Admittedly, 2016 was a year full of Android-related surprises and news. From the exploding Note 7 to the release of Android Nougat, 2016 gave us many things to be interested in.
However, one of the things that never stops to excite in the OS, is the ever increasing number of applications on PlayStore. I know that for many people it’s very difficult to even keep track of the best apps that were released this year. For that reason, we are going to provide you with a list of what we think to be the best apps of 2016. We are going to present the apps by category (e.g. Launchers, Games) so feel free to skip to the parts of the article that interest you the most. Finally, note that if a certain category or app has been reviewed before we will give a link to a more extensive review in the respective category.
We are going to present the apps by category (e.g. Launchers, Games) so feel free to skip to the parts of the article that interest you the most. Finally, note that if a certain category or app has been reviewed before we will give a link to a more extensive review in the respective category. This is going to be your only stop in order to find the Best Android Apps of 2016.
Disclaimer: Many of these applications weren’t released in 2016. However, they still were among the best in their respective categories.
Along the release of Android Nougat, we saw plenty of new launchers trying to offer the Nougat experience. Of course, some of the already established Launchers tried to follow suit, as well, by implementing relevant customization options. Was that enough to secure a place for them on this list?
Google Now Launcher
Of course, Google’s launcher is as close as it gets to the Nougat experience. For the purists and minimal enthusiasts, this is probably the best choice. You may notice that Pixel’s launcher is somewhat different. If you want to get a taste of what a Pixel offers, you can instead download the respective launcher here.
Although Microsoft’s launcher was released in late 2015 it didn’t pick up the pace until after Q1 of 2016. Offering virtually limitless customization options and some unique features, Arrow is a breath of fresh air in the PlayStore. From the number of downloads, it is obvious that many people prefer something different that just the Nougat experience.
Solo has been around for years and the saying “old but gold” totally fits it. Its DIY feature is unique and gives you permission to completely transform the launcher to your liking. In case you don’t use it then you will surely need different themes and icon packs to accomplish what DIY does. If that’s the case see the category below.
Nova Launcher (Honorable Mention)
Nova is on every End Year List I’ve ever read. It could easily enter this list, as well, due to its virtually limitless customization and theming options. However, its steep learning curve is what kept Nova off the 3 first places. If you are interested in creating your own unique theme the Nova is all you would need (and yes, Nova Prime is a wise investment). See the category below to get more ideas.
2. Themes/Icon Packs
In order to completely transform your phone, you will probably need one or more apps from this category. Before you continue, however, make sure that you have a customizable launcher such as Nova (from the list above).
Pixel Icon Pack
Ok, we get it. Some of you obsess about everything Google related. If you are on your way to make your phone Pixel-like then you will need this Icon Pack. Vanilla Android to the core.
Lines Icon Pack
Minimal and breathtaking. Lines Icon Pack requires (as I already mentioned) a custom launcher such as Nova but the result is absolutely worth it.
Zooper Widget (Widget Creating App)
Any theme is incomplete without a custom widget or two. As a result, you absolutely need Zooper Widget wich offers customizable widgets without requiring a custom launcher. For an extensive review and guide about how to create your own widget follow this link.
2016 was a great year for gaming. Don’t forget that PokemonGo was released this year, breaking every known download-related record. This was also the first year that I played that much with my smartphone. Below, I will show you the Games that I enjoyed the most in 2016. In case your opinion is different from mine, then its all good. Read the links below and see if you find a game that suites you there.
Don’t pretend like you didn’t take part in the hype. Even my grandma knew what PokemonGo was. Many people met new people and made new friends because of that game. The hype was real. Truth be told I don’t play anymore but I had so much fun with that game and hence it is the first one to make it on this list.
Released in January 2016, Clash Royal was, in my opinion, a welcome addition to the Clash franchise from Supercell. Command the popular characters from “Clash of Clans” and try to defeat other players from around the world in a 1vs1 battle. Many emotions and hours of enjoyment.
Blizzard’s popular card game has an official application. Hearthstone is a popular card game which includes many of Blizzard’s renown heroes and monsters from games such as WoW or Warcraft. This game is not only addictive because of its gameplay but also because of its competitive nature. Fight against other players and climb on top of the leaderboard.
