Plex started its own video streaming service not too long ago, but the platform remains dedicated to fans who value it for its core capabilities — managing and accessing their own media. To make life easier for these people, the company has introduced two new apps as part of its Labs program: Plexamp, meant to be the go-to destination to listen to your music, and Plex Dash, a mobile server management tool. The biggest caveat: You need the Plex Pass to use either.
People familiar with Plex have probably already heard of Plexamp as it used to be a Plex Labs desktop app that unfortunately ran into some dead ends. That's why Plexamp 3.0.0 is a complete rewrite based on React Native, optimized to run on all platforms.
Being an audio app, Plexamp comes with the OPUS codec that ensures high quality at low bitrates and caches songs for instantaneous playback. The player has a SoundCloud-esque seek bar and blurred backgrounds, with colors extracted from the album art. It lets you explore your historic top charts, like what you were listening to in Fall 2019 or what music from the 60s you like the most. Other than a Tidal integration, you also have access to a discovery radio, custom mixes, stations, and downloads — it feels pretty much like a streaming service of its own. For a deep dive into all the considerations that went into creating the app, check out Plex' Medium post.
Plex created Dash to make managing your files easier. The app gives you all of the features available on the web service. You can view all playbacks across multiple servers from your phone, and it's possible to edit artworks and metadata without ever touching a keyboard and mouse. The app uses the same codebase as Plexamp, making both applications behave mostly similar on a visual level.
The app's dashboard informs you about what's happening on your server, so if you'd like to monitor it constantly, you could grab an old phone or tablet and hang it on your wall. Other than that, Dash gives you access to your top charts, your history, and your libraries. You can also scan for new media using nothing but the app, and there are more advanced features like real-time server graphs, media details, and a live server log viewer.
Both apps are available on the Play Store and APK Mirror (Plexamp, Plex Dash) — but keep in mind that you need to have a Plex Pass to use them. In the long run, some of the features introduced in these applications will make their way into the regular Plex app, too.