back to article Ten apps to install on your Nexus 7 first

Once you’ve prised your Nexus 7 out of the box, watched your free copy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (surely "binned it immediately" - Ed) and spent a few hours playing Dead Trigger the time is ripe to start thinking about the first third-party apps that will help you really get the most from your shiny new piece of Google …


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  1. Bart Tyszka

    Good selection but there's another- N7 player

    My preferred music player - browse by cover art.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      10 useful apps BUT

      Only if you have a wifi connection, because it doesn't have 3G.

  2. Carlos.

    No mention of XBMC? It is still in beta, but does a great job of playing just about any video or audio files you can throw at the N7

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      XBMC is not on the Android Market and doesn't even have an official APK yet. It's premature to mention it.

  3. Alan Sharkey

    What about...

    AI keyboard. Has a numeric bar and good prediction (and you can toggle arrow keys). I don't understand anyone who uses a keyboard without the numbers at the top.

    MX Player. Plays everything I can throw at it.

    Kingsoft Office. The best (to me) free Office app around.

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: What about...

      +1 for MX Player

      I also use BubbleUPnP for network streaming, but Skifta does look like it's improved since I last tried it.

      1. Bassey

        Re: What about...

        Another +1 for MXPlayer. During the Olympics I would tell the default web browser to pretend to be an iPad, then go to TVCatchup and use their HTML5 video streaming. MXPlayer handled it perfectly (I believe it pretended to be an iTunes playlist).

        And for me, another would be the Opera Web Browser. The new Chrome is okay but still crashes quite a bit for me and is lacking options. Opera (with Turbo cache switched on) is lightening fast and just seems to handle eveything without getting in the way

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about...

        With you on bubbleUPnP. The UI is basic but very functional. I stream movies and music from my nsa310 NAS every day using it, and it works perfectly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about...

      Do any of these have F1-12? I've been wanting to give lemmings a bash under dosbox but can't manage to start the bloody game because the keyboards tend to omit these.

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch

        Re: What about...

        > Do any of these have F1-12?

        Try Hacker's Keyboard. You have to press the Fn key to bring up the F keys, but if you only want them to start playing, that shouldn't be too inconvenient. It also includes a row of numbers above the letters and non-modal (multi-touch) shift/alt/ctrl keys making it ideal for using with a terminal emulator.

        Thanks for pointing out that dosbox is available. I've got stacks of old shareware games archived somewhere. Might be an excuse to dig them up and give them a whirl. I'm surprised that phones and tablets these days have enough grunt to emulate x86. Goes to show how far we've come...

  4. frank ly

    This made me wonder ....

    " The word prediction is uncannily prescient in part thanks to the app’s ability to peruse your Twitter, Facebook and Gmail scribblings and learn from them."

    Am I paranoid or are the alarm bells in my mind reasonable?

    1. Sys110x
      Black Helicopters

      Re: This made me wonder ....

      Optional and off by default.

      .. but, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't watching you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This made me wonder .... are you paranoid enough?

      If you are already using an Android tablet you presumably trust Google with all your data.

  5. Dr Wadd

    After reading this article I tried Apex Launcher, which stayed on my tablet for less than 5 minutes. It seems very flakey on the Nexus 7 with icons being incorrectly positioned and the dock disappearing every time I rotate the tablet.

    1. hokum

      Re: Apex

      I've never been impressed with Apex. It was noticeably slower than stock on my SGS3 and N7. Nova Launcher is far superior IMO. Just as many options but much faster.

    2. DapaBlue

      I added Ultimate Rotation Control to the Nexus7 which works with the standard launcher and does a good job of rotating the home and lock screen, amongst other features.

  6. terminaljunkie

    Wot....No PULSE?

    One of the best and most useful free news aggregation apps out there, also Stumblr and bringing up the rear a decent or alternative browser in Dolphin.


  7. DrXym Silver badge


    Aldiko has a really annoying habit of loading chapters of a book separately which adds really irritating pauses during reading. I don't know if there is a tweak or the pro is better but FBReader has a better out of the box experience IMO and is free of course.

