As the world continues to move towards a video-led media environment, it’s more important than ever to have a fast and reliable video player on your Android phone. How else are you supposed to watch that video of your dog chasing its tail?
Some apps — like WhatsApp and Twitter — have built-in video players, but they’re nowhere near as good as using a dedicated app. Of course, some smartphone manufacturers also offer video players, but they’re more akin to bloatware; you should give them a wide berth.
And what about Google Photos? Yes, it has the ability to play (and even edit) videos, but there are still better third-party tools available.
So, what are the best video players for Android? Keep reading to find out.
1. MX Player
It should come as no surprise to find MX Player at the top of this list. Frankly, I could just stop writing now. MX Player is way ahead of the competition — you don’t need to install anything else on your phone.
But what makes it so good? It supports a wide-range of swipe gestures (including pinch-to-zoom, fast-forward, rewind, and volume), it has multi-core decoding (meaning the app runs up to 70 percent faster than other video players), and it can play almost any file format you throw at it. Oh, and did I mention it can also play subtitle files?
The free version is ad-supported. You’ll need to spend $6 on the Pro version if you want an ad-free experience.
Download: MX Player (Free)
2. Wondershare Player
Although MX Player is amazing, it’s always nice to have options — so let’s check out some alternatives.
First up, Wondershare Player. It’s powerful in its own right; it includes most codecs, plays the majority of audio files, can support subtitles, and offers a way to transfer files from your desktop to your phone over your local Wi-Fi network.
However, it stands apart from the competition thanks to its video discovery tool. It shows you trending content from around the web and lets you play content from YouTube, Vevo, TED, ESPN, and Hulu without leaving the app.
Download: Wondershare Player (Free)
KMPlayer offers all the features you’d expect. There are playback speed controls, subtitle support, and various views to help you find the content you want to watch.
It has two key features that earn it a place on this list: windowed mode and Google Drive playback.
Windowed mode means you can watch your videos in a floating app that hovers above whatever else you’re working on. Phone users might not find it too useful, but if you’ve got a large tablet, it means you can stay productive while still enjoying yourself.
Google Drive support lets you use the player to watch content directly from the cloud without needing to download it onto your phone. It’s a great feature if you want to store a lot of movies to watch while you’re traveling.
Download: KMPlayer (Free)
VitalPlayer isn’t as polished as some of the other options on this list, but once again, it has a unique feature that warrants its inclusion.
That’s its built-in gamma and brightness correction tools. They might not sound important, but if you’ve ever tried to watch a video or movie that’s too dark, you’ll appreciate them.
The tools are especially helpful if you’re trying to watch a movie on your tablet outside on a sunny day.
Download: VitalPlayer (Free)
BSPlayer is one of the oldest video apps in the Play Store; it’s stood the test of time and is still going strong.
Like MX Player, it offers multi-core hardware decoding and hardware-accelerated playback, as well as the usual array of touch controls and supported video formats.
If you enjoy casting content from your Android device to other screens in your home, this is the app for you. It can play to any DNLA receiver and includes Google Chromecast support.
There is a free and pro version. The free version is ad-supported; the ad-free pro version will set you back $5.
Download: BSPlayer (Free)
Many of you will be familiar with Kodi. It’s the premier home theater app for all platforms. The app is available on the Google Play Store (unlike on iOS, which requires a workaround to install).
Of course, it can do a lot more than merely play videos, but if you’re looking for a professional interface with an easy-to-navigate library, you’ll struggle to find better. It looks stunning on larger tablet screens, though you might find it a little too fiddly if you play content on your phone.
Be aware that if you rely on certain unique codecs, Kodi can handle them, but your device might not be powerful enough to render them correctly.
The app is entirely free and is not ad-supported.
Download: Kodi (Free)
MoboPlayer is another long-term favorite among Android users.
It can play almost every video format thanks to its codecs and offers subtitle support, playlist support, and continuous playback support.
You can even stream video from the web; it can play media from both HTTP and RTSP protocols.
Download: MoboPlayer (Free)
8. Video Player HD
My final suggestion is Video Player HD. It’s another app that’s deployed excellent touch-screen controls. You can change the brightness, adjust the volume, and scroll back and forth through the video you’re watching.
Additionally, it introduces some features you will struggle to find replicated on other players. There’s a night mode for if you want to watch movies in bed, and most impressively, a 10-band equalizer for your device’s sound.
The equalizer is robust enough to rival any dedicated equalizer apps.
Lastly, you can offset subtitles and audio in case the syncing is misaligned, and there’s a sleep timer so you won’t drain your battery if you fall asleep mid-movie.
Download: Video Player HD (Free)
Which Video Player Do You Use?
I’ve introduced you to eight high-quality video players you can find in the Play Store. However, video players are one of the most popular app categories — there are literally thousands to choose from.
I know there’s a good chance I’ve overlooked your favorite, so now it’s your turn to tell me. Which is your favorite video player? What cool features does it offer? Why does it deserve a place on this list?
You can leave all your suggestions and recommendations in the comments section below.
This article was originally written by Angela Randall on March 15th, 2011.