Android smartphones are incredibly popular, with over 2 billion active devices worldwide. The Google Play Store offers over 3 million apps, making it difficult to determine which apps are worth downloading. This article reviews some of the latest and most popular Android apps in 2023, providing an overview of their key features along with pros and cons to help you determine which apps best fit your needs.
Navigation and Maps
Navigation apps utilize GPS to pinpoint your location and provide turn-by-turn directions to a destination. They can be incredibly useful whether you’re driving somewhere new or walking in an unfamiliar city.
Google Maps is likely the most widely used navigation app, given its integration with Android devices. It offers driving, walking, and public transit directions, along with live traffic updates and crowdsourced user reviews of places.
- Completely free to use with no ads or subscriptions
- Pre-downloaded on most Android devices
- Offline map access available
- Accurate ETA based on live traffic data
- Transit schedules and directions
- AR mode for exploring nearby area
- Occasional glitches with directions
- Can be data heavy if using live traffic
Waze focuses heavily on crowdsourcing traffic data from users, resulting in reliable ETAs and routing around traffic jams. Other features include speed limit warnings and the ability to share your drive with friends/family.
- Excellent real-time traffic avoidance
- User-submitted alerts for accidents, police, etc
- Cheap gas prices displayed on map
- Good for commuters and frequent drivers
- Aggressive rerouting can sometimes backfire
- More distracting interface with social features
- Requires frequent user data to be optimal
For most users, Google Maps is the best all-around navigation app given its reliability, real-time data, transit options, and integration with Android. Waze is best for frequent drivers who want to optimize around traffic. Offline use gives Google Maps the edge for travelers without stable internet connections.
Ride sharing apps allow you to request a ride from independent drivers as an alternative to taxis. They can provide transportation across town or even all the way to the airport.
Uber is the most ubiquitous ride sharing app, available in over 70 countries. You can choose from different tiers of service, from basic rides up to luxury vehicles.
- Readily available in most cities
- Fare estimate provided before booking
- Track your driver’s arrival
- Seamless payment through app
- Prices surge during high demand
- Some driver quality inconsistencies
Lyft offers a similar service to Uber, focused heavily on the US market. They emphasize their community, including clearer driver backgrounds and more informal ride options.
- Usually better prices than Uber
- Friendlier community feel
- Option to donate rides to those in need
- Much smaller coverage area than Uber
- Fewer premium/carpool options
Uber has better worldwide availability and premium features like Uber Black, but Lyft tends to edge them out on price for standard rides with their greater emphasis on community. Lyft is a good option if available in your area and you want to save money.
|Availability||70+ countries||Mainly US only|
|Cost||$$ Standard rides, $$$ premium||$ Cheaper than Uber|
|Booking Features||Fare estimates, driver tracking||Somewhat limited|
|Premium Options||Uber Black, UberXL||Lyft Lux, shared rides|
For domestic use, Lyft is the best bet for saving money on standard rides. However, frequent travelers may still prefer Uber for the ubiquity of the service across the majority of major international cities.
Food delivery apps make getting your favorite meals from local restaurants quick and convenient. They eliminate the need to place takeout orders over the phone.
DoorDash offers delivery from a wide range of local restaurants, with the ability to customize your order requests. They also provide occasional discounts for first-time users.
- Huge selection of restaurants
- Order exactly what you want
- Fast delivery times
- Complaints of frequently messed up orders
- Delivery fees can add up
GrubHub partners with many popular chains like KFC and Taco Bell in addition to local spots. Their Perks program provides free delivery and other rewards for frequent users.
- Easy free delivery with Perks
- Great for chain restaurant delivery
- Rewards program benefits
- Smaller restaurant selection in some areas
- Reported order errors
DoorDash surpasses GrubHub when it comes to delivery speed and total restaurant selection. However, GrubHub’s loyalty program makes it cheaper for regular users. Those looking for chain restaurant deliveries may prefer GrubHub.
|Restaurant Selection||Huge, all varieties||Good, many chains|
|Cost||$$$ Delivery fees||$ Perks rewards free delivery|
|Order Accuracy||Frequent issues||Can have issues|
|Delivery Speed||Very fast||Fairly fast|
DoorDash wins out for their huge restaurant selection and super quick delivery. It’s a great app for convenience. However, GrubHub can save money for frequent users through their loyalty program Perks. Those who order delivery often from chain restaurants should consider GrubHub.
Dating apps provide a platform to meet potential romantic partners online. They allow you to connect with matches based on preferences and common interests.
Tinder shows you local users for quick swipe-based matching. It pioneered the “swipe right/swipe left” mechanic of liking or rejecting potential matches solely based on photos and quick bios.
- Large user base for more potential matches
- Easy to quickly sample many users
- Preferences for age range and distance
- Many users not seeking serious relationships
- Heavy emphasis on photos over personalities
- Costs money for premium features
Hinge markets itself as “the app designed to be deleted” for those seeking relationships. Profiles focus on personality prompts and personal info. Free users get 1 daily “Most Compatible” match.
- Caters to long-term relationship seekers
- Clever profiles reveal personality
- Daily match saves time
- Smaller user pool than Tinder
- Free version very limited
Tinder offers the giant user pool for quantity, while Hinge provides better quality. Tinder gives more control over who to choose, but Hinge’s daily matches save time. Those seeking serious relationships may prefer Hinge.
|User Intent||Hookups/casual mainly||Relationships mainly|
|Matching Style||Quick swiping||Thoughtful daily match|
|Free Features||Swiping, messaging matches||1 daily match, limited likes|
|User Base Size||Huge||Medium|
Tinder is better for casual dating thanks to the endless swiping of local users, while Hinge is superior for relationships with its compatibility matching and less hookup-focused audience. Consider your goals before choosing between these two popular dating apps.