  8. Leona A

    Tunein Radio file size....

    Tunein Radio

    Reg Rating 85%

    Price £0.61

    Size 164MB

    Really 164MB ? who coded it? Microsoft!?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Tunein Radio file size....

      Size might be the database.

      TuneIn is pretty good though I only use the free version to listen to the stations I know I want to - who gives a fuck about "related" or pictures. The one thing that the premium version has that is worth noting is the ability to record stuff.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Tunein Radio file size....

        Charlie Clark: "Size might be the database."

        With 60k stations that's 2.8k per station. But I love it - although, like you, I find the free version perfectly satisfactory

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First App

    Surely the First App to install should be Flash since its being axed from the store from Today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First App

      You'll struggle with that one considering it's not supported on Jelly Bean

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: First App

        It might not be supported, but it certainly works.

        They just have a "not available" filter set for it in the market, sorry play room/store/site.

        I just side loaded it from my Gingerbread mobile along with BBC iplayer. Sorted.

        So my first app when I got the Nexus was AppSend on my mobile :-)

  11. Adrian 4 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Transformers movie

    I did watch it, not having experienced the series except in toy shops. It's not a pleasure I feel the need to repeat.

    But it made me wonder why the movie player app didn't have a downvote button (or even an upvote). Isn't that sort of thing all the rage now ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not quite...

      I enjoyed all 3 films - watch them for what they are, good clean fun for boys, let the inner kid out :-)

  12. diadomraz
    Thumb Up

    FBReader +1

    I tried Aldico, but FBReader is my thing. It has loads of configurable options and while the Aldico bookshelf looks nice I would rather browse my books by title, author etc.

  13. coolius

    ES File Explorer is woefully outdated - just look at the Gingerbread style UI!

    You guys need to check Solid Explorer - much better looking and more reliable.

    Also why would you pay for VPlayer when MXPlayer is just as good if not better and completely free?

    All the codecs you need and sweet gesture controls.

    1. 27escape

      why pay?

      To reward those who create these apps - for less than the price of a pint of beer.

    2. GrahamT

      ES File Explorer

      This is the best Android app I have found for browsing Samba shares, though the latest updates seem to have made it less stable. Maybe I should try Solid Explorer, though I really don't care whether the UI is outdated or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ES File Explorer

        And it has an FTP server built in. (+1)

        And it supports SFTP. (+1) (but not keypair authentication (yet) (-1))

        And it support Bluetooth-OBEX-FTP server (+1)

        1. r.bares

          Re: ES File Explorer

          While it may have all those features, ES File Explorer is also more than happy to leak your login credentials to 3rd party apps without your consent. Furthermore the developers were informed of this months ago, and despite updating the app during this period, have failed to patch this flaw. Given that it is precisely in the circumstances you list that this file manager can be a threat to your password security, this is an ill advised recommend as a "must have" app.

          The developer has once again assured me that a patch is on its way, but given their lack of interest in the issue so far I wont be holding my breath.

          P.s. I do use ES File Explorer on my own devices, with caution, with full knowledge of the risk involved, but that does not make it "OK".

  14. Richard 116
    Thumb Up

    Keep 'em coming!

    I got my sweaty mitts on a Nexus 7 the other day and as a complete Android n00b these articles are great.

    Thumbs up to the contributors and El Reg.

    1. Tom 35

      Re: Keep 'em coming!

      And the comments may be even more useful then the original article for finding things you might have missed.

      Most often I look for an app and find about 8 that sound like they might work, 4 turn out to be crap, 2 have promise but turn out to have a major fault or two, and then I spend some time with the last 2 to figure out the one that works best for me.

      With an article like this I can skip to the last 2 step most of the time.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Book reader

    Mantano is better than Aldiko.

  16. Big_Ted
    Thumb Up

    Get your daily dose of Dilbert, Andy Capp, Peanuts etc

    Plus years of back issues available with Comic reader its free.

