Thursday, 14 July 2011

Picking the Right Android Launcher

Have you ever read a review of an Android phone that takes points off for a weird or cumbersome user interface (UI)? If so, I strongly recommend you flame that reviewer for being incredibly ignorant, short-sighted, or perhaps just plain biased and misleading. Most likely, the reviewer is an iPhone user.

Any self-respecting Android user knows that you are not stuck with the UI you are given. And no, I don't mean that you have to "root" (the equivalent of "jailbreak" for iPhones) or do anything complicated of that sort. With androids, you can change UIs by simply going to the Android Market and downloading a new launcher.

Most launchers are free, and some will even increase your phone's performance from the original UI left in by your manufacturer. The only problem with launchers is, since there are so many, deciding which one is best for you and your phone.


Zeam is one of the leanest launchers on the Android Market. It requires almost no space to download and uses the least amount of memory of any other launcher I've tried. Zeam is great for people who just want a simple, fast launcher that works as soon as you download the app. While you can customize its appearance and flow to a certain extent, it is not nearly as customizable as its competitors.


Those looking for a more feature-rich launcher should try out the ADW Launcher. ADW allows you to add and subtract screens, customize your docking bar, and customize your application drawer, as well as tweak many other details. ADW also has a very large amount of these for the launcher available in the Android Market for free. Just download one and try out your phone's new look.

While ADW allows for huge amount of customization, this level of control can easily become confusing or overwhelming. I recommend watching tutorials and reading guides about setting up and customizing ADW; you will have a much better experience with this launcher if you spend some time getting acquainted with the UI.

GO Launcher EX

GO Launcher EX appeared to be the happy medium between Zeam and ADW. It worked great out-of-the-box, but I also didn't feel too limited in terms of customizability. Like ADW, I could swipe dock buttons, add and subtract home screens, and download custom themes for the launcher. Performance-wise, I found GO Launcher to run a little smoother on my phone that ADW, and on top of that, I also really liked GO Launcher's native widgets built specifically for their launcher.

Bottom Line

I ultimately decided to stay with GO Launcher EX although it was extremely close between that and ADW. I liked the sleek feel of Zeam, but wanted a launcher with a few more bells and whistles; I still think Zeam is a great choice for people with older phones that tend to run a little choppy.

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online degrees. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

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