Android may not have been very good at multimedia when it was first released, but today it is one of the most capable mobile operating systems out there. With over 300,000 apps on the marketplace, you are pretty much guaranteed to find whatever app you need, and of course, there are lots of music and video players available, as well. To make it easier for you, I’ve compiled a selection of the top 10 media players below:
Spotify. Spotify is one of the best music streaming services available today, according to the millions of users worldwide, and it’s hard to disagree. Their Android app looks very nice, has an intuitive interface and lets you stream the music you like when you want it. You can also save the music on your phone or tablet for listening offline (useful if you don’t want to waste money on your data plan), share the music you like, create a favorites list, sync your own MP3 list with your phone, send the tracks you’re listening to Facebook and Last.fm and more.
Pandora internet radio. Pandora is also a music streaming service, only they’ve been in the game for a longer time than Spotify and are only available in North America. Their Android app is more mature, has a great user interface and a lot of features. In the free version, you can create “radio stations” based on the artist you like and stream the tracks straight into your headphones. The paid version lets you select the albums or tracks you want and save the music offline for later.
VPlayer. VPlayer was created as the player to top all players. It can playback almost any video you can throw at it, and you don’t even need to have the latest processor in order to do it (unless you’re watching movies in HD format). No more manually transcoding your files before sending them to your phone or tablet – just copy the video file, and open it with VPlayer.
MixZing. MixZing is being marketed as the most advanced player around, and looking at the impressive features sheet, it is hard to argue. The player has a pretty good interface (though it’s nothing special) and has more features than you’ll ever need. There’s the automatic ID tag retrieval, graphic equalizer, custom listening sessions based on your mood, lyrics playback along with the song, recommendations for similar music, batch editing for playlists, and much more.
Summer Player. This is one of the best video players on the Android Market. It’s simple to use, it plays back most of the popular file formats really well and it has a range of features that many would find useful, including the ability to take screenshots, support for multiple user profiles, sharing videos on Facebook and YouTube (by uploading them to your own channel), and more.
DoubleTwist Player. DoubleTwist is widely recommended as the best music player for Android, and indeed it has quite a few features that would make it worthy of that title. The player has a nice user interface with large buttons and support for gestures, it supports most of the file formats out there and can read ID tags even if they’re partially missing (thanks to an online service), it can sync music with Mac and Windows computers, and it can even stream music to Airplay enabled devices, including the Apple TV and Google TV set top boxes (the latter is thanks to the Airtight app, which you need to install on Google TV).
RockPlayer. RockPlayer is my personal favorite video player – it can playback mp4 and avi files even on older smartphones, supports most of the file formats out there, and it has GPU acceleration for some codecs, which makes it possible to watch even 720p HD videos with it. The interface is clean and simple, and there aren’t that many other features, but if you want a good player that will perform well, you should try it out.
UberMusic. If you like the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI, you should definitely give UberMusic a try. It’s a great player that has a Metro like default interface, which can be replaced with a skin (though there aren’t that many of them around at the moment). The functionality is pretty basic, but it’s got everything you need to enjoy music and the way it displays the album art in the background is simply awesome.
PowerAMP. PowerAMP is one of the top music players on the Android Market, and it certainly deserves to be there: it has a nice UI and the features list include a graphic equalizer (with 3D effects), support for most of the audio formats out there, crossfade and gapless playback, audio gain, GPU accelerated album art animations, lyrics search and display, support for themes, queuing and much more. With all of that, it’s still completely free, so do give it a try if you’re looking for a good music player.
Winamp. Winamp is my favorite music player, whether it’s on Windows or Android. It doesn’t have all the features of PowerAMP, but it’s got the basics covered (sorting files, playlists, album art, etc.), it’s light on the resources, has controls on the lock screen, can index a thousand songs in mere seconds and it lets you search a song by keyword, which is great if you have a lot of songs and don’t have time to scroll through them.
There are quite a few other media players on the market, plus some developers have announced that they’re planning to release some new ones, but for now, the above apps are the best choice when it comes to playing audio and video files – be sure to check them out when you get the chance.