July 28, 2014

Task Managers: The Nearly Ultimate Comparison Review

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Disclaimer: As you may have wondered this review has been titled “The Nearly Ultimate Comparison Review”, this being due to the fact that it will only encompass free Task Manager apps as that’s all that is available to Canadians. Then again, are you really that willing to pay for a task manager just yet? That may be so but this is more of an introduction to Task Managers than anything. (Also, yes the times on the screen-shots are correct, unfortunately.)  (Applications tested on HTC Dream)

With that said I believe its about time someone did a review on a nearly-complete category of applications.  This review will look at not only the top task manager applications, but also why the average Android user needs one. The review will not nitpick into the little details but more give you an even comparison among the genre so that you can make a quick decision as to which one you will be downloading on your next visit to the Market… or maybe to inform you that; “Hey! You picked the bad one!”.

Why? Because I said so…

If you’re a developer for Android like myself then you already know all about the Activity life-cycle. Just to tease those who don’t know let’s discuss “Application Fundamentals 101″ (http://developer.android.com/intl/fr/guide/topics/fundamentals.html). An activity is a single visual screen of an application. This Activity has different states that it can take on. The four main states being “visible”, “paused(partially visible)”, “stopped(not visible, still running)”, and “destroyed(not visible, not running)”. When you click the home key on your phone and exit to the home screen, that Activity is sent to the background unless otherwise stated by the developer. Most often the developer has not stated otherwise. That application could still be using resources or maybe not. You won’t know until the phone becomes considerably slow. At this point in my lecture I have a million people yelling at their computer/device because they heard that Android is smart enough to kill processes when memory gets too low. Well even though that is true, if I’m truly finished with an application I want to kill it and not have it consume my battery and memory. So if you also are in favour of a top performing device at all times, follow me into the woods (Android Market).

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Tip: Pressing Back instead of Home will automatically kill an application as well (most of the time).

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The following task mangers will be rated on their ease of use, visual design, speed, features, Performance, and Widget.

Categories that sound fancy, and what they probably mean:
Ease of Use = The ability to know what I am supposed to do easily.
Visual Design = The sexiness, flair, and organization of the app.
Speed = The ability to get in and do what I need to do as quickly as possible.
Features = Extra features and information included.
Performance = The app’s ability to complete the task at hand quickly, efficiently, and without killing important processes.
Widget = The general verdict on the widget.

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Task Manager by Wing Tseng

Task Manager by Wing Tseng

The system information bar at the top appears to be too cluttered and confusing for any average user to understand. Also, the action of me pressing the “menu” button to access the kill functions is a little bit of a hassle, but I’m sure this was intended for organization and cleanliness. I would suggest this app for those that are not in a rush to just kill background running apps because it does include lots of extra features.
Ease of Use: 3/5
Visual Design: 2/5
Speed: 2/5
Features: 4/5
Performance: 3/5
Widget: Too many “Toast” Messages that follow kill all function.

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TasKiller Free by Thibaut Nicolas

TasKiller

Visually this task manager does not always present itself without object overlaps as can be seen above, but it does kill apps very quickly and without error. The inclusion of 2 widgets is extremely thoughtful for those who just want one to kill all apps and take up only one tile, and another to include system info and a kill all feature taking up more tiles.

Ease of Use: 5/5
Visual Design: 2/5
Speed: 4/5
Features: 2/5
Performance: 5/5
Widget: Includes 2 widgets. Sleek and informative.

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EStrongs Task Manager

EStrongs

My only slight with EStrongs is the absence of a kill all feature, running apps must be selected and then killed. The visual design to this one with tabs and a clean interface is what saves it and gives it a thumbs up in my books.

Ease of Use: 4/5
Visual Design: 5/5
Speed: 5/5
Features: 4/5
Performance: 5/5
Widget: N/A

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Advanced Task Killer Free by ReChild

Advanced ReChild

ReChild makes a really easy to use and quick interface but it just doesn’t fly with it’s visual interface. The inclusion of a future widget may put it to the top.

Ease of Use: 5/5
Visual Design: 3/5
Speed: 4/5
Features: 2/5
Performance: 5/5
Widget: N/A

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Task Manager by Houmiak

Houmiak

The listing of the apps makes killing them tricky as each item is annoyingly small making it hard to click. The ordering of apps with memory information is a cool feature. The only thing that puts this task manager to the bottom is listing of “android.process.acore”, this should not be killed in any task manager as it includes your contacts and home screen.

Ease of Use: 1/5
Visual Design: 2/5
Speed: 1/5
Features: 3/5
Performance: 2/5
Widget: N/A

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TaskPanel by Sychee

TaskPanel

The visual and bright design is a nice change from other task managers and the inclusion of themes is a nice feature. The speed of killing all functions is slowed down considerably by the killing of unnecessary processes such as what appears to be the same “android.process.acore”.

Ease of Use: 4/5
Visual Design: 4/5
Speed: 3/5
Features: 3/5
Performance: 1/5
Widget: Informative, but nearly impossible to click the speck-like kill function.

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Free Advanced Task Manager by Arron La

Arron La

The organization with tabs is once again a nice and clean looking layout. The features included make this an excellent all in one for any user from beginners to advanced. Although it does seem to have  perfects in all the ratings the use of the same icon for the kill all widget is a little confusing at times.

Ease of Use: 5/5
Visual Design: 4/5
Speed: 5/5
Features: 5/5
Performance: 5/5
Widget: Same icon as app but not a huge issue, could use some system info to beef it up.

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The Verdict:

After feeling like I was on a really twisted version of The Bachelor and giving all the ladies a full inspection and fair test, I have found that a lot of them have their own different strengths. Although for me, at the end of the day it is Free Advanced Task Manager by Arron La that truly wins my heart and will forever remain in it’s special spot on my Home Screen.

Do you have any personal favourites that you would like to share? Have any ideas for the Developers of these apps? Do you think doing a comparative review of this type is helpful? Let us know in the comments section below!

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