Today, in the final part of our series on the Samsung Galaxy S4, we'll be looking at some of the best apps to complement the phone. While these suggestions are made with the S4 in mind, these excellent apps would be good additions to pretty much any Android phone. Let's get right into it!
Ambient is a cool app that makes use of the new sensors in the Galaxy S4. The app shows you the current temperature, humidity, pressure and altitude. While the app lacks any other features, it's a nice way to check your surroundings without wading into the considerably more complex S Health app.
I'm not the biggest fan of Samsung's heavy TouchWiz skin, particularly its launcher (home screen) and icons. Thankfully, Android's modular nature makes it simple to choose an alternative. I'm recommending Nova Launcher here, but Go Launcher and Apex Launcher are also fine. You'll get more customisability with a new launcher, allowing you to select custom icon sets (like this Minimal UI pack), increase the number of icons on-screen and much more.
While the stock Twitter client has improved considerably over the past few months, I still prefer third-party alternatives. The finest, in my opinion, is Falcon Pro. It sports an intuitive interface, loads media in-line and automatically uses TweetLonger in order to break past that 140 character limit.
Another core Samsung app I'm not too fond of is the SMS app. Thankfully, Facebook have recently added SMS to their Messenger app's list of capabilities, meaning you can see incoming texts in the same place as Facebook messages. You'll need to turn on Text Messaging in the Settings for this to work, but it's well worth it.
Another poorly designed Samsung app is the alarm clock. A fine alternative is the doubleTwist Alarm Clock, which looks much nicer and allows you to set alarms to suit your sleep cycle, at sunrise or for a nap. Pressing a button at the bottom of the screen will show the clock itself, which is available in digital and analogue versions and even comes with a night mode.
While the Galaxy S4 enjoys good battery life, things can always be improved if you have better information. That's where the GSam Battery Monitor comes in, allowing you to see much more in-depth information about which apps and hardware are draining the battery. There's also a test suite that allows you to get definitive numbers on battery life in various modes.
If you've got a Full HD 1080p display and up to 64 GB of external storage via micro SD, then you'd be missing out if you didn't watch a couple of Full HD films. The best video app, in my opinion, is MX Player, as it has handled pretty much any video file I've thrown at it, and has readily accessible controls for brightness and volume by swiping on the screen - something that's indispensable for catching a bit of quiet dialogue or properly seeing a dark scene.
If you have a lot of apps installed, it can be confusing to keep track of what new features have been added in recent updates. A really clever app that solves this problem is Changelog Droid, which shows you a chronological list of app updates. This lets you see, in detail, which apps have been updated recently and what was added in each, without needing to track down each app separately in the Play Store.
Reddit is an increasingly popular aggregator of all the internet's best content, from cute cat pictures to jokes or serious discussion on a wide range of topics. There are a number of Android clients to browse Reddit to choose from, but I'm really liking the latest dev version of Reddit Sync, which has a card view similar to Google Now that shows images at a much larger size. Of course, this feature should appear in the free version at some point too.
The default Browser on the Galaxy S4 is getting a bit long in the tooth, so I'd definitely recommend installing Chrome first-thing. Chrome has a number of awesome features and new ones are added all the time - we recently got auto-filled passwords and other information from the desktop version, as well as automatic language translation and an option to reduce page load times.
I hope you've found this article helpful. If you'd like to share your own Android app recommendations, please do so in the thread below! Thanks for reading and have a great day.