The Best Free Android Games

Google Play having a huge number of apps in the store means you are spoilt for choice when it comes to apps but it also means that it become difficult to discover the best apps available for free. And yes, some of the best Android games are free.

We have tried to showcase the best free Android games from each genre. Let’s jump right into the best free Android games you can install on your phone right away without paying a penny.

1. Endless Running : Temple Run 2

Temple Run was probably the flagship bearer of this genre of games. A man grabbing the idol and running endlessly through intertwining roads collecting coins and power ups along the way resulted in the game being one of the most downloaded apps on both iOS and Android.

Temple Run 2, the sequel of Temple Run retains the game play but has some new tricks up its sleeve along with improved graphics. You can now swim through water, run through new environments, change characters (you can purchase a character based on Usain Bolt that runs faster) and gain better powerups.

Notable Alternative : Subway Surfers

2. Racing : Asphalt 8 Airborne

There is no better car racing game you can get for free. Asphalt 8 Airborne features excellent graphics and game play which keeps you hooked for days.

Luxury cars, exotic locations, multi player support and thumping music make this game shine on Android.

3. FPS : Dead Trigger 2

FPS is one of the most popular genres of games out there. Dead Trigger 2 lets you save humanity from a zombie apocalypse where your mission is to get rid of as many zombies as possible.

Dead Trigger 2, the sequel of Dead Trigger improves upon the original with cutting edge graphics, new locations (Shanghai Alleys / African Desert). The game features multi player support as well which make the game play more dynamic and lets you participate in global missions which evolve as new players join in.

4. Strategy: Plants vs Zombies 2

The sequel to the Plants vs Zombies brings the zombie game to a new level. While the game play style remains the same as Plants vs Zombies, you have got powerful new plants and new defenses to protect your brain from the Zombies.

5. Sports : FIFA 14

FIFA 14 is the authentic football game available for Android smartphones and tablets. FIFA 14 features the officially licensed 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ national teams, 33 leagues, over 600 licensed teams and more than 16,000 players enabling to create your own fantasy team with an equally good soundtrack.

6. Trivia : QuizUp

The definitive quizzing app QuizUp is finally available on Android. With over 300,000 questions in over 500 topics and 18 million people, Quiz Up is the game to play if you interested in any sort of trivia. You can even use your Facebook login to link Quiz Up and then challenge your friends in any topic.

Get the Galaxy S5 Launcher on any Android phone

Samsung Galaxy S series is one of the best selling Android phones every year and this year will probably be no different. Samsung Galaxy S5 with its unique software features and hardware additions like Fingerprint sensor and heart beat sensor will surely entice many people.

But some of the software features of Samsung Galaxy S5 can easily be made available on any Android phone. One of the them is the Touchwiz Home Launcher. Galaxy Launcher available on Google Play is based on the Galaxy S5 launcher and provides the same Touchwiz interface that is available on the Galaxy S5.

Galaxy S5 Launcher

The Galaxy Launcher also includes the new flat Touchwiz icons from Galaxy S5. So it brings a new look if you are using the Galaxy S4 or Note 3 which are still on the old Touchwiz look. And if you are not a fan of the Touchwiz icons, you can use any of the numerous icon packs available on Google Play.

If you want the default Samsung Galaxy S5 wallpapers (one of the them is featured in the screenshot above), then get the Galaxy S5 Wallpapers app.

 

Best Cases for HTC One M8

HTC One (M8) is one of the hottest Android flagships for this season with an amazing metallic body and the Duo Camera. But the metal finish of the HTC One (M8) is pretty easy to get scratched like its predecessor. So it is important to protect the HTC One (M8) from drops and scratches using a durable case. Read on to find out the best cases for HTC One M8 available in the market.

Best Cases for HTC OneHTC One Dot View Case for HTC One (M8)

OEM’s like HTC, Samsung, LG have had some interesting takes towards the official cases introduced for their Android smartphones. What differentiates the official cases is that the manufacturers can add some very useful features into them. Samsung has the S-View Cases, LG debuted the Quick Circle Case for the LG G3 and HTC has jumped on with an unique design of their own.

Inspired from the S-View covers from Samsung for the Galaxy series, HTC has introduced a similar cover this year for the HTC One (M8). The Dot view cover allows instant phone access while the case is still closed.

The dot matrix cover lets you take calls, receive notifications, schedule reminders, provide weather updates etc. with the case closed.

Colors : Warm Black, Imperial Blue, Orange Popsicle and Baton Rouge

Best Cases for HTC One (M8)Urban Armor Gear case for HTC One (M8)

The UAG case does not need an introduction. The patent-pending design of the UAG case has been wildly popular over the years for smartphones like iPhone, Galaxy S series and Galaxy Note etc.

