My preferred app for video: MX Player (Android)

When it comes to video, I see a surprising number of people  that use the built-in video player. I don’t think I ever use the built in option for anything, and that certainly also goes for playing video. MX Player is as close to the standard third party video player you get on Android, being at least as obvious a choice for video as Poweramp is for audio.

Video players are fairly straight forward, as most of what makes a video player good or bad has to do with video format support. That’s where MX Player shines, as it supports more or less anything you can throw at it. It supports both hardware and software decoding of video, multi-core decoding, as well as older devices through plugins. If you find a video format that doesn’t work, it’s likely that the device is not powerful enough to play it rather than the app not supporting it.

The reason I like this app over the built-in player is about 50/50 compatibility and information. By information I mean that this app will show you in very clear terms what it’s using to play the video, hardware or software. I don’t care if a video player can play my video, I want to know if it’s doing it the right way (normally hardware decoding) or the wrong way (normally software decoding). There are major battery and performance issues with using software decoding when hardware decoding is possible, and the built in Android video player doesn’t even seem to have heard the terms. MX Player also lets you switch modes if several are available, which can often save you from files with no audio.

No audio is unfortunately an issue that has recently become, well, an issue. DTS support had to be removed in an update not too long ago, due to licensing issues. This means that with more recent versions of the app, DTS audio is unavailable. I tried to stay away from updating for a while, but when you have 20 updates waiting the “update all” button quickly becomes very tempting to use. I don’t blame the developer for this, I blame DTS. I don’t think it should be legal under any circumstance to charge for an audio or video codec for playback use, that’s something that should be charged to whoever uses the format to begin with, i.e. companies that release DVDs and the likes with DTS audio. Just another reason while piracy is as popular as it is.

All in all, MX Play is a no-nonsense app. Paying $5.60 for the Pro version might seem like you’re paying for nothing, but that’s just because MX Player’s beauty is under the hood. In practice, it’s one of the best investments you can make if you intend to watch video on your device.

Download: Google Play

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.