Best Paid Android Apps
Whether you're the proud owner of a new Android phone or you're just looking to add new functions to your existing device, the quickest way to make it even better is to head to Google Play and start downloading apps.
Google's online marketplace is filled with many great apps that can help you do much more with Android than what you might get from a phone or tablet just out of the box. There are plenty of useful free apps — we've collected some of our favorite free downloads, in fact — but if you're willing to part with a little bit of cash, you can find even more outstanding apps for your phone. Here are the ones we recommend you add to your Android device right away.
Solid Explorer ($1.99 with free 14-day trial)
Android has long allowed users to manage their phone's files and folders themselves, and a good file manager app can go a long way toward hassle-free file organization. Solid Explorer is a feature-packed premium file manager that sticks to a clean, Material design style while offering easy drag-and-drop operations and a two-pane interface in landscape mode that makes copying and deleting files a breeze. Solid Explorer offers built-in support for a range of archived files including ZIP and RAR, indexed search, and a root explorer, as well allowing you to access your cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Plugin support lets you bolt on additional features such as USB OTG support.
Infinite Painter (7-day trial, $7.99 unlock)
Infinite Painter might not have the name recognition that Adobe or Autodesk enjoy, but this app has garnered a well-deserved cult following among Android artists. Infinite Painter features 80-plus natural brushes as well as the ability to create custom ones. The app also offers infinite layer support, paper textures, a variety of transformation tools and perspective aids, color blending, and pattern and gradient tools. Works can be exported into PSD, PNG or JPG. The app is free with a 7-day trial; after that, premium features are available as in-app purchases.
Zooper Widget Pro ($2.99)
Widgets have long been a popular Android feature. Zooper Widget Pro allows users to build their own custom Android widgets, combining a wealth of possible options, such as date, time, weather forecast (with a choice of data sources), countdowns and system information. While the free version of Zooper already provides a lot of nice functions, the Pro version is worth shelling out for more widget options and templates that can be saved to your phone's SD card, an ad-free mode, and support for themes and Buzz Launcher.
Poweramp ($3.99, with 15-day free trial)
Most Android phones and tablets come with a built-in music player, but power users looking for a more capable and configurable app may want to check out Poweramp, an old favorite among Android users. Poweramp is a feature-filled Android player available free for a 15-day trial, with a $3.99 upgrade to the full version. The app includes support for a wide variety of audio formats, a 10-band graphic equalizer, support for lyrics, .cue files and numerous playlist formats. A tag editor, fast library searching, home and lock screen widgets and numerous visual and setting customizations make Poweramp a heck of a choice if you're willing to shell out for a nice Android music player app.
TuneIn Radio Pro ($9.99)
If you're a fan of live radio then you're probably familiar with TuneIn Radio, the streaming service that brings thousands of radio stations worldwide to your phone or computer. Whether you're looking for sports, news, music, or talk radio, there's going to be something for you on the more than 100,000 stations you'll find through TuneIn. Users can find and listen to their favorite stations, discover similar content, or stream and play on-demand content such as shows and podcasts. The pro version in particular is well worth the upgrade, removing distracting advertising from the app (though not necessarily from each station's own local stream), as well as letting you record content for listening later when offline. A further premium subscription adds live games from the NFL, MLB, and BPL, as well as a series of commercial-free stations.
djay 2 ($2.99)
Djay 2 is a complete toolkit for the DJ on the go, offering classic tools like jog wheels, samplers, and waveform tools, along with integration with your phone's media library and your Spotify Premium account. Add it all up, and Djay 2 gives users a professional DJ'ing platform in the palm of their hand. In addition to the fantastic audio tools, the app also features native support for a variety of DJ controllers such as the Reloop Mixon 4 & Reloop Beatpad, as well as multi-channel USB audio interfaces.