The UAG for HTC One (M8) brings the military grade tough look to the  One and protects it from all drops even in cases where the phone falls directly with the screen hitting first.

One selling point for the UAG is that along with offering a really unique design and comprehensive protection, the cut-outs for mic, phone charger are over-sized. So you can use third party earphones and chargers with your phone. Also, the case meets military drop-test standards. So you can it’s pretty tough protection for the One.

Colors : Orange, Black, Ice, Blue and White

Spigen Slim Armor for HTC One (M8)

Spigen Slim Armor is a double layered case with a TPU case and a polycarbonate hard case which provides additional protection. The polycarbonate midsection has a metallic matte finish to it and can be separated from the inner TPU case.

Best Cases for HTC One (M8)

Pros – Two layer case with an interchangeable polycarbonate mid-section which can be switched for different colors

Colors : Smooth Black, Champagne Gold, Gunmetal, Metal Slate, Satin Silver, Aintree Green

Otterbox Defender for HTC One (M8)

Otterbox is one of the well-known case makers for mobile phones. If you are looking for something tough enough to protect the premium build of the HTC One (M8) from accidental drops, then look no further. Otterbox Defender cases bring a tough professional look and protect the device from drops, bumps and shocks.

The case comes with a three-layer protection and built-in screen protector ensuring all round protection. This is the most expensive case of the list but is the one that provides the best protection as well although by being more bulky.

Colors : Multiple color combinations available for inner and outer layer of the case available for choosing and ordering

[How To] Get the Nexus look on any Android phone

With the extreme customization/skins that most OEM phones (Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One, LG G3 etc.) come with, it is easy for people to never experience Android the way Google wants them to. But with the last couple of releases, Google has tried to separate the Android OS from Google services and made some of the key Google apps available on the Play Store. This has allowed people to get the Nexus look on any Android phone and also work like stock Android.

The below list contains some third party apps as well since some of Google’s apps are not compatible with all Android phones.

Step 1 : Home Launcher

Get the Nexus look on any Android phoneThe first step to get the Nexus look on any Android phone is the part of your Android phone that you see the most. The default signature look of the Nexus 5 is the Google Now Launcher with large vibrant icons in the app drawer, ‘OK Google’ hot word support and swipe left to get Google Now. While the Google Now Launcher APK is available for side-loading on any phone, the issue is you will not get the standard Android 4.4 KitKat icons but the default OEM icons that your phone comes with.

KK Launcher (KitKat Launcher) is a home launcher that brings the standard Android KitKat 4.4 home screen look to Android phones running 4.1 and above and with most of the GNL features.

Tip : Get the Android 4.4 KitKat look by setting the icon theme  to Kitkat Theme, UI Size Mode to Large Size inside Theme/UI settings and selecting Hide Drawer Menu inside Drawer settings. The default Android 4.4 KitKat wallpaper also comes with the launcher – select it under the Wallpaper settings.

 

Step 2 : Lock Screen

Almost all OEM’s change the stock Android lockscreen (which is simple, useful and pretty) to offer either a more advanced (complicated) lockscreen on their phones. Holo Locker app from the Play Store offers the stock Android lockscreen.

Tip : Disable the default lock screen on your smartphone by going to Lock Screen settings to allow Holo Locker to work perfectly.

Step 3: Google Apps

While the key Google services like GMail and Google Maps come by default on all Android phones there are many more useful Google apps that are left out by the OEM’s so that in-house replacements of the same can be installed. We can install the remaining apps from the Play Store for a better Android experience.

Google Keyboard comes with many features like Gesture Typing (ala Swype) and voice typing. With the last couple of releases, Google has done a pretty good job with optimizing personalized word prediction and auto-correct functionality.

The new kid on the block, Google Camera is the standard camera app from the Nexus phones. The app features some great features which are not available in the standard OEM camera applications that come by default. Lens Blur for SLR-like photos with shallow depth of field and photosphere for 360º views are some of them.

Not much to write here, the good old Google Calendar app from Google. It’s quite useful if you are using a Samsung Galaxy phone that comes with S Planner which looks old-school and dated.

Best Cases for Samsung Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 is the newest Android flagship from Samsung and will be one of the best selling Android devices this year. Considering the hefty amount this device costs, it is necessary to protect it from any scratches and drops by using a sturdy case.

We will be focusing on the best cases for Samsung Galaxy S5 here. If you want simply the best protection for your Galaxy S5, then this list is all you need.

