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android apps you should haveThere is a vast ocean of Android apps on the Google Play market and it can be extremely daunting to browse, especially if you’re new to Android in general. Free apps are great and all, and there are tons of them available, but what about the paid ones? Are they worth the money? Which apps should you bother to consider at all?

I always found it strange that we’ll pay $5 for a cup of Starbucks without a second thought yet deliberate over the value of a $0.99 app. I do it all the time! And the stranger thing is that the app will almost always provide more bang-for-its-buck than coffee will. But keep reading and I’ll tell you about six paid Android apps that are worth their price.

Disclaimer: I understand that there are a GREAT many paid apps that are worth purchasing. Due to the limited space of this article, I’ll be covering the most general apps that nearly everyone can benefit by using, so I’ve left out a lot of apps that have a more specific purpose.

SwiftKey ($4 USD)

android apps you should have

What It Does: At its core, SwiftKey replaces the touch keyboard on your Android device, but it’s so much more than that. This app can analyze your typing patterns and learn from it, providing you with the most accurate predictive text. It can handle multiple languages – even simultaneously. With the latest SwiftKey Flow feature, you can type by swiping instead of tapping for even more convenience.

Free vs. Pro: SwiftKey doesn’t really have a free version, per se. It offers a 30-day free trial where you can use SwiftKey with all of its features unlocked, but once the trial runs out you’ll need to buy the app. SwiftKey is the very first app that I ever spent money on and I do not regret it to this day. My girlfriend, who never even considered paying for mobile apps, ended up buying SwiftKey. It’s that good.

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Nova Launcher Prime Nova Launcher - Even Better Than The Default Android 4.0 Launcher Nova Launcher - Even Better Than The Default Android 4.0 Launcher Up until Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) came along, Android’s interface felt somewhat less polished than iOS’s. But with Android 4.0, Google made a clean break with the previous visual style for Android, introducing Holo... Read More ($4 USD)

android apps you should get

What It Does: Nova Launcher is a prime specimen when it comes to Android home screen launchers 5 More Free Launchers You May Not Have Heard About [Android] 5 More Free Launchers You May Not Have Heard About [Android] One of the great things about the Android community is that modifications and changes are always being made. Android technology is always changing, and thus, there are always new avenues to explore--and so many more... Read More . It has many of the usual launcher features, like scrollable dock, custom app drawers, infinite page switching, and small features that make the entire experience that much more smooth. It’s fast, but requires at least Android 4.0.

Free vs. Pro: When you buy Prime – Nova’s Pro version – you also get: drawer groups (organize apps into folders in the app drawer), action gestures (start certain apps with pinch/swipe/etc), app hiding (reduce app drawer clutter), dock swipes (a gesture on a dock icon performs a different action), unread counts (for mail, SMS, etc), and more. Basically, Nova Launcher Prime is one of the most powerful home screen launchers you’ll ever find.

Tasker Tasker For Android: A Mobile App That Caters to Your Every Whim Tasker For Android: A Mobile App That Caters to Your Every Whim When it comes to device automation, there's just one 900-lb gorilla in the Android space, and that's Tasker. True, Llama is an awesome free automation app, but it doesn't aim for Tasker's full power. Tasker... Read More ($3 USD)android apps you should get

What It Does: Tasker is a device automation app and it does exactly what it sounds like it would do: tweaks your device so that it behaves in different ways depending on the tasks you set up. These tasks can be event-driven (e.g., “when the device is face down”) or time-based (e.g., “at 8AM”) or whatever else, and they can perform a variety of actions (e.g., mute your device, launch an app, toggle WiFi, reboot, etc.).

Free vs. Pro: Tasker actually doesn’t come in a free version, which is a bummer for those of you who want to give it a test run before committing to the price. Just know that there are dozens of triggers, hundreds of actions, and plenty of advanced features (like loops, variables, and conditions) to make the most of your device automation. For more info, check out Tasker’s official user guide.