SKRWT is a fantastic image editing app that's all about editing a photograph's perspective and correcting distortions caused by the camera lens. The app allows you to straighten lines, apply keystone corrections, and more — all in a fairly simple interface that doesn't overwhelm like a more generalized photo editor. In-app purchases provide even more tools, such as a 4-point perspective tool and mirror effects.
Monument Valley 2 ($4.99)
The original Monument Valley charmed mobile gamers with its Escher-like optical illusions and whimsical, minimalist storytelling, and its sequel is just as amazing. Monument Valley 2 features the same mentally stimulating puzzles, this time with a touch of color and light as you navigate through a kingdom that resembles an M.C. Esher print. Monument Valley 2 adds welcome new features like the ability to control a second character — the heroine Ro is joined by her child on this journey — while maintaining the minimalist look and immersive music that made the first game such a joy to play.
Sleep As Android (14-day free trial, $5.99)
Sleep As Android is an excellent sleep cycle tracker and alarm that uses your Android device's on-board sensors to track your sleep and help you wake up at just the right time. The app uses sleep science techniques to rate your sleep and decide the best time to sound the alarm in your optimal wake up window. In addition to the usual smart alarm and sleep-logging features, Sleep As Android offers such extras as a library of natural sound wake-up noises and CAPTCHA style wake-up tests that stop you from clumsily fumbling for the alarm button to ensure that you're truly awake. The app plays well with a variety of health app services like Google Fit and S Health, as well as Bluetooth-connected wearables and Android Wear devices.
One of the more useful apps on Android, Tasker is perfect for anyone who wants to quickly get things done. The $2.99 app lets you set automated tasks to perform whenever you choose using a variety of triggers such as location, date, time of day, and more. You can set the app to automatically send SMS messages, open up your browser and go to a web page, or pull off any of more than 200 different action types and associated triggers and contexts.
Automate (free, $2.99 unlock)
For something a bit more user-friendly in its approach to task automation, consider Automate. This app turns to a visual, flowchart-based interface to help users make sense of their custom-designed scripts. The app boasts more than 320 different task building blocks that can include actions, event triggers, loops and more; you can arrange those blocks in a flowchart style to easily visualize your creations. While he app is free, a $2.99 in-app purchase unlocks a Premium mode to allow you to create scripts of more than 30 blocks in size.
SD Maid (Free with $1.99 unlock)
SD Maid is one of our favorite, no-guff system storage cleaning apps, thanks to its lack of bloatware. The app is designed to primarily free up space by looking through your storage space and deleting "widowed" files left over by uninstalled apps, unnecessary system files, and more. It offers great functionality even in the free tier, with an unlocker app providing extra features such as scheduled system cleaning, widgets and launchers, and the ability to clean out duplicated files. While it's not quite as useful if you've got an enormous amount of free space, it's a great helper app for trimming out unnecessary files on devices with smaller internal storage.
Business Calendar 2 (Free with $5 unlock)
Business Calendar has long been a stalwart among Android calendar apps, and it gets a welcome refresh in Business Calendar 2. The update gives the venerable app a modern visual makeover while retaining the original blend of usability and features. Users can easily switch between a variety of calendar views, from precise daily and weekly calendars, agenda modes for quick summaries, and overarching month calendars, with events easily marked in colored swatches for easy reference. The app also includes easy task- and event-creation, and highly configurable widgets give you an easy at-a-glance reference. A Pro upgrade provides extra features such as advanced task management and event templates.
Pocket Casts ($3.99)
Pocket Casts is an improved podcasting app that helps you find all the programming you desire. Within the app, you can play your shows, save them for later and manage your subscriptions. The app even integrates with Android Wear, should you also add an Android smartwatch to your cache of gadgets.
Word Swag ($3.99)
If you’re looking to make some new designs with cool fonts, check out Word Swag. The $3.99 app gives you a variety of fonts to choose from, which you then place upon images or other content you’ve created to send off to friends a unique message.
