Best Free Media Player for Android



Ever since it was possible to play videos on a computer, it seems like people have always been looking for an alternative to the built-in media player, and with reason. Often built-in video players will only provide basic functionality and often a limited codec support. That, well, let's call it "tradition", continues today on mobile form factors. Ever since the iPhone came out, people have been looking to be able to play files like flv files on it. Same with Android, and that's why we're here today. So, if you're looking for a fresh interface for enjoying your media, some broader codec support, or just something plain old new, keep reading.


Rated Products

VLC for Android  

VLC has a rock solid reputation on the desktop, and while it had a rocky start on Android, it has gotten a good deal better, and I now recommend it as the best media player for Android.

Our Rating: 
License: Free

While VLC for android aims to be what it is on the desktop, it doesn't quite achieve its goal yet. While it supports a wide range of codecs, has a good basic music player and a range of interesting features, it still has a few problems - but it's good enough to get the top spot. Please note that as of version 3.0.5 Android Auto has been disabled, though it is promised to be back in version 3.1 - so if you rely on that, it might be best to wait until the 3.1 is released (there don't seem to be any security vulnerabilities that would be left open by not updating).

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MX Player  

MX Player is a solid media player that will support just about any format you can throw at it, but that just overdoes it with the ads.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Ads)

MX Player is an excellent media player, with one glaring problem. Initially meant only to play videos, it expanded to audio and can play a huge range of media formats. Recently they've put their intrusive video ads back in, so I can no longer recommend it.

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MoboPlayer has always been a little half-baked, and while much has changed, that point still stands.

Our Rating: 
License: Free

MoboPlayer is a media player that tries to do a lot, but doesn't do it well. While it has many features including advanced features, such as a gif creator, support for DLNA streaming, and a floating video player, many of them don't work properly.

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QQPlayer was an interesting video player with some interesting features, although it is currently in disrepair.

Our Rating: 
License: Free

QQPlayer is an interesting video player - and only a video player. While it doesn't have any hardware codecs, it does have a wide range of codecs. It also has an interesting "private list", which lets you put certain videos in a password-protected list. However, it is far from efficient, and has enough problems with lag. It also has not been updated since 2013, and I've had problems getting it to work without crashing on newer devices.

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An interesting app organizes your videos into movies and TV shows automatically.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Organizes videos into movies and TV shows.
Didn't identify much of the content. Limited features in the free version.
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Only for phones with a version of Android older than 4.0: Finds your music, videos and photos very well and plays multimedia files supported on your device.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (In-App purchases)
Ease of use; Nice look.
Deprecated; No external codecs - only videos that can already be played on the phone can be played here; No gesture support.
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Average: 3.5 (67 votes)


VLC and Realplayer are the best!

Well, it is 2021 now: and the ONLY Media Player I use on my old tablet is VLC Player for Android ... it has improved Quite a Bit since the last review! I think it still lacks a few features: but it has LOTS of CoDecs and handles LOTS of Formats. I blame any sync failures between audio and video in online river (S T R E A M I N G) playback on my antique tablet and NOT VLC ... but I could be Wrong.

I just tried MX Player on your recommendation and although it seemed to work smoothly the constant ads made it a pain to use.

I notice you compared it to VLC but did not review Android VLC for the article. I have been using the Android version since last year and it performs just as well as on the PC. And not a single Ad...

I honestly have to say that I didn't find the ads too annoying. I mean yes, there are ads there, but it's not anything intrusive - I draw the line where an ad blocks me from doing something, and that has never happened to me (I use MX as my daily driver). On the other hand, just about everything else is just about perfect - something I can't really say about VLC - I had too many problems with it to recommend it. The comparison with VLC is that the same way one could say that VLC is the de-facto video player for many people on PC, I would recommend MX as the de-facto video player for Android - in my opinion, it's the most solid media player around. If you don't want any ads, this isn't the app for you, but otherwise, I definitely recommend it.

I agree with you trainman261, exactly my thoughts :). Although yes, the ads now on Mx Player can be a bit annoying, but it still is a very solid good quality player. I can deal with the ads, as long as they don't turn too intrusive.

I've tried a lot of apps and for me Dice Player's user interface is #1. I liked the scrollable brightness and sound. But in particular it scores best for the impressive accuracy of its finger "jump to" ... 10/10.

MX player is best of all. However, I also use QuickPic for a casual playing of the video. It is good also.

Every review says
"Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer"

Shouldn't that say
"Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's mobile device?"

Good point. Since there are only certain options available for that field, I can't directly put in something like you suggested, but I will see if we can find a solution.

VLC player seems to play every format i throw at it very smoothly, has great swipe/skip function, and it's the first app i've seen to organize multiple video titles in a series as one entry which is fantastic.

Aha, I see I've haven't checked VLC in a little too long, it seems to have come a long way since then. I'll check it out when I get time.

MX Player is the best but licensing issues with later builds mean unable to play properly dts and Dolby Digital audio so head over to XDA to get your fix if your encountering problem.

Possibly outdated comment in MoboPlayer review says "This app is similar to MX Video Player in many ways, starting with that it only plays videos." However, MX Video Player review says "A small checkbox in the settings menu also lets it play music files." Also, the product name for MX Video Player now seems to have been shortened to MX Player.

Do any of these support playing files on local network devices (like Samba Player does for audio)? It's not mentioned in the reviews. I have a memory stick plugged in to the USB socket on my router and would like to play videos from it on my Android phone.

If not, does anyone have any suggestions of Android apps that do have this capability? Thanks.

Well, I'd have to know a little more about your setup to know exactly what you need, because there are several different possibilities when it comes to accessing devices or files across the network. I have not (yet) tried Samba Player, so I'm not too familiar with it, but it seems to be using the SMB, or Samba system. Assuming that's the case, DicePlayer, an app I have not reviewed here yet, is able to do that. However, I have not gotten it to work yet (although I haven't tried too hard at this point either). But you can go ahead and try it, it could well work for you. However, if you want a surefire way to make it work (no guarantees, though) - and want the hardware acceleration MX Player offers, you can use ES File Explorer, and when you open a video, it will ask you which app you want to open it with. There, you can choose MX Player, and set it as default, if you want - or you can choose whatever other video player is listed there, if you prefer a different one. Of course, the app has to be installed if you want to be able to choose it when you open the video file.

Thanks for the reply. I have set Diceplayer to install and will report back how I get on. Good idea about ES File Explorer, I used to have that, but swapped it for another smaller app. I will go back to it if my current file manager does not share the capability to set the default app for files.

UPDATE - Diceplayer does show a samba server on my phone (well it says something like SMB: in the list of directories), but ti does not seem capable of reading any files in it... I've uninstalled it.

OK, well I guess I'm not the only person having issues with it.
I've tried all different media players on my android phone/ tablet and I always go back to mx player it's the bomb.