    I have spent hours reading old issues, Peanuts for example goes back to 1950

    My favorite Dilbert at the moment.......

    1. alpine

      Re: Get your daily dose of Dilbert, Andy Capp, Peanuts etc

      I'd not noticed the whole set of Peanuts here. Excellent, thanks. Go Joe Cool!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And of course, Flash.

  18. Big_Ted

    If you root your Nexus

    Then get Stickmount, with an OTG cable you can attach flash drives or with a little adaptor plug in your MicroDS cards.

    OK not as good as built in SD but at least you can take loads of stuff around with you.

    For instructions on rooting etc search XDA forum.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: If you root your Nexus

      Even without rooting it you can use a keyboard and mouse (via a hub) with an OTG cable. Quite amusing watching a mouse pointer flying round Jelly Bean... And baffled a few friends when my Draw Something pictures suddenly became a lot better!

    2. Tom 35

      Re: If you root your Nexus

      Some other devices don't need to be rooted to support flash drives with OTG USB.

      I wonder who we should be asking (Google or Asus) to unlock this feature so we don't have to root our Nexus to access that useful feature?

  19. John H Woods Silver badge

    I haven't tried Pulse, but I love the Taptu newsreader and its widgets - anybody else a fan of this?

    Also my favourite launcher is GO - has some very nice effects. In fact you could probably do a whole article just on visual customization and eye-candy. The power of the Nexus 7 makes a lot of this quite impressive.

    I would have thought it was well worth having iPlayer (and Sky Player as well if you have an account). And TED, of course.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge


      I have Jango (Music / Artist Discovery) on all my Androids. Absolutely love it.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Forgot...

        and my PC of course.

        Now can we have an edit button? Please?

    2. Carlos.

      AFAIK, the existing iPlayer app doesn't work on jellybean just yet, due to the flash issues.

    3. Al Taylor
      Thumb Up


      My default news client and an excellent app all around.

      It was a toss up between Go EX and Apex for a launcher. I use Go on my phone but picked Apex for the N7 because it gives more of a stock feel.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go Launcher is my favourite launcher , and X-Plore for file management. K9 or Kaiten (paid) for email. QuickPic as a gallery app, Mx Player for movies, Poweramp for music, ezPdf Reader for the obvious, DuckDuckGo for searching and Opera Mobile (not Mini) for web. Orbot is super for Tor. ACar for tracking all car/motorcycle stuff. Viewranger/Orux Maps for outdoor maps, Sygic for car nav. Tapatalk for forums and KeepassDroid for passwords. If rooted, Titanium Backup/Droidwall/Lbe Privacy/Autostarts/AdFree are all essential (essential anyway imo).

  21. Frumious Bandersnatch


    Do any of these DLNA browsers support loading external subs? I've only tried out Media House, and it doesn't seem to have the option unless I download the files and try to play them locally, which I haven't tried. Are external subs even supported in DLNA, or do I have to mux them into a different container (mkv?). Obviously I'd prefer not to do any transcoding or on the fly conversion...

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: DLNA

      I was happily using Skifta on my Samsung Galaxy to run stuff on the telly. Not really necessary because the telly has a DNLA client but the Samsung has the better interface.


    I'd have to add a vote for VPlayer. All the other players, like MXplayer and Dice player, do a mostly good job, but fail when it comes to mkv files with AC3 audio. Or at least certain ones. With those other players, the video plays but is silent. VPlayer's the only one I've found that does the job.

    Props to ES file explorer, though I also quite like Ghost Commander, which has the split-screen view.

    The TED app is great, and although it handles text content quite poorly, the NASA app is worth getting for the constant release of Curiosity images and video right now.

    Don't forget to get Camera Launcher for Nexus 7 - which does what it says in the description, and which let's you record images and video.

    I'd also like to commend Google for including the store credit, which was a really smart way to convert Freetards like me into paying customers - and support the little guys - by getting me over that stubborn reluctance to pay even a few pennies for worthy games and apps. It makes me realise there are worse things than paying for software, namely advert-festooned apps and being nickel-and-dimed to death through pay-2-play disguised as free-2-play games.