Weather Timeline ($1.49)
For something more minimalistic, try out Sam Ruston's Weather Timeline, a no-nonsense, ad-free weather app for your Android device. You'll get a sleek, location-based display of forecast information and extreme weather alerts from your choice of a variety of data sources. Users can save a variety of locations and view detailed daily forecasts, with temperature highs and lows, precipitation forecasts and the option to drill down to detailed hourly forecasts. On a smartphone, the app has a clean timeline presentation of the weather, while landscape mode on tablet puts a variety of infographics side by side with the timeline.
Nova Launcher Prime ($0.99)
Nova Launcher Prime is one of the earliest — and most popular — app launchers in the Google Play marketplace. The $4.99 app lets you use gestures to open apps on the home screen and gives you the ability to create different apps and folders, and hide apps you don't care about. You can also create special scroll effects with your gestures. It's a handy tool for anyone who wants to be more productive.
Facetune is an editing app that helps you fix up images of people and faces to remove blemishes. The app also includes the ability to modify skin tone, improve a smile, change how eyes look, and much more. Think of the $5.99 Facetune as a handy app for making a person's face look like it's been run through Photoshop and is ready for a magazine cover.
Redshift Astronomy ($11.99)
Redshift - Astronomy turns your phone into a mobile planetarium. You can use the app as a portable star chart, pointing your phone to the sky to illustrate constellations and celestial objects (complete with a red light mode to preserve your night vision). In addition, Red Shift can take you on a 3D flight around the solar system, exploring planets and moons, including some of the latest data on Pluto and Charon from the New Horizons mission. The app contains a rich database of more than 100,000 stars and 70,000 deep sky objects, as well as dwarf planets, comets and asteroids, and many of the satellites orbiting Earth today.
Couch to 5K ($1.99)
Couch to 5K is designed to help you get up and run that 5K you've always dreamed about. The app gives you suggestions and guidance on how to get off the couch and promises to get you running a 5K in just nine weeks. In order to do that, Couch to 5K guides you through a progressively tougher workout over nine weeks. Those workouts occur three times a week and last 30 minutes each. By the end, the app promises you'll be running a 5K. Not bad for $1.99.
Titanium Backup (Free, with $5.99 unlock)
There are a lot of backup apps that will help preserve your media files, and documents, but if you've got a rooted Android device, then you can also back up your apps, application data, and phone settings with the help of a good app backup tool like the excellent Titanium Backup. Titanium's interface is a bit archaic, but the app comes with a ton of tools for backing up your phone and its apps, with options for complete or selective backups to your phone's storage or SD card. The real magic comes with the $5.99 premium unlock, which activates great features such as scheduled app backups, backup encryption and syncing backups with cloud storage.
Billing itself as a modern mobile incarnation of Star Trek's future tech computers, WolframAlpha's computational knowledge engine is a fiendishly clever tool for finding out or calculating just about anything you'd want or need involving math, the hard sciences and a variety of important statistics.
Tiny Scanner Pro ($4.99)
Tiny Scanner Pro converts your Android phone or tablet into a full-fledged scanner. With the handset, you can snap a photo of a paper and convert that image into a PDF that you can save on your device, share with others, and more. The $4.99 app works with both text and photos.
Call Recorder License — ACR ($0.99)
Call Recorder License — ACR is the app you want if you'd like to record your phone calls. The app will let you record by contact, start recording in the middle of a conversation and even store your files through Dropbox. Although a free version is available with ads, if you pay 99 cents for the License, you can sidestep those pesky ads and get on with the recording.
Ultimate Guitar Tabs & Chords ($2.99)
If you’re a music lover or just always wanted to learn how to play guitar and didn’t, Ultimate Guitar Tabs & Chords is the app for you. For just $2.99, you’ll get access to over 1.2 million chords, tabs, and more to help you learn how to play guitar, ukulele, and bass. Plus, you get lyrics to all your favorite songs and a guide on how to play them.
Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.