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I was always skeptical of buying apps. The free versions were alright save for the ads and in some cases, I got worthy alternatives. That changed in 2016 when I decided to periodically buy apps and I’ve never regretted that decision.

There is this stigma about buying apps in general and the decision to take the plunge depends on the utility you derive from it. I didn’t want to buy an app and regret my purchase later, and so far, I am happy with my purchases.

My purchases go across various categories: Games, Social, Photography, Utilities and more. They are Android apps since most of my smartphones have been Android devices, but fortunately there are iOS versions. I have bought quite a lot of apps but these are my favourite so far:

Pocket Casts 

This is easily one of my favourite purchases. This app allows you to listen to your favourite podcasts or even discover new ones and it is worth every penny. If you create your account, it will save your current podcasts and sync them if you switch phones.

This app cost me $2.83 at time of purchase and back then, it was quoted in dollars, not KSHS. Now you can view the pricing in KSHS and they’ve priced Pocket Casts at KES 300. The app is $3.99 at the App Store.

Monument Valley 1 & 2

This is undoubtedly my favourite game purchase. I first noticed Monument Valley during an episode of House of Cards and I was curious to see what it was about. It ended up being a surprise. The game has stunning visuals, attention to detail like the physics, sound effects that correlate with the movement while you embark on solving the puzzles.

monument valley II
Monument valley II

Monument Valley 1 was $4.18 at the time of purchase, and now it is KES 400 at the Play Store and $3.99 at the App Store. There is also an in-app purchase that gives you additional levels that was $1.85. Monument Valley 2 is the sequel to this game and I was quick to get it. It is priced at KES 500 at the Play Store while its iOS counterpart is $4.99.

VSCO presets

VSCO is a popular photo editing app that has a cool interface that shows your ‘virtual studio’ where you keep your apps, your uploaded edited photos to the VSCO community and a page that shows what people are sharing on the platform.

VSCO for Android and my presets

The best thing about it is the presets which are filters that you apply to your photo that give it a certain look. VSCO initially gives you a number of presets, but the good ones have to be bought. Initially, you could buy the presets via the app which was redirected to the Play Store for you to purchase.

Now they are pushing VSCO X which is a subscription service that gives you over 130 presets for you to use and you’ll get new ones. I’m kind of lucky since I got several presets packs a while back which work well with the different types of photos I shoot.

Backdrops and Evolve Wallpapers

Getting the right wallpaper is surprisingly difficult and that is why i bought these two apps: Backdrops and Evolve wallpapers.

Backdrops

Backdrops is a free wallpaper up, but you need to make an in-app purchase to become a pro member to enjoy extra features.  Evolve is a premium wallpaper app that is currently 50% off on Google Play so this is your chance to grab it.

Evolve Wallpaper

An interesting thing to note is the fact that both apps are missing on the App Store, which was surprising.

Zooper Widget Pro

One of the best things about the Android ecosystem is allowing you to customize your phone to your liking, and Zooper is a great way to achieve that.

Zooper allows you to change your homescreen look using widgets that you can either buy or download for free on the Play Store. Zooper Free is kinda limited, so I found it necessary to buy the Pro version, which was a $2.99 option.

DigiHUD Pro Speedometer

DigiHUD Pro

One of my favourite pastimes in a long journey via bus or boat is checking how fast we are going. This means I have to rely on GPS to estimate the speed and this app is arguably the best out there.

It has a clean look with the calculator font for everything including the speed limit, the compass direction, GPS signal lock button, time etc. You can change the brightness, the units (mph or kph) and even the font colour (default is blue).

The Pro version is currently KES 200 on the Play Store

Flamingo and Fenix for Twitter

These were excellent purchases as third party options for Twitter’s mobile app experience, but thanks to Twitter’s token limit, they can’t add any more users.

Fenix was a $5.63 purchase and it was the best alternative to Twitter for Android. They’ve since released Fenix 2 which is a KES 200 option and the last time I used it, it had a lot of bugs.

Flamingo for Twitter

However, my current favourite is Flamingo for TwitterI got it cheaply ($1.42) when it was newly launched. You can’t get it now since it reached its 100,000 token limit just like Fenix. It is incredibly customizable (fonts, colours, menu bar location, themes etc) and it was worth the money. I wonder if they will make a version 2…

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