Best Data Monitoring Apps
Best Data Monitoring Apps
There are tons of apps for the smallest details in our lives. But many of those details don’t matter. What we had for lunch yesterday… really only matters to us. Something else that only matters to us is our data allowances. If we get charged for another GB it doesn’t make or break anyone else’s day. I mean, it would have been our own faults right? In order to help alleviate that problem, we’ve taken to an extensive research session that includes 20 applications in order to find out what matters and what doesn’t.
The Best (Ratings)
Traffic Monitor & 3G/4G Speed (8)
After seeing so many mediocre apps we didn’t have much faith in anything else changing. We figured My Data Monitor was it. It took the stage, dropped the mike, won the contest, and split the scene.
However… There are A LOT of strange details… Traffic Monitor appeals to the geeky side of my sensibilities.
For instance, this app comes with two tools, and one of them is also included with My Data Monitor, the Mapping feature. There’s a speed test feature AND a signal strength feature with the ability to see where you get terrible service–as if you needed someone to tell you–but it’s cool nevertheless.
Under Device is where it shines. We have a host of sensors that give information like Network latitude, GPS elevation, Satellite 1 Azimuth, Satellite 2, Almanac, Battery information, Voltage, Status, Chemistry, and strange things like Satellite Ephemeris, and something called SNR.
Included in this already powerful app is a Tasker that unfortunately… isn’t usable due to Android not providing that specific processes information anymore. The Black and Blue UI palette is pretty awesome too!
Mike Outsidethebox on November 1, 2015
“All network stats at your fingertipsThis is an amazing piece of software, I believe that every question you might have about any download or upload speeds, by any program, will be answered by this gem!”
Alan Shapiro on September 5, 2015
“Simple, just what I needed As a PagePlus subscriber I can keep tabs on my data and set an alarm.”
Nicolae Iulian Gogu on November 15, 2015
“Best 3-4G Wow, since I have this app I can check the internets MBit/s faster!Yay for dayz!”
My Data Manager – Data Usage (9)
Immediately we loved what we saw when opening up this one. It shows you everything you need to know in two steps. You have Mobile, Wi-Fi, and Roaming.
Under roaming, we get a readout of recent app activity and corresponding data. A swipe to the right gives you a sidebar with the usual Summary, History, Alarms, My Plans, and Apps.
There’s a quick view that shows an approximate amount of data left per day according to the limit you set for the month. One feature that we haven’t seen in any Data tracker app is the ability to see the places you used data most. Perhaps your location might give you a clue as to where you need to utilize Wi-Fi more often or cut data off entirely.
The problems that assailed another tracker app dealing with the Android 5.0 issue regarding the barring of certain bits of information is completely bypassed here and asks you up front for permission to access this data. Just like it should, it’s a simple step of asking and granting.
With the amount of detail in this app it feels surprisingly refreshing and intuitive. Another factor that we haven’t seen yet is the prepaid aspect of tracking data usage.
Did we mention the User Interface is a cool Slate Gray and Sexy Cobalt blue?
Stephanie on November 5, 2015
“LOVE THE NEW UI ~ FABULOUS I just absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the new UI and every positive thing I said before on my acoustic guitar music profile of Stephanie Sancia a while back stands, This app is THEE BEST in the playstore. Awesome job Devs, Many thanks, Stephanie”
November 16, 2015on
“Brilliant! It tells me what I need to know. It keeps track of data usage and presents it in many useful user-defined reports. I can easily see which apps chew up data. Thank you for a fantastic app. I am on a tight plan and this app is invaluable.”
Data Traffic Amount Checker (7)
Let us say right now that this is a very cute application. I can see college girls that are into Hello Kitty and Inuyasha downloading this simply for the cutesy wallpapers. It works on an achievement system where repeated use of the app in addition to sharing, giving a good review, and other random events earns you the ability to get new wallpapers. While it does its job it doesn’t leave much to functionality. We love it nevertheless and recommend it for teenage girls.
July 29, 2016on
“So cute It is sooooo cute and really works”
Data Flow – Data Usage (6)
The icon was misleading. With the amount of work–it seems–in the design of the app icon one would think that there would be more to it than what we saw when we opened it up. It keeps track of Data, Wi-Fi, Phone Calls, and Text Messages.
Why there would be a need for keeping track of phone calls and text messages we do not understand as there are other ways of doing so through your provider or manually if such was the case. Items on the app home screen clue one in to the possibility of more information however… they do the same as swiping to the next couple of screens. It feels as if this was trying too hard. Not so useful includes ads.
