How has your Black Friday been so far? When you are not shopping for the best Black Friday deals, you can always while your time away with the following apps that we think are worthy of the Top 5 apps of the week status on both Android and/or iOS platforms.
Do take note that this article takes a different route compared to our twice-weekly edition of free apps of the week, since we have already performed our due diligence by installing and using these apps for ourselves. By doing so, we remain alert to the presence of unnecessary in-app purchases, if any, and/or other hidden costs that you might want to avoid.
It is also the week where the World Cup is in full swing, which is why we have also included FIFA's official World Cup app so that you can keep track of the latest football scores. Yes, I used the term 'football' on purpose because this is more commonly used worldwide compared to the term 'soccer', live with it! This article is published weekly, and you can also check out our Top 5 apps from last week just in case you missed it. Without further ado, these are the following apps that made the cut this week!
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FIFA+ (iOS & Android)
Ole! Ole! Ole! This year's World Cup has been more than just a pure sporting spectacle, making it different from some of the other celebratory editions. However, we would just like to concentrate on the main event itself, as sports is meant to unite and not divide the global village. Following the news can be quite a tedious affair, and sometimes, you just want to hear it from the horse's mouth. Enter the FIFA+ app, which is officially sanctioned and offers all the latest match results, team news, and highlights right at your fingertips.
For those who have purchased matchday tickets, you can also see a digital copy of your ticket on the app. Alternatively, if you have been in two minds about watching a live match, the app itself provides another avenue for you to purchase tickets by redirecting you to the proper website. Yes, there are still last minute tickets on sale at the moment...
Needless to say, you can also purchase official merchandise via this app. Those who love statistics would definitely like to see the matchday information for each game, ranging from the attendance to weather, referees, the fourth official, and history of the live commentary that occurred through the length of the match.
- Price: Free / Advertising: Yes / In-app purchases: Yes / Account: Not required
Firefox Focus (iOS & Android)
I like how you can clear the browsing history simply by tapping on the garbage bin icon located at the top left-hand corner of the screen, and everything will be cleared in an instant. Overall, this is a browser option that you might want to install on your smartphone since it is extremely easy to use, and the settings will not overwhelm you. The layout is extremely friendly to the eyes, and most importantly, your privacy rights are well protected.
It loads everything fast because it does not load ad traffic. However, opening a new tab works differently compared to what you would experience on a desktop, and it does get some getting used to which should not be an issue for our tech-savvy generation. I like the fact that you can open links in another app of your choice, which is rather interesting. You can also pin up to four shortcuts on the home screen for quick and easy access.
- Price: Free / Advertising: None / In-app purchases: Yes / Account: Not required
Lookout - Assisted Vision (Android)
Lookout is an app for those who have low vision or a degree of blindness, where your smartphone's camera will help you in reading text, locate objects, and explore the world, among others. Interestingly, Lookout is available in over 20 languages and remains highly accessible since it needs a minimum of just 2 GB RAM to run, something which most Android smartphone users have many times over.
These modes are pretty much self-explanatory, and it really did perform well when I scanned text and documents. Food labels required me to download additional data so that it can offer the best possible experience to the user. When I accidentally scanned my keyboard, it even informed me of which keys the camera was looking at.
The flash will automatically turn on whenever you try to read text and documents, and for obvious reasons. However, when pointed at a laminated paper, it found it difficult to decipher what was printed simply because of reflection from the flash. Still, having flash is better than no flash at all, and I think there is plenty of potential for Lookout.
- Price: Free / Advertising: No / In-app purchases: None / Account: Required
- Download Lookout - Assisted Vision from the Google Play Store.
Paint MS Version (Android)
Ever used MS Paint on your Windows machine? I am talking about the halcyon days of Windows 3.1, where Minesweeper was the other app that many people used during their free time. Of course, Paint has come a long way since then, and some people have really gotten very creative with such a limited app. This is purely a walk down memory lane, and it is rather sad to see just how limited it was back in the day.
You basically get a port of MS Paint onto your Android device, and everything worked just as expected. If you think that drawing with your mouse is hard, try using your finger! This is especially true with the high-resolution displays that smartphones feature today, in addition to the relatively smaller screen size compared to a 14" CRT monitor.
Since it is free, you can just give it a go, although I don't think it will remain installed for too long as it will appeal more to those who used Windows 95 and earlier.
- Price: Free / Advertising: None / In-app purchases: No / Account: Not required
- Download Paint MS Version from the Google Play Store.
Pokémon TCG Live (iOS & Android)
This is the replacement for Pokémon TCG Online, so you can expect similar gaming mechanics. Do be aware that the number of cards has been halved, which the developer claims was a move made so that the game ends up as "optimal" for gamers. I am not so sure whether that is going to rub gamers the wrong way...
Once Live comes out of beta, Online will be shut down, so change is inevitable. You will also be able to purchase online booster packs, which translates to having a higher chance of getting a better deck with more money pumped into the game. You already know that, didn't you?
Early reports of this game have not been encouraging. Still, it carries the Pokémon franchise name, and I am quite sure that the developer is going to iron things out eventually. Here's keeping our fingers crossed, and most Pokémon fans would continue to give this game a go. Here's to hoping that all the early bugs get fixed ASAP so that the gaming experience will be as enjoyable as other Pokémon outings. Hopefully, this is one golden goose that will not be killed due to over commercialization...
- Price: None / Advertising: None / In-app purchases: Yes / Account: Required
That's it for this week after, just before Black Friday kicks off! How do you like our list of the Top 5 apps of the week? If you have something you would like to point out or want to share your own suggestions, leave a comment section right below!