Essential apps

Essential apps

Simplifying life, one download at a time, welcome to our ever-growing selection of phone-based productivity enhancers:

1. Jet Lag App

Crossing timezones while eating rubbery ‘Chicken Royale’ confuses your body clock. Punch in your flight’s arrival and departure times to this app and it’ll tell you when to sleep, wake and drink.

£1.99

jetlagapp.com

2. Gresham Blake U Design

Now you can design and commission bespoke leather shoes or a custom weekend bag. Sadly, delivery options do not include ‘airborne drone’. Yet.

Free

greshamblake.com

3. Quintessentially

As your plane lands in an exotic country, use Quintessentially’s new app to find the hippest restaurants, cultural happenings and hookah parties (they’re a new thing, we heard).

Free

quintessentially.com

4. Wooju

Indecisive? Take a picture, ask a yes or no question, and this app lets your friends decide. ‘Yes’, buy that jet ski; ‘No’, don’t ride it naked up the Avon. Problem solved. This Wooju thing could actually catch on…

Free

wooju.net

5. Marston’s Life-o-graph

Helps you recreate old photos and depicts how much you’ve changed.

Free

marstonspedigree.co.uk

6. Yahoo News Digest

This curated news app delivers a morning and evening ‘edition’ with nine key stories.

Free

yahoo.co.uk

7. iTranslate Voice 2

This Star Trek-esque translator augments your brain, allowing you to converse in 42 languages. Talk into your iPhone and it repeats what you said in the chosen tongue. Impressive.

£1.49

sonicomobile.com

8. Toast Time

Billed as the best thing since sliced bread, this game sees you play as a toaster that fires bread. The joy garnered from a perfect slice-ejection will shock you; the graphics will pause those PS4 dreams.

£1.99

toasttime.co.uk

9. Interviewy

TED talks have revitalised lectures – people actually pay to hear them these days. Dictaphone app Interviewy allows you to hold down a button during important bits, tag them, and skip back to them.

Free

interviewy.co.uk

10. Confide

Need to send a private message? Try Confide – ‘Snapchat for grown-ups’. Text appears a line at a time to prevent screenshots, then self-destructs in a classic Mission: Impossible style.

Free

getconfide.com

11. George Harrison

Have a nosey around George’s priceless (but chipped) collection of axes, accompanied by rare audio commentary from the man himself and super-detailed photos.

69p

bandwidth.com

12. CARROT Fit

The world’s first ‘talking fitness app’, CARROT shames you into losing weight using ridicule and threats (“Get that flabby body moving, meatbag!”). Fail and it sends you on a 5k ‘Deathmarch’.

£1.49

meetcarrot.com

13. Platter

If Jamie or Gordon’s recipe isn’t looking right, you can’t text them for help. But

you can with Platter, a social network where foodies upload their own recipes. Trouble with a dish? Simply message its creator.

Free

platterhq.com

14. Korg Gadget

Korg’s new app squeezes 15 rare synths and drum machines into an iPad. Then tweet your track to Deadmau5 who will sign you up...

£20

korg.com

15. Wordeo

A mash-up of Vine and Snapchat, you create a message and Wordeo puts it to video and music. The good thing is that they are hard to ignore. The bad thing is that they’re hard to ignore…

Free

wordeo.com

16. Odds-checker

An indispensible app for the gambling man, Oddschecker is a price-comparison engine that scours all the online bookies to find the most favourable odds on sport and more.

Free

oddschecker.com

17. Lifesum

This popular Swedish diet app tracks your food intake and uses it to build an insanely detailed profile to help you manage your lifestyle. Because your lifestyle (well, gut) probably does need managing.

Free

lifesum.com

18. Cities Talking

Sick of work already? You need a break… This app takes you on amusing walking tours of European cities. Warning: contains monks, wolves and Nazis.

Free

citiestalking.com

19. Journeys of Invention

We offered to wear white gloves, but the Science Museum still refused to let us ‘have a go’ on the Apollo 11 Command Module. But now you can study it, and more, up close with this app.

