independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Top 300 apps: Useful utilities

From checking broadband to becoming a torch ...

Chrome

iOS, Android; free

We sometimes don’t think much about web browsers, but they can make a big difference to the speed and quality of our internet access. Although Apple devices have Safari, and Samsung phones default to a preloaded web browser, Chrome has some strong advantages over its rivals. When you're signed in (it’s a Google product), it remembers your searches and tabs from using it on other devices. It also allows you to search privately (‘incognito’).

Root Explorer

Android; €3.60

For those who have ‘rooted’ their Android devices, this is a very useful app that allows you to get down into file data.

Tablified Market HD

Android; free

One of the biggest problems for Android tablets is that Google doesn't provide any guidance in its Play Store as to which apps are optimised for tablets. This handy app gives that guidance.

Flashlight HD LED

Android; free

Apple iPhones get a built-in torch feature with iOS7. This Android torch app is decent, optimising your camera's LED flash to act as a torch.

Measure Map

iPhone; €1.80

Using your phone's in-built GPS, this area calculator app allows you to accurately plot, calculate and digitally store any plot you want. It also offers distance and perimeter calculations.

Smart Tools

Android; €2

This handy collection of geographical and geometrical tools includes the ability to measure distance, slope, sound, height, width and area. It’s very nicely done.

Speedtest by Ookla

iOS, Android; free

With 4G here and expanded 3G in rural areas, this is a great app for determining exactly what download and upload speeds your device is getting. Well worth downloading.

RingMindMe

iPhone; €1.80

Sometimes we set our phone to silent for a meeting or movie and forget to revert to ‘ringer’ mode, thus missing calls and text messages. This app sets a time limit to revert to normal.

SwiftKey 3

Android, €4

Typing errors on touchscreens are rife. What this app does is to apply extra ‘intelligence' (based on phrases or sentences you often type) that informs its predictive system.

Wifi finder

iOS, Android; free

One irritant for frequent travellers is exorbitant hotel wifi rates. This app shows you a bucketful of public wifi hotspots in your immediate vicinity, both free and paid.

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