itself from being uninstalled by unauthorised users.
This one pioneered the concept of the alternative keyboard, with SwiftKey the first to offer to 'learn' your writing style and attempt to predict your next word. The hope being that, with practice, it'll know what phrases you commonly use and might save you quite a bit of fuss in typing a simple message to a friend.
You used to have to pay for the app, but now you don't have to spend a penny to give your keyboard a big boost.
Action Launcher 3
If you want complete control over the way your Android device looks and behaves, then Action Launcher 3 is a must have app.
Android Widgets can be given a new lease of life with this app, which has been revamped with support for Android 5.0 Lollipop's Material Design look. If you've set up home screens in other interfaces such as Nova, Google Now Launcher and TouchWiz, as well as the default Android interface, you can import all your settings so all of your favourite apps and shortcuts are exactly where you want them.
Pretty much essential for anyone juggling a work PC, home PC, laptop, tablet, phone and internet fridge, Dropbox's key power lies in letting you access any files anywhere.
It can also automatically upload photos taken on your phone to your account, meaning that, after a bit of uploading and downloading, all your shots are *right there* on your desktop without any tedious cable connecting.
Yahoo Livetext is somewhat impressive in that it manages to put a new spin on instant messaging. Because rather than just sending messages out to a blank screen the person you're talking to can see a live video feed of you and you of them.
So it feels more like you're face to face and you can instantly see their reactions to your messages, yet you're still typing, there's no sound here, which means you can easily use it when out and about where it might either be noisy or you don't have enough privacy for an audible conversation.
In most other ways it's a fairly standard messaging app. If there's a downside it's that you'll need to convince people to get the app, which could be hard given the huge number of communication apps most people are already using, but it's a novel experience.
IF was formerly known as IFTTT, which stands for "if this then that", concisely summing up what this app does. It's a simple ethos that gives you a huge amount of options for making your Android device do some pretty cool things.
You can create simple statements such as "if any photo is taken then add them to Dropbox", or "if my location is home, send a text message to my partner saying "I'm home!"" which can also be shared with other IF users. You'll be amazed how much you can do with such a simple premise.
Skype is an excellent app for keeping in contact with friends and family throughout the world via instant messages, voice and video calls. If you're connected to a Wi-Fi network you can make calls to other Skype members absolutely free.
You can also buy Skype credit to make calls to landlines and mobile phones, and it's far cheaper to use Skype than make long distance calls on your mobile network.
Booking flights can be a minefield, with so many different airlines offering them and prices changing all the time. Flight comparison sites can help a bit but they usually only tell you what the prices are at any given time.
Hopper goes a step further and tells you whether prices are likely to get more or less expensive if you wait to book, as well as giving you a snapshot of which days have the cheapest flights, so you can predict the best time to buy. You can 'watch' specific trips too, getting alerts for price drops and warnings before a price is likely to rise.
So if you're planning a trip it never hurts to stick it into Hopper and see if you can't save yourself some money.
Vine is the movie-making sensation took a little while to appear on Android, then took a while for the numerous bugs to disappear – but now it's all good. It's a simple recording/stop-motion/animation tool, letting you shoot live video on your phone and share it via social networks.
The app is also the best way of browsing Vines from others, as the categories and pages mean you can leaf through it like telly, favouriting users.
If you enjoy watching games as much as playing them you might want to check out YouTube Gaming. The app includes videos and livestreams, covering reviews, speed runs, let's plays, trailers and more, from both gamers and publishers.
You can chat and comment while watching videos and the app is easy to navigate, with dedicated pages for every game, plus various video categories and the ability to save your favourite games and channels.
Free + £7.18/$9.99 IAP
Java is the most popular programming language in the world, so it's a useful skill to have and if you've been put off in the past by the thick books and dry websites which typically teach it Javvy could be for you.
It features over 150 interactive bite-sized tutorials, to take you from the basics to more advanced things like HashMaps and classes. Not only does Javvy make it easy to learn at your own pace, but it's written in a light, engaging way.
