There is nothing worse than getting a huge bill from your mobile operator because you have used more data than you realised. The charges for using more than your allowance can be very high, but these two data monitors can help you to avoid unwanted costs.
Mobile phone connections are becoming faster with 4G becoming increasingly common and 5G coming soon. These enable you to consume your whole month’s data allowance in just a few minutes and it is a shame that the limits are not growing as fast as the speed.
To make matters worse, every app seems to want to access the internet to back up, sync, store settings, share things and so on. The apps we use are becoming increasingly heavy internet users and the amount of data we consume is rising rapidly.
Whatever your data allowance, whether it is 0.5GB, 1GB, 2GB or more, you need to monitor your usage. Dig around in the Android settings on many mobile phones and you can find out how much data you have used. It is buried so deep that some people don’t know it is there and those that do find it awkward to access.
What is needed is a simple way to keep an eye on data usage. There are many Android apps that can do this and I have looked at some before using Onavo Count for Android. This time two more apps are tested, dodol Phone and Data Monitor. Data Usage Defender-Efficiency looks fantastic and was also tried, but it did not work on my phone, a Samsung Galaxy S4, so it is not covered here.
dodol (with an odd lowercase d) Phone is a very nice app that monitors your phone calls, text messages and data usage. The user interface is a lovely and simple design that is very clear and easy to use. There are three large icons for data, calls and messages, and below each one is the amount used.
You can enter your mobile plan – the number of minutes and text you get, and the data allowance. The renewal date can also be entered. I had some difficulty with this and it kept resetting back to the 1st of the month until I edited the plan after creating it. You can choose include or exclude incoming calls and text messages and just monitor outgoing ones, which is useful because incoming ones are unlimited.
The home screen shows your usage, the days left to everything resets, and your allowances. Pressing one of the three buttons shows a simple text screen that shows today’s usage and this month’s total usage. The Graph tab shows a very nice chart of your usage over recent days and recent months.
Dodl Phone is a great app and it is free if you don’t mind the small ad bar at the bottom. There is a nice widget to put on your home screen and it displays the call, text and data usage in the notifications pull-down too. It is recommended.
Data Monitor is another nice app for monitoring your phone’s use, but it is different to dodol Phone because it only monitors data. It does not monitor your call minutes or text messages. If you find that you always have more than enough minutes and texts and don’t need to monitor them, then Data Monitor is the better app of the two because it provides more detailed information.
The home screen shows the data usage on Wi-Fi and mobile, but as Wi-Fi is usually unlimited, it can be hidden if you prefer. It is actually interesting to view it though. Daily data usage is displayed on a chart in the lower half of the screen and a bar shows your data limit. This is entered in the settings and you can set daily, weekly and monthly limits, and the day your account is reset.
There are two tabs and swiping to the App tab lists the apps on your phone and how much data each one has used on both Wi-Fi and mobile. This is very useful indeed if you want to track down which app is responsible for eating up all your data.
Tapping the Wi-Fi and Mobile buttons on the home screen displays daily data usage for the month as a text listing and as a chart. There is an interesting data speed floating widget that can be displayed in the top right corner of the screen. It shows the upload and download speeds when data is being transferred. It tended to get in the way, so once the novelty had worn off, it was hidden, but it could be useful for checking connection speeds.
If you don’t need to monitor calls and texts, Data Monitor is a great tool for keeping an eye on data usage. It shows how much is used and can alert you to over-use.
Title: dodol Phone
| Title: Data Monitor
Android: 4.0 and up
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 05 March 2015