Playing videos on Android can be frustrating. Fortunately, BSPlayer offers the best balance between features, compatibility and ease of use.
It's been a while since we looked at the best video players on Android, and things have changed a lot since our last look (when we picked MoboPlayer as the best). Here's our new favourite video player, as well as an updated competition section with a few great alternatives.
- Plays most popular video formats, including those not natively supported by your phone (via software decoding)
- Multi-core hardware decoding for supported hardware and video formats (which grants better playback speed and battery life)
- Play local videos or network streams
- Play the video in a "pop out" window that runs over your other apps
- Pause, rewind or fast forward, adjust volume, adjust brightness, and pinch to zoom all with swipe gestures
- Supports subtitle formats such as SRT, ASS and SAA, as well as built-in subtitles for formats like MKV, MPV and MOV, as well as finding subtitles automatically
- Multiple skins and themes
Where It Excels
BSPlayer is pretty highly configurable, but you can also start using it right away out of the box with almost any video file. It'll scan your system for playable media and play it all like a champ, with options for hardware decoding, network streaming, and a neat "pop out" player so you can watch videos while you do other stuff on your phone or tablet. The gestures for seeking, volume, brightness, and zoom are also great, and it's very subtitle-friendly.
Where It Falls Short
BSPlayer isn't quite as pretty or smooth as some of the competition (see below). Trying out different skins helps the interface a little bit, but the gestures just aren't quite as smooth as MX Player, and it just isn't quite as easy and pleasurable to use. However, its ability to play anything out-of-the-box — and its handy pop out player — made up for these disadvantages in our eyes.
MX Player is one of the most popular video players on Android right now, and to be completely honest, it's probably a tie between MX Player and BSPlayer for the best (in fact, I personally prefer MX Player). MX Player has a nicer interface and a few more configuration options, but requires a manual codec download to play certain videos (particularly those with DTS audio). It also doesn't have BSPlayer's neat pop-out video feature, though other than that, the two players are quite similar and we'd recommend checking out both of them.
VPlayer is another great option. It has a great interface, tons of configuration options, and hardware acceleration, just like MX Player. However, a few of our videos (again, the ones with that darn DTS audio) wouldn't play properly in VPlayer, and VPlayer doesn't seem to offer codecs the way MX Player does. If you convert all your videos to Android-friendly formats anyway, we highly recommend giving both VPlayer and MX Player a try — they're both fantastic apps.
By far the simplest video player we tried was the VLC beta for Android. It played everything we threw at it with no codec installations required, and we were up and running with our videos in seconds. It was a tiny bit slower and buggier than other options, but it is in beta. VLC's biggest downside is that your mileage may vary heavily depending on what device you use, so it might not be an option.
mVideoPlayer is a popular alternative with a beautiful, media center-like interface. Its big downside, however, is that it only supports formats that your phone natively supports. But again, if you're converting your videos before syncing them anyways, it's worth a look.
There are a ton of other players out there that are solid — like MoboPlayer, our former favourite, as well as DicePlayer and even RealPlayer (yeah, that RealPlayer). But of everything we tested, we think the above players are most likely to fit just about anyone's needs, so we recommend checking them out to see what's right for you.
Lifehacker's App Directory recommends the best applications and tools across multiple platforms.