Smart Launcher

Date Thu, February 27 2014
Icon Flower Pattern on Home Screen

Icon Flower Pattern on Home Screen

Shortly before I bought my new phone (review coming soon!), I installed Smart Launcher on my old phone to replace the default launcher. I rather like HTC Sense, but it lags after a while and I knew there was no use to reformat the phone because I was getting a new one soon.  Smart Launcher was the first result that came up and it worked so well that I actually put it on my new phone.

Home Screen

The default home screen uses a “flower” configuration for icons, but you can change it to rows.  When you first download Smart Launcher, it asks you which apps you prefer to use for certain functions, including messaging and Internet. If you change apps, all you have to do it remove and replace the app, and it’ll ask again.

The home screen is compatible with gestures If you upgrade to the premium app, you can change the colors of icons and backgrounds and even notifications.

There are a couple free plugins that you can use. I opted in to notifications for apps, which provides an iOS-like notification on the home screen. There’s also a lock screen, but I don’t like it quite as much as the default Sense lock screen, so I uninstalled it.

The home screen works well with gestures. You can set up left, right, top and bottom swipes to perform custom actions. A side swipe opens the app drawer by default, and you can choose whether to see the icon for the drawer on the home page if you want to clear up your screen. In fact, there are countless options including:

  • Screen orientation
  • status bar visibility
  • Clock mode
  • Left-handed mode
  • Icon visibility
  • App drawer rows and columns shown
  • Labels
  • Backup and restore options

App Drawer

Smart Launcher App Drawer

Smart Launcher App Drawer

The app drawer is really my favorite part of this launcher. It intuitively separates apps into groups:

  • Communication
  • Internet
  • Media
  • Games
  • Utilities
  • Settings
Global Settings

Global Settings

All of my apps were carefully sorted, but there’s a search bar on each tab if you aren’t sure which tab your apps are in. Every tab also has a shortcut to the Play Store, which is super convenient, as well as a menu to launch Smart Launcher’s settings. These settings allow you to organize app in the drawer by name or frequency of use. I chose the latter.

Themes

You can download free and premium themes to use with Smart Launcher. Each themes comes with icons, a clock style and wallpapers, but you can mix and match, which I’ve done. I’ve downloaded additional icons to use both on the home screen and app drawer, so Smart Launcher gives me a minimalist feel that I love.

Right after I got my new phone, Smart Launcher 2 launched. It looks a little prettier, but its not entirely different from the original. You can download the second version and still use the old layout. Upgrading also gives you access to two-finger gesture controls, but I don’t use those.

The only thing Smart Launcher really doesn’t do is support multiple screen or widgets. Widget compatibility is available if you upgrade, however.

The key to Smart Launcher’s success is definitely in its simplicity. It runs quickly even if you don’t have a brand-new phone, it’s got support behind it and it’s attractive. It’s probably my favorite launcher.. ever.

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