Reviews by Team: F-droid reviews

Reviews for apps on f-droid

2 stars
Useful under certain conditions

From the projects homepage, “A free-as-in-freedom re-implementation of Google’s proprietary Android user space apps and libraries.”

Requirements

You’ll need a ROM with signature spoofing enabled natively or using a patcher like nanodroid-patcher. Magisk is optional but will help pass safetynet. Installation using nanodroid and Magisk is fairly easy.

GMSCore/UnifiedNlp

This is app implements play services and location services. The location services piece allows you to choose your location provider with options to use local or online databases. This saves you from sending your location to google several times a day when NOT using GPS and more when you are. I didn’t run many apps from the google store but in general had few issues even with apps that were supposed to use google services. Although, one app I needed could not get location and the log showed the same error as a bug report from over a year ago.

GsfProxy

This worked well when setup correctly but required that apps be installed after microg or the apps wouldn’t register correctly. GCM still sends data to google as an intermediary, the code running on your device is FOSS to limit your exposure to google. Some apps will probably miss funcationality since all of the messaging apis aren’t implemented. There’s no database telling you what will or won’t work, you have to find out for yourself.

Safetynet

This is a service provided by google to check that your phone has not been modified or applications won’t allow you to use them. Passing safetynet is a constant cat and mouse game with google changing setting so one day you’ll pass and then you won’t. Magisk should help by hiding your modifications but issues still seem to crop up based on the open issues.

Long Term Update

After a year plus of usage, I had a generally positive experience but, had to switch back after needing to use an unsupported app and unifiedNlp stopped working correctly.

Verdict

A much needed app to put google at arms length on your phone. Usage is not for the faint of heart. You’ll want to limit your apps that use google services for the best experience. You’ll also have to be a part time sys admin with backups and updates of the device for when somethings goes wrong.


5 stars
FOSS, Extensible web browser

Fennec is a build of Firefox’s source available through f droid. This allows installing Firefox without having to use the google play store.

Fennec comes with most, if not all, the features of Firefox. The F Droid page says " It’s focused on removing any proprietary bits found in official Mozilla’s builds." I haven’t noticed any missing features though. You can add extensions like u block origin.

Speed seems on par with other browsers.


5 stars
Full featured local location backend

Deja Vu stores the locations of wifi APs and cell towers on your phone. This allows for greater accuracy than using gps alone and allows you to do it without pinging google may times a day like stock android phones with location services turned on do.

This app requires MicroG’s UnifiedNlp to work which requires a ROM with signature spoofing enabled. The easiest way to get this is to use a custom ROM like Lineage with Microg or use NanoDroid with a custom ROM.

Important app for retaining functionality while degoogling your android phone.


4 stars
Really fun!  ja

This is a simple, straightforward game, and a clone of a certain popular Android game. It provides quite a bit of fun and works as a nice break for when you need to keep yourself awake during a boring task, like studying.

The levels are randomly generated so the game always feels fresh. It can be frustratingly hard to get past the initial stages, though.


4 stars
Blocks tracking from browser and apps

Opensource ad blocker for Android that filters all outbound requests for ads and tracking using any combination of premade lists, whitelist and blacklist. You can also switch dns providers by selecting from a list or adding one. UI is simple and effective.

Blokada works by using Android’s vpn feature to route all outbound requests through it. This allows it to filter all requests that come from the device.

Long Term Update

After 6 months of usage, the only issue that came up is occasional issues with program staying alive. The app silently died so I didn’t notice for a while. Turning on the Keep alive option under advanced settings seems to fix the issue. This puts up an always on notification to keep Blokada alive. This means you’ll have 2 notifications up almost all the time for this app.

Verdict

This is a must have app for Android


4 stars
Fast Android Web Browser

Fast browser that uses built-in android web kit.
Pros:

  • Fast
  • Simple
  • FOSS
  • No tracking

Cons:

  • built-in ad blocker is OK at best
  • no support for addons


4 stars
Surprisingly fun, but needs work

This game, recently released on F-Droid, is the adaptation of the beloved SuperTuxKart that has been available for a long time for PC users. This racing game mimics the popular SuperMarioKart and works very well, with many different game modes, including Singleplayer, Multiplayer and Campaign mode.

