With all the free apps flying around the Google Play Store, it's hard to figure out which ones are great and which ones are terrible. Well, we at Android Authority understand this frustration and that's why we've begun doing a weekly segment called Best Free Apps of the Week. We'll do brief reviews on the best stuff we could find every week and bring it to you in both written word and video. This is our first week and we've found a few pretty decent apps for everyone. As usual, if you'd rather watch than read, we've posted the video at the bottom.
The first of our free apps this week is SnapKeys Si Keyboard. It's an interesting concept for a keyboard. Instead of the QWERTY style like most keyboards go with, SnapKeys uses just 4 tiles. Each tile has only 3 letters on them. To the left is the backspace key and to the right is the space key. It's really beneficial to watch the tutorial before you start typing as it's definitely a unique way to do things. When you type a letter in a word, you hit one of the 4 tiles if it happens to contain the letter you need. If none of the tiles do, you tap the space in the center. Then, based on your character input, the keyboard lists possible words.
Snapkeys really a unique take on the keyboard and you can type lightning fast once you get used to the mechanics. It takes up much less screen than traditional keyboards and it's predictions are right more often than not. It's menus and symbols keyboard are easily accessible by long pressing the backspace key and space key. If you press and hold them both together, you can actually move the keyboard wherever you want it on the screen.
If you want to take a break from the traditional texting and swiping that most keyboards use nowadays, then SnapKeys Si is definitely worth checking out. After all, it is free.
When it comes to free apps, there is nothing quite like those games that everyone has heard of. One of those is a wildly popular game called Temple Run. Well, as these things go, developers often borrow a lot of concepts from a popular game to make their own and that's how Pyramid Run 2 was born. If you're a fan of Temple Run or Temple Run 2, but you're tired of playing the same old levels, then Pyramid Run 2 may be worth looking into. As is the norm in this genre, you are moving forward constantly. You swipe left and right to turn, swipe down to duck, swipe up to jump, and tilt your phone to move side to side.
Along with just surviving, players can grab up coins, letters, and power ups to make the going easier. You can purchase various power ups and extra lives in the game's store. Other than some small changes, there isn't much different from Temple Run. That's both a strength and a weakness for this game. It has all the fun and addiction of Temple Run but it's also very lacking in the originality department.
Fans of the genre will definitely enjoy Pyramid Run 2, but fans who are burned out on the game play may be looking for something a little different.
Among the most popular free apps is live wallpapers. They can spruce up an otherwise boring home screen and some of them are truly unique and beautiful. However, recently a different kind of live wallpaper has been becoming more powerful. Those would be live wallpapers that have functionality. Device Info Ex Live Wallpaper is one of these. It not only looks very nice and minimal, but it also displays much of your device settings right there on your screen. So instead of placing widgets everywhere to keep an eye on your CPU load or your RAM usage, you can simply look at your background.
It monitors quite a few stats as well. CPU load, RAM usage, temperature, storage and SD usage, compass and tilt, and even your device info will be displayed on the home screen. Included is a clock and the date, so if you are using a clock and date widget, you can actually remove that and just use the wallpaper. We wish it included weather, but frankly with all the other stuff on there, we can't imagine where weather info would even go.
Device info follows the protocol of most live wallpapers. You can get it with all the functionality for free, but for customized settings you'll have to pay for it. Even if you only use the free version, it's still pretty awesome.
The last of our free apps this week is a puzzle game called Save Ass Shooter. If you've ever been bored in a cubicle pretending that your office supplies were weapons, then this game will definitely appeal to you. The concept of the game is pretty simple. Your coworkers have decided hang themselves (no, really) and you have to shoot them down before they die. Your weapons are sharpened pencils that are fired out of a bow. So it's essentially an archery game with a dark twist at how depressing working in an office is.
As levels get harder, you have to find interesting and new ways to direct your pencils of justice around to save people. As you sit there, your coworkers slowly die, so there is a time limit. Also, you have limited ammo, so you have to figure out how to get everyone down without killing anyone. By the by, if you shoot someone in the head with a pencil, it stays there. That's kind of funny in a twisted way.
If you're into free apps, puzzle games and want to try something a little darker and a little more unique, then Save Ass Shooter is definitely worth checking out.
It was a tough call because pretty much all of these have their high points and low points. At the end it came down to SnapKeys Si Keyboard and Device Info Ex Live Wallpaper for our Free Apps Pick of the Week. We ended up choosing SnapKeys because of its unique take on a common task. The keyboard is definitely awkward for the first few days you use it, but once you get the motions down it's one of the better keyboards in the Google Play Store. Really, all these free apps are worth checking out but if you have to pick one to try out for a week, we'd recommend SnapKeys.
If you'd like to try any of these free apps out, you can find the links to them below. Also, if there is an awesome, recently released free app you'd like to see us cover in one of these lists, feel free to leave a comment and let us know!