1. Samsung S-View Cover

Best Cases for Samsung Galaxy S5 - S-View CoverSamsung’s own S-View Cover is the default go-to protection for many Galaxy  S5 owners. While making the device look great, the cover actually adds to the utility of the Galaxy S5. The cover enables a small utility view on the S5′s screen which shows you a display of the current time, battery status, missed calls, unread messages, pedometer etc. through the cut-out on the cover. You can also accept incoming calls without opening the flip cover.

The S-View cover also powers on the screen automatically when opened and locks it when closed.

The quality of the cover is pretty good as well as it is from Samsung. One area where the S-View covers falls short is protecting the device from drops. The S-View is more of a aesthetic cover which just protects the screen when the device is in your pocket.

Colors : Black, White, Green, Pink, Rose Gold

Best Cases for Samsung Galaxy S5 - Otterbox Defender 2. Otterbox Defender

Otterbox is one of the well-known case makers for mobile phones. If you are looking for something tough enough to protect the all-plastic build of the Galaxy S5 from accidental drops, then look no further.

Otterbox Defender cases for Galaxy S5 bring a tough professional look and protect the device from drops, bumps and shocks. All the ports of the S5 (microphone, charging point, speaker) are accessible through the case.

The case comes with a three-layer protection  and built-in screen protector ensuring all round protection. This is the most expensive case of the list but is the one that provides the best protection as well although by being more bulky.

Pros - Buyers can create their own color combinations, Excellent protection

Cons - Bulky

3. Spigen Neo Hybrid

Best Cases for Samsung Galaxy S5 - Spigen Neo HybridSpigen is also a well-known name when it comes to mobile phone cases. Similar to it’s Neo Hybrid case for Galaxy S4, Spigen has launched a case for Galaxy S5 as well.

The case is comprised of two parts – the back cover and the bumper. The back cover is made of TPU and the side frame of polycarbonate. The case fits precisely onto the Galaxy S5 and has cutouts for the camera, speakers, and other ports.

Spigen has gone for a different approach this time and has matching perforated (DOT) design for the cases as well. Although we were not a big fan of the dimpled back of the Galaxy S5, this case does look good in pictures. The back cover is only available in black while the bumper is available in six different colors.

Pros - Case shows the unique Galaxy S5 back design

Cons - Back panel only in black

 4. Urban Armor Gear (UAG)

Best Cases for Samsung Galaxy S5 - Urban Armor GearThe UAG case for the Galaxy S5 does not need an introduction. The patent-pending design of the UAG case has been wildly popular over the years for smartphones like iPhone, Galaxy S series and Galaxy Note etc.

The UAG for S5 brings the military grade tough look to the Galaxy S5  and protects it from all drops even in cases where the phone falls directly with the screen hitting first.

One selling point for the UAG is that along with offering a really unique design and comprehensive protection, the cut-outs for mic, phone charger are over-sized. So you can use third party earphones and chargers with your phone. Also, the case meets military drop-test standards. So you can it’s pretty tough protection for the Galaxy S5.

Tip - Look for the Maverick version of the case

5. Spigen Slim Armor

Spigen Slim Armor Galaxy S5Apart from the Spigen Neo Hybrid that we mentioned above, Slim Armor is another case from Spigen that is quite good.

Spigen Slim Armor is a double layered case with a TPU case and a polycarbonate hard case which provides additional protection. The polycarbonate midsection has a metallic matte finish to it and can be separated from the inner TPU case.

Pros - Two layer case with an interchangeable polycarbonate mid-section which can be switched for different colors

 

Install Android 4.4 KitKat / CM11 on Galaxy S4 I9500

While the official Android 4.4 KitKat build for Galaxy S4 is rumored to be released in January, developers are working hard to have a stable CyanogenMod 11 (Android 4.4 KitKat) build for the Galaxy S4 I9500.

The ROM is currently based on CM11 / Android 4.4.2 (the latest release of KitKat) and is stable enough to be a daily driver. Since it is based on stock, the ROM is quite fast and responsive too. It also brings in the latest KitKat goodies:

  • ART Runtime (slated to replace Dalvik in future Android versions)
  • Dialer Search which pulls in phone numbers of local businesses without needing to Open Google Search. Want to order that pizza from Domino’s, just type Domino’s and it will show the phone number of the latest outlet.
  • New UI with brighter interface and new notification icons. The stock Android does look better than Samsung’s TouchWiz
  • Hangouts with SMS integration
  • Increased performance – KitKat 4.4 is optimized for phones with 512 MB of RAM, S4 has 2 GB

Pre-requisites for installing the ROM are the usual root and CWM recovery. The current list of bugs include microphone issues, video recording and Wi-Fi tethering not working.

