05.07.2012 Oh so app-ealing: The top ten smartphone apps we swear by

By Ryan Davies, a Postgraduate student from Swansea University in Media and Communication Studies

With so many smartphone apps available on the market, it’s sometimes difficult to know which are the best and how much you should be willing to splash out. Whatsapp or Viber?  List Free or Toodledo?  The arguments for and against can be nothing short of exhausting, even for the most avid app-hunter. So, helpful creatures as we are, we are proud to present a list of our favourite apps in the Cake Communications office, each one fully tried and tested.

1. Wunderlist (FREE)

Wunderlist offers the you an all-in-one, compact and user-friendly to do list. For busy people who need to be able to record and track progress on tasks, this is the app. It updates in real time, so you know exactly where you are – you can email your lists to anyone you fancy, and even link up to others using the app and all work from the same list. It also syncs with a web-based version. We swear by it to manage client tasks and ensure we never miss an all-important deadline. It’s so good we would be willing to pay for it. Wunder-ful!



2. Adobe Photoshop Express (FREE)

Adobe PhotoShop Express is literally a compact, mobile version of PhotoShop. For those snap happy smartphone users out there, this is a godsend. You can toggle saturation, apply effects and borders, sharpen, crop and even change the focus. It boasts a rapid-shot feature to catch that perfect moving shot, and even trippy distortion effects to set your images aside from the rest!




3. Instagram (FREE)

For the snap happy AND social savvy, Instagram is the place to be. Simple to use, fun and intuitive, this app lets you crop, twist, rotate, change brightness, add or discard frames and change the resolution of pictures with a truckload of different effects and filters. Once you’re done it takes seconds to upload your snaps and share with your followers. We love the 70s retro and Nashville filters the best.



4. Words with Friends (FREE but you can buy cheats)

The era of board games has turned into the era of gaming on the go. App powerhouse Zynga has jazzed up a favourite, and transformed geekster favourite Scrabble into Words With Friends. As simple to use as the name suggests, Words With Friends allows you to battle your friends in a war of vocabulary and eloquence, just as the family favourite did back in the day. But you don’t have to be in the same room, or even the same country. Phantasmagorical!



5. Zite (FREE)

Zite is a mobile app that allows you to tailor content to create your own personalised web-based magazine. You choose your sections and topics from their wide and varied list, and they trawl the internet to keep you updated with the latest articles from a plethora of sites. And all completely free. Now we all have the power to be editors!




6. Shazam (FREE bar the downloads)

Shazam is the app for music lovers who aren’t quite in tune with the charts. Remember the days when you heard a song you liked but had no way of finding out the artist or track name? They are no more thanks to Shazam. You open the app, let your phone listen to the track for a few seconds and Shazam automatically recognises the song and allows you to download it from iTunes immediately. No more trawling the net, Googling the lyrics you picked up on or annoying your friends.



7. Google Currents (FREE)


Similar to the aforementioned Zite, this harvests information and news from the net and puts it into neat little folders for you to indulge at your leisure.  It also tracks the 5% most trending articles on Google Search and pushes it through to app to you to keep you as up to date with the news agenda as possible while on the go.




8. Pinterest (FREE)

Pinterest is like your personal, online pinboard – you upload pictures, articles, notes and anything else you want to keep together. It helps you organise your life in a fun way you can share with others; whether it be a board of your favourite recipes or a wedding planner, it’s brought mood boards kicking and screaming into the social age.




9. Easy Battery Saver (FREE)

This battery saver allows the user to optimise their battery usage via a number of different optimisation categories, including an ‘advanced’ option in which you customise your own energy saving choices. Whether it be turning on Wi-Fi or your data roaming whenever you open an app that needs it, or by lowering your screen brightness as your battery life depletes, this app is an absolute saviour for people who live on their phones.





10. My Fitness Pal (FREE)


With all the diets and fat-fads out there, it’s difficult enough to get the energy to bother wading through them all for one that suits you. This is where My Fitness Pal comes in. You type in your weight or measurements, your height, gender and activity level, and then document everything you eat (it gathers all the nutritional information for you) and the app tells you how many calories you take in. You can even enter a goal weight for those who find it easier to work to targets and share with other users, so you can let your competitive side show!