NexMusic Features Beautiful Material Design in Latest Update
NexMusic is a music player that used to be known for it’s theming capabilities and wide selection of said themes. But now, it will probably be downloaded for its unadulterated skin. Kevin the Tech Ninja from XDA Developer TV covered this application in 2013 – but a lot of it has changed, for the better, these past two years. The application has undergone several updates that added new functionality to try and convince you to pick it over your current favorite music player. On this new version, it might do just that – not because of its proper feature set, but because NexMusic has adopted one of the most beautiful renditions of Google’s Material Design that we’ve seen yet.
I think the text in this revision is not what’s going to make you want to download this application on your phone, as no written description could do it justice. The media here will most likely convince you, for the amount of care put into creating an aesthetically gorgeous interface that not only looks beautiful, but also moves beautifully too, is something even the most hardened Gingerbread-loving user can’t dismiss. Let’s take a look!
As you can see in the featured screenshots, the player features the standard tabs for Artists, Albums, Songs, and Genres. The Artists tab will automatically grab the names of your bands and look for awesome pictures of them for their respective folders. You can also choose whether this is done strictly through Wi-Fi or not, which is always a nice and thoughtful touch. The Albums tab is also set by default to look for images for your content. Albums and Artists which do not have pictures in their databases will feature a grey box with the first letter of the missing item, which doesn’t look all that great – but there’s a nice option to give them some custom colors. The list views on the rest of the tabs can either be plain or set to a beautiful Material Design card-based style, as seen in many of Google’s own apps nowadays.
In the songs tab, you can right click songs to reach more settings. Notable ones are “add to playlist” and “use as ringtone”, the latter being something I wish more players would do. You can also add songs to a temporary queue, or edit the media info if you need to make some changes to artist, album or song names for that particular file. The genres tab has a long list of arrangements that cover most popular types of music and put your songs there based on the players criteria. At the top you’ve got a search function, and a menu that lets you sort and shuffle the items.
The action bar contains two unusual things for a music player – Listen Now, which seemingly serves as suggestions for you to listen to, and a file browser. The file browser is the only aspect of this app that is not neatly animated, so it felt stale and unpolished in comparison to the rest of the application. But it still looks material-ish, and it is certainly something I wish more applications would add. Current album and current artist sort all the respective songs for quick access, providing you with the art at the top for you to look at, which gradually fades away as you scroll down.
The settings menu is rich and allows you to access the different theming settings, and look for themes on the Playstore. In the settings, you can find some neat options such as configuring the apps default start activity and pages, and configure lockscreen and widget controls. You can also tweak the behavior and aesthetics to some extent, such as making certain elements of the interface match the accents.
Performance in this app is a hit or miss. I tried it on an S3, a Note 3, and a Nexus 5, all running Lollipop. The S3 and Note 3 performed notably worse in the animations department, with the S3 having jitters and skipping frames every now and then. If you are a Nexus 5 owner, you will be delighted with buttery smooth animated goodness.
Speaking of which: The animations in this app deserve their own paragraph. The transitions are deliciously enticing, and it beats all Google apps I’ve seen at Google’s own game. This app is the ultimate Material music player – it even has an option to simulate some of the stunning animations of Google’s music player demonstration back at the design language’s reveal. Everything fades and slides playfully, and elements don’t just pop in but always come from somewhere. You see things expand and contract and fade in and out, stretch and shorten and pop in those pretty waves you see when you click each and any item. My words can’t do it justice, so I took the trouble of making a short clip for this submission, found below.
I hope the pictures convinced you of its beauty and the words of its function. I didn’t discuss many additional features such as car mode and tablet mode, the previously touted custom theme options, or the lockscreen widget and notification controls (also means it has Wear support) which are pictured under this paragraph. This app is a sight to behold, so I suggest you download just to marvel at what could come for every app in a (hopefully) near future. If this is what Google’s design language can achieve, I really hope developers make it spread far and wide to all the apps that would benefit from stunning design. Regardless of this app being the one for you, it most certainly is one you should at least try.
You can download NexMusic on the Playstore. There’s also a premium version, NexMusic+, which offers additional features not covered in this review.
EDIT: The equalizer previously shown was not part of the application, as it loads up the default equalizer in the ROM, which under the new Lollipop TouchWiz version I tested it on, was hidden under the name “Sound Alive” which I had originally confused with typical Samsung gimmick or bloat – and thus never bothered to check out in the default music app. That coupled with no mention of the app using the default equalizer in the XDA post nor the Playstore entry lead me to believe the equalizer I found was an original aspect of the application. I apologise for the confusion to those who read the early version of this revision, which sadly had to be revised itself. While no mentioning of the equalizer used by the developer was misleading, I take full responsibility for this mistake. Please excuse this misunderstanding. The application is a serious powerhouse despite the lack of built-in equalizer and I still very much suggest you check it out!
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