Spark 360: Xbox Live for Android

I’ve been searching for a quality Android app that lets me manage my Xbox Live profile on the go — and at last I’ve found one.

Spark 360 is a fully featured Xbox Live management client for Android users on firmware 1.5  and up. Although it is a paid application (costing $1.50) it obliterates the competition. While writing this review I also took the time to give some other similar apps a try, including XBOX Live Statistics and 360 Live; these apps will run you $1.49 and $1.99 respectively. Simply put, the developer, Akop Karapetyan, has created a cleaner, faster, and easier to use tool for catching up on everything I need to know when I’m away from my Xbox 360. Check out the nitty gritty after the break…

First Steps

Upon launching the app, you are greeted with… well, a pretty basic screen. Don’t let it fool you, though: Spark 360 is one of the nicest designed apps I have ever seen. The user interface is flawless. Regardless, the intro screen lets you set up your Xbox Live account for viewing. Right off the bat, it’s revealed that the application will allow you to manage multiple accounts at the same time — perfect for people with multiple accounts, or parents who want to monitor their child’s conversations and actions.

Selecting the New Account option will bring you to a login screen where you can enter your Xbox Live email and password. After taking a few seconds to connect, you are able to set up some pretty basic options such as Notifications. (More on that later.) Once done with your settings, you finally get a taste of sweet satisfaction. An absolutely beautiful display appears with all of your profile’s information, including gamer picture, gamer tag, messages, friends online, and lots of other statistics and information.

The main profile screen in Spark 360.

The main profile screen in Spark 360.

The Basic Interface

From your main profile screen you can do a number of things; for example, you can view all of your friends, and the ones you have online. Simply tapping the Friends Online box brings you to a fluid, alphabetically sorted, scrollable list of friends separated by grey online and offline tabs. A press on the menu button displays a number of options such as refreshing the list, search for a friend or view your recent players.

A fluid, scrollable list of friends.

A fluid, scrollable list of friends.

You can also view individual friend information by selecting a friend from the list. From here you are displayed a window similar to your profile that provides more detailed information on your friend. Information such as location, motto and bio are provided in a wonderfully designed table. The Menu button leads to some additional options, allowing you to compose a message to said friend, view their friends, and compare games.

Messaging & Notifications

Heading back to your own profile screen, there is a dedicated button for messaging. This application does a great job at integrating with Xbox Live messaging. The system allows you to send and receive text messages with your friends and other players.

It’s mostly straightforward: when composing messages, you can select one or multiple people to send the message to, as well as actually write your message in a text box. One unfortunate detail is that the text box does not dynamically expand greater than five lines tall, so, for long messages, it may be difficult to maintain an understanding of what you are typing. As you can see below, there is a large amount of open, barren space underneath the text box, so I am not quite sure why the developers decided not to allow it to expand further.

Sending a message to a friend in Spark 360.

Sending a message to a friend in Spark 360.

Spark 360 also has a great notification tool which allows you to set up message and friend notifications on a per account basis. Meaning, if you have multiple Xbox Live accounts that use this app, you can set one, or all of them to notify. Each account has its own settings pane. Message notifications can be turned on or off, while friend notifications can be turned off, set to notify for “favorite friends”, or turned on for all friends. Another puzzling factor is what exactly “favorite friends” are; I looked all around for a favorite friends option, and even tried long pressing on different friends in the friends list, and still nothing.

Notifications can also be set to use a ringtone, and vibrate. Also in the settings area is the Update Frequency, where you can set the length of time the app waits to check for new messages or friend updates. I found that if you have friend notifications turned on, it can get very annoying if you set your update time very low, especially if you have a lot of friends. I would recommend using an update time of one or two hours, and only check for friends online on an as-needed basis.


This application also has two useful tools bundled that are also available in the menu. One of these is Xbox Live status. Countless times I have found this tool to be extremely useful. It has status indicators that sync with the Xbox website for Xbox Live, Xbox Live Marketplace, account services and matchmaking statuses. Now, in the event Xbox Live goes down, or I get logged off my account, I can easily find out the status of the service without trying to get my laptop out or fumbling around with the mobile browser. The second tool is for Microsoft Points, and shows the exchange rate for points in several different currencies including the US dollar and the Australian dollar.

In the end, Spark 360 is a very well built application with a refined function. Despite a few development quirks that could surely be addressed in an update, I’m giving this application a 9 out of 10. If you’re interested, check it out on the Android Market today!


An Xbox Live management client for Android.