Two Masters of Media, With MX Taking the Lead
We’ve outlined the best video players in the past and tried to help you understand which players work well for both audio and video. The cool thing about many of these players is that you can take just about any media type and see what they do. I’ll start by saying that I’ve never used MX Player before, but I have tons of experience using the VLC player for my PC. That said, I had much to learn once I broke open the MX Player, because it pretty much rules the market in terms of Android media players.
The two media players both come out strong when you play your media, so if you love supporting VLC then go for it, but MX Player also offers all these extra features to really amp up your media viewing experience. Let’s take a look at my in-depth review of VLC vs MX Player to figure out what areas they both excel in.
VLC: 4.4 out of 5 stars
MX Player: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Google Play Ratings and Links:
VLC: 4.3 out of 5 stars
MX Player: 4.5 out of 5 stars
VLC plays just about any media format I tested with it. It also incorporates a handy widget which allows you to control the media player app from the homescreen.
MX Player includes some nifty features such as pinch to zoom and the ability to move around subtitles. I also enjoy the fact that parents can put restrictions on the content their kids view and prevent them from making calls or clicking on apps they aren’t supposed to.
To start off, the VLC app is in its beta version, meaning that it is not completely stable. This is addressed once you download the app, but I actually didn’t encounter any problems when working with it.
MX Player includes ads, but you can get rid of these by paying for the Pro version. You can’t do any online browsing or sharing with MX Player, so if you want to share something with a friend then you are out of luck.
The Bottom Line
MX Player is still the king of media players, since it has been around the longest and it provides features such as subtitle gesture controls and panning during a video. VLC is one of my favorite PC media players, since it supports just about any type of format, but I’d like to wait and see what other features they can incorporate after they get past the beta stage.
The User Interface – MX Player Wins
When I first started playing around with the MX Player user interface I wasn’t a huge fan, since it brings you directly into the media on your device, and it doesn’t really offer a nice menu area like VLC. That said, I started to realize that although it’s more familiar for me to have a menu where I can choose my directories and types of media, MX Player is really designed around viewing videos, and they try to push you to the content as soon as possible.
Overall, the VLC player works just fine, and they give you an easy menu to Search, Refresh your content and switch between the different options such as Video and Audio.
MX Player offers similar options, but it’s all condensed into the corner so you can always access the menu whenever you are watching a movie. Modify subtitles, look for help on the app and even click on the folder icon to find other content you might want to view. The reason I like this interface better is because it’s all designed around viewing your media as quickly as possible. There are no distractions with the viewing experience until you absolutely want there to be.
Viewing Media – VLC Wins
Similar to the interface, it’s difficult to blatantly come out and say that either MX Player or VLC is clearly better than the other. They both offer great viewing experiences for your audio and video. However, the main reason I like VLC over MX Player is because of the image below. MX Player serves up ads during your media viewing experience, which is not what I consider fun.
VLC, on the other hand, is completely ad-free, making it clean and distraction free while you watch a video or listen to audio. Keep in mind that you can always purchase the premium version of MX Player in order to get rid of these ads, but since VLC is free with no ads, it comes out on top in the media viewing experience category.
Extra Features – MX Player Wins
Since viewing media is the main reason people download apps like VLC and MX Player it makes sense that the developers for MX Player keep releasing new features that enhance the media viewing experience. If you take a look at the VLC screenshot below you’ll notice that there aren’t many additional features to modify your video or make it look any different. This is fine and dandy for the average user, but some people need extra stuff.
For example, let’s say you are watching a video in a foreign language. You probably want to get some subtitles going. MX Player gives you the option to change the position and look of your subtitles. Like stated before you can also lock your kids out of certain apps and features on your Android device while they watch their movies. My favorite extra feature is the gesture control which allows you to quickly modify things like volume and brightness.
Also keep in mind that MX Player has built-in hardware acceleration, so you shouldn’t have to worry about lag or problems with viewing your media. Working with both VLC and MX Player I didn’t have any problems with this, but it’s nice to know that the developers at MX Player are thinking about this and most likely improving on the hardware on a consistent basis.
Support – VLC Wins
MX Player has a nice little forum and support website, but it’s unclear who manages the content. It’s a Google website, but I can’t find anywhere to email someone or chat with a real person. However, the site is filled with details on the features, along with a dedicated forum, but you might have to wait a while if you have a specific question. Keep in mind that the forum redirects to the XDA Developers forum, but it’s still quite helpful.
VLC is much better in terms of support, since the company offers a fully moderated website with links to an FAQ, troubleshooting guide, Wiki, forum and more. Send the support team an email if you encounter a bug or want to just ask a simple question. Checkout the website here, and you’ll see the VLC team is dedicated to figuring out all the problems it has with its Android app.
App Permissions – Tie
Neither VLC nor MX Player have major concerns, making them ideal video players, since they don’t take any of your information.
Since it’s not all that common to find sketchy app permissions with media players you have two solid choices with VLC and MX Player. They both play just about any media format you want, and I experienced optimal quality while watching videos and listening to music with both apps.
I actually use VLC for just about everything on my computer, but now that I found MX Player it’s a different story on my Android. If you don’t like annoying ads then go with VLC, or purchase the Pro version of MX Player. It’s really not all that expensive, and you receive all the additional features highlighted above.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about my VLC vs MX Player for Android review.
What’s next? Learn about different music players to go along with your videos, and checkout our guide on unzipping files, since I often have to unzip large videos before I try to watch them on MX Player or VLC.