Free

sciencemuseum.org.uk

20. Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series

This interactive history of Dylan bootlegs is for die-hard fans only. That’s you? Oh good. Then you’ll enjoy hoovering up geeky details, video interviews and timelines that explore the history of each song.

Free

rgenerator.com

21. Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

This construction sim sees you build your own moon-sized Death Star, staff it with Ewoks and raise money for evil plots. So unputdownable we were relieved when our battery ran out.

Free

disney.com

22. The Elements In Action

This app uncovers the mysteries of the periodic table. Each element has a video, shot by a Bafta-winner, showing its reactive power. Dropping a cannonball into a mercury bath? Yep, that’s a reaction...

£2.49

touchpress.com

23. GIFT KING

Billed as ‘man’s best friend’, the humbly-named Gift King app is a fast way to find the ultimate gift for your other half. Answer a few questions about your partner, set your price range, and up pops salvation.

Free

notonthehighstreet.com

24. Modernist Cuisine at Home

As you may have deduced from the price, this is a luxurious cookery app. It contains a video vault of Heston-style trade secrets – everything from caramelising a carrot to using xanthan gum.

£55

modernistcuisine.com

25. Songdrop

The beauty of Songdrop is that it pulls together tracks from YouTube, Bandcamp, Vimeo and SoundClound – in one player. You can listen to tracks whenever you like and puzzle why something so brilliant can be free of adverts.

Free

songdrop.com

26. SportLobster

He wasn’t exactly known as a firebrand, but Michael Owen has grown tired of Twitter’s 140-character limit and invested in this app. Fans can blog, taunt, predict scores, win bragging rights and generally lord it over an opposing team – live, during matches.

Free

sportlobster.com

27. Pitchup.com

Britain has some of the most picturesque rural campsites in the world – and some of the most tech-phobic. This app makes it simple to book a pitch at one of 700 sites in the UK and France – with confirmation arriving by text message.

Free

pitchup.com

28. British St Food

This app maps out the UK’s street food stalls/trucks/pop-ups. Each location pin glows green when the vendor is serving, whether that be chorizo-flavoured scones in London or a Bombay-inspired breakfast in Glasgow.

Free

britishstreetfood.co.uk

29. Ruffl

Spontaneously dining out is fun, hence this app. Using geo-location, it suggests five nearby restaurants that have tables free in the next 15 minutes. (It’s limited to five to ensure quality – rather than, “Hey, there’s an empty Nandos 30m away!”).

Free

ruffl.co

30. Type:Rider

If you’ve ever seen the documentary Helvetica, you’ll know the unlikely appeal of typography. This app provides a fascinating history lesson in the origins of fonts, which you play just like a puzzle game. Weird, but well worth the price of admission.

£2

bulkypix.com

31. mytime london

There are lots of events calenders, but this one is personalised. You tell it what sort of stuff you like – from ‘off-the-grid’ club nights to burger pop-ups and open-air operas – and it helps you book by directing you to the venue's booking page.

Free

mytimelondon

32. The World Wine Atlas

Don’t have time to swan around the world’s best vineyards, vigorously necking free samples? Then do it vicariously, via this wine atlas with panoramic maps. No more ‘fancy label’ technique, OK?

£15

worldatlasofwine.com

33. Snoop Lion’s Snoopify Boom Boom Soundboard

Yep, he’s definitely lost it. That said, this app, which lets you use his samples to make new songs, is a guaranteed house party hit. Worth the price for the name alone.

£1.49

99centbrains.com

34. Pumatrac

The guy who made the ‘Couch To 5K’ running app probably regrets not patenting it now. Here’s Puma’s spin on the idea of game-ified running; Pumatrac gives users a run score and is compatible with the Kickstarter-funded Pebble smart watch.

Free

puma.com

35. NBA 2K14

The changes since the 2K13 version are not gigantic or instantly noticeable to the untrained eye, but there are plenty of subtle tweaks to what remains, without question, the best basketball game out there right now.