WeatherBug WeatherBug - Even Better Than The Weather Channel [Android] WeatherBug - Even Better Than The Weather Channel [Android] Up until about a week ago, I only knew of two legitimate weather sources: The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. Both of these services have apps on Android that provide information on the weather. Imagine my... Read More ($2 USD)

android apps you should have

What It Does: WeatherBug is one of the best apps for handling your weather concerns. It comes with a handy little widget that keeps you updated on the latest weather conditions and alerts you when a weather warning is in place. It’s relatively accurate, even for its 5-day and 10-day forecasts, and it has options in place so it doesn’t drain your battery too quickly.

Free vs. Pro: The only difference between WeatherBug free and WeatherBug Elite (the pro version) is the removal of ads. Is that worth the price tag? I think it is. The ads aren’t intrusive by any means, but it frees up that much more space for weather information. Plus, $2 is like half a coffee, and WeatherBug will be one of those apps that you use on a daily basis.

Titanium Backup Pro How To Complete A Full Backup Of Your Android Phone [1.6+] How To Complete A Full Backup Of Your Android Phone [1.6+] I've been using Titanium Backup ever since I got my first Android device. I love backup applications (for PC and otherwise), and Titanium is as good as it gets. In this short introduction I’d like... Read More ($6.58 USD)

What It Does: Titanium Backup is the most well-known backup tool for Android devices. It has an antiquated interface and the basic feature set is nothing to get excited about – until you unlock the Pro version. Many Android users still swear by Titanium Backup as their backup method of choice, and it’s no wonder that it’s remained among the cream of the crop for years. Titanium Backup requires a rooted device.

Free vs. Pro: The Free version is extremely limited (simple apps backup only) but the Pro version is packed with features: multiple backups per app so you can choose which one to restore, an app freezer that disables and hides an app without needing to uninstall it, scheduled backups, send backups to a cloud service like Dropbox, encrypted backups for additional security, and more. With Pro, Titanium Backup goes from being a crippled free trial to a full-blown comprehensive backup solution.

Conclusion

The apps on this list have consistently been considered among the best apps for Android, period. From typing to weather to backups to automation, these apps will be enough to get you set up and going for a long time to come. If you buy all of the, that’s still less than $20 USD, and if you forego the backup solution, it drops even further to $13. I’m not one who likes to spend money on apps, but these are all worth the buy.

  1. Tanim I
    August 6, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Tasker makes life a lot easier

    • Jason Fuller
      October 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      ther eare nfc based apps that are better...

  2. Trevor
    July 31, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Another app that is definitely worth every penny is Million Dollar Search-The only app that gives you a shot at $1 million, also try the free Genie Fortune Teller

  3. jp
    July 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I don't understand the hype behind swiftkey. Yes i know it has themes but who cares.

    I purchased a Galaxy note 2 and the stock keyboard has all the features of swiftkey in settings. Plus it includes the option to write with the stylus and numbers on the keyboard. It's so much better than swiftkey..

    • Jason Fuller
      October 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Try typing on a 8" to 11" tablet and you'll understand. Switft key makes it so you can practicaly touch type. That said, I hate the fact you have to pay separately for the tablet and the phone version, which is why I returned it.

      The real question is why all the hype about swipe when it's built into android now?

  4. Rajeev Rohatgi
    April 30, 2013 at 3:12 am

    Camscanner...great app, and worth every penny. A scanner/copy machine in your pocket

    • Jason Fuller
      October 1, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      yes, camscanner is better than all of these apps, and probably the only one worth paying for aside from swiftkey. (All the rest have their functionality duplicated by free apps)

  5. Justin Klyczek
    April 29, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Thanks. It's a good little review on Nova Prime

  6. moniker
    April 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

    It has been mentioned that Tasker doesn't come in free version, but Tasker does have a trial version, which you can try out for a week. It can be found here:
    http://tasker.dinglisch.net/download.html

  7. Richard Borkovec
    April 26, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Nova Launcher Pro is THE best launcher I've ever used. I bought it back when Google their $.25 sale, but would have paid full price had it not been on sale.

  8. illegal3alien
    April 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Kiwi Keyboard is also a good free alternative that supports swiping. Llama is free and similar to Tasker. In my opinion, Llama locations work much better sense you can combine multiple types of location detection under a single profile. This way you can add a location's Wifi, coordinates, and nearby cell towers in a single profile instead of creating multiple ones. Tasker has more actions it can do and a better interface, though. Tasker also includes HTTP GET and POST actions which can come in extremely helpful.

