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6 Essential Tools for Every Smartphone

tool wrench

Smartphones are, at their most basic, tools. But, depending on your device it’s likely that your phone is lacking at least some of the most basic (and to me essential) tools like a calculator, microphone, notepad and more. My phone, which is a flagship, is missing a voice recorder and a QR Scanner. My friend’s device doesn’t have a built-in calculator.

So, I thought I’d put together a list of some of the most basic tools that all smartphones ought to have, along with links to my favorite tried-and-tested Android apps.

  • Voice recorder – Most voice recorders have all kinds of weird permissions and such. Audio Recorder is free and has all kinds of cool features including the ability to edit your recordings. There are also no ads and no weird permissions.
  • Calculator – Personally, I thought all phones came with a calculator, but then I got my hands on a friend’s LG smartphone and was proved wrong. If you’re without a calculator, then Daily Calculator Free is extremely simple and easy to use (and customize!). It does have a banner ad at the bottom, which you can remove by paying $0.99, but personally I don’t think it’s really necessary.
  • QR Code Reader – Most phones don’t have a QR Reader installed, for whatever reason. Most of the QR scanners are honestly pretty much the same but this is the one I use.
  • Flashlight – 99% of the flashlight apps on Google Play have insane permissions including accessing your GPS location, personal data, contacts… the works. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself. It’s all collected for advertising purposes, but personally I’m still not comfortable with it. However, Privacy Flashlight works wonderfully and needs none of those permissions. I highly recommend it if you don’t have a flashlight app.
  • Notepad – It’s incredibly hard to find a simple notepad app, but the appropriately named Simple Notepad app  has to be my favorite. It has a text-to-speech option, the ability to share your notes, make lists… you name it!
  • Alarm Clock – If your smartphone has a clock, then you probably have an alarm clock as well. However, this app has some neat features including a crescendo alarm that gets louder over time as well as stopwatch and timer functions. You can also customize the way it looks if you like. There is a paid version which removes a banner add. The paid version costs $1.99, and if you like it I might recommend paying for that, as the banner is RIGHT next to the ‘disable’ button on the alarm and I have definitely launched an advertisement while trying to sleepily turn the alarm off. Whoops. However, despite that, Alarm Clock Xtreme & Timer Free is still one of the best and least invasive options.

Can you think of any other tools that your smartphone should have but doesn’t? Do you have a better app to try out? Share with me in the comments!