Most smartphones these days are behemoths of power, almost as powerful as micro PCs in a pocket-sized form. While all that power is available at our fingertips, quite literally, however, that doesn’t mean that our smartphones are running at maximum efficiency. In fact, many apps simply presume that they have full access to all CPU, memory, and storage. Multiply that by the number of apps you have installed and you get a sordid mess of performance black holes. Now, Baidu has come up with DU Speed Booster in a bid to clean all that up. We tried it out to see how well it works.

Like a well-oiled machine

DU Speed Booster’s main functionality focuses on five core areas. Each of those is clearly marked in the app’s home page, plus two more utilities to help your speed boosting goals. Phone Boost is the core Accelerator, and as the name might suggest it tries to supercharge your device, mostly by clearing out apps that have don’t really have any business of running in the background. This frees up more memory for more essential apps to use. After a few moments of analysis it came up with multiple apps, some with only a small amount of data to save, but cumulatively adding up to as much half a gigabyte on one of the devices we tested.

Aside from simply cleaning up apps, there are a few other things you can do here, like setting which apps to automatically kill – that is, prevent from auto-starting – schedule phone boosting sessions, and whitelist which apps to save from being killed.

Trash Cleaner erases residue files that may be squatting in your phone, ranging from the huge but unused files DU Speed Booster comes across, to left over APKs or app data from a previously installed app. These are some of the things that no file manager will show you outright, things that even app markets don’t completely clean up. You can permanently delete them from here.

App Manager is like Android’s own Application manager turned up to eleven. Here you can easily uninstall apps, both the ones that you installed and the ones that came with your OS, as well move apps to your SD card, if you have one. A convenient feature is the APK manager that scans APKs lying around and tells you whether they are installed or not.

Helping set DU Speed Booster apart is its Security function, which comprises both an antivirus utility and a privacy manager. It may sound strange at first to see a security section in a speed booster, but many resource hogging apps and processes are known to come from malware. DU Speed Booster takes care of that with its new antivirus scanner. For more fine-grained control, meanwhile, a Privacy Advisor informs you what apps are using which permissions, like location, messaging, or camera. Unfortunately Android itself lacks per-permission control at present, though that might come in a future Android M version.

Games galore!

The fifth core function of DU Speed Booster is so important that Baidu put it on page of its own. Game Booster is really like Phone Boost, only fine-tuned for games. The basic principles are the same: it frees up memory and resources to make room for the game you are playing, and automatically scans your device to highlight the games you have installed. If it misses any in that scan, you can manually add them. DU Speed Booster also offers to create a game folder on your homescreen for easy access to games, though you’ll need to be using a launcher that supports folders.

More features than you can imagine

Like many of Baidu’s Android apps, Speed Booster is loaded with a ton of features. There’s a Speed Test section that can pretty much replace the popular Speedtest.net app, and which can rank your country’s Internet speed performance against the average in other countries.

An Easter Egg feature in the app’s menu gives you a complete run-down of your smartphone’s hardware, from CPU through GPU, to memory and even hardware sensors. Finally, there are two easy ways to quickly access the phone-boosting functions: first, a conventional homescreen widget that also has quick toggles for Wi-Fi and other settings, and secondly a floating circle, that can be set to be visible in any app, and which allows you to jump straight into Speed Booster.

Easy to use, hard to learn

As with DU Battery Saver, this app is loaded with functions. That could make learning how to use the app a little daunting at first, figuring out what each function does, but thankfully the app is well organized, with very few hidden features lurking in obscure corners.

The best part about DU Speed Booster is that once you’ve learned it all and set up all the switches and toggles you want, using it is a breeze. A simple tap on the huge circle on the app’s landing page starts the process. It couldn’t get more straightforward than that.

One thing we’d love to see is more information on what DU Speed Booster is doing as it runs through rogue apps and processes: not only is it useful to know exactly what’s going on with your phone, it might also help later on when you’re deciding whether a new app or game is something you want to install or not.

Wrap-up

These days, it’s no longer enough to just have a super powerful phone, it also pays to be mindful of the apps that you install which may be using up resources beyond reason. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to actually think about such things, leaving it to the operating system to keep these rowdy apps in check. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world and apps like Baidu’s DU Speed Booster are a welcome addition to our arsenal. Easy to use once you get to grips with the plethora of available features, DU Speed Booster, together with DU Battery Saver, can extend your smartphone’s daily life, not to mention make your games play as smooth as butter.

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