4. Keyboard Apps
We recently reviewed these keyboards (plus some more) in the link below.
Let’s see if our opinion changed since then, and find out which three are the best keyboards of 2016.
Swifkey is still my go-to keyboard app and that will probably won’t change for a while. Plenty customization options and features.
Google Keyboard changed for the better and is now branded as “GBoard”. It occupies the second place in this list and you should really try it. Here is a more extensive review.
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I really liked this keyboard when we first reviewed it. (Link is given at the beginning of this section). Minimal, full of features and customization options. If you master its gestures, Flesky is probably the most “resourceful” keyboard.
5. Weather Apps
All of us care about the weather and some of us want extensive reports about it, as well. Let’s see below what are the best all around apps for this category. We have already reviewed some of these apps. Link below.
Probably the king of all weather applications. Feature-rich and minimal, AccuWeather offers thorough hourly/daily weather information and forecasts.
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Customizable application with a wide variety of widgets. It also offers accurate weather forecasts so what else would you want?
Honorable mention for this category is Yahoo Weather. Beautiful background photos that change depending on your location as well as compactly presented weather forecasts.
6. “Smart” Apps
I know, elaboration. This category is about apps that help you unlock your phones full potential. Apps that can either automize procedures or give your phone unique capabilities, thus, making it truly smart. (These apps may need some extra hardware).
We extensively reviewed this app here. IFTTT (If This Then That) is the original and to some still the best automation app for Android. Set a condition, that when met, will trigger an action for the device. Those actions can range from saving photos to updating social media status and/or putting your phone in silence mode.
Essentially another take on the same problem, MacroDroid offers a more intuitive UI than IFTTT. However, macros (same thing as recipes) are limited to five in the free version. As a result, the verdict is easier to use but more limited.
All 4 Hue
This application controls and, thus requires, Phillips Hue. Hue is basically a “customizable” light bulb kit and this application can function as a control center. As a result, if you have bought Phillips Hue then this will absolutely be useful for you.
7. Fitness Apps
We have already talked about the apps that can help you transition to a more healthy lifestyle.
Runtastic (For the Runners)
A perfect and accurate tracker, with voice-guided missions, that can easily keep you motivated.
Total Fitness (Very Good for Weight Lifting)
An intuitive and thorough guide that includes how-tos for most weightlifting exercises. Improve the way you execute the exercises and keep lifting. This will be your guide to the lifestyle you want.
MyFitnessPal (Keeps Track of Calorie Intake)
Food and calories are probably the most important factors of one’s fitness. MyFitnessPal helps you keep track of how much you eat and how much you gain from that meal.
8. Editing Apps
This category includes two photo editing applications and a video editing one. For extensive reviews on all three visit the links below.
Probably this year’s most unique photo editor. Turn your photos into pieces of art with a single Tap.
If you want something similar to photoshop on the tip of your fingers then Pixlr is for you. Blur or enhance the brightness in a specific are of your photo and make it uniquely yours.
This is our Video Editing application of choice. It creates beautiful collages of photos and videos with beautiful background music. It does so much with no effort from you.
9. Miscellaneous Apps
Here we have apps that belong in what I deemed as not important categories. These apps are from categories such as Maps or Productivity. Read below so as to find out more about them.
Google Allo (Most Promising Messaging App)
Google Allo was released (along with Google Duo) in 2016. It is an all-around good messaging app and also gave us our first look of Google Assistant. Is it better than WhatsApp? For many people, it seems like it is. However, if you really wish to know try it for yourself. We reviewed it here.
Any.do (Best Planning App)
If you are obsessing about progress and getting things done, then Any.do will absolutely be of use for you. Create lists and set reminders, thus improving your productivity. For an extensive review follow this link.
HereWeGo (Best Alternative Map App)
2016 was a huge year for Here Maps as it was revamped and renamed to HereWeGo. In my opinion, HereWeGo offers a great offline feature, thus making it a great alternative for Google Maps. It also includes many more features such as traffic reports as well as commute information. We reviewed it (among others) in this article.
That was it. Quite an interesting year in terms of applications. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did and if you didn’t keep your head up for the next one. Thanks for being with us, you make this worth it. Feel free to leave your comments below.