You get the first two chapters for free, covering basics and variables, but if you want a more comprehensive Java education you can shell out for the other chapters, either a bit at a time or with a single £7.18/$9.99 in-app purchase.
Polarr Pro Photo Editor
Considering the basic app costs absolutely nothing Polarr puts a lot of photo editing power in your hands. From cleaning images up with sharpening and noise removal tools to tweaking the exposure, temperature and contrast and adding one of a number of filters.
There are other apps with similar tools, but few which have quite the wealth of options this does and with an in-app purchase of $4.99 / £3.84 you can unlock even more features, giving you the ability to make fine-tuned edits to just certain sections of a photo.
No-one likes adverts and they can be especially annoying on a smartphone, where they consume both data and battery. Adblock Browser is built expressly to combat them, automatically blocking all intrusive adverts.
As well as saving data and battery life this can also lead pages to load faster and reduce the risk of malware infection, not to mention removing the annoyance of pop-ups. If you want you can set it to block all adverts, but it defaults to allowing non-intrusive ones, so websites can still make their money.
If like us you've filled your phone up with hundreds of apps you may find that you're getting an almost endless stream of notifications, many of which you have little to no interest in. Sure, Android has its own notification management, but Snowball arguably does it faster and better.
With it you can make sure important notifications are always shown at the top, while less important ones are listed below or hidden completely.
Better yet it learns and makes predictions over time and it allows you to reply to many notifications, such as WhatsApp and SMS messages, straight from the notification itself.
You're likely to already have the Google Drive app installed on your Android device, but if you don't make sure you download it as it's an incredibly useful tool.
It allows you to view all the files you've saved to the Google Drive cloud storage service, and you can share them all with friends and co-workers as well.
Standing out as a calendar app is pretty hard, since there are so many and they all do essentially the same thing. But Boxer Calendar just gets it right. For one thing it works with other calendars, such as Google, Facebook, Outlook and Twitter and you can easily choose which ones to sync if you don't want all of them displayed.
It's also got an attractive Material Design inspired interface, offers pop-up notifications, multiple calendar views, a widget and if you couple it with Boxer email you can even view and send your availability to someone without jumping between apps.
It could soon be a pretty big deal too, as it's set to replace Google Calendar as the default calendar for Cyanogenmod OS 12.1, but you can get it for other Android devices as well.
Hooks - Alerts for Everything
Want to be alerted when your favourite band has a new album out or a new gig in your area? Or how about when a certain Twitter account tweets, or when a new episode of Game of Thrones airs? Perhaps you want to be alerted every time a critically acclaimed game launches for the PS4? Or when there's a weather warning in your area?
Hooks – Alerts for Everything can do all that and more. Despite the name it doesn't quite cover everything, but it has options for things as niche as being alerted of when a particular website goes down or when a well-regarded restaurant opens nearby and new alert types are being added all the time.
So just set up alerts for everything you care about and never again worry about missing something or having to hunt for it.
A posh B&B listings service designed specifically around mobile app use, the selling point of Airbnb is that it personalises the hosts, so if you really want to stay in Glasgow with a cheery looking alternative lifestyle man called Dave snoring in the next room, it's ideal.
It's also a fantastic way to travel the world and save money with over 450,000 listings in 34,000 cities.
Duolingo: Learn Languages Free
Although for many English speakers it's easy enough for us to communicate with the locals when we're travelling by pointing at things and speaking LOUDLY AND SLOWLY, it's also quite nice to learn a bit of the local lingo before you leave as well, which is where Duolingo: Learn Languages Free comes in.
This excellent app makes learning a second language easy, fun and convenient, with a number of daily challenges and tests to help you learn.
Microsoft Translator ensures you'll always be understood, no matter where you go. You can get a written and spoken translation for any word or short sentence in dozens of languages and it supports both text and speech input.