Data Usage Counter (6)
This app reminds me of the utility of Linux. When using Linux, we’re able to do so many things it’s hard to believe, the problem is it relies on a lot of command scripts, terminal, and lack of GUI. The whole reason Windows was created was to give Linux a nicer Interface that did more work visually, saving time. It’s debatable today how well that idea worked but for those of you that like that utility then this app fulfills your needs easily.
Mobile Bee (5)
Tons of Terms and Agreements. Sort of odd. Very pleasing layout with Yellow and Gray. For all of the complicated looking graphs there are really only 3 sections to access–not counting settings.
There’s Data Usage, Battery, and Storage. A click on each card slides the entire page up and to the subsequent column. Data does what it’s supposed to do, shows usage by application with a little “x” that is supposed to kill applications that are using too much data. This feature was grayed out and not available in our testing. Clicking the app sent us to the apps page under the Android
Settings. Pressing back and touching battery would be the same as swiping to the left and bringing in the same info. At this point there is no reason to go back, just swipe left. It gives a blank hour and minute that we assume will be filled with estimates as you continue to use the application through several charge and discharge cycles. Application storage is a convenience at best with another look at the right but it isn’t essential.
Data Manager (5)
There shouldn’t be a real need for a histogram unless you happen to be sharing your phone with a sibling or your spouse. Even then, we don’t endorse nickel and diming a spouse. That’s a good way to start an argument.
There’s a pie chart, AND a bar graph.
Overall the feeling I get is, “It’s very visual… in off white and green.” There isn’t anything to see here. You have your percentages of Wi-Fi, mobile, and roaming data.
Data Usage (4)
The only purpose of this app it seems is to track data, though the important difference to keep in mind is that it touts itself as being useful as it tracks data usage during times you aren’t using your phone.
So we ask ourselves, if we didn’t want to use data at night why couldn’t we just turn off the data before we went to sleep or set our profiles to disable internet at a certain time every night?
Furthermore, if we suspected a large amount being used then couldn’t we just go to our data usage in our settings and check to see what uses the most data? It really makes us wonder why we need this app in the first place. Pro Version kills the ads.
Data Status (3)
We had a lot of faith in this app. At the very beginning the design was a pleasant, concise, and calming—purple layout. The first screen is a snapshot of your total usuage with the date your cycle resets, the amount of data that you’ve used and the basic status on the bottom. One screen to the left, we see an analysis with daily and total readings. At the bottom, we have Data, Use, and well… Data again with Utilization, Heaviest Day, and Allowable Daily Average. It doesn’t help that there’s a glaring typo with “Utalisation.” Now we would expect this to be it but swiping to the left we see cycles—though we are uncertain how cycles factor in unless you were doing research on your data habits.
Directly to the right, we have notification icons, cycle data allowance in both MB and GB, calendar to plot your data cycle start and reset, and another unknown “Cycle Adjustment.”
EDIT: referring to the help in-app we saw that adjustment is useful if you were beginning to use the app mid-cycle.
3G Watchdog (3)
When we opened up 3G watchdog we weren’t aware that there was a widget that was included in this download.
NOTE: Obviously, none of us here are first timers when it comes to applications and the expected features upon downloading them. The average person at work, on their way to work, or coming back from work, rarely have any time for tinkering with settings. This fact is what makes the iPhone so popular with business people. It simply does what it’s supposed to. In testing these apps we concentrated on those that are straightforward, pleasing to the eye, useful, and intuitive.
Scrolling down though we did see the option and that really brightened up our day. UNFORTUNATELY… Google withdrew some of the permissions it allowed app devs and one of those pertained to some of the features the app utilized. This means we can’t test it. Anything from lollipop and above is not going to work with this app unless you own a rooted phone. Had to uninstall.
Data Usage (3)
The blue layout reminded us of Windows Phone—sad really that there won’t be any more developed. Surface tablets are another story… getting back to the topic at hand. There is A LOT that is similar or the same with DATA STATUS. If I had to reflect on it, I would say that the dev got the idea from Data Status though the redundant information’s been sheared from the interface. Beyond setting data limits and alarms not much else seems to be that different than setting your data usage from the settings within android.
Data Usage Monitor (3)
Beyond the ad at the bottom of the free version we had an open mind. After all it’s only a data monitor app right? Much of the options were redundant—again we see a stripped down version of what we would expect to find in any standard application.
NOTE: While we support application developers in their work and the rates they need to remain afloat economically, we do not support the practice of bait and switch. A similar vein that runs through many of the free apps are descriptions that generalize the idea that there are in-app payments for additional features. This is not the problem. The problem is charging for “features” that we are used to seeing included. A nominal add free version or unlimited future license would be awesome. We allow you to make your own decisions should you wish to download certain applications.
