Solar System Explorer 3D
Tour our Solar System with this impressive app
Pros & Cons:
First up, Solar System Explorer 3D isn't a small download. It weighs in at around 43MB and is self-contained, meaning it has little need for internet access other than to serve up quite irritating ads. We can disconnect it from the internet, though. That's a free choice we still have available to us if we prefer not to see the ads. That negative out of the way, let's focus on what's so good about this app.
It's HD so it looks great on a tablet and is as equally impressive on a larger screen phone. All of the space images are from real picture sent back from various space missions and from telescope images.
The first thing you'll see is that the app is in landscape mode and a News screen is showing. That does use the internet. After dismissing it, you'll hear the pleasant relaxing background music and you'll see a view of Earth and some destination buttons on the left. Use your finger on the screen to rotate around, pinch and zoom and get a glimpse of other planetary objects. Time for an explore.
Tap one of the destination buttons on the left to smoothly fly there. At the bottom of the screen are some more controls. If you want information about the object you are looking at, tap the button that looks like a book. Tap again to dismiss.
You can do a lot in settings. You can display fps (frames per second) if you want to see how your phone is handling the graphics. This is shown when the info pane is open. That's by tapping the book icon. There's a small screen option if you're having performance issues. That shouldn’t be a problem. The app ran great on a Samsung S3 I tried it on, as well as a Samsung Note 10.1" Tablet.
The buttons that look like a speedo brings up a slider. When you move this, you can watch the various rotations of the planets and moons. A full Solar System view is available by tapping, you guessed it, the button that looks like a solar system. Yes, the app is very easy to use.
If you want to go on your own mission, there's a flight mode. You have on-screen controls for speed and direction, and sound effects. I'm sure the gamers out there will get the hang of it pretty quick. My navigation skills were dreadful.
Of course, there's more left to discover and I'm sure a lot of people will be fascinated by this app, and like me, maybe learn a thing or two while putting it through its paces.
The app sure has a few questionable permissions. Solar System Explorer is free with ads. It runs on any Android version above 2.3. According to VirusTotal for Android, the app is clean and free from malware.
This is a great educational and fun app to use, with exceptional graphics and animation. I would probably spend a couple of dollars to upgrade this app if only to get the feature to follow where all the spacecraft missions like Cassini went. Then, of course, what you feel about the full-screen ads will determine the future of this app on your Android.
Solar System Explorer 3D was reviewed by tamxir on based on version 2.77.