Smartphone hardware has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, with processing power, memory and even battery life that would have been unthinkable back in the dark ages. But strangely enough the one area still lagging is the networks, which still struggle to provide reliable, consistent coverage for their long suffering users.
Open Signal is a new free Android (and soon iPhone) app which helps you get the most out of the network signals available in your locale. The front end dashboard provides an instant readout of the three most important parts of your phone’s reception, the voice and data signal strength, and the direction of the best nearby antenna signal.
The software also offers very useful coverage maps, which not only show the availability of the various network types in your area (e.g. 2G, 3G, 4G etc) but also a comparison of how good the coverage of competing networks is in the area, so you can get an idea whether it might be worth swapping network providers.
There’s also a very handy speed checker and a data manager, which keeps track of your monthly data usage so you don’t over-shoot your allowance, and the program even monitors WiFi signals, so you can locate the optimum open service to log on to when you’re out and about.
The interface is very clean and easy to use, and we love the fact that all the main functions are just one click away via the lovely tabbed design. It doesn’t over burden you with too much information either, just the important parts that you’ll want to know when you’re frustrated by a lousy signal or sluggish downloads. Great app, recommended.