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Last Updated: November 27th, 2012

With over 50,000 applications in the Android Market, and that number increasing very rapidly, finding a legitimate and detailed review of an application is difficult.

If you’ve tried using the official Android Market website, you’ve probably noticed that the experience is…well, less than ideal.

Enter app review websites. Many app review sites are supported by an open-source API (Application Programming Interface) that allows these sites to provide information that is congruent with the Android Market to its visitors. Some app review sites go so far as to allow visitors to contribute their own two cents to each application's individual review, such as user ratings and user generated comments. App review sites also provide screen shots, videos, and descriptions.


What Criteria Makes for a Great Application Review Site?
Each app review site is different, but there are some general criteria we as users can expect to see from a great one. When looking for a credible app review site we need to consider the following criteria:

Quality Content
Content is key when deciding if an app review is legitimate. Good content can make or break the decision to download, or even pay for an application. A great app review site will have more than just the basic description.

If we take a look at the Android Market's website you'll notice that there aren't very many applications listed, and the apps that you do see have hardly what would be considered a quality description. For example, the Qik application on the Android Market's website has a total of 3 sentences explaining what the application does, whereas on an app review site like AndroidTapp.com, their review of Qik does much more.

Their website provides you with a description of the app, pros & cons, a description of features, and AndroidTapp even provides a video showing how the application works. In comparison, we find that an app review site does a significantly better job presenting content defining the application than the Android Market website.

Screen Shots/Videos
The Android Market via our handsets provides us with screen shots of nearly every application, however sometimes it's helpful to have a bit more, such as a video.

Application review sites like AndroidApps.com provide us with not only great content, but also video reviews of how the application functions - showing us key features, and how the application works overall. This can be handy for those applications that we have to pay for, but we're not sure if the value of the app is worth the cost.

Video reviews give us the "try before you buy" mentality - without actually having to pay for anything right away.

Price Listing
Money is a big deal, especially in times like these. When paid applications can range anywhere from $.99 to $20 or more, its definitely a wise idea to read reviews before you buy to see what people are saying about their experiences. A great review can draw excitement to a specific application, but when the reader gets excited and finds out that the writer failed to mention cost, going to the Android Market can leave one feeling empty and hesitant to purchase.

Several app review sites make sure to post whether or not an app is free, a few worth mentioning are AppBrain.com and Androlib.com - they actually allow visitors to browse apps via a free category or a paid category - to make life easier. On the topic of price, AppBrain also helps you find which apps have had a drop in price, making it easier to save a buck or two.

User Ratings
User ratings are the most important criteria to take note of when looking through an app review or even before downloading or purchasing any application. User ratings score an application on a scale of 1 to 5 stars: 1 being the worst, and 5 being the best.

Applications with ratings of 4 or 5 stars are usually great applications with a solid following. An app review site that allows users to contribute their rating is definitely a must. Why download an app that has a poor rating?

A low user rating can indicate issues that have not yet been resolved by the developer - and it may be best to wait on downloading or purchasing. It’s also great to contribute and rate app’s that you enjoy or may have had issues with.

Besides emailing the developer, user ratings are a great way for developers of an application to discover user related issues, and improve their creation.

QR/Scan Codes
A QR Code is short for a "Quick Response" code. It is a two-dimensional bar code that applications such as Barcode Scanner and ShopSavvy can capture and direct a user to the Android Market for easy download. These codes are usually available with every application's review on a great app review site. Usually the more "database-like" app review sites provide these code for their users.

Now that we have a set of criteria to work from, lets take a look at how the top Android App review sites stack up...

App Review Site Description Content Type Screen Shots/Video Price Included User Ratings QR Scan Codes Provided
AppBrain Catalog style database site, providing top lists, browse by category, and search Brief content highlighting key features and functions Screenshots Yes Yes Yes (after clicking "More options")
AndroidTapp Blog style database site, providing app blog, advice, browse by category and search Long, detailed descriptions (including features, pros & cons) Screenshots & video Yes Yes - public user ratings in addition to AndroidTapp ratings Yes
AndroLib Catalog style database, browse by category, and search Brief content highlighting key features and functions Screenshots Yes Yes Yes
AndroidApps Blog style database site, browse by category and search Long, detailed descriptions Video mostly / screenshots No No No
AndroidZoom Catalog style database site, browse by category and search Brief content highlighting key features and functions Screenshots provided for some applications Yes Yes Yes
DoubleTwist Catalog style database site, providing top lists, browse by category and search, Downloadable software for PC (mimics  iTunes) Brief content highlighting key features and functions Screenshots Yes Yes Yes
Android App Review Source Blog style database site, browse by category and search Long, detailed descriptions Screenshots Yes - within content No No

Finding the best apps from the ever growing Android Market is difficult, and App Review sites help make life easier for fellow Android users.

Did we miss any good ones? Which site is your favorite?

Sarah Morrow
Sarah has been addicted to Android since October of 2008 when the G1 was released and has had several phones since then. Sarah is in the process of obtaining her Bachelor's degree in Web Development and spends a great deal of time online blogging and messing around with her rooted Droid Eris.
  • http://www.androidtapp.com AndroidTapp.com

    Thanks for highlighting us! Just a quick correction for your chart, we do provide QR Codes with every review and provide user rating along with our rating (they're located toward the top just below the main screenshot).

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Corrected, thank you.

  • http://iandouglas.com/ ian douglas

    Another point is that AppBrain doesn't necessarily *need* QR codes -- if you register with your Google credentials and install the app on your device, you can simply click a button on their site to add that app to a download list on your device. AppBrain is my wife's favorite "app market" for the simplicity of it.

  • http://www.appbrain.com/ Mathijs

    Thanks for the interesting comparison. AppBrain actually does provide QR codes in the "(more options)" menu under an App's title. I agree it can be highlighted more. We didn't give it a prominent place because it's much easier to install apps found on AppBrain is via the Install button in combination with native app, which gets rid of the whole scanning step.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Thanks, correction posted.

  • http://www.androidtapp.com AndroidTapp.com

    Also Androidtapp.com reviews are linked with Androlib.com and AppBrain.com and vice-versa

  • ari tafari

    What about Cyrket? http://www.cyrket.com/

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Ahh, the OG's who started it all. Good addition, not sure how we forgot it :-]

  • joe

    To cool got to have it

  • yuku

    Please don't say only that some sites have this feature or not. Some sites has faster update rate than the others. Some maintain history of price, ratings, and version updates, while others don't. That's important, in my opinion.

    Also, could you provide information how those sites can gather data from Android Market? It seems that they even have more information than Android Market, for example ratings of "4.22 stars" rather than "4 stars" that Android Market shows.

  • nonie

    The cost of an app is not as important to me as the SIZE. I wish that we could sort by how much space it will take.

  • http://wiki4android.com/blog/ Scadi

    What about wiki4android?

  • http://folderoganizer.net Gain

    This list is fantastic and i will surely submit my new application Folder Organizer to these sites for review.

  • James Andrew

    Here you can find one more android apps review site http://bit.ly/kma6bE I have seen some comprehensive reviews about new android apps in this website. I highly recommend this site.

  • http://www.approasters.com David Keyes

    One of my apps was recently reviewed on a site called approasters.com. They have an interesting concept of "roasting" apps instead of just reviewing them -- that is looking primarily for the "things that suck" as they put it.

  • http://www.tapscape.com Shaun

    You can submit your Android app for review at http://www.tapscape.com. 100,000 pageviews monthly.

  • johncharter44

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