There are other similar apps, but Microsoft Translator has a slick interface, Android Wear support and most importantly it works well, almost always understanding what you're saying to it.
TRACKR: Next Bus & Train Times
There are any number of transport apps, but few as comprehensive as TRACKR. If provides live train information, bus routes and timings for all 370,000 bus stops in the UK, plus departure boards for the London Underground, Glasgow SPT Subway and every other underground, tram and light rail service.
It also offers route maps, journey planning and even proximity alarms to let you know when you're approaching your stop. In other words TRACKR has all the tools you need to make efficient use of public transport in the UK.
If you've got a huge collection of ebooks, then Calibre Companion is definitely worth the asking price. It helps you organise your digital library and displays all of your ebooks in an attractive interface that makes it easy to find what you're looking for.
You can add and remove ebooks via Wi-Fi to ensure you have all the books you need on your portable device. A free version is also available, but it is limited to just 20 books.
Exclusive to Nexus devices since launch, Google Now has been opened up to owners of any Android phone running version 4.1 of the OS or higher.
Install it and you get the experience that is having Google Now fill an entire Home screen, providing a permanent collection of the cards to the left of the existing Home screen setup. These useful cards include weather information, the time it will take to get home, news stories you're interested in and even where you parked your car. The more you use Google Now, the better it gets to know you and the more useful it becomes.
LastPass Password Mgr Premium
£7.77/$12/AU$15.43 a year
If you've got different passwords for different online accounts (and you should) it can sometimes be a difficult and frustrating experience to remember them all when you want to log in. One way of beating this is to have the same password for every account, but that is far from secure.
A much better way is to use LastPass Password Mgr Premium to manage all of your passwords. It makes signing in a piece of cake, while also remaining completely secure. You can also quickly populate forms automatically and check just how secure your passwords are with the LastPass Security Challenge.
£2.29/$2.99 (around AU$4.20)
Managing finances isn't exciting, but it is important and tools like MoneyWiz 2 make it easier than ever.
You can add all your accounts, balances and scheduled bills to it so you can see the ins and outs of your finances all in one place, as well as getting bill reminders so you're never late on a payment and forecasts to show you a prediction of how much you're likely to have to spend before your next pay cheque.
Set up a subscription and you can even connect your bank accounts directly to the app, so you can see all your transactions and balance changes without having to add them manually.
ClickMe - Reminder in a click
The idea behind ClickMe is simple- set up any reminder in just one or two taps, or clicks. You simply tap a contact or select a general reminder, optionally add a picture or text and tap a time that you want to be reminded.
To make things as fast as possible you can even set it to automatically launch after calls end or screenshots are taken, instantly letting you set a related reminder. Once you've set a reminder the app automatically closes, saving you another tap and you won't hear from it again until the appointed time.
When a reminder appears it will also display shortcuts to call or message the relevant contact, keeping the number of taps down yet again. If you find yourself needing a lot of reminders this is faster than most calendar apps or to-do lists.
Shuttle+ Music Player
There's an enormous number of music players to choose from on Android, but Shuttle+ is one of the best.
With an attractive and intuitive Material design-inspired interface and most of the options you'd hope for from a premium player, including gapless playback, a sleep timer, lots of themes, automatic album artwork downloads, a 6-band equalizer, widgets, Chromecast support and a lot more besides it's a joy to use.
There's a free version, but the premium one is only £1.10/$1.75 and has far more features, so it's worth the investment.
Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus
£9.70/$14.95/AU$19.22 a year
Unfortunately viruses and other malware often target Android owners, and considering we use our devices for important task such as online banking, it's a good idea to make sure your device is free from any nasty programs, which is where the Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus comes in.
It's one of the best tools for keeping your Android handset or tablet free from viruses. However a much bigger threat to your device is it getting lost or stolen, and this is where the app really proves to be worth the money thanks to a suite of anti-theft tools that can help you lock and track your device.
It could help you get it back, but if that fails you can remotely wipe your data to make sure your information doesn't fall into the wrong hands.