New to the Android Market, N7 is a slick, stylish and feature-rich music player for Android that vows to replace any alternative that you’re currently hooked to. The app focuses on enhancing your music playing experience on Android through its good-looking interface, and easy-to-use features that include exploring music by artist, genre, playlist, albums and even by folders, a 5-band equalizer with almost a dozen audio presets, reverb effects, SRS/Dolby surround sound and bass boost support, a full-fledge ID3 tag editor, automatic/manual album art download from multiple sources including Google, Bing and Discogs, a native file browser, a full-screen supported lockscreen, a nifty homescreen widget, and on top of that all, a fantastic zoom-able homescreen plane that displays your favorite artists and all the underlying albums in the form of separate tiles and thumbnails respectively.
The eye-catching animations while shifting between tracks, advanced queuing of tracks in a custom order within playlists, and ample customizability are some of the app’s other highlights.
Make no mistake, N7 Music Player, with all the amazing features, is here to give the very best Android music players a run for their money. Ranging from the option-packed music catalog/library that offers you multiple ways of instantly adding your favorite music bits to the list of currently playing tracks, to the buttery smooth navigation between screens, the app depicts quality of the highest order.
When launched, the app welcomes you with a couple of help screens to assist you with understanding the UI of the player, and its various features. In the final step of the tutorial, the app prompts you to download album art of all tracks, or just for those which currently don’t have one. Next, it scans your device’s SD card for all available music tracks, and presents them under their artist names on the aforementioned plane.
The more albums under the name of an artist, the larger the size of the tile. While scrolling up/down on the plane lets you navigate to your favorite artist, zooming in allows you to see all the albums under each. Tapping an album displays all the tracks included therein, with all other albums from the same artist arranged vertically along the right side of the screen. You have the option of playing that particular album, a specific track from within it, Play All or Enque all tracks of the selected artist.
The context menu revealed by long-pressing on an artist/track contains options to Play now, Play after current, Add to playlist, Auto download album art, Manually download album art, or Edit tags for albums (launches the ID3 tag editor).
As you keep on switching to new music tracks from various albums, you can see the associated album art slide on to the plane, and the artist’s name get highlighted in blue.
The music player interface of the app is quite minimalistic, but provides you with just about every option that you need to control playback. Besides the usual play/pause, next and forward controls, the music player panel sports an additional button on either side. Tapping the music note icon on the left launches the Music Catalog from where you can browse tracks by Artists, Playlists, Albums, Folders, Genres or All Songs. The Customize View button at the very bottom of this screen lets you convert the tiled layout of the screen into an Ice Cream Sandwich-style tabbed layout.
Tapping the playlist icon at the right side of the music player panel shows the current playlist, along with the shuffle and repeat buttons. Tapping the music player icon at the top-left of the homescreen takes you to the currently playing track.
Hitting Menu anywhere within the app’s interface lets you navigate to the app’s Options (main settings) or Equalizer. The 5-band equalizer and other advanced audio controls of the app are currently available only to devices running Gingerbread (Android 2.3) or higher. From within the Equalizer, you can select a custom volume Preset and Reverb effect, toggle and tweak BassBoost and SRS.
The app’s extensive preferences screen consists of various toggles for automatically downloading album art and artist images, using album art globally (allows other music apps to access downloaded content), resuming music playback after a call has ended, minimizing the player upon hitting the back button instead of shutting it down, filtering duplicate instances of the same track (to display them as a single track) and plenty more. From the same screen, you can also modify the app’s lockscreen and native file browser settings.
While the music player’s elegant 4×1 widget helps you switch back and forth between tracks from the homescreen, the lockscreen lets you switch between tracks without having to unlock your device and looks great..
Now to the missing bits. For a music player that has almost all essential options, it’s a pity to see that there is currently no support for lyrics or playback control via headset. Also, N7 does not support syncing or streaming music from the cloud, so if you’re used to Google Music, you might not want switch over.
However, if whatever the app currently has to offer sounds good enough to you, then you might want to hurry up and download it now from the Android Market while it’s available for free, because it won’t remain that way for long. The current release is a public beta, and the developers might enclose with a certain price tag after it’s out of the testing phase.