£5.49

2ksports.com

36. SHADOW PUPPET

Nothing to do with that band Alex Turner did with Miles Kane, Shadow Puppet lets you turn photos into a slideshow, then add a voiceover to your montage. This way, no one will escape your holiday snapshots. Or commentary.

Free

get-puppet.com

37. The Good Pub Guide 2014

The respected beer radar’s iPad edition offers “best brewpub”, “best whisky pub” and even a pub crawl plotter.

£4.99

randomhouse.co.uk

38. Spread- sheets

This app uses your iPhone’s accelerometer and microphone to scientifically quantify your sexual performance. Duration, decibel peak and thrusts are depicted in graphs. Yes, really. Not exactly romantic.

Free

spreadsheetsapp.com

39. INQ Material

By scanning your Twitter and Facebook, this Flipboard-style app compiles a twice-daily digital magazine of the blogs, news, music and videos it thinks you’d like. Ours was almost exclusively steak-related.

Free

inqmobile.com

40. CanOpener

A touchscreen equaliser for listening to music through headphones, CanOpener (get it?) eliminates crossfeed and makes headphones sound more like loudspeakers. Oh and it also tracks your volume and tells you if you’re starting to go deaf.

£3

canopenerapp.com

41. Table Pouncer

Even the world’s finest eateries are stood up by diners, hence booking app Table Pouncer. It lets you capitalise on the no-shows and save up to 70 per cent. Bookings cost £5 – to thwart further mischief making.

Free

tablepouncer.com

42. Blackbar

Set in a sci-fi-tinged, dystopian world where the state censors everything, this very strange (but very good) brain-teasing text adventure is a new type of crossword. You receive telegrams and have to guess the blacked-out words.

£1.50

mrgan.com/blackbar

43. 1 Second Everyday

This app prompts you to record one second of your life each day, which it compiles into a film. By the time you’re 80, it’ll be five hours long. But, if you forget to do it one day, it’ll annoy you forever.

69p

1secondeveryday.com

44. BFI app

Available first on Samsung TVs, this app unlocks some of the unseen treasures in the BFI’s archives. There’s footage by film pioneers Mitchell and Kenyon – in addition to more recent documentaries, and the likes of Martin Scorsese in conversation.

Free

bfi.org.uk

45. Grill Timer

Punch in a type of meat, the temperature of your barbecue (most have a thermometer on the hood) and whether you like your lamb bleating or very much cremated, and Grill Timer will tell you precisely how long you need to grill it for.

£1.49

grilltimeapp.com

46. Tube Tracker

This is just like the official London Underground Tube map. Except that live, real-time markers denote Tube trains creeping along the lines. We can’t stop watching it – just in case we catch two trains heading towards each other.

Free

tubetracker.co.uk

47. Soundhalo

Having fallen out spectacularly with Spotify, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has thrown his weight behind rival service Soundhalo, where you can download live music tracks literally moments after a band walks off stage.

Free

soundhalo.com

48. Chefsfeed

Chefsfeed is the world’s first chef-powered restaurant guide. Suggestions from the likes of Alain Ducasse, Wolfgang Puck and Mario Batali take food porn to a new level. Check out the black truffle custard if you don’t believe us…

Free

chefsfeed.com

49. Narrato

Lifeblogging – wearing a video camera in the style of a ‘Google Glasshole’ – hasn’t quite taken off. Maybe journaling will? It’s like keeping a diary – the difference being people can read it online. Each entry comprises social media, photos, music and locations.

Free

narrato.co

50. Uberx

This impressive taxi app aims to disrupt the cab industry. How? By offering professional drivers in low-emission cars who charge 30-50 per cent less than black cabs and don’t rant at cyclists. Simple when you think about it.

Free

uber.com

51. Way of the Dogg

Top pick of Nick Frost: You use your rhythm to trigger kung fu moves – what’s not to like? We don’t want to get on Snoop’s back, so we’ll say this is the best game ever. Three crunk goblets out of three.

