Lifehacker Pack for Android Tablets: Our Essential Apps List

Apps for Android tablets caused quite a stir this year when we heard they were coming to Chromebooks soon. As a follow -up to Android’s seventh annual suite, last week we are testing the apps that work best with large screens.

Lifehacker Pack is an annual snapshot of our favorite and essential apps for each of our favorite platforms. For our constantly updated catalog of all the best apps, be sure to bookmark our Android apps catalog .


Wunderlist / Google Keep / Any.Do

Wunderlist is still our top pick for Android to- do lists, and its tablet interface makes good use of the extra screen real estate. It can display your lists, tasks and details on one screen. Google Keep takes a different approach by arranging your notes in a grid. Any.Do has also developed a useful tablet interface that shows your projects on one side of the screen and individual elements on the other.

Google Calendar / Today Calendar

Today Calendar has taken our recommendation for Android phones. On tablets, it has a nice layout with an overview of the month on one side and the day on the other. However, as soon as you view an individual event, it starts expanding to ultra-widescreen. If you prefer to use something that makes better use of space, Google Calendar will do the job. In the Week view, you can still see thumbnails of your month as well as all of your various sub-calendar.

Docs / Sheets / Google Slides

Google’s suite of office apps has only improved over the years. While Google Docs, Sheets and Slides can be more powerful on the web, they are useful Android apps as well. If you use a tablet with a keyboard, they really start to shine. You might not want to write a novel or balance your company’s budget solely with a touchscreen, but if you need to make edits or work on the road, they can get the job done.

Microsoft Word / Excel / PowerPoint

In response to Google’s mobile efforts, Microsoft has begun rolling out Android versions of its core Office apps. You can use basic versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint to view and make major changes to your documents. If you want to unlock the full versions, including things like support for tablets larger than 10.1 inches, you’ll need to purchase an Office 365 subscription. For quick editing, the free version should be sufficient, but if you do a lot of work on tablets ( or Chromebooks ) , 365 might be helpful.

Dropbox / Google Drive

Whether you prefer Dropbox or Google Drive is largely a matter of your opinion (and you all certainly have your own thoughts ), but both are essential for any device. Dropbox still looks like a stretched phone even after all these years, but it can still be used. Google Drive, on the other hand, takes the same card-style approach as most other Google apps, which means it looks about the same on tablets as it does on phones, but makes better use of space.

Evernote / OneNote

The design of the Evernote tablet is as attractive as a phone, but with plenty of room to breathe, so you can read more of your notes at once and do more. Of course, if you use Evernote on your phone and computer, you can’t use Evernote on your tablet without paying . If you don’t want to spend money, Microsoft’s OneNote offers a great alternative. You can add notes, manage notebooks, and even draw notes if you have a stylus.

Internet and communications


Chrome’s ability to sync with its desktop counterpart and access open tabs on other devices still gives it a huge edge over the competition. Unlike the phone version of Chrome, on tablets, the app has a tabbed interface that makes desktop users feel right at home. It also includes quick access to voice search right in the address bar.


Few developers really understand the capabilities of Android in the same way that Pushbullet does. As if the app was n’t cool enough on your phone , Pushbullet makes great use of your big screen by showing a conversation view of all the people and devices you can tap on. You can also quickly and easily view all the channels you are subscribed to . If you want to send over 100 text messages a month from your tablet, you might need a Pro plan, but you still need Pushbullet to exchange links between your phone, tablet, and desktop.


Hangouts supports both one-to-one and group chat, making it a solid competitor for tablet messaging. It also allows you to send picture messages and emoticons, as well as make video calls. So far, Hangouts is still one of the most user-friendly chat apps for tablets. If you’re not a Hangouts fan, Facebook Messenger chat heads sometimes work, but the tablet interface is still stretched out and not quite optimal.

Based on location

Google now

If you have an Android device, Google Now will automatically be your right app. It will know where you live and work, tell you how long it will take you to get to your destination, show you nearby restaurants and attractions, and keep you updated on weather, promotions and news that Google thinks you might be interested in. and much more . You also get an extremely powerful set of voice commands to add calendar events, set reminders and alarms, send messages, search and identify songs with one voice. Be sure to check out our list of things you probably didn’t know you can do with google voice commands .

Google Maps

Google Maps has always been one of the best Android apps, and the tablet version is no exception. You can get directions, find new restaurants or points of interest, and search for public transport or traffic information in the new Google Maps. The app couldn’t be more user-friendly and it deserves its place as one of the most downloaded Android software products.

Android Device Manager

Google’s own security app allows you to locate your other devices, block or erase them remotely, and call them if you’ve lost them. This is a handy, albeit fairly basic, set of security features. While you can register your tablet without installing the app itself, it’s handy for finding your phone or other Android devices.

