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Old June 12th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
jdavet
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Default Act 1 Video Player: THE BEST PLAYER for video media on your sdcard.

ACT 1 VIDEO PLAYER



THE LOWDOWN

Price: $1.99 for full version; Free trial version available - everything is the same for free and paid versions except trial limits video playback to 2 min.

Pros: Countless unique features, fast app, well worth the money, detailed help menu, prompt updates, quick email response from the developer

Cons: No thumbnails next to videos (yet) making UI look a little plain; hard to browse videos taken from phone

Recommended? YES! It's leaps and bounds better than the default Movie player. Highly Recommended. In fact, scrounge up the change in your couches and go download it NOW! You will not regret it.


INTRODUCTION: Stock Android Movie Player vs. Act 1 Video Player - No contest

Some may argue that a media player doesn't need features. What else does the movie app have to do other than play a video? Well, my argument is this: It's all about options. The more features the media application has, the more options one has to create a pleasant video watching experience. Think about it: Is there a way to watch a video in portrait view with the Stock Movie Player? Nope. One gesture video controls? Scratch that. Change brightness while a video is playing? How about the easy stuff like check battery life or even the time during a video? No, no... and NO! These options may be menial to some, but, for those who watch a fair share of videos on their phone, the options listed above are deal breakers. Now add many more features and functionality to that, and then you get a world class video play for the best phone operating system on the planet. Allow me to introduce you to Hyperware's Act 1 Video Player. In the Android Market description, it states: "THE BEST PLAYER for video media on your sdcard." I second that. Let me tell you why.

USER INTERFACE (UI): Plain and Simple, yet Fast



Open the app and you get a list of the movies on your sd card. You have the option to switch to file view, which will show a list of the folders your movies are contained in (I personally choose file view for its cleaner look).



Touch the name of the folder and out spews a list of the movies within. Because of the text-filled main menu, it has sort of a plain look, but this is where I don't mind the plainness. When comparing the brisk scrolling of the list and folder views of Act 1 versus the clunky, laggy, yet beautiful Gallery app for finding your videos, Act 1's simplicity and swiftness takes the cake.

Maybe what will help in its presentation would be a thumbnail by the vid name, which the developer attempted to implement in Act 1 but then was quickly removed due to the issues it caused. I don't see this as a must-have feature, but it would help, especially on the videos taken on your Android camera.


FEATURES: Quality AND quantity (see below for a video walkthrough of Act 1's features)

Lets start off with what you can do while a video is playing.




Battery percentage, time, and video time (where you are at in the video) are placed unobtrusively in the corners. Want them out of the way? Touch the upper left corner, upper middle, and upper right corners to toggle video time, battery percentage, and time respectively. The seek bar can be toggled as well by tapping the bottom left. Swipes on the screen or using the trackball fast forwards and rewinds. All of these single gesture controls make video-watching a pleasure (as opposed to the Stock App making movie-watching a chore).

One extremely helpful feature is the ability to change brightness during playback. Pressing the bottom right corner of the screen will bring up the brightness bar, and with a touch or drag of your finger, you can easily make the screen as bright or as dim as you like. I absolutely love this feature since I don't have to leave the app to change the brightness. Awesome!

Here are a list of some of the other features available:
  • Resume points remembered for all your videos
    Video sorting options (touched upon above in UI section)
    Up to 10 bookmarks for each video
    Playlists
    Support for any screen size
    Video zoom options (even during video playback)
    "Screen Off" mode so you can just listen without video and save battery
    Can be used as the system default video player
    Delete/rename videos
    Landscape or Portrait viewing
    BETA support for SRT subtitles (works great for being in BETA)


For a look at some of these features listed above, check out the "Act 1 Video Player's Features - Video Walkthrough" youtube video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DlY_SZ934U


The features are many, and, as you can see by the list, the quality of the features is extraordinary.


QUESTIONS: SOS!

Some may be overwhelmed by the amount of features and think, "Wow, how am I going to learn how to take advantage of ALL of those features?" There are lots of ways to get the help you need. The "Help" option is the best way to start. This is basically a user's guide, and boy is it comprehensive. It covers nearly everything you'll need to know to be an Act 1 pro. For more information (video conversion, faq, developer's personal experiences, etc), go to the developer's website.

If all else fails and you still need help, send an email directly to the developer. He is one of the app creators I have dealt with that answers you quickly and thoroughly. Also, feel free to leave your questions as a comment to the review or the video on youtube, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

FINAL ANSWER? Download Act 1 Video Player.

I use this app daily... multiple times daily. I wouldn't watch as many videos on my phone if I just had the Stock Android Movie App. But, with as many features that Act 1 Video Player has, I don't mind sitting in front of my phone and enjoying a movie or a Family Guy episode or two. Take my advice and spend the cash for the full version. It will be some of the best 199 cents you could ever spend.
 
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