Installing CM11 / Android 4.4 KitKat on Galaxy S4 I9500

  • Download Gapps and the CM 11.0 zip on to your phone.
  • Boot into recovery
  • Wipe data/factory reset
  • Flash the CM 11.0 zip from your SD card
  • Flash Gapps zip from your SD card
  • Reboot to system

Voila! A good looking CM11 on the awesome Galaxy S4 screen.

Android 4.4 KitKat Update for Galaxy S4 and Note 3 in January 2014

The new version of Android – KitKat 4.4 was released by Google last month. As with every new version of Android, speculation has already started as to which phones will get the update. But for flagship phones like Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 it is not a question of ‘Will’ but ‘When’?

Being the flagships of 2013, these smartphones will definitely get the Android 4.4 KitKat update but unlike other OEM’s like HTC, Samsung has not announced any schedule so far. However a ‘leaked’ document from Samsung reveals that Samsung Galaxy S4 (I9500/I9505) and Galaxy Note 3 (N9000/N9005) will be receiving the Android 4.4 KitKat update as soon as January 2014.

Android 4.4 KitKat Update - Samsung Galaxy

The document also reveals that Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 will be getting the update in March – April 2014.

Source

Best Weather Apps / Widgets for Android

The ability to have homescreen widgets are one of the biggest strong points for the Android platform from the customization perspective. One of the first widgets that people install on their Android phones are custom weather widgets. Yes, most of the smartphones now come with built in weather widgets but their appearance is not customizable nor can they be used if you are using a custom launcher.

So which are the best weather apps / widgets available for Android?

1. Beautiful Widgets Pro

Beautiful WidgetsBeautiful Widgets is one of the most popular weather apps available on Google Play. The app has different layouts for it’s weather widgets and also offers battery, clock, date and system toggle widgets which can be used to customize the home screens.

Beautiful Widgets also has it’s own skin market which lets you download various skins and themes for it’s widgets. And all the themes are free as well, so endless customization options for making the widget look the way you want.

Pros :

  • Multiple widget sizes and widget formats
  • Huge skin gallery with fresh skins available almost everyday

2. Yahoo Weather

Yahoo WeatherYahoo Weather for Android has been around for a long time but it’s recent update has made it popular among Android users.

Yahoo’s weather app has an unique feature of pulling in a city’s weather information along with matching photos of the location and it’s weather condition from Flickr. For example, if you are in New York and it is raining there, Yahoo Weather will show you a picture of New York when it was raining. The pictures are pulled in from a Flickr group where people submit the pictures themselves.

Pros:

  • Pretty awesome weather pictures if you live in some of the big cities

3. EZ Weather

EZ Weather Android AppEZ Weather is probably the simplest weather app in the list here. A sleek, minimalist weather app which follows the Holo guidelines to a large extent, EZ Weather widgets go along really well with the stock Google Experience Launcher.

It comes with three themes that you can use in your home screen. There are two widget sizes : 4 X 1 and 4 X2.

As with most weather apps, the location is auto detected by the app. You can add multiple locations for which you want to check the weather.

Pros :

  • Free and minimalist weather widget which gives a concise view of the current weather condition

4. Google Now Weather

Google Now Weather CardNot exactly a separate app but if you use Google Now for your phone (many reasons why you should be) then Google Now doubles up as a weather app/widget for you as well. The widget is a simple 4 X 1 and is displayed along with the remaining Google Now cards on the home screen.

One of the coolest features of Google Now is it automatically displays weather information about your home city and your current city when you are on a trip or vacation.

Pros:

  • One less app to install
  • Simple and Elegant

5. 1Weather

Last on the list but definitely the most popular and comprehensive weather app is 1Weather. 1Weather has all the weather information you will ever need for your location and packs it into an elegant UI which gives all the required information at a glance including weather forecasts.

1Weather App for Android

It is one of the most comprehensive weather apps available for Android and also makes an excellent tablet version as well. The free app displays ads but there is an in-app purchase to get rid of them.

 

Best Cases / Covers for Apple iPhone 5S

So you have brought the shiny new Apple iPhone 5S  for a hefty amount and want to protect it from any scratches and drops?

iPhone 5S being the new iPhone from Apple obviously gets a lot of attention from all mobile accessories manufacturers. You have cases / covers for Apple iPhone 5S  in every imaginable color, material and design.

We will be focusing on the best cases for the iPhone 5S here. If you want simply the best for your iPhone 5S, then this list is all you need.

