Android Data Usage Apps and Quota / Cap Monitor Widgets: never get charged extra for data or get capped again!

Introduction

UPDATED: 1-AUG-2011, updated NetBilling, added My Data Manager

Ever gone over your data quota and racked up huge overage charges?

Ever gone over your data quota and got "capped" at x1RTT speeds instead of the much faster 3G?

If you answered YES to either, you need one of the apps here.

The primary focus here is on the apps ability to monitor data usage. If it also monitor calls, SMS, or other capabilities, they will be noted. Some of the special capabilities that a data usage monitor should have:

  • define quota: ability to define a quota, such as 250MB limit per month
  • add offset: ability to define data already used
  • usage predictor: predict usage based on previous patterns
  • hard limiter: ability to turn off data when about to reach quota
  • widget: put up a widget to display data and quota ratio
  • notification: display a notification icon to show status and quota
  • per-app breakdown: ability to show traffic separated by app

The test platform is my Motorola Droid on Verizon. The official data usage meter is the Verizon "Data Usage" widget.

In Alphabetical order...


3G Watchdog
3G Watchdog | Source

3G Watchdog (free)

3G Watchdog is a data watcher that got most things right. It only does data, and nothing else.

This doesn't generate fancy graphs. However, it does predict your usage pattern. The screenshot shows that I will exceed my quota if I keep up my usage pattern.

You can see daily, weekly, or monthly history. You can even export your data from previous periods to be imported later for better prediction. You can also add or subtract usage daily, weekly, or monthly.

It will also give you a notification icon if you need to know you're in the green, yellow, or red.

It will also disable your data to make sure you don't go over, but you will need JuiceDefender or APNDroid installed.

It has 2 size widgets, a 1x1, and a 2x2. They look the same though.

The only thing it doesn't have is per-app reporting, but that's in the Pro version.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Predictor, data disable, widgets, notification, set / offset quota
Cons: no graph, widget can look better, no per-app reporting

Download 3G Watchdog from Appbrain

aPhoneLog
aPhoneLog | Source

aPhoneLog

aPhoneLog is a total package, similar to CallMeter. Its data monitor capability is merely average. This app makes good graphs, but otherwise is nothing special. 

It is not possible to set billing rates to predict overages in this app. There is also no quota setting or such. There is a widget, but it's purely a launcher for the app itself, and displays no data. 

It also has no other interesting features. 

Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Graphs, also do calls and SMS
Cons: nothing special, no quota, no limiter, no notification

Download aPhoneLog from Appbrain

Credit Usage

Credit Usage is a full monitoring app (calls, SMS, MMS, and data). It's rather colorful, but the problem is it doesn't set right. I can't make it recalculate the the stats FROM the "reset date". It only works properly if it was installed just before the reset date (i.e. contract start date), else it gives bogus results, like I made 3 hours of calls in only 2 days, and 3 GB of data usage.

In the looks department, it looks even WORSE and LESS detailed than aPhoneLog above. 

Give it a try, but the lack of detailed stats nor more complex call rules like "family and friends calling circle" and such makes this one an also-ran.

Rating: 4 out of 10

http://www.appbrain.com/app/credit-usage/info.matthewwardrop.creditusage.lite


Data Counter Widget
Data Counter Widget | Source

Data Counter Widget

Data Counter Widget is purely a widget. The app is a configurator for the widget. 

The widget itself is pretty configurable. You can choose background (or none), font color, center or left justify, and so on. There are also two sizes, 2x1 vs. 1x1. 

However, there is no way to set a quota or offset a quota. It is purely a display. If you tap the widget you get more of a breakdown, but still no prediction. 

Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: configurable widget if you like the traditional look, simple
Cons: nothing special, no quota, no limiter, no notification, not an app

Download Data Counter Widget from Appbrain

My Data Manager (free, $4.12)

My Data Manager (Free) is a finely polished app that lets you know your data charges, which has 3G, Roaming (3G), and WiFi screens. It does per app breakdowns, so you know exactly how much data each app did. You can also make it go graphs and such. Setting up rules and such for billing is simple. My only complaint is it doesn't let you hide the "roaming" tab as I don't roam at all. The app also has a 4x1 widget, which is a bit too large to be useful, IMHO.

The paid version removes ads.

I like this one, as it looks sleek and polished. However, it doesn't seem to do predictions like 3G watchdog to forecast your data usage. That can be a problem. It also doesn't disable data to ensure you don't go over like 3G Watchdog.

Worth a try at the minimum. This is one of the better apps available.

http://www.appbrain.com/app/my-data-manager-free/com.mobidia.android.mdm

Netbilling

Netbilling only does data, and it does it in a very small package. Presentation is rather... plain, and its config options is below par. There are some complaints about not being able to separate WiFi vs. 3G traffic. I personally think there are better free apps for you to try here.

6 out of 10

http://www.appbrain.com/app/netbilling/net.coollet.netbilling

NetCounter
NetCounter | Source

NetCounter

NetCounter is rather flexible in that you can fefine up to 4 different counters per data type, and you can set special options per counter, such as alert. However, there is no "offset". 

There is no fancy graph or any sort of prediction. No notification, no disable. It's purely a number presentation, nothing more. 

Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: simple, ability to set alert on multiple levels
Cons: ugly presentation, nothing else of interest, not even widget

Download NetCounter from Appbrain

NetSentry
NetSentry | Source

NetSentry

NetSentry seem to be written for geeks by geeks, as it doesn't deal with normal terms like data / cell / 3G, but instead, it shows... "ppp0", or "rmnet" or such. 

