Plex for Android is a companion app to Plex, the free media centre software for the Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems.
Plex allows for the management and playback of video, photo and music files, as well as podcasts. It can also tap into online content such as iTunes store, BBC iPlayer, Vimeo, YouTube, from a local or remote computer running the full Plex software. Some smart TV's are also supported.
The Plex Android app lets you to use your Android device over Wi-Fi as a fully interactive remote control. It also allows for the streaming of content onto the device for viewing on the tablet or smartphone.
We already had the Plex media-centre software running on our iMac and had it running in the background. We installed Plex on a Galaxy Tab, already connected to our home wireless network, and the app automatically found and connected to the media-centre server.
The Plex for Android app is quite simple. It has a clean and slick looking user interface that displays beautiful album and poster thumbnails. It's designed for both smartphone and tablets, and looked great on a 10in screen, letting us browse our media in either portrait or landscape orientations – although we did find that in portrait view it doesn’t fill the entire screen.
The screen is divided into three sections. The top displays My Library – Films, TV Shows, Music, Photos and Folders that we had previously created in the Plex media centre earlier.
The second section features Channels. This is web-based media content such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu and CNET TV. You will need to set these up using the Plex media-centre software on your PC first.
The third section gives you access to the most recently added media files, so that you can get to them with a single tap.
The app features the ability to stream media content to your Android portable devices. When we picked a film to watch, we were given a choice to play it on our iMac or stream it to the tablet. You can even set this up so it doesn't ask you every time.
It also features a full-screen remote control, with which you can simply control the Plex media centre on your computer screen or smart TV. This is a very handy feature.
We found the remote and the user interface browser worked flawlessly on our Galaxy Tab. There was never any delays when searching or selecting any of our local media. And only a slight delay when viewing web content or when waking up the server computer from sleep. Even high-definition 720p video files streamed and looked very good over our 11n wireless connection.
A version of the app for iPhone and iPad is also available for £2.99.