  9. Robert Brock
    April 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I own all five of the apps in this report and they are all worth every penny, IMHO.

    • Joel Lee
      May 1, 2013 at 1:23 am

      Thanks for the corroboration. Much appreciated. :)

  10. Saiful Zaree Johar
    April 25, 2013 at 3:46 am

    I only have 2 out of 5 (Swiftkey and Nova Prime), because I don't think I really need the other 3...As I flash custom ROM almost weekly, I just let my phone do anything by itself; updates, retrieving apps from Google Play...but for whoever uses/needed, good for you guys...

    Bottom line is, if you think you need them, install/buy em...

  11. DroidDrizzy
    April 25, 2013 at 1:35 am

    That weather app is fine but Rainalarm and skymotion are great free alternatives

  12. vicntc
    April 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    For those without * Root, AppMonster is an excellent backup tool.There is a free version for basic services and Pro (paid) version without restrictions.

  13. Christian Collins
    April 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Why is Titanium Backup Pro 6.58? why not 4.99? Heck even 6.99 would be better.

    • Joel Lee
      May 1, 2013 at 1:22 am

      Good question, one that I've asked myself on multiple occasions. I don't have an answer, though.

  14. Shilpa
    April 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I'd recommend Swype over swiftkey (it's only a buck) for those are used to swiping. it's a much better keyboard frankly.

    Also carbon backup is a really good alternative for titanium backup. Not only is it chair, it's also more intuitive to non-geeks. Tasker used to have such a bad interface, but now it's so easy to use, my boyfriend finally gave in and bought it. and this after he tried every other automation app out there even though I kept telling him this is the best

  15. Imesh Chandrasiri
    April 24, 2013 at 10:26 am

    SwiftKey can be used by hackers or malware to monitor keystrokes! I don't know whether they have fixed this issue.

    • Joel Lee
      May 1, 2013 at 1:22 am

      This is the first I've heard about this. I'd assume that SwiftKey has overcome that issue since it doesn't seem to be a big talking point recently. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Scott M
    April 24, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I have the equivalent apps.I have Swype instead and a different weather app but the list a very sound one.

  17. Nevzat A
    April 24, 2013 at 7:41 am

    I agree with the above list except the Weather app. It's not so essential to me. I'd rather add excellent 0.99$ games like Cut the Rope, Where's My Water?, Asphalt 7: Heat, Angry Birds Star Wars, Bad Piggies etc... :)

  18. Manoj
    April 24, 2013 at 4:34 am

    I think Swype is a better keyboard. Sad its not in Play Store.

  19. Jeff Brown
    April 24, 2013 at 12:19 am

    If you're rooted TiBackup has save many an ass.

    You should also know that if the above root applies to you then a lot of ROMs use nova prime as a launcher option. Carbon is one such ROM.

  20. Jack Giebel
    April 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I own all but the weather app, glad to see that make use of approves of my purposes.

  21. Corina Carrasco
    April 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I think that when there are so many free apps out there, it works against the paid apps because our mind will naturally say, "hmm I will check out the free apps that do the same thing first..." then we end up settling for the free app. It happens with free ebooks, too.

    Nice list. I may check out a couple of them. By the way, my Galaxy S3 comes with SwiftKey. I'm actually not liking it much because I am used to Swype and SwiftKey isn't learning my patterns. Ugh! But it's only the second day so I will give it a chance.

    • Joel Lee
      May 1, 2013 at 1:21 am

      I do agree that having so many free things available to us has spoiled us - myself included - and we often overlook the paid alternatives. It's too bad because some of those paid alternatives are really good!

      And I think you should stick with SwiftKey for at least a week. Don't forget to fiddle with the settings if it doesn't feel right! I think if you still don't like it after a week of fiddling, then maybe you can move on. Personally, I prefer SwiftKey over Swype. :)

  22. Barrie McNaught
    April 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Nice to know that I already have 4 out of the 5 apps, for me the weather app is not needed I have others to do that but nice list.

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