SystemPanel App / Task Manager Review

SystemPanel App / Task Manager Review

Aug 24, 2010

Ever wonder just how much ram is being used by your apps? How about what speed your processor is running at RIGHT now? Want to magically increase your battery life with one simple click? Sorry that last one just ‘aint gonna happen. SystemPanel App will certainly tell you whats going on with your Android phone, though—and in great detail at that. However, just what use it holds, especially with the changes in the way Froyo manages memory, is not really clear.

The SystemPanel app has a gauge on its main screen for just about every aspect of your phone’s internals. At the top, there are pie charts for CPU percentage, memory, and storage, along with bars with CPU clock clock speed, and network traffic. These gauges update in real time—just do some scrolling in the app and you’ll see the CPU gauge jump up. Prominently displayed below that is a list of active applications and their memory usage. At the bottom there are three large buttons: one for refreshing the data, end all tasks, and menu.

So with that huge “End All” button you might feel encouraged to do so frequently to clear up memory and make your phone run faster, right? Well, not according to the developer of SystemPanel, NextApp’s website. There, you can find a succinct explanation of why killing apps to free up memory in Android is not useful—Android is designed “from the ground up” to handle that just fine. Actually killing tasks can actually decrease system performance. Their recommendation is to use the task killer only to kill unresponsive apps.

Is it just me, or is there an inherent conflict to creating an app with a big “End All” option when you claim that it’s not beneficial to use? Is it simply providing a feature that other task managers offer to be “competitive” when there’s actually no benefit for such feature?

I also didn’t find any evidence that SystemPanel App’s “monitor” feature helped me save any battery life. Supposedly, you leave the monitor running in the background, and then you can see which apps use up your CPU/battery more. But if the Android system is so efficient in managing apps and memory, what use does this info provide? I found that none of my apps used outrageous amounts of CPU or memory. However, even if they did, what action would I be able to take to remedy it? Not use said app?

SystemPanel App does provide an app installer/uninstaller/archiver that makes it easier to manage your apps. However, there are free apps that do this just fine.

So if information about your phone is something you need, SystemPanel really comes through with shining colors. However, for the average user I just can’t see the actual use this app provides. Actually, I think it’s time to debunk the task manager myth once and for all. Especially, in Froyo, killing tasks does more harm than good. If there is something I’m missing here please let me know, but honestly other than providing percentages and other information, I can’t justify the $2.99 price.

SystemPanel App / Task Manager Review Rundown

7.5
Presentation - Everything is laid out nicely, but the "task manager" feature is misleading.
8.5
Graphics - The black background works great with all the gauges and graphs, very slick.
8
User Interface - Everything is well laid out and there is a wealth of information. What to do with it all, I don't quite know.
5
Lasting Appeal - If killing tasks is unnecessary, why would I keep this app?
7
Overall - Since this app does a great job of monitoring I'll give it a 7. However, the supposed battery benefits and superfluous task killing make me question its usefulness.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Demo version is also available on the Google Play Store »

Ben Freed
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