Cars & Gadgets
7 Overlooked But Very Useful Apps For Your Mobile Phone
Learn how to mix new cocktails, translate foreign phrases, or make videos with a few taps.
IMAGE John Patrick Meneses
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Mobile apps put the "smart" in smartphones.

With tons of apps out there, chances are you’ve missed or haven’t even heard of some really useful gems. That's because some have never made it to the app store’s top 20 or they simply haven’t reached mainstream status yet. Here are some apps that are worth every megabyte of your phone’s memory:

Liquor Cabinet (iOS)

Patrick Janelle, the popular fashion Instagrammer, and Maxwell Britten, a James Beard-Award winning bartender, have collaborated on Liquor Cabinet––an app that introduces users new cocktails. It also organizes recipes by liquor, skill level, and flavor profile. The recipes, curated by Britten, are easy to understand and are user-friendly. They also give a bit of backstory at the end of each recipe. The app includes a separate section that explains the tools required for the drink. Looking like an expert behind the weekend bar just got easier. Just make sure you hide your secret (app) from prying eyes!


 

Photoscan (iOS, Android)

Scanning documents or old photos can be time-consuming, and if you're one of those people who just needs a fast and reliable mobile scanner, then Google's Photoscan is for you. It's not meant to replace the good old trusty desktop scanner, but it does a pretty good job of giving you sharp, glare-free scans. Photoscan does this by using your smartphone camera to take close-up photos of the object you want to scan from four different corners and merges them into a single high-resolution file, which you can crop to remove the background.

 

Pocket (iOS, Android)

Staring at a blank white screen due to choppy mobile internet connection is frustrating. Especially if you read a lot during long trips. Mobile internet not only consumes a lot of data, it also drains your battery faster than regular wifi. Pocket solves both problems by allowing users to save web pages and videos, so you can come back to them whenever and wherever you want, even without an active internet connection. So instead of just bookmarking a web page or emailing yourself links, just save it with Pocket.

 

Photomath (iOS, Android)

This camera calculator app is godsent if you encounters written math problems more than the average person. The app's premise is simple: Just point your smartphone camera at any written equation, and the app will not only give you the solution but the steps to solve it as well. 

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Google Translate (iOS, Android)

You've probably used the web version of Google Translate, but chances are, you haven't tried the mobile app version yet. Aside from the standard text translation, the mobile app can also do voice and camera translations and supports all the major languages. If you're wondering how the camera translation works, what it does is it translates any foreign sign in real-time just by pointing at it with the camera. Just a reminder: It's not perfect. It struggles with complex sentences but nails the basic translations and simple sentences pretty well. It's still a nifty tool for any traveler.

 

Noisli (iOS, Android)

Want to listen to waves crashing on the shore with birds singing in the background? Or how about the soothing sound of a gentle stream with the rhythmical chirping of crickets? Then say goodbye to the stressful, distracting noise of urban living, and regain your focus or mental repose with Noisli––a beautifully designed background noise generator that lets you mix-and-match high-resolution ambient sounds tailored to your personal taste. With Noisli, you can boost productivity, relieve anxiety, or help you during meditation or yoga classes. Or just simply lie down and enjoy falling asleep.

 

Quik (iOS, Android)

The complexity of editing videos scares a lot of people, but in the mobile space, video editing apps are made to be as simple and as easy to use as possible. One of the standouts right now is Quik, a video editing app from the makers of GoPro that's so easy to use, it only takes a few taps to create awesome videos. The app intelligently scans footage for great moments, adds creative transitions and effects, and syncs everything to the beat of the music. It basically takes the work out of video editing, while also offering the option of having a bit more control. You can further customize your video story with text and filters, and you can easily share it to your social media accounts from within the app. Think of it as the Instagram of making videos.

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John Patrick Meneses
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