While I did cancel my Google Play Pass subscription and no longer really browse through the apps section of the Play Store, I have amassed a number of interesting and unique apps which I’ve gone on to rely on over the past year. I’m always in search of new and exciting experiences, and ever since I got my Pixel 6 Pro from Google, I’ve taken time to load it up with my favorites.
Today, I wanted to share a few apps that I’m enjoying on my phone that you may or may not have heard of before today. The following intentionally omit games and the usual Google apps and other big-name titles as writing about what you’ve already got installed on your devices would be kind of a waste of time. Without further ado, let’s take a look!
Tracking my workouts
I love Google Fit, but there’s one thing it really doesn’t do as well as I would have hoped. Yes, it tracks your steps, lets you gauge your breath, heart rate, and more, it kind of sucks at letting you track sets and reps while weight training (thanks for removing that, Google) as well as letting you build workout schedules.
For that reason, I’ve turned to GymKeeper. It uses a very Googley design, with each of your workouts on the calendar being represented by a different color dot. The one thing I must have with my apps is a nice layout, easy navigation and if possible, Material Design. In this case, I got as close as I could, and no other apps really fit the bill. I was overly pleased to have run into GymKeeper, and use it several times a week in the gym to track my gains.
Tracking my games backlog
As someone obsessed with tracking everything in his life (many times to a fault), I’ve attempted to fill out many a video game backlog tracker only to end up hating it for its lack of polish. Again, it must look nice and be exciting, automatically pulling in game cover art, metadata, and more. Stash does all of this and more.
Now, you’ve got Play Books and TV for tracking your reading and watching experiences, and you can use Stash to track what you play. Google really does need to buy these guys up or build something similar to fill that gap within its own ecosystem. You can attempt to use Google Collections as a game backlog tracker if you’d like, but it’s not ideal!
Reflecting daily on life
I try to use my Bullet Journal every day to gain insight into my life, how I’m living, and ultimately, to be more productive over time. However, for journalling experiences that occur in your life, using paper is not always the best as you can’t search your entries, and that means that larger, more analytical observations are more difficult to make.
Take it from someone who’s already installed and tested every single journal and diary app on the Play Store – Journey is hands down the best. It’s user friendly, beautiful, and just all-around cozy to use. It actually had the photo memories map long before Google Photos did, and there’s just something about seeing all of your entries on a calendar that Google can learn from.
Creating a budget (and trying to stick with it!)
While I’ve tried all of the journaling apps on the market, I’ve also spent an obsessive amount of time using every budgeting app available. Spendee is one of the best, most gorgeous apps you can install. You Need a Budget is a lot more popular, but Sppendee makes managing your money much less intimidating. You can also share wallets with your loved ones, and tie the app straight into your bank for automatic transaction categorizations. You will need to periodically adjust these, but sitting down once or twice a week and doing so (or better yet, when you spend something!) will prevent this from becoming unruly.
Learning Japanese (or any other language)
I’m technically breaking my rule of installing and using only the most Googley, gorgeous, Material Design-inspired apps by promoting AnkiDroid, but as I learn Japanese and start to engage with “SRS” systems (spaced repetition), Anki is the go-to experience for practicing your language learning on the go.
Anki means “memorization” in Japanese, but the app can be used to help you learn any language, study for a medical or law exam, memorize people’s names or faces, brush up on geography, poetry, or even guitar chords. You manually load in intelligent flashcard decks that automatically and periodically recall incorrectly identified cards to increase your knowledge retention in a more effective way than traditional studying would.
If you’re interested in more articles like this, just let me know! I love sharing my favorite apps, but have never really done so. I’ve been looking back at my apps, web apps, and just all of the experiences I’ve tried out over the past few years and realized that hoarding all of that great information is just such a waste.
What are your favorite apps to use on your Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro? do you use another phone entirely? If so, what are you rocking right now? Do you tend to track your life and “lifelog” through apps, or do you just wing it and use the basics? Let’s chat about it below!