Google introduced Digital Wellbeing with Android Pie to help users make healthy lifestyle choices. The feature, which keeps track of how a user interacts with their smartphone, is designed to help you take back control of your life. Sadly, it's limited to just a handful of devices.
For others, there's ActionDash - an app that offers similar functionality and isn't limited to a small subset of devices. So, how do the two compare? We tested both the apps on the new Galaxy S10 Plus, which is one of the few phones that ship with Google's Digital Wellbeing. Here we'll be sharing the results. But before we get to that, let's take a brief look at all the features on offer.
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Other than Digital Wellbeing's Wind Down and app usage timer, ActionDash packs the rest and then some more. ActionDash works on all devices running Android Lollipop or above, which is the most apparent difference between the two. Additionally, the app can track system app usage and show device session time. All the data is displayed in neat graphical panels making it quite easy to understand.
The paid version of the app also has dark mode and manual backup options. It also unlocks full usage history, displaying stats beyond the last seven days. And the paid version also does away with the ads. ActionDash is one capable digital health tracker which is capable of aggregating much more data than Digital Wellbeing.
The only missing features - Wind Down and usage timers - can easily be added using third-party apps. That effectively makes ActionDash a much better alternative to Digital Wellbeing. At least in terms of the number of features. The app is great for the privacy conscious as all the data it collects is stored on your device. I can't say the same for Digital Wellbeing.
Both the apps have a relatively similar interface, but I found ActionDash a bit simpler to use. All the info on ActionDash is listed clearly under five separate tabs, while on Digital Wellbeing you'll have to go through some inconspicuous menus to get the same info.
The home page on both apps shows app usage, unlocks and notifications in a colorful graph. But on ActionDash, the info is supplemented with a graph highlighting app session length.
On Digital Wellbeing, clicking on the graph takes you to the Dashboard which lists app usage statistics in more detail. The menu also allows you to set a timer for each app to limit usage.
The graph on ActionDash just takes you to the next tab, which has detailed app statistics. However, it doesn't have a similar app timer. The home screen on Digital Wellbeing also features the Wind Down setting which is absent in ActionDash.
While that's the extent of Digital Wellbeing's functionality, ActionDash also lists down the number of app launches, notifications and phone unlocks in individual tabs. Detailed graphs accompany all the info. Tapping on an app takes you to the app's page which lists the app's usage, number of launches and notifications. While doing the same on Digital Wellbeing just lists the usage. Navigating on ActionDash is also a breeze, requiring you to swipe left or right to switch between tabs.
As you can see from the attached screenshots, ActionDash delivers more detailed statistics of the same data. And while it might be a bit difficult to interpret at first, the extra data will help you keep a check on your digital health more effectively.
It's also worth noting that Digital Wellbeing displays only daily and hourly data, which is a bummer. ActionDash, on the other hand, displays daily, weekly and hourly data. Additionally, the paid version of ActionDash gives access to even more detailed statistics.
Though ActionDash isn't a system app, it is not affected by aggressive RAM management. On the other hand, Digital Wellbeing is a system app and faces no such issues.
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Which One Should You Go For?
Well, it depends. As you can probably already tell, both apps aren't perfect. So you'll have to make the decision based on whether you own a Pixel (or other supported device) or not.
In case you do, I don't see any point of installing ActionDash. If you don't, you don't have a choice. You can always choose to use both on your supported device and reap the benefits of having all the features.
However, if you want to track your health and phone usage patterns in detail, then investing in ActionDash might help you change your habits and manage your time effectively.
Next up: Microsoft Launcher also packs in some basic digital health tracking features that can help you keep track of your device usage. Check our complete guide to the Microsoft Launcher to learn more.
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