Android’s default media players are reasonable enough but if you want a little more from your mobile media player then there is good news. The number of great media players now available for Android is growing daily and includes the likes of stalwarts such as Winamp as well as some new names.
Winamp is a name synonymous with media players. So the fact that there is a version 1.0 release for Android is good news. Winamp for Android brings a host of great features including wireless sync with desktop media files, Shoutcast radio streaming and iTunes import. The interface for the version 1.0 release has also been upgraded and includes all manner of additional details including discographies of artists, biographies of some and photos. The player also integrates with YouTube and phone-based browsers to provide additional searches.
MixZing is getting a lot of good press of late. Its deceptively clean interface hides a fair degree of power which, combined with its recommendation engine, makes for interesting listening. Like Winamp, MixZing can access artist and album details such as biographies, discographies and YouTube listings. The recommendation engine works constantly in the background to build playlists based your current choices and listening habits.
PowerAMP has the looks to convince you this is the real deal. Big virtual knobs for changing volume, bass and treble settings give it a distinctly retro look while the chunky equaliser sliders appeal to the music producer in you. Having said that, its easy enough to use, once you get past setting up your media folders, which is weirdly unintuitive. PowerAMP supports almost all media formats so it is a versatile tool.
Meridian is a pretty good media player for Android, if not the best. It pulls in all your stored media items and supports just about every format, including FLAC. The interface is intuitive and makes it easy to switch between media formats. Built into the player is a search window which can find lyrics for currently playing songs or looking up additional details based on various keywords. The player also has a built-in ID3 tag editor for managing your collection.
Cubed (aka 3)
Cubed is on this list because it is so different to the other players here that it stands out. Cubed, as the name might suggest, plays your media files on a cube which you can spin through. As you spin the cube you can view the various album covers in your collection, which works well. Although Cubed’s claim to fame is its unique approach to navigating through your collection, it is still pretty full-featured. The hardest part of using Cubed is finding it in the Android market; search for “cubed” and find the app labelled “3″ if that makes sense.
Any of these five media players would be a good addition to your Android device. Winamp stands out for its pedigree and general features. Meridian is a close second as it is perhaps the easiest to navigate. Cubed stands out for quirkiness.
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