On one page we find, Premium Options and include, a Status Bar Ticket (We think they meant to say “Ticker”) for 2.00. A widget “ticket” for 2.00. Ad hide ticket (OK maybe they mean ticket) 2.00. At the end of this list we have a Premium ticket for 5.00 that includes all features. There was some sort of free credit program with visits to sponsor sites but we didn’t bother paying attention after this purchase list.
The most useful aspects of this app were for purchase. We think it should have said so at the start.
Mobile Counter|Data Usage (2)
Mobile Counter looks pretty cool but—again there’s a lot of useless information on a dashboard that leads nowhere fast. It’s until you get into the settings that it takes a giant leap into complexity. We can’t really see anyone spending much time looking through this and trying to figure it out.
Data Usage|Phone Usage/Call Inspector Mobile (2)
This seems geared toward the prepaid crowd with most data revolving around the biggest commodity in prepaid, minutes. It does a decent job but it really doesn’t do much more than decent.
Data Diary (1)
This app is strange. For one, it looks a lot like a native iPhone application. Second, it needs you to start a profile. Third, it’s confusing and not intuitive. I would normally stop at the first point and uninstall it. For the sake of review we’re went the whole way through by creating an account and attempting to understand he interface. It might require more time, unfortunately this was time that we did not have. The average person will not continue to try to use an app when thousands more that do similar things are a minute away.
Data Usage & Manager (1)
The first problem we see in this is the readout is entirely in KB and not in anyway shape or form easy to decode. We wonder if the calculations are done by estimation x1000 or if it’s by the same measurements that mobile providers use, x1024. (Many people use whatever amount multiplied by 1,000 when other sources multiply the same amount by 1,024. It’s a small detail but can result in overages if you’re not careful.)
This app reads, 533.09 KB. Now… I know it’s half a megabyte, but when you have kids that need to get picked up from school and your husband wants you to order that item from Amazon and you’re miles from any sort of Wi-Fi network what do you do? All in all, it’s pretty much lowfat vanilla. Seems just as sweet but doesn’t satisfy.
Data Usage Minimiser (0)
The icon looked very modern, this though upon opening the application, we were assaulted by a terrible lime green highlight on all our apps. Not only that but the Minimizer part on the app read Minimiser with a typo. The first app that we tried to block was YouTube. After doing that we opened up YouTube and tested the blocking capabilities. While we waited, holding our breath—nothing happened. The video managed to load along with comments, associated videos, and basically everything else. The next app that we tried to block was Google. We figured such a big claim to nullify the entire google application would have some moxy. Pressing home, then swiping to the right, and entering the search box for a question did exactly what it was supposed to do. This application doesn’t seem to work.
Data Usage (0)
We didn’t get to set up our data cycles or limits before we were hit with a crash message. Unfortunately Data Usage has stopped. Who reports these things? We tried it again. Again, crash. Uninstalled.
Mobile Data (0)
Masquerading as a Data Tracker, Mobile Data is a porch for further apps that make outrageous claims like free 3G.
Data Eye (0)
Data claims to save you data by using a connection to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The problem with this is I don’t have a VPN but it let me activate it anyway. So far it sounds pretty fishy. There is a data readout in the homescreen, but under “All My Apps” there is a list of all your apps with a toggle that isn’t yet checked next to it. Under “Offers” we see a list of headings for “Offers.” Right now, common sense is telling me to uninstall it.
While we have taken a look at a total of, 20 applications for android that promised everything and more. Sadly three made the cut. Before we go any further, we have to consider two things. First, not everyone uses one of the big 4 providers, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, or At&t. If everyone used one of these 4 then they would have all the tools they needed as each entity provides software within the Google Play Store that is attuned to their network and would do the best estimation of data used.
This doesn’t do well for those of us that aren’t on one of the big 4, nor does it help those of us that are running custom roms. In all the software we tested today, nothing beats a simple data widget that keeps track of your data. The main problem with these are they only start at the moment they’re installed. So either add what you already used to the display or wait until the end of your cycle.
We have to also mention one very powerful tool.
Your device’s data usage within settings will do a pretty good job as long as you specify the cycle start date. It even breaks down the Wi-Fi data, hotspot data, roaming data, and mobile data with alerts and since it’s part of the Android framework, it’s able to turn off the data once it reaches a certain amount without asking you permission.
But… what if you bought your phone for a few hundred bucks online and you don’t have a SIM card?
Ah… the beauty of Android.