Between Google Play and the App Store, there are over two million apps to choose from. Without a copious amount of time to wade through all of these apps, it can be hard to find the quality ones in the pool. Without having some quality apps, your smartphone is essentially just a device to make calls, send texts, and browse the internet—all functions that can be accomplished with a significantly cheaper device.
Smartphones have become an integral part of our day here at Armor, and most of us spend plenty (read: too much) of time on our phones. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of our favorite mobile apps of 2017, taking some of the guesswork out of the equation for you.
Our App Standouts for 2017
1. Marin’s Favorite: Pocket Mortys
Marin’s favorite app of 2017 is Pocket Mortys. Pocket Mortys does an excellent job mixing modern day cartoons with the nostalgia of the Pokemon video game series (Marin loves both). The objective of Pocket Mortys is nearly identical to the Pokemon games, except you collect different kinds of Mortys (Marin’s favorite being Crazy Cat Morty). You battle multiple low-level bosses with a deck of five Mortys of your choice to gain medals, and then, once you’ve earned enough medals, you take your best five to beat the council of bosses, which is how you level up. The game is filled with dark humor that reflects that of the show and overall keeps you coming back to see what new Mortys you can find (and catch). Pocket Mortys is available on Android and iOS.
2. Ryan’s Favorite: Fire Emblem Heroes
Ryan’s favorite app of 2017 is Fire Emblem Heroes—a mobile rendition of the classic Fire Emblem algorithm that’s sure to impress. Fire Emblem lends itself to being a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game in a style loosely similar to chess (combined with rock-paper-scissors). If you’ve ever been a part of the franchise, Fire Emblem Heroes will make you feel right at home—with very similar grid-based movement systems and a roster of several familiar faces (and some you’ve probably never seen before). Not only are the faces familiar, but you’ll see several new spins on classic characters, including new weapon types for classic characters, and an improved skill system, allowing for endless customization of teams and characters. Definitely, a time-killer that Ryan would recommend, especially for RTS and Role Playing Game (RPG) fans. Fire Emblem Heroes is a freemium game, but it tends to hand out an abundance of the premium currency, so if you’ve got time to commit to the game you won’t feel an overwhelming desire to spend any real money. Fire Emblem Heroes is available on Android and iOS.
Ashley’s favorite app of 2017 is Unicorn. This color-by-number app is awesome for when you are looking to pass the time. Unicorn allows you to choose pictures with anywhere between 8 and 65 colors, depending on how difficult of a picture you want to color. One of the coolest features of this app is its option to upload your own photo and then choose the difficulty you want for it. When the entire picture is fully colored, the app plays a short GIF, showing you how you filled in the picture. You are then able to share the coloring GIF on any social media platform. This is a great app, that does not require the use of any internet or service connection, and is great to use when traveling by plane or boat! Unicorn is available on iOS.
4. Miles’s Favorite: Lineage II: Revolution
Miles’s favorite app of 2017 is Lineage II: Revolution. Lineage II is a mobile MMORPG where you do quests and take down enemies in either the overworld or in dungeons, gaining experience to level up and get loot. What he likes about it is that the graphics for a mobile game are very good and the auto system the game has. The auto system lets you click on a quest, and your character just goes and does it, then goes to the next quest, making playing the game effortless. You can tap the screen to do the quest, and then go do the dishes, come back, hit another button, and then go do something else. The game also has a crafting system that you can use to combine different items to make new and better items. Overall, it is a good mobile game that can give you an RPG fix for a person who doesn’t have a lot of time to just sit and play games all day.
5. Stephen’s Favorite: VLC Media Player
Stephen’s favorite app of 2017 is VLC media player. He’s been using it since the app was in Beta, mostly to watch network streams and view videos that other players won’t. It still has a long way to go (for example, the default video mode for portrait is to stretch the video to fill the screen, and it does not always read files from media servers without issue), but it’s ad-free and has more functionality built into it than any other free media player. If you’re willing to dig into the settings and make it your own, this is definitely the best media player, but if you’re looking for something that just works all the time, you might be better served with a paid option, like MX Player Pro.
Kevin’s favorite app of 2017 is Files Go. Managing storage on your phone and/or tablet is one of the more annoying tasks to deal with. It takes ages deciding which apps to delete, seeing how much room it will save, and hunting down files that just aren’t needed. He’s used other file-managing apps, but they usually aren’t intuitive and/or have ads. Google finally fixed this problem for him by creating their own file manager. The home screen of the Files Go app shows details about the amount of storage on your phone or tablet, and it makes recommendations to help free up space. You will receive alerts for things like apps you haven’t used in the past 30 days, apps with a large cache of unnecessary files, or duplicate files stored on your device. It also helps you find files faster by organizing all of your files by category, so you can easily what whatever you’re looking for, so you can delete it, share it offline with a friend, or back it up to the cloud storage service of your choice. This app is a must-have.
7. Nicholas’s Favorite: EveryCircuit
Nicholas’s favorite app of 2017 is EveryCircuit. If you’re into learning about electronics, how they work and actually understand why they work the way they do, then this is the perfect app for you. It works like a live diagram, meaning you can see the circuit and the flow of electricity in real time. It then walks you through step-by-step, showing you how every piece works and what the purpose of the circuit is. It also shows you the name of all the circuit components and what the symbols are that relate to it. Once you get confident enough, you can build a circuit and test it right from your phone. This is great for people that know a little about electronics and just want an app to play with when they can.
8. David’s Favorite: WiFi Analyzer
David’s favorite app of 2017 is the WiFi Analyzer tool by Kevin Yuan. As an I.T. Field Technician, it allows him to see all of the wireless routers on 2.4 and 5GHz bands and give the amplitude of their signals. It is a simple app with limited features. It really has helped me troubleshoot networks that are weak or other networks that are cross-talking on the same channel. This works very well to tell him which access point is the strongest for him to get a better signal from. And it gives him all of the information about the router he needs.