You can set limits, but there's no offset. No graph. There is an limit alarm though. Really needs a better interface. 

Rating: 3 out of 10

Pros: simple, geeky, alert
Cons: ugly and geeky, nothing else of interest

Download NetSentry from Appbrain

Network Counter
Network Counter | Source

Network Counter

NC do data only, and separates wifi data and cell/mobile data. it doesn't do billing periods right though. You can't specify an odd start date. You can do custom period, but it's not really the same.

It will do per-app accounting, but not sorting. 

Overall, Network Counter leaves me a bit wanting.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: per-app breakdown, quota/alarm
Cons: no offset, no widget, no notification...

Download Network Counter from Appbrain

Network Monitor
Network Monitor | Source

Network Monitor

Divides data between Wifi and Mobile, but that's about it. You can set alarm in the settings, but not offsets. 

It has graphs, but they look horribly ugly. And there seem to be no other function. 

Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: simple
Cons: feels half-baked, no special features at all

Download Network Monitor from Appbrain

Network Usage
Network Usage | Source

Network Usage

Network Usage has good presentation, as it displays WiFi / 3G data, and do per app breakdown. You can also directly access connections by tapping on the app, and perhaps start the uninstaller. 

The background does not refresh well with the app. Update of screen is a bit off. 

Overall, for per-app reporting this one leaves me a little wanting. 

Rating: 5 out of 10

Pros; per-app breakdown
Cons: no alarm / quota / nothing

Download Network Usage from Appbrain

PhoneUsage
PhoneUsage | Source

PhoneUsage

The best part of PhoneUsage is its graphs. They are beautiful! And they break down data in many ways. You can set limits for daily, weekly, monthly, call, text, data. You can also exclude voice or text numbers for those "calling circle" programs. 

Unfortunately, there is no per-app breakdown for data, nor any special notification or widgets or such.  But it has a very clear and nice interface. 

Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Great graphs! 
Cons: Nothing else is that interesting

Download PhoneUsage from Appbrain

Smart Data Watch

This app just force closes when I tried to run it. You may have better luck with it. 

Download Smart Data Watch from Appbrain

Stats Free

Stats Free is a the junior version of Stats, and this one suffers same problem as just about all of the monitoring apps (except one or two)... If you install it AFTER the reset date, you won't get accurate data, even if the call log is fully available. You also can't seem to put in a manual offset (i.e. a correction). If you are willing to wait a month for it to work, give it a try. 

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

http://www.appbrain.com/app/stats-free/com.sebastian.stats

Traffic Counter

This is another complete package: call, SMS, and data. This one does per-app breakdown, and it sorts automatically. It also has some very nice widgets. 

The stats do give some graphs, but not very clear. It also doesn't seem to define "billing periods".

The main problem with this app is its accuracy. It is showing over 1 GB of traffic when the official figure is about 750MB. In a different period it is vastly under-counting the traffic.

Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: some graphs, also do calls and SMS, widget (1x1 only)
Cons: needs something more than that, accuracy problems

Download Traffic Counter from Appbrain

TrafficStats Lite
TrafficStats Lite | Source

TrafficStats Lite

TrafficStats Lite specialize in per displaying per-app data stats, and it does a VERY good job. it is also the only app that allow one to define a per HOUR or PER DAY alarm PER APP, instead of overall. However, it doesn't do overall quota or alarms.

If you buy the full version you can get traffic graphs.

Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: very clear per-app data breakdown, even daily/hourly alarms per app
Cons: doesn't do anything else

Download TrafficStats Lite from Appbrain

Conclusion

None of these apps are very big. All are well under 1 MB in size.

None of the free apps is able to match the data counter results from the official Verizon app. Though 3G Watchdog is close (over by 15%).

For watching the overall data quota, use 3G Watchdog.

For figuring out WHICH app is taking up most of your quota, use TrafficStats Lite.

None of the "overall" packages gives you a good breakdown of the data quota or prediction.

If you see any more that do a data breakdown, please put them in the comments below. FREE version only, please! 

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8 comments

david 5 years ago

No mention of Credit Usage Monitor, which would have to be the best usage monitor app out there.


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@david -- it's being tested now. Thanks for the tip!


ibbarkingmad profile image

ibbarkingmad 5 years ago from Utah

Great hub! I hope you don't mind me referencing in my hub about the Amazon Appstore. Thanks for the awesome info!


Iberkenbosch profile image

Iberkenbosch 5 years ago from Amsterdam, Netherlands

Great hub, but do you have something like that also for the Iphone5?


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@Iberkenbosch -- you mean iPhone 4, right? I believe Lifehacker just highlighted such an app. I can't vouch for it as I don't use an iPhone.

http://lifehacker.com/5822310/my-data-usage-pro-tr...


Iggy Falcone profile image

Iggy Falcone 5 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia

Call Meter 3G is the bomb! It's easy to keep track of your call, SMS and Data traffic, has great features and it's free!


rudefuss 5 years ago

I'm trying to find an android app that informs you if your being charged for an 0800 call for example, is there any? Or am I being stupid ? Cheers r


kschang profile image

kschang 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA, USA Author

@rudefuss -- I'm afraid only your phone carrier would know what exactly you're getting charged on and for how much.

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