For times when you want to kick back and relax, entertainment apps deliver content in fun and convenient ways. Whether you want to watch, listen, or play, your smartphone has you covered.
YouTube offers a nearly endless supply of video content, from music videos and news clips to vlogs and episodic original programming. You can subscribe to creators for their latest uploads.
- Enormous library of video content
- Personalized recommendations
- Originals and exclusives
- Free with ads, or YouTube Premium ad-free
- Can be addicting to scroll for hours
- Clickbait content prioritized by algorithm
Spotify grants access to over 50 million songs and 2 million podcasts. You can save music to listen offline and get recommendations based on your taste.
- Huge music library with new releases
- Custom playlists and radio stations
- Podcasts included
- Premium features like offline listening
- Annoying ads in free version
- Algorithms can get repetitive
YouTube offers greater variety with its mix of video types, while Spotify excels for music lovers who know what they like. YouTube pulls you in to scroll, while Spotify caters better to specific tastes. Overall Spotify delivers a better listening-centric experience.
|Content Selection||Everything imaginable||Music + podcasts|
|Listening Experience||More passive video watching||Active music enjoyment|
|Curation||Algorithms suggest variety||Playlists match tastes|
|Cost||Free with ads, or Premium||Free with ads, or Premium|
YouTube is best for those looking to browse endless video content, while Spotify suits music lovers who know their preferences and want custom playlists. However, Spotify also includes podcasts now, giving it an advantage for those seeking audio content.
Mobile security apps help protect your device against threats like malware, unsafe networks, lost phones, and misused data.
Malwarebytes focuses on detecting and blocking malware and ransomware. It scans apps, files, and networks for dangerous threats and removes them.
- Actively protects against dangerous malware
- Removes existing infections
- Scans new app downloads
- Won’t catch more sophisticated threats
- Occasional false flags
Lookout offers complete mobile protection. Along with malware scanning, it can back up contacts, locate lost devices, monitor suspicious networks, and flag data breaches.
- All-in-one security solution
- Backup and lost device recovery
- Alerts for risky connections
- Requires heavy app permissions
- Some features unavailable on lower-tier plans
Malwarebytes excels at catching malware, while Lookout provides more features beyond malware scanning. Lookout is optimal for those wanting proactive security, while Malwarebytes handles malware removal.
|Malware Scanning||Excellent||Very good|
|Additional Features||Minimal||Device loss prevention, backups, network monitoring|
|Cost||Free or premium||Free limited plan, paid plans|
Malwarebytes is the go-to app for scanning and cleaning malware infections. However, those wanting full mobile security should consider Lookout for the range of protection features beyond malware removal.
Shopping conveniently from your phone allows browsing and buying no matter where you are. Shopping apps make it easy to find deals or kill time window shopping.
The Amazon app grants mobile access to the world’s largest online retailer. Browse countless products with user reviews, purchase items with 1-click ordering, and track package deliveries.
- Nearly every product imaginable
- User reviews for informed buying
- Fast shipping with Prime
- Daily deals and discounts
- Cluttered item searches
- Counterfeit items mixed with authentic
Wish emphasizes extreme discounts on their wide range of often-unique products. The app focuses heavily on discovery and fun. Many items ship directly from China.
- Items often 90%+ off normal prices
- Great for cheap, random impulse buys
- Browse for hours of entertainment
- Very long shipping times (weeks)
- Questionable quality control
Amazon is better for reliable name-brand purchases, while Wish offers dirt cheap prices on random gadgets and goods if you don’t mind long shipping. Amazon has virtually any household item, while Wish excels as a time-waster.
|Product Selection||Extensive and reliable||Broad but random/obscure|
|Shipping Speed||Very fast with Prime||Extremely slow from China|
|Prices||Reasonable MSRP||Unbelievably cheap|
|Ideal User||Frequent shoppers||Bargain hunters/browsers|
For reliable household purchases, especially with Prime shipping, Amazon is hard to beat. However, Wish is extremely cheap for random items if you have 1-2 months before needing them – just beware of quality control issues.
- Navigation apps like Google Maps provide the best combination of reliability, transit options, and offline access for getting around unfamiliar areas.
- For ride sharing, frequent travelers may still prefer Uber for its global presence, but Lyft provides cheaper domestic options.
- DoorDash is the top food delivery app with speedy service and a huge restaurant selection, but GrubHub can save money through loyalty perks for regular users.
- Casual daters lean towards Tinder for its endless swiping, while relationship seekers often prefer Hinge for its thoughtfully designed matching.
- For relaxing entertainment, YouTube offers endless browsing, but Spotify delivers a superior music listening experience.
- Malwarebytes excels at catching malware threats, while Lookout provides comprehensive security protection beyond malware.
- Amazon remains the leader for reliable online shopping, but the extreme discounts on Wish make it fun for bargain browsing.
The variety of apps available for Android phones keeps expanding, making smartphones even more capable tools. However, it can be difficult navigating the sheer volume of apps to determine which are worthwhile and safe. Refer to this review guide for recommendations of the latest and most useful Android apps across categories like navigation, delivery, entertainment, dating, and more. The comparison tables help summarize the key strengths of top apps to choose the best option for your needs. Keep this overview in mind as you search the Play Store to simplify locating quality apps worth downloading.