15
Aug
NicePlayer-Thumb

There's no shortage of music players for Android, but each one fills a particular niche that another offering just doesn't quite address. CloudAround, for example, is a great option for people who love cloud storage but don't want to trust their files entirely to one service or happen to rely on a service that doesn't offer a music streaming app (i.e. most of them). NicePlayer's draw is perhaps more superficial. This is a music player for people who love a clean card-style layout and can't get enough of apps that embrace it. NicePlayer is still in beta, and it's somewhat buggy at the moment, but it's already usable and attractive enough to warrant a look.

It Sure Is Pretty

If you like Google's new card-centric UI, then you're in for a treat here. NicePlayer deals out cards like it was born in Vegas. Each album gets its own card and are arranged in stacks. Picking a specific album draws it out of the stack, and scrolling through the list opens them all up for easier view. Clicking on an album brings it into focus and the track list pulls out from under. It's smoother than it sounds and makes navigating through songs a fresh experience.

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But Does It Work?

On the default screen, selecting the correct track is such a delicate bit of surgery that I want to use my finger nail, which isn't a good thing on devices with capacitive screens (again, most of them). Thankfully, clicking on the icon in the top right takes you to your playlist and transitions to a view where the track names are larger and easier to click. Tracks can be pinned to the playlist and rearranged using simple drag and drop.

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The playlists come with a decent amount of depth. There are a variety of options available for randomizing the song order, a timer lets you select how long music should play before going to sleep, and an equalizer is present for tweaking how things sound. Unfortunately, NicePlayer was prone to crashing whenever I dabbled with this screen. That's quite a bit of lost functionality, but the app has been relatively stable otherwise. It handles playing music just fine, which is pretty important for a music player.

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NicePlayer automatically scans for music on your device, but it also comes with a built-in file manager for picking out anything that it misses. This part of the app is remarkably robust. Far from an afterthought, the file manager supports playing files directly and importing. It could easily serve as someone's primary means of accessing their music.

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There is one drawback to relying on the file manager, though it's relatively minor. Unlike songs accessed normally, files played from there don't show album art in the notification drawer.

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Should You Download It?

This depends entirely on how much you dig having a card-styled layout. Functionality wise, NicePlayer is a solid option, but it doesn't offer any other defining feature that alternatives cannot compete with. As a beta, it's also not yet ready for primetime. Still, I'm fond of it, and while most alternatives look very similar and perhaps overly cluttered, NicePlayer is bold enough to be different and clean. That's worth something. It's available for free, so give it a shot.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • http://www.steveedson.co.uk Steve Edson

    I like the concept, but I'd say the UI is far from polished, theres just so much whitespace and the padding is really inconsistent.

    Functionality looks good though.

    • http://kennydude.me/ Joe Simpson

      I also think there is way too much shadow on the cards.

      (Basically CardsUI is still wrong)

    • Cole Mickens

      Read my mind. The padding around the artist name in the first screenshot is obviously smaller than the padding around the text *directly below it*. It's kind of weird that the app is as close to good as it is, but has lots of little niggles like that. Especially when they would have had to go out of their way to give those elements different padding?

  • Brian Iturralde

    i dont like the interface, needs more work, i will keep using doubletwist

  • mikeym0p

    No mention of the built in id3 tag editor? For shame! It's something u don't think any other later has and every one should have.

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      It's nice, but it's not something established alternatives like PowerAmp and PlayerPro don't already have. Thus, it's not a "defining feature that alternatives cannot compete with."

      • mikeym0p

        Oh really? I'll have to check out PlayerPro. Still 3 out of many is still pretty rare. And having it only available from music.google.com for All Access is bothersome.

  • http://www.droid-den.com Rachid

    I'm no sure it's so nice tbh... :/

    I mean the idea is there... It just screams ugly a bit to me atm... I mean the use of space is kinda messed up, and there needs to be a bit more padding and just general refining I think :/

  • BennyBrick5

    I'll stick with Poweramp, thanks.

  • Michael Ta

    sometimes too much functionality is a bad thing for some people (like me). But you can never please everyone. Nonetheless, great job, some people might like the features, but remember this is still in BETA so things are not perfectly polished.

  • Matthew Fry

    Wow. Not very much love for the UI in the comments. I think it looks really good. Dev appears to be a humble bundler.

  • Captain Canada

    I use Nexmusic which looks like a stock app and is simple to use plus it's free

  • valapsp

    anyone got the FAST forwarding function on the LG Tone to work with any music player?

    • PhoenixPath

      You mean "next", or like a "speed up" function?

      I have the 730 and it works great with my One and Google Music. Next, previous, pause, play, volume...

      http://www.amazon.com/LG-Wireless-Bluetooth-Stereo-Headset/dp/tech-data/B0052YFYFK

      Love this headset.

      • valapsp

        no not next as I said fast forwarding a song. I have Nexus 7 and tried it with at least 5 music players and non of them worked. any ideas?

        • PhoenixPath

          To be honest, I wasn't even aware of a fast-forward function...how is that even accessed? Long-pressing next?

          • valapsp

            yup long pressing next.

  • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

    SOoo many players over the years but absolutely none have compelled me to leave PowerAmp. That player is legendary and will go down in mobile history as the JesusPlayer!

  • Anthony Francis

    Which is the best android music player folks?

  • http://www.marklaflamme.com/ Mark LaFlamme

    I just settled on Rocket Player and you want me to try something new? Okay, I'll do it, but only because I can never resist tinkering with new music apps. The tag editor is a nice touch, although I get that with Rocket, too.

  • Simon Belmont

    Does it have gapless playback? Can anyone suggest a good music player that does?

    A friend of mine keeps asking me. Gapless was never a huge thing for me, so I'm happy with the stock Android music player.

  • PhoenixPath

    Until or unless Google opens up it's Music API. I'm stuck with Google Music. Other players can have more function, better UI, free beer...but without access to my library it's useless (except the beer).

  • Connor Hartzog

    For a much better implementation of the CardsUI you'd have to check out Now Playing: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.underwood.now_playing2

  • George

    CardUI can suck a hairy sweaty ball.

    White or Blue text on black will always be eye and reader friendly on music players.

  • tim

    I am satisified with apollo or ttpod.

  • CyanogenMod User

    Too reliant on playlists and not the most basic task of a music player and that is playing music from a simple list of song which is what this doesn't even offer.

  • someone755

    So I'm not the only one whose only music is soundracks from the last Android Humble Bundle. xD

  • abobobilly

    This is far from being called "Card UI". It looks and performs nothing like Google's card UI.

    The pictures make it LOOK like so but use the app for a couple of minutes and you'll realize how cumbersome it really is.

    I do like one thing. The "Oscilloscope" type of Seek Bar though.

    Otherwise, my excitement has dimmed down almost fully after using it for a couple of hours.

  • Primalxconvoy

    If it hasn't got integrated playback from folder/file view, it's not really an option for me.

  • Elliot Kotis

    But can I play my Google Play pinned songs?