£1.99

505games.com

52. Pact

Top pick of Simon Pegg: Anything to loosen the grip of Starbucks – and get people drinking better coffee – is a good idea. The selections all sound fairly one-world and good for farmers. We’ll give this three coffee beans out of three.

Free

pactcoffee.com

53. Echo112

Picture the scene: you’re at a rum distillery on the paradise island of Grenada when tragedy strikes and the pot still explodes. What’s the fire brigade’s number? This app knows what country you’re in and direct dials the emergency services – anywhere in the world.

Free

echo112.com

54. Plonk

French pronunciations, food pairings and a ‘periodic table’ of grape types: this wine app will give you a leg-up in the world of high-class booze. It won’t be long before you’ll confidently tell a wine waiter to “put it back in the horse”.

Free

bibendum.co.uk

55. Pivo

Pivo can order a beer in an impressive 59 languages including Zulu, Esperanto and – ironically – Arabic. Video pronunciation tutorials are provided for the parched traveller itching to teach that local brew ‘a lesson’.

69p

pivoapp.com

56. My Asics

One good reason to ditch your existing running app in favour of this one: its training programmes (from 5k to a marathon) are the result of seven years of research, hence 78 per cent of users are currently hitting their goals. The other 22 per cent have no excuse.

Free

my.asics.co.uk

57. City-socializer

Going to an unfamiliar city? Citysocializer is a social network that helps you tap into the scene and find someone to hang out with. It’s a slick way to make friends. And by friends, we mean drinking buddies.

Free

citysocializer.com

58. Wimbledon 2013

Dig out that broken tennis racquet, get trousered on Pimm’s and flop down in front of the TV with your iPad. This second screen Wimbledon app enhances the event with live scores, HD time-lapse photos and jaw-dropping 360-degree video.

Free

wimbledon.com

59. Videofyme

Want to turn your amateurish camera phone footage into five minutes of hashtaggable gold? Videofyme has the slick video-editing tools, Instagram-style colour filters and storyboarding functions your YouTube channel is crying out for.

Free

videofy.me

60. Waze

Facebook is reported to have bid $1bn and Google is also interested in this turn-by-turn ‘social sat-nav’ app. It’s like a normal sat-nav but smarter: users update the maps themselves (like a Wikipedia page) and provide real-time traffic jam warnings.

Free

waze.com

61. Traktor DJ

DJing is a handy skill guaranteed to endear a man to drunk crowds. Handily, Tracktor helps you master seamless mixing with its idiot-proof tools – including auto tempo detection – all controlled by hand gestures.

£14

native-instruments.com

62. Where Chefs Eat

We had assumed that the world’s best chefs ate well, but this app is the proof. You get thousands of recommendations from 400 of the world’s best chefs and it’s the culinary industry’s riposte to years of vague/insulting Yelp reviews...

£15

phaidon.com

63. iVIP

The iVIP ‘millionaire app’ can arrange access to first-class lounges, book you a trip to a private island or track down that rare wristwatch. What? You don’t have £699 of iTunes credit? The London-only version costs a mere £99.

£699

ivipworld.com

64. Hotel Tonight

Many hotel booking apps ask users to submit photos of rooms – which are invariably dark and badly framed. HotelTonight’s ‘Snap Your Stay’ feature pays users $10 for the best shots. Thus, the results are a lot more useful.

Free

hoteltonight.com

65. BlaBlaCar

Travelling to a festival? This carpooling app connects people with cars going the same way. You can even choose travel buddies based on their musical taste. Note to BlaBlaCar: their bladder capacity would be helpful, too.

Free

blablacar.com

66. Kooky London

Made for the anti-tourist, Kooky London maps out the city’s bizarre-but-fascinating landmarks. Tap to find a hidden Soviet T-34 tank, a barber shop with its own speakeasy and Alfred Hitchcock’s birthplace (now a Jet garage).

69p

kookylondon.co.uk

Tags: apps, gadgets

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