VLC for Android Beta
A feature packed app that will change the way you listen to music or watch videos on your android device.
Sorts and plays local music and video files. Network stream feature means you can listen to the radio and watch streams right on your Android device. Equaliser means you can fully customise how your music sounds. A long list of extra features means you can customise it to the way you like it.
The Swiss Army Knife of multimedia has made its way onto Android, but is it any good? Let’s find out!
VLC is a free open-source media player and streaming media server written by the VideoLAN project. It supports nearly all audio and video file formats and can even stream media over the internet. It is available to download through the Google Play store, but at this moment it is only in beta. This means it is bound to have bugs in it, because it is not the complete product. Bare this in mind. However, throughout testing everything ran smoothly and I did not experience any major bugs. It does display a message (which can be turned off) when you open the app warning you that it is in beta, so it might kill your kitten or destroy your house. Luckily I have neither!The app interface is very straightforward and easy to navigate. On the left is a sidebar where you can choose from: video, audio, directories and history. The sidebar is accessed by either swiping right from the left edge of the screen or pressing the back button in the top left corner. If you press the directories option you can browse through your internal or external memory to find media files that weren’t automatically found by the app. Clicking history is very self explanatory: you can browse the media you used most recently. This only works when the app is open and running in the background. If you kill is through the task manager it will not display your history. As I said: it is still in beta. Along the top row there are a few other options: you can search through the VLC app, open a network stream and open a drop down menu where you can access various options. VLC loves videos. So much so that it supports nearly every format which means you never have to worry about if your file format is supported, unless you are seriously unlucky. That being said, it is a pleasure to browse through your videos on this Android app. The videos are displayed in a grid layout with and easily sorted by name or size through the drop down menu in the top left corner. Pressing the triangle underneath each video gives access to another menu. This time you can choose to either play your video from the start, play as audio only, view the information about the video or simply delete it.
Press a video to play. This is where the magic begins. VLC automatically plays the video from where it left off, so you don’t have to remember. Once the video is up and running, there are a few touch controls that enable you to change volume, change brightness and fine tune where you want it play from. In addition to this, there is a crop button in the bottom left corner which controls the picture size (you can set the default in the options menu). A few extra features include the ability to add a subtitle file, add a sleep timer, control playback speed, jump to a certain time and even lock the touch controls.Listening to music through the VLC app follows on closely to the video player. It is a clear, easy to use interface that makes listening to your music very easy and intuitive. You are able to easily swipe between artists, albums, songs and genres. VLC automatically detects and sorts your music intro these categories, so you don’t have to do the dirty work. When you select an album you want to play you can change the order of the songs easily with a slider on the right. You can create your own playlists by selecting a song to start off with and then clicking ‘append’ (found in the drop down menu) on every song you want to add. In the same way that you can change the song order of albums you are able to do the same with your custom playlists. VLC will also remember the last playlist you created, so that you don’t have to keep selecting the songs every time. It also has the same extra features that the video player offers: change the playback speed, add a sleep timer and jump to a certain time in a track. VLC also includes a widget for your Android device which allows for you to change, stop and play the track. This is especially useful when you are listening to songs, as you don’t have to go back into the app every time to do the same things as the widget. A really nice feature of the VLC app is the addition of the equaliser. You can fine tune how you want the music to sound. There are a handful of presets available, but you are allowed to fine tune to your ears content via the sliders. The ability to add a network stream is also very useful as you are able to listen to music and videos as long as you have the network stream. I found this to be slightly buggy and the app would crash when I tried to add a network stream. However, as the app clearly states it is still in beta, so we hope that this gets fixed in the future so that you are able to use all the very useful features of the app.
Overall, VLC for Android is a useful app that makes listening to music or watching videos from local content very easy and with an array of extra features that will separate this from similar apps. Chromecast support would be very welcome and we have heard rumours that it will be available very soon. If this is what the beta app has to offer we are very excited to see what this app has to offer in the near future when it comes out for its full release.
Plays almost every video and audio format. Clean and intuitive interface makes the app a pleasure to use. Extra features separate it from similar apps.
Still in beta, so is still buggy and can crash.