    The only major thing I'm lacking right now is a decent replacement for Google's Listen podcast app. I have Pod Kicker, but I'm still looking for something better.

  23. quarky

    Marked "read later"

    ...With instapaper.

  24. Richard Lloyd

    First stuff I installed on my Nexus 7

    * Flash - had to side-load as an apk, but it's still needed on Android, no matter what Adobe say.

    * Firefox Beta + Adblock Plus + Phony - stomps mightily on Chrome on the Nexus 7. Set Phony extension to desktop version to avoid getting those daft mobile versions on a tablet, plus it then lets you go to and view BBC progs just like you do on the desktop (yes, in HD too).

    * Astro File Manager. I've been familiar with this one the longest, but no doubt other FM's mentioned are equally as good.

    * MX Player. This is my favourite video player on the HP Touchpad (CM9) and it's just as good on the Nexus 7.

    * Winamp. Trhey may have moved some features to the Pro version after offering them in the free version (which I think is a really bad PR move), but even the free version is pretty good.

    * Camera Launcher for Nexus 7. In a moment of madness, Asus/Google decided not to present the built-in camera app to the end-user. This app basically makes it "visible" again.

    * FBReader. Best Android e-book reader out there (much better than the Kindle app for example).

    * Cover Art Downloader. Put in on my Nexus 7 out of habit - nice to have artwork with your MP3s.

    * Advanced Task Killer. I put the widget on my home screen and press it when I'm about to play a game.

    * Box (or Dropbox etc.). Useful app to mess around with your cloud storage (I've got 50GB, but I don't use it much because I don't have Net access on the move with the Nexus 7 except via expensive/data limited 3G tethering with my Android phone).

    Of course, once I'd done the above, the next step was unlocking, rooting and putting on a Modaco ROM (yay for landscape rotation on home screens), but that's a bit off-topic I guess.

  25. auburnman

    Swiftkey lasted a minute...

    Before getting kicked off my Tab. Once I'd done the setup, I opened a document to test the keyboard out. After failing to type "testing" 5-6 times in a row (It predicted something like ssstwss - wtf?) and only showing me the prediction instead of what I'd actually typed, the backspace key suddenly decided that it would only delete the last few letters and refused to go any further back despite repeated taps and holding. Avoid.

    I think the biggest takeaway from this article is the Revelation from Richard Lloyd above that Adblock Plus is available on Android. Come back Firefox, all is forgiven...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Total Commander File Manager

    I realy like Total Commander a lot . 2 screens and plenty of options . Also GO Launcher kicks butt .

    And Sophos for AV . Also . I like Ttorrent because it has a very good search option .

    I use these on a Samsung Tab 7.7 on ICS 4.0.4 it is rooted but still running stock ICS .

    I have loaded jelly but no GPS made me go back to ICS .

    The XDA -Devs ....... the best :-)

  27. h3

    Dice Player is the best media player.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    V Player is rubbish!

    V player is a pile of poo, on my N7 with 720p MKV's if you jump to a point in the show the audio slows & goes out of sink badly, eventually it just gives up the ghost and crashes. Unfortunately the also appears to not have been updated in a long time so I doubt the bugs are going to be fixed anytime soon. Diceplayer or MXPlayer are much better alternatives and are also free!

  29. Jean-Paul


    So these are essential app? Which make it look like a tablet instead of a phone? Wtf? Install a useable keyboard opposed having a good one in the first place? Wtf? Make it look like iBooks with a blatantly obvious knockoff? Wtf? Install a file explorer to clear the junk? Wtf? That is so last century to do that manually.

    Damn and I was expecting to see some killer apps in there. Where are they?

    Ps. What about the iOS killer feature flash? Surely that was the reason iOS never takes off, so why isn't that in the list? Then again still just software to make it useable opposed to great apps.

  30. Alistair Dabbs
    Thumb Up

    Good range of apps

    Several unexpected ones in there too - much better than those I'd thought of. Great stuff, Alun.

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