The popular open source media player, VLC for Android by the VideoLAN team after several months of waiting. For what it is most known for, it supports almost all types of audio and video files a and brings a decent user interface. Different ports of Android by individual developers had been floating for Android a while, but they all were too buggy to use. This port has been made by the official team and is very stable, at least on supported devices.
Download from Play Store: VLC Beta (NEON version) (Amusingly, the app is not available to residents of USA and Canada. No problem, I’ve uploaded its APK, which you can find at the end.)
Unlike most of the media players, VLC can play both videos as well as songs. The UI is fully made up of orange & black colors and has some decent audio/video control options. It features support for headphones control, like automatic resuming of songs, etc., and supports subtitles too.
It literally plays almost any video format you throw at it like MKV, FLV, MP4, etc. Volume can be changed by swiping up or down on the screen while a video is playing, something, which we have been seeing in almost every video players. One drawback of VLC is that it sometimes lags while trying to render full HD (1080p) videos smoothly.
Apart from the normal functions, it can also stream videos from a URL. VLC is currently in its initial stage of development and doesn’t sport any advanced capabilities such as an equalizer, automatic fetching of album art or lyrics, sleep timer, etc.
Overall, VLC is just a decent media player at this stage. On the desktop, the biggest reasons for VLC being a popular media (especially video) player are — Simple UI, small size and support for nearly any file format. But the case is different on Android and I’m very skeptical whether these features are going to prove advantageous for VLC as they have already been available on several media player. That said, I’m really looking forward to its future builds hoping for some cool new features when it sheds its ‘beta’ tag.
VLC is currently in beta, contains a few bugs and might lag on some devices. At present, it only supports a small bunch of smartphones that have ARMv7 processors with NEON architecture and won’t work on phones with ARMv6 or non-NEON processors. However, the team does plan to support more devices very soon. The VLC team currently recommends the following phones for smooth playback:
- Galaxy Nexus
- HTC One X
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- Motorola Defy
- HTC Desire
- Nexus one
If your phone is not officially supported by the app, you might still want to download its APK and test it on your phone. You can download the VLC APK here.