The Best First 10 Apps to Download on Your New Android

Buying a new Android phone is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming trying to figure out which apps to download first. With over 2.6 million apps on Google Play, the choices are endless.

I‘ve tested and handpicked the 10 best apps to get you started on your new Android device. For each app, I‘ll explain what it does, key features, if it‘s free or paid, and provide a user review. These apps cover critical categories like weather, security, messaging, entertainment, productivity, and tools. I‘ll also share criteria for choosing quality apps and safety tips before installing Android apps.

By the end, you’ll have an expert-recommended starter kit of the top 10 Android apps for 2023 to make the most of your device.

Best Weather App: Carrot Weather
Carrot Weather is the best weather app for Android to help plan your day. Its forecasts pull data from the former top weather app, Dark Sky. With Carrot, you get beautifully designed hourly, daily and weekly weather reports. Info is presented in easy-to-read infographics instead of confusing meteorological metrics.

I’ve used over 10 weather apps, and Carrot’s predictions have proven the most accurate. Its secret sauce is blending multiple weather model data sets into one super-accurate forecast. Rain or shine, Carrot Weather has better intel than looking outside your own window.

Key Features:
・ Accurate current conditions and forecasts
・ Humorous robot weather reporting
・ Hourly and weekly forecasts
・ Infographics and maps

Price: Free with option to upgrade for $4.99/year

User Review: “I’ve tried just about every weather app there is, and Carrot is hands down the best. Its forecasts blow everything else away in accuracy” (The Verge).

Best Security App: Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus
Mobile threats like malware, phishing attacks and data theft are growing. Protecting your new device should be a top priority. Of all the Android antivirus apps I tested, Bitdefender Mobile Security is the best for defense against digital dangers.

Bitdefender packs robust anti-malware technology usually only seen in premium paid suites. It has web protection to block dangerous links, a VPN to encrypt traffic, and App Lock to control access. There’s even a handy Privacy Advisor assessing app permissions.

With Bitdefender guarding your apps and data, you can breathe easy against cyberattacks. It’s worth the small annual subscription cost not to deal with the headache of compromised accounts or stolen information.

Key Features:
・ Malware scanning
・ Web protection
・ App Lock feature
・ Built-in VPN

Price: $14.99/year

User Review: “Bitdefender Mobile Security has worked flawlessly protecting my phone. I have peace of mind with this guarding my apps and downloads” (CNET).

Best Messaging App: Google Messages
Google Messages should be one of the first apps you install for seamless texting. This default Android SMS client packs capabilities rivaling iMessage. Group conversations stay organized with name labels. You can search messages, send animated GIFs and view texts on any device.

Google is also expanding RCS messaging support. This next-generation texting protocol adds read receipts, high-res photo sharing and more. With Google Messages as your dispatcher, messaging gets an upgrade while still using your carrier number.

There’s no competition—Google Messages is the Android messaging app. Did I mention it’s also free?

Key Features:
・ Native texting app with RCS
・ GIFs, group messaging, search
・ Cross-device syncing

Price: Free

User Review: “I used to use Textra but have found Google Messages meets all my SMS/RCS needs. Works perfectly” (r/Android).

Best News App: Feedly
Feedly is my top pick for an Android news reader. It takes the clutter out of news consumption. Simply add sites you want to follow, and new articles all populate in one neat feed.

Gone are the days of installing a different app for each publication or browsing clunky mobile sites. Feedly aggregates all your desired news sources into one continuous scroll. It also cuts out ads, pop-ups and other webpage cruft for a clean reading experience.

Whether you want to catch up on current events, technology, sports or other topics, Feedly nails news delivery on Android. Sign up is free, making it a zero-risk download.

Key Features:
・ Customizable feed from any site
・ Ad-free reading
・ Available as an app or web
・ Saves articles for offline access

Price: Free

User Review: “Far and away the best news reader app. Feedly gives me all of my favorite sites in one place without the clutter” (Digital Trends).

Best Video Streaming App: Netflix
When it comes to premium video streaming, Netflix still reigns supreme. It kickstarted the binge-watching phenomenon with hit original series like Stranger Things. Netflix also licenses popular shows from networks and studios.

The Netflix mobile app lets you take exceptional entertainment anywhere. Downloading shows offline means no Wi-Fi needed. Video looks fantastic on phone displays. While the standard plan only allows one device stream, you can always grab the tablet remote from Mom after she falls asleep mid-episode!

From Oscar-caliber films to guilty pleasure reality TV, a Netflix subscription is money well spent.

Key Features:
・ Original series and licensed shows/movies
・ Offline viewing
・ Mobile-optimized streaming
・ Multiple profile support

Price: $6.99–$19.99/month

User Review: “I‘ve subscribed to Netflix for 5 years straight without canceling even once. So much great content across every genre” (r/netflix).

Best Music Streaming App: YouTube Music
For unlimited tunes on your new Android phone, you can’t beat free streaming from YouTube Music. It has an expansive catalog of over 80 million official songs and playlists. If you spring for a paid subscription, that also unlocks ad-free listening, downloads for offline playback and audio-only mode.

YouTube Music shines with hard-to-find remixes, live performances and niche genre stations. Fans can dig deeper on their favorite artists. Let YouTube Music satisfy your audio cravings without blowing up your monthly budget.

