Android App Review – Onavo

I recently upgraded my phone, I went from the HTC Hero to the Motorola Atrix. Quite a step and it seems infinitely faster and hence gets a whole lot more attention from me. When I was out and about with the Hero it would struggle along with a lot of the current apps and services I liked to throw at it, to the point where I would just get frustrated and pass my time by people watching. The Atrix changed all that because it handles everything with such ease, the only down side is that my data usage really took a hit…

Up steps Onavo! I needed a good way to keep on top of my data usage and while I was sifting through the options on the Market (there are a lot) this one jumped out at me. The thing that drew me in was it’s very professional looking UI, it’s very polished and made me think it might just work.

Android App Review   Onavo

As you can see here, the main menu gives you basically all you need to know at a glance (there is a widget too, but we’ll get to that later). You have how much data you have used, how far through the month you are and a few buttons to help further break down what is using this data. On a side note, in the progress bar there is a light grey bar that always was ahead of the main blue bar (you can just about see it). I never worked out what this was for, maybe someone can enlighten me. Delving deeper into the menus uncovers some nice little features.

Android App Review   Onavo

First of all we have the detailed breakdown of your current usage. This is handy if you need to check and see how you have used up your allowance over the month, and during the month it will constantly advise you whether or not you will end up over and if the plan is right for you.

Android App Review   Onavo

My favourite feature (save for the widget) appears here. The App Watch pages give you a list of everything on your device that uses data and sorts it by how much data it’s using. Here you can see I’ve selected the Facebook app to have a better look, it’s given me the option to restrict it to Wi-Fi and uninstall it! This is absurdly handy for those really data intensive apps that you’d only use when the Wi-Fi is on, some apps do actually have this sort of an option built in but this makes the feature more universal.

Android App Review   Onavo

The final couple of features are the Usage Profile and the widget. The usage profile keeps track of how you are using the data, when you use it most and how many data hungry apps you use. The widgets available are very handy, and my favourite part of the app. I only use the the top one personally but the others are very handy, clicking them all obviously brings you to the app.

Other things this app will do is throw up notifications to warn you if you are installing an app that is known to be a data hogger, an app is abusing data or you’ve installed an app that is known to be data friendly. You can also set up warning thresholds so you know when you’re getting close to your limits and then have the app turn off your data when you hit the limit. Very handy. I actually turned off the data hogger, data abuse and friendly app notifications though because I found them annoying. I also had to enable the apps ‘Ongoing Notification’ setting to make sure the app was kept running and was accurately tracking data, during a month of testing app killing methods my bill was 100MB different to the apps reading.

So, should you download it? Hell yeah! Why not? It’s free, it has a load of great features and has a very minimal impact on your battery life (I didn’t notice any).  With the app settings set up to allow for the Ongoing Notification it will always be there tracking your data use, I recommend it highly.

Onavo (Market Link)