21 useful apps that we love right now

IPhone 6 PlusWired.co.ukAn iPhone 6 Plus showing off third party apps.

The apps you have on your phone can make the experience so much better. While both Apple and Google provide the basics — messaging, internet browsing, a camera — it’s down to third party apps to make your smartphone as good as it can possibly be.

Apps such as SoundHound, for example, add extra functionality that make your device a whole lot more iPhone useful. The same is true for Pocket or Instapaper, both of which allow the reading of articles offline — perfect for the commute.

There are over one million apps in the App Store and Google Play store, so knowing which apps are good, and which are bad, can be tricky. We’ve put together a list of some of the very best ones.

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Nuzzel is an app that monitors your Twitter feed to see what people are sharing. It then delivers this to you via notifications throughout the day so you're always up to date.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Slack is a great group messaging app but also has features that make it especially good at mobile one-to-one messaging, especially to co-workers. The interface is clear and attachments send speedily.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Trainline is the best way to book train tickets in the UK. Forget the National Rail app -- trainline.com is faster, easier and cheaper. Well worth a download if you travel frequently by train.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

SoundHound is often considered the poor cousin of Shazam, but it actually packs some cool features its main rival does not: The ability to hum, sing or whistle a song to find it, lyrics and, in our testing, better recognition overall.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Ocado is good for three reasons: The service remembers all your shopping; the people who deliver the food are polite and friendly; and the substitutes -- the bane of any online shop -- are well thought out. Oh, and they have good deals.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Twizoo is great for finding new places to eat and drink in a neighbourhood you've never been to by measuring the 'buzz' -- based on Twitter mentions -- of the establishment.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

If you've ever wanted to record a call, use Automatic Call Recorder. The app is very simple -- it literally just records calls -- making it perfect for its purpose. Once you've recorded the call, you can share it to any app you want.

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Price: Free (Android)

Google Photos applies the knowledge and computing power that Google has to your photos -- meaning that it can create panoramas, videos and slideshows without you lifting a finger. Just import your photos, let them upload and sit back.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

'Monopoly' is great for time wasting, especially when there is no internet available. The classic game translates well to mobile with the ability to play against friends or a computer. Some would say it's better than the original game.

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Price: £0.79 on iPhone / £1.31 on Android

'Heads Up' by Ellen Degeneres is a fun game that involves holding an iPhone to your head and guessing which character, celeb, accent, etc. you are. The app allows multiple players.

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Price: £0.79 on iPhone / Free on Android

While Apple may be making waves with Music, Spotify arguably remains the best streaming option from both a functionality point of view and a music selection standpoint. Features like the 'Discover Weekly' playlist and Radio keep your music collection fresh while the selection of artists is unparalleled. There is also a free (ad-supported) option.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Uber makes catching a cab (especially late at night) easy and, most importantly, safe. Payment is handled via card on the phone and there is -- in most major cities -- a good amount of drivers around the clock. Various options, from a standard car to Uber Exec, even give a choice of who comes to get you.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Monument Valley is a fun, well-designed game that wastes time while simultaneously being compelling and interesting to play. The game revolves around Ida, a girl who is lost and needs to get home. By tapping the screen, you find her a safe route. You'll become hooked instantly.

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Price: £2.99 on iPhone / £2.99 on Android

Swarm is, essentially, a catalogue of everywhere you have ever been. Created when Foursquare split into separate apps, Swarm allows check-ins at different places and, if used for long enough, can provide a trove of information about what you've been up to.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Pocket is one of the best ways to save articles to read offline -- and the functionality doesn't stop there. The app will surface interesting articles for you to read, as well as offering easy ways to achieve and tag your saved articles.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Dark Sky is weather made simple. With on-the-spot updates, the app means you know what the weather will be doing in 10 minutes, exactly the time you need to know when choosing an outfit.

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Price: £2.99 on iPhone

Wunderlist is the best task management app available right now. Easy to use but powerful, the app combines the best features of some of the more professional to-do services with the ease of any other app. Lists and tasks are synced between devices too.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

A tool for saving pages to read later, Instapaper was recently acquired by Betaworks (the people behind bit.ly, Digg, and Chartbeat), and has been given a refresh which has resulted in one of the most aesthetically pleasing and simple apps available. Functionality doesn't suffer, however, with a plethora of features to aid the experience. Integration with Digg is also a plus.

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Price: Free (iPhone / Android)

Turboscan lets you easily create PDF documents just by taking images. The app encourages you to take three pictures, from which it creates high-resolution PDFs that can easily be shared via email.

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Price: £2.29 on iPhone / £2.50 on Android

Field Trip is an app that lets you cycle through nearby destinations through a cool interface. The app lets you easily select between bars, historic monuments, architecturally interesting buildings and more, and will even alert you as you pass them.

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Price: Free (Android)

Sky Map is a free app made by Google that allows the user to view the night sky simply by holding up their phone and moving it around. By using the accelerometer, the app allows the user to see the sky in the exact place they are.

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Price: Free (Android)

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