Ability to listen to music is one of the most basic functionalities of a modern smartphone. As far as Android platform is concerned, there is a huge number of apps designed to play your favourite tunes. While some of them look great, but are extremely simple, others are feature-packed audio powerhouses lacking visual polish. Nonetheless, given their variety and availability, everyone should easily find a music player that will suit their needs. We've highlighted a few that - in our opinion - are the most interesting and offer the perfect balance of usability and design.
Note: Apps are in no particular order
Google Play Music is the default music player on all new Android smartphones and tablets. It has replaced the old-and-ugly Music app and everyone is thankful for that. The app's most important feature, apart from ability to play music stored locally, is integration with Google's own music shop and streaming service. With Google Play Music, you can browse millions of songs and save them in the device's memory as well as create custom radio stations and enjoy it without skip limits. While the app itself is free, but for the Google All Access streaming service you'll have to pay £9.99 per month.
As far as the design and features go, Google Play Music is a simple, yet beautiful app. It blends smoothly with other Google apps and has an intuitive interface in orange-white colour scheme. The player is equipped with handy lockscreen music controls and allows you to create playlists with your favourite songs in addition to browsing music by artist and album.
This player stands out from the crowd due to its incredibly polished user interface and smoothness. It is elegant and easy to use. Features offered by the free version are rather limited, but doubleTwist Player Pro (available as an in-app purchase) offers a great value for the money. In addition to basic functionality you'd expect from a music player, it is equipped with equilizer, high-quality album art downloader, podcast management and wireless music sync with iTunes. Moreover, the app can stream your tunes to numerous compatible devices, such as the Xbox, PlayStation, Sonos audio system oraz Apple TV.
musiXmatch is one of the few music players that can display lyrics. Actually, it was designed with this purpose with mind and other features are just neat additions. The app integrates with your default or third-party player and downloads lyrics for songs in the library. It has, however, interface of its own and allows you to browse songs by artist and album as well as create playlists. Furthermore, musiXmatch supports scrobbling to Last.fm and with a Shazam-like built-in functionality, it can quickly identify that song you've once stumbled upon, but can't recall the title.
This is one of the most powerful music players available in the Google Play Store. It is packed with so many features, that it is easy to lose track of them. Poweramp plays all popular media files and offers support for playlists in a variety of formats. There is also a graphical equalizer with custom presets, separate sliders for Bass and Treble adjustment, dynamic queue, tag editor and built-in Last.fm scrobbler. As far as playback goes, user can apply crossfade effect and set up replay gain. The player can display lyrics thanks to aforementioned integration with musicXmatch.
By default, Poweramp doesn't look particularly appealing. However, it can be heavily customized with first- and third-party themes that can be applied not only to colour schemes, but also buttons and backgrounds. For instance, with just a few taps you can give it a modern, Holo-ish look or make it mimic the iOS 7 music player. Depending on developer, themes can be both free and paid. Now playing screen background that adopts the colour dominating in the cover art is a nice little touch, too.
Poweramp offers a free 15-day trial. After that period, you'll have to pay to continue using it. The full version of the app is quite pricey, but after half a month with it, you probably won't mind it.
PlayerPro is Poweramp's greatest competitor. Just like it, PlayerPro is equipped with tons of customization options. It allows the user to apply custom themes, change library display layout, download missing album art (either automatically or manually) and lyrics, play both music and video files and filter songs by title, album, artist, album artist, track, year, genre and comment. Furthermore, PlayerPro has support for the most basic playback effects and offers graphic equalizer with customizable presets. Music can be controlled by gestures or with headset buttons, which is a very handy feature. PlayerPro can scrobble to Last.fm and share the currently played song on Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Picassa and other social networks.
There are two lockscreen and five different homescreen widgets to choose from. If that's not enough, you can skip and play/pause playback directly from the notification bar.
You can download and use PlayerPro for free for 10 days. After that, the app will ask you to pay for the full version.
Wiizm is a newcomer to the game of music players. With its quite unique approach to design, it brings the much needed freshness. What jumps out when we look at Wiizm, is the clean and clear layout with fancy blurred background. Various music categories and favourites can be accessed through a sliding menu and support for OpenGL guarantees fluid experience. The app is equipped with various sound effects, graphic equalizer and shuffle/repeat function. Playback can be controlled with either one of three available widgets or directly from the notofication bar and lockscreen. Support for headset button and sleep/wake up timer aren't missing, too.
Wiizm music player is currently at the beta stage. 15-day trial version enchanced with new features and functionality is expected to be available soon. Until then, you can enjoy it for free, but reckon with possible bugs here and there.