Having a smartphone is helpful in a lot of different ways, but one of the coolest is its video capabilities. If you’ve got a large video library (and the memory card to carry it around on), then you can take all your videos on the go and watch them on your phone. Granted, the screen size leaves something to be desired, but small portable movies are better than no portable movies.
Enter MoboPlayer. As it turns out, not everyone’s video library consists of boring .wmv files. A lot of people have more exotic file types, often ones that have been less than legally obtained. Not all of these special file types will play on the stock Android video player.
That’s where MoboPlayer is useful. Even if you don’t have a library of pirated videos, this app is still pretty useful as a standard video player for Android. If you’re serious about watching movies on your phone, here’s why you should be getting MoboPlayer.
The stock Android video playing app is admirable in its minimalism. There’s a pause, play, fast-forward, and rewind button. That’s about it. And let’s face it, for most people, that’s OK.
The average lay person doesn’t know or care about things like screen ratios or left and right audio channels. They just want to be able to watch their movies with a minimum of trouble.
But, if you’re reading this, chances are that you are part of that select minority of technically savvy people who do want that extra complexity. Ease of use is nice for everybody else, but not necessarily you.
That’s where MoboPlayer earns its keep (well not really, it’s free). This app does a smooth job of giving you that extra control over your video without deluging you in obscure terms that only video engineers understand.
Probably my favorite control option was the various options for screen size. With the press of a button, you can effortlessly adjust the screen ratio between widescreen, full screen, 4:3, 16:9, and letterbox. I prefer full screen (you need to use all the space you’ve got on a small phone screen), but there’s an option for adjusting to whatever viewing format you’d like.
And of course, there are the literal easy controls. MoboPlayer includes thoughtful options to control the brightness, volume, and fast forwarding through swiping various parts of the screen. The controls are easy to use, and they provide an easy way to change some of the most important sliders without having to bring up the video player menu.
More Files Supported
One of the things that absolutely drive me insane about trying to watch videos on my iPod is the persistent limitations present. If there’s a video file you want to view on your iOS device, it requires conversion and faithful prayer to the video gods that your file will actually work.
Watching movies on Android is so much easier. Want to import that “legal” copy of 28 Days Later to your phone? Done. Just drag and drop it to the SD card. The default Android video player does a pretty good job of playing most file types it encounters.
But, it’s not perfect. There is still that occasional troublesome MKV file that even Android can’t handle. Once again, this is where MoboPlayer comes in. Their website boasts that the app can handle as many files as VLC media player. That’s the famous PC program that’s known for being able to play literally any video file imaginable.
Comparing your app to VLC is quite a claim. If MoboPlayer is unable to directly play your video, browse to the video file through the app, long-press on the file to get the pop-up options and select ‘Soft-Decoding’. Chances are; your file will play almost every time.
Essential Additions Nobody Else Thought Of Either
To be honest, I would’ve been happy with MoboPlayer if it had included all the features I’ve mentioned already and called it a day. But, the app surprises and impresses with the addition of playlists. Organize your videos into a folder on the SD card and you can set up a playlist of videos. It’s not something that would work well for movies, but I could see this being used with music videos or TV episodes.
Even better, the app gives you the option to shuffle your playlists. I’m not sure what you might use Shuffle for… maybe music videos. Watching episodes from your favorite TV show out of order probably wouldn’t work too well.
And of course, I’d be remiss for not mentioning streaming options. If you’re a Home Theater master and have your own media server set up, MoboPlayer is happy to integrate with it. Just input the server address and stream away. The streaming works fairly well, but I would still recommend just copying the file to your phone. Offline viewing is much easier than setting up streaming.
The Minor Glitches
I enjoyed my time with MoboPlayer, but it does come with one or two caveats. This may have been caused by my shoddy or illegitimate video files, but MoboPlayer did have quite a few issues with lag and freezing. Downloading the codecs that go along with the app (just search the Market) helps, but I still encountered a couple freezes.
Also, the MoboPlayer volume doesn’t integrate into the media volume of my phone. That’s not a huge deal, but considering the thoughtful design present in the rest of the app, it seems like an oversight.
But that’s just me complaining. MoboPlayer is a solid video player alternative that offers plenty of customization without being needlessly complicated. Plus, there’s one more quality I like about MoboPlayer-
Seriously, go give this app a try. For the crippling price of zero dollars, you can get all the features. There isn’t even a “Premium” version. It’s all free, so give it a shot.
Download MoboPlayer Android App:
Start a barcode (QR code) scanner on your phone and scan the QR code below. This will take you directly to the Android Market to download the app. If you do not have a QR Code scanner app, choose one from the Best Scanner Apps for Android.