Technology February 18, 2016 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,609 Reads share

Picking Smartphone Apps: Basic Criteria for Choosing the Best

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Smartphone apps are cool, right? Our ancestors probably couldn’t even imagine that there would be these small things that can give us all the information in the world, entertain us when we are bored, allow us to see and talk to people on the other side of the world and even help us grow our business. So, aren’t we lucky to live today?

If you are the happy owner of a smartphone, there are lots of cool applications that can make your life easier. Everyday chores may not seem so boring and free time can be easily filled. The following apps are for now a must for every smartphone.

  • Pictures management app. Smartphones today have replaced professional cameras for most people, so getting an app that turns your ‘Photos’ folder into a functional gallery is a must.
  • Media player. A standard app for audio and video tracks might help at first, but if you want the best media experience, be sure to find the apps suiting your personal needs and preferences.
  • Maps. Why ask for directions when you can check the map on your smartphone? If you are unsure about Wi-Fi, opt for offline maps.
  • Fitness tracker. Being fit is not only a modern trend but a necessity for all those who want to be healthy.
  • Cloud storage. This app is the best way to save space on your smartphone memory card, as well as ensure all your personal information will not be gone for good with your phone being broken or lost.

How to Choose Apps Wisely

Apple Store and Android Play Market have hundreds of new apps added every day; numbers say in 2014 there were 2.5 million of apps offered to the market. Being curious, we tend to install some of them, but it is only wisely chosen ones that would stay with you for good. How not to feel at sea when you choose a certain smartphone application?

Do I Really Need It?

Before you even start to look through the apps, take your time and ask yourself this question. App stores might be offering you high-end apps for Instagram, saying they are popular – but unless you are active on the media, you don’t really need those. If you are not into social networks, and you only check your email and social accounts from time to time, you can do without specific apps and use your browser for that.

When you’ve figured out you really need an app of a certain kind, be sure to read its descriptions and reviews. Similar apps may have slightly different options and characteristics. If you can’t decide which one to choose, try downloading several of them and see what works better (don’t do that with antivirus apps, though).

Testing apps for a couple of days would be more than enough depending on the type of app, but don’t forget to delete the ones you don’t like, otherwise, you risk cluttering your phone and having no free space for photos and other stuff.

What’s the Cost?

The good thing about the app market is that a huge number of them are free. Most developers offer both free and paid versions of their applications, and it is for you to decide which one would be better. But you should keep in mind the following.

Free app’s biggest pro argument is that you don’t have to pay anything for using it. But the most irritating thing comes with this very reason. Developers still need to earn money from the app, which leads to some decent amount of advertising you will have to put up with. Sometimes it is subtle – you see only a couple of small banners at the bottom or at the top of the screen. Worse case scenario is constant pop-ups that you have to close; these things tend to drive users insane.

Paid versions give you the pleasure of having no ads and unwanted information but, usually, they cost a decent amount of money. Together with being ad-free, such apps have additional features you might enjoy.

So, how to choose between free and paid versions? Basically, it depends on your personal needs. Thus, if you only need basic functions and you don’t mind occasional ads, you might stick to the free version. But, if you can’t stand excessive ads or you just enjoy this app enough to pay for it, it would be more effective and convenient to buy the premium version.

Is It Easy?

No matter if it is a media player or your scientific calculator, the app should be easy to use. In case the app you install needs a manual and it is not intuitive, delete it in no time! There are plenty of other ones you don’t have to be a pro to get launched.

Form vs. Function?

In fact, it is not ‘one against the other’ here; it is about form and function being combined and well balanced. What’s the use of a cool color scheme choice if the app does not make your life easier? User interface and experience are the two pillars for developers, and be sure you get the app befitting this formula.

Go Local (at Least Try to)!

Target audience is crucial for mobile marketers, and they do their best to segment it. Thus, if you are looking for a specific app such as for wedding planning, or traveling, and especially retail, it would be wiser and ‘patriotic’ of some kind to go local. This will guarantee you get offers and suggestions that fit your needs.

App Details Consideration

Many apps excite you when you install them. They are cool, helpful and really make your life easier. However, it is always ok to dig deeper and to check all the possibilities and all the flaws. You might want to know if this app has a desktop version; in some cases it is important. Is it possible to back up your data in this app? There can be many small details for you to check.

Be Real about Your Apps

This point is somehow the bottom line. As mentioned above, you should keep an eye on your phone apps and revise them every couple weeks. Experience shows that if an application has not become a part of your workflow during a week, you can easily get rid of it with no regrets.

Images: ”A person is holding a smart phone isolated with a map of the Earth and various apps coming out of the phone. Use it for a communication concept. /Shutterstock.com

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Jana Rooheart

Jana Rooheart

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