The best Android apps of 2022
Best Investment Apps
Mark’s experience in financial services includes unique exposure to robo-advisors, brokerage platforms, trading systems, and the fintech ecosystem. He has been a student of the industry and the rapidly changing financial landscape for over ten years. He has also served as an advocate for socially responsible investing, greater financial accessibility, and creating a more inclusive financial community. Mark obtained his BS at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. He holds his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, in addition to numerous FINRA licenses (inactive) including the series 6, 7, 63, and 24.
The number of stock trading and robo-advisor options has continued to expand in recent years. While growing competition and innovation is great news for investors, it can be challenging to decide which platform best suits your goals. To help evaluate the best options in the industry, we’ve extensively researched these U.S.-based offerings to determine the top platforms for several categories.
The growth of investment apps has coincided with the evolution of user preferences, with a growing number of people opting to mainly manage their money through tablets or smartphones. Stock trading and robo-advisor platforms have embraced this transition by focusing on improving their mobile app experiences. Brokers’ desktop trading platforms have historically had more features and capabilities than mobile, but the experiences and functionality have increasingly become virtually interchangeable. This improved consistency between mobile and desktop provides investors with a more synchronized experience in terms of alerts, watchlists, and updates, while also improving the ease with which you manage your money and monitor your investment goals.
In a blog post on the company’s website, David Fortunato, Wealthfront’s Chief Executive Officer, alleviated an concerns on the part of current and prospective customers by stating, "You will see no change to your experience and can look forward to benefiting from UBS’s breadth of products, services, and intellectual capital. Rest assured that nothing will change with your account or the cost of our service. We will continue delivering great products and features to you, now at a much faster pace. And you’ll get access to even more research and insights that can empower you as an investor."
DoodleLens (opens in new tab) is perhaps a bit of a gimmick, but it’s a fun one. Simply doodle something, then point your phone’s camera at the doodle from within the app, and you can copy it and paste it on top of the world around you in augmented reality.
Pixtica (opens in new tab) is one of many tools hoping to replace your phone’s default camera app. Camera apps vary a lot, and their success largely depends on your phone make and model, but Pixtica is a decent option if you’re looking for something new.
It’s packed full of features, including numerous filters, a GIF recorder, panorama, hyperlapse, manual controls, and oddities such as a ‘Planet’ mode, which warps images into a sphere-like shape using Pixtica’s “advanced stereographic projection algorithm”.
There are all sorts of other modes too, whether you’re taking photos or shooting video, and the app is laid out intuitively. However, while many of the functions are free, you have to pay to unlock higher resolutions and to remove watermarks when using filters.
The payment gets you other things too, but those are the main things that make the purchase close to essential if you plan to use Pixtica. And that would be fine, except the app opts for a subscription fee (of 800.25/£1.25 for one month with discounts for six months or a year) rather than being available as a one-off purchase. We’re not fans of paying a subscription for a camera app, but if any such app is worth it, it’s Pixtica.
You can also apply stickers, a timestamp, a location, a mosaic effect, or ‘graffiti’ (which basically just lets you go wild on your images with a digital paintbrush). Whether you want to protect your photo or just log when and where it was taken, there should be a tool here to suit.
In both cases it can be hard to make the effect look convincing, but it’s doable, as evidenced by all the impressive public submissions shared on the app. StoryZ also holds contests with specific themes, such as ‘stairs’ or ‘sand’, which you can enter by submitting a relevant creation. The best ones will be featured on the home page and competition page of the app.
You can use StoryZ for free, but if you find that you have more of a talent for it than we do then there’s also StoryZ Premium, which for a monthly subscription removes adverts and watermarks, increases the allowable length of videos in Motion mode, improves the toolset in Ripple mode and lets you save and share in high resolution.
When the Pixel 4 debuted in 2019, one of the best things to come with it was Google’s Recorder app. Recorder not only filled one of the big missing gaps on Pixel phones — which previously didn’t feature a built-in voice recorder — but did it in style. Recorder could transcribe your recordings in real-time, even as you were speaking. And all that transcription work was done locally, without sharing your recordings to the cloud.
Recorder was so good, Google hasn’t restricted it to just the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. The app is available to all Pixel phones, and updates have added editing features introduced with the Pixel 5. Even if you carry around a different Android phone in your pocket, there’s a workaround to install Recorder on your Android device. You’ll need to be running either Android 9 or Android 10, and some features may not be supported on all phones, but it’s still a great way to experience one of the best free Android apps we’ve ever seen.
Documents, web, and email
It’s one of the most downloaded apps on the Play Store, and that’s for a very good reason. OfficeSuite is a full-featured alternative for Microsoft Office, and includes tools to view, edit, and create Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents, as well as including support for various PDF operations. It’s an all-in-one solution for your document woes, and it’s free to get most of the features. OfficeSuite Premium gets you the ability to work on password-protected files, 50GB of cloud storage, the ability to export PDFs to other formats, and more.
Dropbox is another cloud-saving service, and while you think you have that covered with Google Drive, Dropbox is still useful to download and use, because it often works with many third-party apps Drive doesn’t. It only gives you 2GB for free, but if you use it primarily for smaller files you should be okay with that amount.
Grammarly has grown above and beyond its key use case of email writing assistance and has grown into an integrated extension and app offering grammar and spelling suggestions or corrections for not only emails, but across all apps on your smartphone. Whether you’re composing a LinkedIn message, a text, or a Yelp review, Grammarly will help you maintain composure by perfecting your composition.
Khan Academy is a multifaceted platform offering thousands of hours of educational material across every topic imaginable. If you’re working from home or find yourself with a lot of time on your hands, then Khan Academy should become your new go-to. Simply redistribute your TikTok hours to Khan Academy and you’ll be a rocket scientist in no time.
LastPass remains the pre-eminent password manager across your devices. If you’re struggling to remember dozens of passwords, or wondering how you might pass on all those passwords to someone else, LastPass is the answer. LastPass will securely store all your usernames and passwords as well as automatically sync with any devices on which LastPass is installed — as long as you have Premium access, that is. Premium access for use across all your devices is just $3 per month, and allows you to sync passwords across all devices, not just between the mobile or desktop apps (a new limitation on the free tier).
Slack remains one of the biggest communication tools for businesses everywhere. Organize your teams and employees into channels to help with team productivity. Slack’s intuitive layout and ability to integrate workflows with other popular productivity apps such as Google Drive, Salesforce, and Dropbox make it a powerful tool to help get work done.
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