Some people don’t care much about looks when it comes to music apps on Android and iOS, as long as an entrancing, crisp tune is being injected into their ears. But if you want your apps to be great at both features and looks (as I do), try Now Playing for Android; its Google Now-inspired design might win a point or two from your side. Although it looks simple in comparison to other players available on the Play Store, don’t let these simple looks deceive you into thinking it’s short on features, because it boasts some really powerful ones of those as well, including an integrated equalizer, album cover art support, automatic lookup for song lyrics and album art, gestures navigation, and more.
Upon launch, the player automatically detects your music and presents it all neatly organized in its Holo tabs for artists, recent, albums and songs. You can use right and left swipe gestures to navigate between these sections, while swiping up and down lets you scroll through your music list. The app also detects and displays album cover art next to song titles, and automatically downloads missing covers if enabled under settings. There’s a playback bar at the bottom, complete with next and previous buttons to skip the current song, along with letting you play or pause it. A tiny seekbar above these controls makes it easy to instantly jump to any position in the currently playing song.
A rather useful feature is its ability to automatically fetch song lyrics and album cover from the internet. During our testing, however, it fetched inaccurate or wrong lyrics for certain songs. Though you shouldn’t take it as a deal breaker, as the rest of the features work as advertised. The Now Playing screen lets you toggle repeat and shuffle modes. Akin to the main screen, you can use horizontal swipe gestures to navigate between lyrics, album art and songs lists.
It comes as no surprise that many music apps come with an integrated music equalizer to let you fine tune the lows, mids and highs of your music to your liking, and Now Playing is no exception. It features an effective equalizer, where you can either choose from one of the genre-based presets ranging from hip hop and heavy metal to jazz and pop, or even define your own custom levels. Lastly, the Settings screen of the app lets you adjust a few options like toggling playback controls on the lock screen, deleting the app’s cache, and switching to a dark theme that can come handy on AMOLED displays, etc.
Now Playing is available at Google Play Store for $1.85. You may want to take its 3-day trial version for a spin before shelling out your money.
Update: The app seems to have been removed from the Google Play Store.