Having reviewed nearly half a dozen Android music apps over the past year, I find it interesting that they’re all so great in their own unique ways. You’ve got the minimalist players that don’t even have playlists; you’ve got the big bloated ones that take up tons of space. Then you’ve got Winamp, which is a middle-of-the-road compromise that does everything you’d expect and not much more.
Winamp used to be my desktop music player of choice back in the early 2000s when it was the only alternative to Windows Media Player. While I no longer use Winamp on my computer, I do use it on my Android. It’s an effective app that can handle large music libraries without being too slow or laggy. An everyday music player, really.
Let’s take a look at this big name music app and see why it’s retained its status as one of the most popular Android music apps for so long.
Winamp’s app home screen is simple, clean, and easy to navigate. The first four options will let you browse through your music collection based on the sorting method of your choice: by Artist, Album, Song Title, or Genre. If you have Playlists, you can access them from this screen, too.
At the bottom, there’s a mini-player that is nearly always visible. It’s actually a drawer–you can swipe it upwards and pull out the main media controls; we’ll go more into that soon. At the bottom right, there’s a Winamp logo. If you tap it, it will bring you back to this home screen no matter where you are.
Library & Playback
Browsing through your library is nothing special in Winamp. It’s just a bunch of scrolling, tapping, and that’s it–like most music player apps. Performance wise, I think Winamp isn’t that bad. The scrolling rarely lagged and the tapping felt smooth and responsive to me. That kind of minor detail helps it to feel like a quality app.
If you hold-tap on a music library selection, you can do the following:
- Play: Plays the selection right away. If the selection is an album or an artist, all of the songs within that category will be queued into the Now Playing list.
- Enqueue: Similar to Play, but adds the selection to the end of the Now Playing list. For albums and artists, all of the included songs will be enqueued.
- Add to Playlist: If you have custom playlists, the selection(s) can be added to them.
- Delete: Permanently deletes the selection(s) from your SD card.
At first glance, the playback screen is pretty minimal. You’ve got the song title at the top, the album art in the center, and a progress bar at the bottom with the player controls. The button on the bottom left takes you to the Now Playing list.
But when you tap on the middle of the screen, a small overlay shows up with more options. The name of the album shows at the top and, at the bottom, you can toggle shuffle/repeat, access the equalizer (Pro version only), and search the Internet for more info on the current song/artist.
On the Winamp home screen, there are two options near the bottom: SHOUTcast Radio and Free Music. These are two features you’ll rarely find in other music apps. They don’t exactly boost Winamp into must-have territory, but they could be useful.
SHOUTcast Radio is basically like Internet radio: you can stream online music from SHOUTcast stations. Free Music is similar, allowing you to stream music off of Full CD or download free MP3s from Spinner. Both of these features will use up a lot of data, so make sure you’re on WiFi instead!
Winamp supports music library synchronization. If you use iTunes, you can import and sync your libraries with ease. If you use Windows Media Player, you can actually sync your libraries wirelessly.
And one feature that I found likable was that you can hit Android’s Menu key when playing a certain song and set that song as your ringtone. That could come in handy.
Winamp doesn’t have many settings to play around with. You can toggle a few options, like automatic USB-mounting and using the lock screen player. Otherwise, there’s not much to see here.
For $4.99, you can upgrade your free version of Winamp to Winamp Pro. Doing so will unlock the audio equalizer (for those of you who are audiophiles), gapless playback, replay gain, as well as the ability to customize the home screen.
Upgrading to Winamp Pro can be done through the Store option on the home screen.
Winamp is a tried-and-true name–that’s why it’s one of our Best Of Android apps for audio. As a company, Winamp has been around for over a decade, so you can rest assured in knowing that a company doesn’t stay around for that long if they don’t know what they’re doing.
What do you think of Winamp? Love it? Hate it? Prefer something else? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!