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Are free apps better than paid apps?

It’ll be no surprise to all of you, but the way we access information, play games, or communicate with our friends has changed from just ten short years ago.

Back then, we would go to a library to study something. But now, it’s available for free on the Internet and is only a click away.

It’s thanks to the Internet that we now have everything we want, when we want it. It is without doubt a very useful tool, and that’s probably an understatement.

The rise of the app

As a natural progression, the Internet arrived on our mobile phones in the late 1990s and it enabled us to do much more in many more places. As technology improved, developers started creating little programs to perform certain tasks; we call these apps.

Apps are easy to download and can cost absolutely anything, with developers often creating free apps to lure people into downloading their product.

Then of course, there are the apps that cost a lot of money – that at first glance you’d begin to wonder why would anybody pay that. But people do.


Free apps

Free apps will more than likely have adverts. You’ll load up an app and spend the time trying your very best not to hit the big box in the corner that will instantly take you to a website where you’re offered the best deal on car insurance, or something else totally unrelated to the app.

Alternatively, it might only offer limited functionality and to make full use of the app you will be asked to purchase the full version.

Then there are the apps that you can see that the developer has spent very little time on. No fancy graphics, no fading transitions, sound effects, or sometimes just bad content. What would you expect for free? For free, I guess you can’t complain.

Paid apps

When it comes to paid apps, the level of quality is usually much better than the free ones, as our latest app comparison App vs. app: Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia shows. It’s worth noting that the developer sets the price shown on all apps.


Yes, you have to pay for the app, but you don’t receive adverts continually asking you to CLICK HERE FOR GREAT DEALS! What you do get is an app that a developer has taken their time over; carefully crafted to give you the best experience possible.

Spending money on an app, even if it’s just 0.79p or one dollar, also helps acknowledge to the developer that you’ve appreciated their time and efforts. It allows them to continue making more great apps, for you.

One great example of a paid-for app is Gravity for Symbian smartphones. It costs £8.00 at Nokia Store and by anybody’s standards, that’s an expensive app. However, it’s a great one.

The developer (Jan Ole Suhr) is really engaged with the users of his app and he continually makes updates to it, too. The users of Gravity provide their feedback, he listens and makes improvements and then resubmits to Nokia Store for download once more. It’s a great example of an app ecosystem.

Plus, the app works really well for aggregating all your social networks in one place, which is obviously why it’s popular in the first place.

My opinion

So the question remains, are paid apps better than free ones? Well, my answer is yes. But that’s just my opinion.

I, for one, am not a fan of in-game/app advertising. I like the app to do its job, not moonlight in its spare time – which happens to be my spare time.

I like to know that I’m paying somebody for their time and efforts rather than taking a freebie whenever possible. I wouldn’t browse the shelves in my local supermarket looking for the free price tag that just doesn’t exist.

But also, I wouldn’t expect to pay £8.00 for a fart app, either. I’d expect these types of app to cost an absolute minimum or to be free.

That means that I believe there is a place for free apps, but I don’t expect much of them.

What do you think? Are paid apps better than free ones? I’ve given you my opinion on this subject, now I’d like to hear yours. Use the comments section below.

Image credits: Topgold, antwerpenR, and quaziefoto