The best Android apps for audio, radio and music playing – group test review

TuneWiki, Shazam, Spotify, RD3 Groovebox, Winamp and A Online Radio rated
Photo of The best Android apps for audio, radio and music playing – group test

We all like a bit of music now and again, and with a built in music player and headset connector any Android phone can deliver the goods. Many Android handsets also have built in FM radios, so you can listen to live broadcasts too. But if you only rely on what’s built in to your Android smartphone when it comes out of its box, you may be missing out on a variety of other audio options that can tantilise and satisfy your ears.

APP OF THE MONTH:TuneWiki
PRICE: £FREE
RATING: 5/5
If you’re looking for a more versatile replacement for the standard music player in your Android handset then TuneWiki might be perfect. As a music player it offers some cool controls such as screen sweeping to move between tracks. 

But the fun in TuneWiki comes from its offboard services. It automatically finds lyrics for your music and displays these on screen. There’s a facility for you to comment on lyrics so you can engage in discussions with other people. There’s built in SHOUTcast online radio and a YouTube link. And then there’s SongBox – a way of discovering new music through the recommendations of other people. Oh, and TuneWiki is free.

Android apps music - Shazam

Shazam
PRICE: £FREE
RATING: 4/5
Shazam is one of those little apps you’ll probably install and forget about most of the time. Then, when someone says “Oooh, I love that tune, what is it?” you can pull out your smartphone and provide the answer. Shazam needs a recorded snippet of a tune to work with, and it will then pop off to do some online research, delivering the details when it has found them.

There are twists and turns, with the ability to share tags on Facebook and Twitter, link out to Spotify and, inevitably, buy stuff – tracks via Amazon’s MP3 store, gig tickets. But it is the basic music identification that will lure you in. We don’t venture further and we love Shazam. There’s a charged for ad free version for £2.99, or you can opt for the free, add supported one instead.

Android apps music - Spotify

Spotify
PRICE: from £FREE to £9.99 a month
RATING: 4/5
When it launched, Spotify changed the way many people listened to music. Huge numbers of tracks, for free, at your fingertips on a computer. Adverts were used to deliver the service for free, with subscriptions offered to remove the ads.

Spotify fans can use the service on their Android smartphone. If you are already a Premium subscriber (£9.99 a month), you can synchronise playlists and take advantage of offline listening as well as stream. Other users (Unlimited at £4.99 a month and free users) don’t get the offline mode, but there is still music streaming available. Just make sure you are in a free Wi-Fi zone if you want to avoid data charges.

Android apps music - Groovebox

RD3 Groovebox
PRICE: £FREE or £2.99
RATING: 3/5
If you find making music more fun than listening to it then RD3 Groovebox might be worth a look. You can use a range of drum and baseline effects across different tracks to make your own, unique sounds. Fiddle with synthesiser like controls to distort the sounds and alter the tempo to get things just as you like them.

There is a free demo version which is slightly less well featured than the £2.99 alternative, is ad-supported, and most importantly of all, doesn’t support saving.

Android apps music - Winamp

Winamp
PRICE: £FREE or $4.99
RATING: 3/5
Android smartphones come with a music player built in, but some people want more, and Winamp is a very well featured alternative player. It includes wireless music synchronisation over Wi-Fi to your computer so you can access your complete music library and also has support for SHOUTcast online radio. A couple of Widgets come as part of the package, with and without album art, so you can control playback from a home screen. 

Once in the app, you can pay $4.99 to upgrade to the Pro version which adds in a number of extra features including a 10-band graphic equaliser, crossfading and gapless playback.

Android apps music - A Online Radio

A Online Radio
PRICE: £FREE
RATING: 4/5
There are several online radio apps for Android to choose from and we’ve mentioned a couple of apps with SHOUTcast built in. A Online Radio is a free standalone online radio app.

You can save favourite stations and A Online Radio remembers recently accessed stations. There’s a nice little sleep timer too so you don’t need to worry about battery drain while you are snoozing. There’s nothing overly sophisticated about A Online Radio, and its basic look might put some people off. but it is straightforward to get to grips with and delivers oodles of stations.


Verdict

All apps available from Google's Android Market.