Music and photo


Pandora is the Internet radio standard. It’s just as useful on tablets as it is on phones, so you can enjoy music on your tablet without overwhelming the user. The multi-pane design allows you to browse new stations in more detail without constantly changing screens.

Snapseed / Google Photos

Snapseed has made it easier to edit photos on mobile devices. It allows you to apply tons of filters, corrections and corrections to your images. It even has great tools for complex editing. Google Photos has also morphed into its own, with a tile-based interface that takes advantage of the extra space without much change. Auto Awesome, powerful search tools and cloud backups make Photos an indispensable app if you want to manage your photos on your tablet.

Google Play Music / Spotify

Subscribing to music on Google Play makes it an attractive option for streaming music as well as a great digital locker for your existing collection. The card user interface scales well for large displays and adapts very well to different screen sizes. If you pay for a subscription, you can also access YouTube Red , which removes ads and adds background playback, which is great for tablet multitasking. Spotify offers a good alternative if you don’t use the Google app. You can even stream music to tablets for free on Spotify , which is even better than the free offer for phones.

FL Studio Mobile

The tablet version of the incredibly popular FL Studio is a bit pricey at $ 20, but well worth it if you want to record entire songs on the go. You are provided with a variety of instruments and loops that you can use to create real songs. This is not a full-fledged music studio, but professionals or aspiring artists should definitely visit it.

Films and videos


IMDb is a must-have for anyone who has ever said, “What else was this actor in?” It’s also probably one of the few apps on this list that looks better on tablets than on phones. You can use the app to keep track of the movies you have watched, the ones you want to watch, rate movies, and even view the screenings at nearby cinemas.

Netflix / Hulu

Netflix and Hulu serve very different streaming needs, but they go well together. Netflix offers tons of original content as well as a library of old TV shows and movies. Hulu pays more attention to current dramas the day or week after they air. Both require a subscription to be used on a mobile phone, as well as an internet connection to play videos (offline playback is not an option), but if you didn’t have such a large display to watch things like Futurama and The Daily Show you get this per?

Reading and news


For reading RSS feeds and other content sources, Feedly offers a variety of views that take advantage of all this extra space. If you read a lot of RSS feeds, Save For Later is especially handy for working in Pocket style without leaving the app. Browse channels from your couch, save a few for later, and then return to your bookmarks as soon as you return to your desktop. Or do the same in reverse order for a random reading.


One of the most comfortable ways to use a tablet is to sit on the couch and read. Pocket lets you defer articles for casual reading later. Because Pocket automatically downloads saved articles for offline reading, it’s especially handy if you only want to download your tablet on Wi-Fi and take it with you when you leave home.

Kindle / Play Books

Tablets make great e-books. Google Play Books has made it to our beloved e-book on Android . It has tons of research features like Wikipedia integration, dictionaries and notes. The Amazon Kindle is another good option. The novel’s unique X-ray feature helps keep track of all the characters in A Song of Ice and Fire (you know, before they die).



AirDroid is the closest Android device to a desktop client. It allows you to remotely access files and data on your tablet without connecting it to your desktop. You can even reply to text messages or update apps. If you spend a lot of time at your desk with connected devices, AirDroid is a must.

Tasker / IF

Tasker’s works just as powerfully on tablets as it does on phones. The application itself is not very suitable for large displays, but this is not necessary since Tasker runs in the background most of the time. There are many ways to get started with Tasker if you’re not familiar with it. If Tasker is too complicated for you, IFTTT’s IF (yes, it’s confusing) is a much simpler automation tool that you can plug into your other web services to do some really awesome stuff .

Solid explorer

Our previous pick for file explorer on tablets, ES File Explorer, ended up on our list below when it started using shadow adware . Fortunately, Solid Explorer is a great alternative that offers several useful features. You can view your local files, cloud storage, cast to Chromecast, and more. As with the phone, the app has a 14-day trial and then costs $ 1.99.

Dashclock widget

Widgets are all too often neglected on Android, but Dashclock works and it’s even better on a tablet. Thanks to the many extensions you can plug in, you can use this widget to keep up to date with everything that happens in your digital life. There are many extensions to charge Dashclock, and on larger tablets you can turn this widget into a real control panel.

Titanium backup

Titanium Backup remains the best backup app for other apps on any Android device. There is no exception for tablets. The user interface isn’t particularly tailored for giant tablets or tiny phones, but backups don’t have to be pretty if they’re functional. In other areas, it might be worth exploring alternatives, but when it comes to keeping your data secure, stick with the tried and true.


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