I generally buy maybe $10-15 worth of apps a month but so far the ones I actually use 100% of the time and I just can't do without are Lux Autobrightness and Intelliring. I find them simple and very effective with features that Android absolutely needs. Easily my top 2 paid apps, no question about it.
TuneIn Pro is also great. Worth buying, mostly if it's on discount.
System Tuner Pro has a very useful recording feature so it can track any process using the system resources over a desired period of time. No more rogue apps!
RealCalc - complete pocket calculator with unit conversion. A must have!
Let's not forget Tasker (which lately I no longer use, unfortunately). This really is an app worth mentioning for all the possibilities it unlocks. Personally I find 80% if its capabilities of no use to me at this time and for the other 20%, the results are generally mediocre or just disappointing (for example trying to adjust the brightness based on the ambient light, trying to automate sound profiles with no user interaction, etc), but I do appreciate the work put into it.
For free apps better than paid alternatives I'd have to go with:
- DICE Player (which was paid but now it's free - really good video player)
- PlayerPro (has a trial version that when expires shows a pop-up asking you to buy it, but other than that still works - great audio player with a handy timer option, I'll buy the full version for sure)
- Adaptxt keyboard (surprisingly good keyboard with a great prediction engine, nice design and a few features that Swiftkey should have; however it has strange symbol placement and you find yourself digging through 2 screens just to find the "+")
Swiftkey might be great for English speaking users, but for the other ones it's just a pretty fast keyboard with limited functionality.
Some of us are still waiting for basic features (already promised half an year ago, right driftinganomaly? ) to be implemented, so we really need the updates. It's not like we can go on without them... at least while there's still hope we might get the features we need.
But fortunately they won't make us buy it again so big thumbs up!
There's something I don't understand: swype can learn words from ALL the sources you can think of: messages, emails, facebook, blogs. And it learns YOUR words, the way you write them. I mean how much better should the prediction get? Isn't every word you ever wrote good enough?
Let's not forget swype is here right now and it's free.
I got excited by Swiftkey Flow when I first saw the youtube video, but then I read some more and found out we won't see the final product before 2013 and that the company has not decided whether they will do this as an update or a new product that you have to pay for. Again. Oh, and no sign of the beta so far...
Now I'm remembering about the new features for Swiftkey 3 that have been approved since June and there's still no sign of an update to include them and all my excitement is gone.
I have to say, even though Multiling does not look as good as Swiftkey and it's not as fast, overall it's a FAR better keyboard than Swiftkey. It has tons of features you can customize, absolutely the best Romanian dictionary out there (and I've tested all the important ones...), all the special characters you could ever think of and oh, let's not forget... it's FREE!
The dev is great also. If you have a problem you email him and he fixes it in a few days...
On the other hand, Swiftkey is a paid app (not really cheap) with 1.000.000+ downloads and vital features like the ability to disable the accented characters in SMS, that has been requested for a year now, are still missing...(Multiling has this feature since forever...)
But we do get about 2 new skins every month or so... Wow, way to go guys!!!
If there's an app I regret buying in the last 6 months, this has to be it...