Key Features:
・ 80+ million songs
・ Official albums, singles and remixes
・ Stations and playlists
・ Ad-supported free streaming

Price: Free, $9.99/month for Premium

User Review: “YouTube Music has really expanded from just a video site into an awesome free streaming app rivaling Spotify” (CNET).

Best Design App: Canva
Unleash your inner artist and create jaw-dropping graphics with Canva. It makes designs for social posts, invitations, flyers, documents and more with ease.

Canva operates on a freemium model: core app free, paid upgrades optional. The base software packs 30,000+ templates spanning presentations, Instagram stories, posters, resumes and so much more. With a few taps, you can apply filters and illustrations. Premium unlocks additional assets.

I use Canva religiously to design graphics for work. It’s so simple, amateurs can whip up pro-quality visuals. What stands out is the massive template library covering every use case imaginable.

Key Features:
・ 30,000+ design templates
・ Drag-and-drop tools
・ Resize for any media format
・ Library of images, videos and effects

Price: Free, premium paid subscriptions available

User Review: “As someone lacking any graphic design skill, I can still produce amazing designs quickly thanks to Canva” (The Verge).

Best Photo Editing App: Snapseed
Having Google power under the hood makes Snapseed my go-to for mobile photo editing. It’s totally free and contains prosumer-level adjustment tools. All my photographer friends swear by Snapseed for finishing photos on the move.

Dial in the perfect lighting balance using curves and selective editing. Add drama with grain, vignettes and frames. Snapseed even lets you brush on precise adjustments using cautious strokes.

For casual users, the Auto Correct function also works brilliantly with a single press. Whether you want fine control or fast corrections, Snapseed rules as the best photo editor on Android.

Key Features:
・ Selective, local adjustments
・ Full feature editor
・ Auto Correct with A.I.
・ Range of filters

Price: Free

User Review: “Snapseed is so good that I can leave my computer behind. The filters and tools are everything I need in mobile photo editing app” (PCMag).

Best Finance App: Mint
Take control of your money with Mint, the top free finance app. It securely connects to bank accounts, credit cards, investment portfolios and bills. Mint automatically tracks all cashflow in an easy-to-use dashboard.

The killer feature is the budgeting tools. Set spending goals and receive alerts when you’re over budget. Charts make it simple to identify wasteful subscriptions or where every dollar goes. By managing finances with Mint, you can catch bad money habits before your wallet feels the hit.

With everything in one place instead of spreadsheets, Mint keeps finances fresh without the frustration. Did I mention it’s also free?

Key Features:
・ Budget creation and tracking
・ Spending insights
・ Financial dashboard
・ Bill reminders and alerts

Price: Free

User Review: “Mint has transformed how I manage money. The app showed me exactly where my cash was going each month” (Forbes).

Best File Manager: Solid Explorer
Rounding out my top Android apps for new devices is the premium file manager Solid Explorer. For $1.99 one time, it’s a worthwhile upgrade over free options riddled with ads.

Solid Explorer kills file clutter on phones and SD cards. The dual-panel view makes moving items simple with drag-and-drop. There’s also handy extras like batch renaming, archiving, hiding private folders and document creators.

File management isn’t sexy, but Solid Explorer makes it snappy. The sheer utility it brings is worth paying a latte’s worth for the pro version. Don’t muck around with subpar free file managers—Solid Explorer will undoubtedly spark joy in organizing.

Key Features:
・ Dual-pane view
・ Cloud storage integration
・ Archive manager
・ Document and media viewers

Price: $1.99 one-time

User Review: “My expectations were exceeded by Solid Explorer. It’s fast, fluid and has all the pro tools I need in a mobile file manager” (Android Authority).

How to Choose Android Apps
When curating this list of the top 10 Android apps, I applied the following criteria:

The first decision point is figuring out the utility you want from an app. Ask yourself—what purpose will this serve? What need does it fulfill? The use case steers where to allocate your app choices.

Storage & Memory
Phones come with limited onboard storage, ranging from 32GB to 512GB typically. Plus saving room for capturing memories. Before downloading apps, check how much remaining space you have and required/recommended specs. Games and creative apps tend to be storage-gobblers. Stick to essentials if rocking a starter phone.

Paid apps often provide an ad and bloat-free experience, especially for power users. Fortunately plenty of capable apps have free versions, with reasonable subscriptions for hardcore fans. While costly, some premium apps like Solid Explorer bring extra features that justify the spend. Find balance between value and budget.

App Safety Tips
While Google Play Store reviews provide public feedback, also be vigilant with app behavior by:

Checking App Sources: Favor well-known developers with a pedigree of quality, secure apps. Be wary downloading unofficial third-party Android app stores.

Reviewing Permissions: Android apps should only request basic permissions needed for features. Flag any wild asks like contacts or location for a weather app.

Using Antivirus: Beef up defenses against malware-infected apps with a trusty antivirus like Bitdefender.

Transforming a blank Android phone into a capable sidekick that melds work and play is all about curating the right apps. This expert hand-picked collection代表he first 10 apps tackles must-have categories—keeping you productive, informed, entertained and safe.

While testing and researching Android apps, I applied rigorous benchmarks before recommending here. Each app ranks best-in-class for its utility. Better yet, all but three offer free versions, making it economical to replicate an optimal starter setup.

Once you nail this foundation, delving deeper into Google Play’s rich catalog for secondary specialty use cases will prove easier. Here’s to fully utilizing that shiny new Android powerhouse upon first boot-up!

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