However, as of version 0.9.3, it’s clear that the adaptation from PC to mobile still isn’t great. Buttons are way too small and thin to correctly tap on them on a touchscreen, and the game occasionally asks users to press keys such as the “Fire” key, which is never explained and doesn’t even appear in the keyboard shortcuts config area. It’s not an amazing PC-to-Android port, but it is very fun and probably considerably above average, comparing with other F-Droid games. Absolutely recommended!


3 stars
Mixed bag

This is a fork of the popular Maps.me Android app, which removes the nonfree bits and the ads, and is released on F-Droid. To me it looks and works better than OsmAnd, but it currently has a broken log in in OpenStreetMap, which is big problem for me as an editor, and it’s what keeps this from getting a perfect score.

Edit for clarification: it seems the aforementioned bug is not exclusive to this fork, happening also on Maps.me.


4 stars
Solid FOSS Offline Navigation App

OsmAnd is a free and open source(FOSS) maps and navigation app. It uses OpenStreetMap(OSM) for map data, several different routing engines are available ranging from fully offline to partially online and maps can use local data(offline) or online tiles. It’s best feature is that it can be used fully offline once map data has been downloaded.

Routing

The built in routing engine that works offline can be very slow depending on length of your route and your phones cpu. When used with older phones, it can take several minutes to calculate a 10-20 mile route. It is the default routing engine when you install the app.

Online routing engines were removed in one of the 3.x releases.

The OSRM routing engine works very fast, taking ~15 seconds to calculate a 10-20 mile route, but requires a data connection. It has to be enabled in the settings menu to work. This engine doesn’t seem to support announcing street names or avoiding tolls, use the default routing engine for the best experience.

Search

Search is not as good as commercial competitors. One drawback is that OSM’s data is missing many businesses and addresses compared to commercial competitors. The other is that the search function often requires exact substing matches to find things and is compounded by the fact OSM is crowdsourced data so there can be inconsistencies in tagging.

Map Updates

Map updates come monthly by default and include any updates that have been made to the OSM data.

OsmAnd live is a feature that allows downloads of new map data every hour if you want. This feature comes free with the F Droid version. This feature is great for OSM contributors. OsmAnd Live updates approx. every 15 minutes so you can make changes on OSM, wait 15 minutes and download your changes so you can immediately use your changes and know what’s already been mapped.

Updates

Since the app is FOSS, the app updates and map updates can be free if you download from F Droid . You can also get a free version from the Play store that comes with limits on the amount of offline maps you can download, but you can purchase an expanded version that takes aways those limits.

Battery and Data Usage

App uses very little data when using local data, even with online route calculation enabled. Map downloads are large, I highly recommend downloading over wifi only.

Battery usage seems to be much lower than commercial competitors, but a direct comparison has not been done.

Map Rendering

Map rendering will be slightly slower than commercial ones if using local map data. If you want the fastest experience, enable online map tiles in the configure map section.

##Long Term Update
Search is a pain and doesn’t become less frustrating over time. Rendering can be odd sometimes, showing the backgound as water instead of land at certain zoom levels. Routing is almost always good.

Verdict

The app is usable for day to day navigation, but will take some getting used to if coming from always online apps. The amount of options the app gives you is impressive. At any time, you can choose to go offline only to save data or online for a faster experience or something in between. OsmAnd Live is highly recommended if you are an OSM contributor.

If you want a free navigation app that doesn’t track you, this is a great choice.


4 stars
How did early humans learn languages without Anki?

AnkiDroid is the best spaced repetition flashcard software for mobile. Period.

It’s more customizable than others out there, free as in freedom and as in cash (at least the Android version), and, most importantly, it works wonders for learning and memorization.

One thing that could be improved is allowing plug-ins to extend functionality of the app, like the desktop version does. Also, some actions can only be done via the desktop program, which makes it a second-class citizen for me. The fact that it can sync seamlessly across devices makes it a smaller problem, however.

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