It seems like hundreds of new smartphone apps pop up every day, but which ones should you bother trying? Here, TIME offers a look at five apps for iPhone, iPad and Android that stand out and are worth a shot.
For those without a Kindle or e-reader, Blloon allows users to read popular books on their mobile devices. It’s free, but the the app’s platform comes with a social component: after a certain point, users earn the ability to read more books by inviting friends to join the program or by sharing books. It works at once like the BitTorrent platforms of yesteryear and Spotify. Unlike many mobile readers, however, Blloon’s interface is both simple to navigate and easy to look at for hours on end.
Blloon is available free in the App Store.
Although Google announced Google Fit a while ago, it only recently became available for download. Much like Apple’s iOS 8 health kit, Google Fit is a clean, accurate way to measure activity. Not only does it calculate every step you take, but it also allows you to chart different levels of exercise on a graph so that you can see everything side-by-side. And like everything Google develops, Fit is so sleek and trimmed to the bare essentials that you might actually find yourself un-intimidated and completely willing to use it. In short, unlike most fitness apps, Google’s might actually be able to to help you get fit.
Google Fit is available free in the Google Play store.
The difference between Spotify and TIDAL is the same as the difference between Apple’s standard white ear buds and high-quality headphones: After hearing the difference, it’s impossible to overlook how deficient and how dull basic audio technology truly is. TIDAL is the first program that offers high fidelity streaming. Although TIDAL’s lossless music streaming costs $19.99 a month, the service blows away Spotify’s standard MP3s and offers a variety of other services, including reverse music search, offline use of the program and playlists by journalists.
This summer, when my friends and I took a trip to visit several Civil War battlegrounds, there were tintype stands all over the nearby towns. Last year, after Philip Seymour Hoffman passed, a tintype photo he posed for at Sundance floated around the Internet. For too long, tintype has played second fiddle to easily-applied sepia filters—but no longer. Now there’s an app for creating tintype prints that allows you to adjust everything from eye intensity to grain until you’ve reached the perfectly level of haunting antiquity so that your selfies can look like mugshots from 1864.
TinType is available for $0.99 in the App Store.
There is perhaps nothing as terrifying as receiving a low battery alert during a long night out. Knowing our phone has failed us, whether by dying when it’s completely inopportune or announcing a shortage of memory space when we are trying to record Jeter’s last at bat, makes us hate the very technology that, in theory, is meant to streamline our lives. Omnistat aims to help circumnavigate moments such as these by giving you complete information on your phone from your notification center, from IP address to memory usage.
It may seem like overkill, but to know exactly how many hours of browsing, talking, or music-listening we can do on our phones could help avoid the most dreaded moments of smartphone ownership.
Omnistat is available free in the App Store.