1. Apple iPhone 5S Case

Apple’s own iPhone 5S case, is the default go-to protection for many iPApple iPhone 5S Casehone 5S owners. The case is made of premium leather with the Apple logo printed on it’s back.

The quality of the cover is pretty good as well as it is from Apple. The Apple iPhone 5S case is available in six colors and can be directly purchased from the Apple store.If you want only Apple original accessories, then this case is the best you can get. However if you are looking for something offering more style and protection then read on.

Pros - Original Apple Accessory, Premium Leather feels great in hand

Cons - Looks rather bland while the iPhone 5S looks spectacular

 2. Otterbox Defender

Otterbox Defender iPhone 5S CaseOtterbox is one of the well-known case makers for mobile phones. If you are looking for something tough enough to protect the excellent build of the iPhone 5S from accidental drops, then look no further.

Otterbox Defender cases for iPhone 5S  bring a tough professional look to iPhone 5S and protect it from drops, bumps and shocks. All the ports of the S4 (microphone, charging point, speaker) are accessible through the case. It also brings a premium feel to the Galaxy S4 and a whole new look to it.

The case comes with a screen protector as well ensuring all round protection. This is the most expensive case of the list but is the one that provides the best protection as well. You can buy the case directly from Otterbox.

Pros - Multiple layers of build provide absolute protection

Cons - Bulky case for the slim iPhone 5S, Expensive

3. Spigen Neo Hybrid

Spigen Neo Hybrid iPhone 5S

The case is comprised of two parts – the back cover and the bumper. The back cover is made of TPU and the side frame of polycarbonate. The case fits precisely onto the iPhone 5S and has cutouts for the camera, speakers, and other ports.

The case looks damn beautiful on the iPhone 5S as well and yes there is a Champagne Gold color, that you might want to check out.

Pros - Looks great, The bumper color can be interchanged to give a different look everyday

Cons - No iPhone branding, The back cover does not have any color options

 4. Urban Armor Gear (UAG)

Urban Armor Gear iPhone 5S CaseThe UAG case for the iPhone 5S does not need an introduction. The patent-pending design of the UAG case has been wildly popular over the years for smartphones like iPhone, Galaxy S series and Galaxy Note etc.

The UAG for iPhone 5S takes protection to a new level by making subtle changes to the design and material used in the case. The case protects the iPhone 5S from all drops even in cases where the phone falls directly with the screen hitting first.

One selling point for the UAG is that along with offering a really unique design and comprehensive protection, the cut-outs for mic, phone charger are over-sized. So you can use third party earphones and chargers with your phone.

Pros - Unique tough looking design

Cons - Limited color options

5. Spigen Slim Armor

Spigen Slim Armor iPhone 5SApart from the Spigen Neo Hybrid that we mentioned above, Slim Armor is another case from Spigen that is quite good.

Spigen Slim Armor is a double layered case with a TPU case and a polycarbonate hard case which provides additional protection. The polycarbonate midsection has a metallic matte finish to it and can be separated from the inner TPU case.  The Spigen Slim Armor case highlights the dual tone colors of the iPhone 5S well.

Pros - Two layer case with an interchangeable polycarbonate mid-section which can be switched for different colors

Cons - Only three color choices

 

Get the Google Experience Launcher on any Android device

The new version of Android OS – KitKat 4.4 debuted on the Google Nexus 5 last month. Along with the numerous changes that the new Android version brought, one of the major additions was of a new Launcher called the Google Experience Launcher or GEL.

The new Google Experience Launcher addressed various shortcomings of the earlier default home launcher and brought in a key change – integration with Google Now. A swipe to the left and you have Google Now. No need to open it or to add it’s widget to a home screen.

The Google Experience Launcher is not released by Google yet for any other device apart from the Nexus 5 (not even the Nexus 4) but you can try it easily on any Android device running 4.1 and above. All you need to do is download the APK and install it.

P.S. - GEL needs the newest Google Search update (v 3.1.8) that is available on the Play Store.

Install Google Experience Launcher

  • Ensure you have enabled ‘Unknown Sources’ in Settings –> Security because we will be installing an app from outside Google Play
  • Download the Google Experience Launcher APK from here and install it
  • Click on the home button, you should see a small window asking you to select the home launcher. Select the one which is with a blue icon labelled Launcher as shown in the screenshots below.
  • All done, you have the new GEL launcher on your phone now. Swipe left and you will have Google Now along with bigger icons on desktop and app drawer.

Select GELGoogle Experience Launcher

Unfortunately, the launcher shows the default icons on your phone and not the new 4.4 KitKat icons. There is no option to apply icon themes now.