Some of the best apps for iPads and Android tablets.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Tablets 101: The best apps

January 27, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

Now that you've got that tablet, what can you do with it? Last week we looked at where to get apps. This week, in the second session in our three-week class on Tablets 101, we'll consider a few of the best apps. Pay attention and please don't block the screen.

iPad apps: Notes, built into the iPad, is an excellent word processor. But Pages ($9.99) is a fantastic word processor with great desktop publishing functions. The iPad's Mail app and Safari web browser are great, and no substitutes are needed. Numbers ($9.99) is an iPad spreadsheet app that does what Excel does (including reading and writing Excel tables) while making Excel look hard. iPhoto ($4.99) for the iPad is my choice for the best consumer photo-editing software for tablet or computer. (Yes, it's that good.)

Freebies for the iPad you won't want to miss: Zite for an instant news-and-feature magazine, Wikipanion for an intuitive way of reading Wikipedia articles, Bible+1 for a superb (and multi-version) study and reading app, AppShopper to keep up with the latest apps, and the Kindle app to read Kindle books on an iPad.

Android apps: Quickoffice Pro HD ($19.99) is my choice for outstanding MS Office compatibility and a great Microsoft Word-compatible word processor. Write ($2.99) is perfect for general word processing and could not be easier to use. The Chrome web browser (free) is a must -- it's the best browser for Android -- if your tablet didn't come with it already. The Apexlauncher (free) provides a new-looking interface with a lot of customizable features. Don't be surprised if you get hooked. Finally, Touch Retouch ($.99) is the Android version of a fabulous iPad photo touch-up app. It works just as well. And you'll just have to replace Android's clunky email app with Aqua Mail (free).

Freebies for Android: Flipboard is cool for creating an instant news and feature magazine, but would be second to Zite except for the lack of a good version of Zite for Android. Music the way you want it? Get Pandora Internet radio. If you're a Windows user who loved WinAmp, get the app of the same name for music playback. I do a lot of voice mail and would be lost without HiQ MP3, which makes quick audio recordings. Keeping track of expenses is what Fiancisto was born to do, and managing a photo collection is a snap for JustPictures.

Microsoft Surface Apps: They are all too new to review. Be cautious if you have a Surface RT tablet: So-called Windows apps for RT are not actual Windows programs and won't run on a PC. Nor will PC programs of any kind run on a Surface RT. Sound like a mess? Potential customers seem to think so. Surface sales have been dismal.

Next: Care and feeding.