Best android apps for entertainment
A reader recently asked what the best android apps were to save time and money with your smart phone. This is the third in a series of articles to answer that question. The first article explained how to install and use widgets to make the information you want to see the most instantly available on your screen. The second article looked at the most used apps and communications apps. But this article is all about having fun. Today we look at entertainment apps; for playing games and for watching videos.
Stopping in-app purchases
Having games on your smartphone is a lot of fun. Whenever you find your self in a waiting room or another situation where you have a few spare minutes you can pull out the smart phone and play games for a few minutes to pass the time. With some smart phone games you can even play with your friends remotely.
There are too many good android games to mention here, and most of them are free. There are so many free games that I have never seen a reason to pay for one. However you should that even free games can be expensive, especially if you let your kids play with your smart phone occasionally.
Free games can be expensive because of what is known as in-app purchases. Many games which were free to download try to make money by encouraging you to buy things inside the game that can give your characters cute costumes or extra bonuses. These bonuses can end up costing you much more than a game you would have paid for, and might be too much for small children who don’t understand how money works to resist.
Luckily, android provides a way to prevent these accidental purchases. First, go to the play store app and open it up. You will see a screen that looks similar to this:
Select the three dots in the upper right hand corner (the top circled item). This will pop up a menu where you can select the “settings”, which is the lower of the two circled items. The settings menu will look like this:
Next, simply make sure the password box is checked. A password will then be required to either purchase apps or to purchase things inside of apps.
My favorite games
1. Dice– This isn’t a game itself. This is just an app that works like real dice for when I am playing board games with my kids and the original dice have been lost.
2. Where’s my water– Made by Disney, this is a cute little physics based game.
3. Angry birds– Surely the most popular smart phone game of all time, this is the physics based game that introduced most people to physics based game.
4. Words with friends– In this close of scrabble instead of playing against a computer opponent, you play against real people. You play a word, and the next time your friend checks their phone they will see your move be able to play the next word. Games can last weeks depending on how many times a day you have time to play a word. If you don’t have any friends, you can play against random opponents.
TV watching apps
You can watch TV on the tiny little screen of your phone if you like, but there is a better option. With the Google Chromecast, you can make the videos on your phone show up on your TV. This is a must for anybody who wants to not pay for cable television. You can see more information in this article.
5. Hulu Plus– The app is free, but the subscription to use the app costs $8/ month. Hulu is the best service for watching current TV shows. Hulu works with the chromecast.
6. Netflix– Like Hulu, the app is free but the subscription costs $8/ month. Netflix doesn’t have as many new shows as Hulu, but has a large selection of older shows and movies. Netflix works with the chromecast.
7. Chromecast– This is the app you will need to make your chromecast work.
8. Watch ESPN– Watch ESPN doesn’t work with the chromecast yet, but I’m hoping it will in the future. Until then, I am stuck watching basketball games on my 7 inch tablet screen.
9. Youtube- The Youtube viewer comes standard on your android phone and is used to watch Youtube videos. It works with the chromecast.
These are the apps I use to read things on my smart phone.
10. Reddit is fun– Reddit is a website that calls itself the front page of the internet. If you see something funny on facebook, it is virtually guaranteed it was on Reddit 2 days ago.
12. Feedly– I use this app to follow all of the websites I like to read to find articles I post on my weekly how to save money articles lists.
13. Gallery- This comes standard with android phones and is where pictures you take on your phone are kept.
14. Drive– Google Drive is a free alternative to Microsoft Office and does almost everything Office, Excel, and Powerpoint do and can be used on both your computer and android devices. Although I find Google Drive difficult to use on the phone, it is handy to be able to read documents you have created on your computer. Even if you don’t create documents in Google Drive, it is still a great online storage service.
15. Photos- Another online storage service that comes standard on android devices. This can be set up to automatically back up all the pictures you take on the cloud so they aren’t lost if your phone is broken or lost.
Photo by MIKI Yoshihito. Links to Amazon and ebooks are affiliate links.