Your Android device is a supercomputer that sits in your pocket - but too often Android is dismissed when it comes to apps. People say great things aren’t happening on the platform — but these people are wrong.
This feature, then, is about setting the record straight: unearthing fantastic apps for the platform and showcasing how you can do more with your Android device. And, yes, some of them cost a few quid, but it’s worth delving into your wallet to experience the best mobile has to offer.
Camera FV-5: best premium Android camera
The stock camera app’s fine for snaps, but for more control over your photos, Camera FV-5’s where it’s at. Although not quite a DLSR crammed into your smartphone, the app does provide adjustments for shutter speed, exposure, ISO, focus, and more.
You also get handy features for taking different kinds of photos: an ‘intervalometer’ boosts your chances of capturing a decent time-lapse, and long-exposure support gives you a fighting chance of getting snazzy night shots.
Still not sure? Play with Camera FV-5’s features in the resolution-limited free version.
Snapseed: best Android photo editor
We’ve long had a soft spot for Snapseed. Its intuitive interface was always one of the most tactile on Android; moreover, the huge range of filters and effects made it perfect for all manner of photographic manipulation and fine-tuning. But major revamps have further entrenched Snapseed in must-have territory.
The star of the show? Stacks, which converts each filter you apply into an editable layer. This means each effect can later be tweaked, rather than being burned into your image when applied. The result: far more scope for experimentation.
Stacks can be saved and applied to other photos as custom ‘looks’ – Snapseed’s take on filters, which are far more powerful than you get in rival software. Surprisingly, it’s free – and no paid app on Android comes close.
Prisma: best Android photo effects app
The idea behind Prisma is to turn photos into works of art, with almost zero effort. You load a pic, and then select a painting or illustration. Styles vary from Munch to manga-style fare, and the results are surprisingly authentic (although occasionally terrifying – probably don’t try your own version of The Scream unless you want to look like a demon).
The only snag is you must be online for Prisma to work its magic. However, any art it makes can be saved to your device or shared with the world. Just don’t get too excited about your artistic prowess and lop off an ear.
TouchRetouch: best Android retouching tool
You know how it is: you snap a perfect shot, only to get home and discover it’s ruined because in the distance a dog was peeing up a tree, several power lines were crisscrossing the sky, and your friend was sneakily performing cartwheels for good measure.
TouchRetouch enables you to banish such blemishes and lines with a tap (the latter getting its own dedicated tool), and use masking or cloning for larger problem areas. It’s dead easy to use, and pretty effective – although probably not quite as easy as better looking out for masterpiece-ruining nuisances in the first place.
Pic Collage: best Android collages app
If you want to do a bit more with your digital snaps than weld yet more of them to a creaking Facebook account, Pic Collage is a good bet. You load a bunch of photos into pre-defined grids, which you can subsequently customise with text, stickers, and scribbles.
For special occasions, there are greetings card templates, which you can send with the implicit suggestion you’re too cheap to buy a real card. Want to be rid of all limitations? Go freestyle, and plonk your pics wherever you like on a blank canvas.
The app’s free to download, although be mindful there are ads and watermarks unless you grab the expensive monthly IAP.