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Best Android Launchers Tested & Reviewed


one of the best things about android has always been the way that you can just bugger about with it as much as you like changing up the look and feel so it suits your own personal taste and one of the easiest ways of changing up that ui is of course with a third-party launcher a launcher can completely transform everything to do with your smartphone software adding greater customization or stripping back that functionality to the bare basics and in 2020 the selection of worthy launches hitting the google play store is rather immense trying out all the best ones could literally take you days if not weak so what i’ve done here is rounded up my favorite android launchers that you can download right now from the google play store no rooting or anything required literally just download them and boom you’re ready to go and for more on the latest greatest tech please do put subscribe and ding that notifications bell cheers now one of my long-term favorite android launchers is still at all time classic nova it’s been around longer than sir

david attenborough and like our treasured death dodger nature lover it gets better with age once again pretty much every aspect of the nova overlay can be meddled about with everything is fair game here from the transitions and those icon visuals to the app store and animations nova offers impressive gesture control too as an example you can set it up so swiping across an app icon performs a very different action to simply tapping on it to open it up i’ve actually done a full nova launcher tips and tricks guide as well so go check that bad boy out for a much closer look at these awesome features and whether the prime version is actually worth an upgrade spoiler alert it totally is i’ve also got a lot of love for the poco launcher 2.0 which is free to download from the google play store as popularized of course by those poco smartphones and now packing all of those great android 10 style features like a proper dark mode and if you’re unfamiliar with the poco launcher the main benefits are that it’s fast and light so it definitely won’t go draining your battery unexpectedly or also pilfering your phone’s resources i definitely love the simple minimalist design that stock android layout hasn’t been molested at all just tweaked enough with plenty of cool little improvements you’ve still got an apps tray thankfully and this includes groups of icons based on type so you can quickly access all of your games messaging apps and so on or alternatively you can also cluster them all based on the icon color if you prefer and you can also easily pull out that notifications bar by swiping down anywhere on the desktop which is particularly handy if your phone is enormous like pretty much any

smartphone in 2020 while conjuring the google assistant is but a simple swipe from the bottom corner a nifty desktop shortcut can be tapped to cleanse the memory and speed things up and despite that simple layout there’s still a fairly respectable level of customization here you can chuck in your own icon packs for example as well as playing around with grid sizes and all kinds of other shenanigans and yeah poco launcher 2.0 is kind of limited in the customization stakes certainly compared with a lot of the other launchers that i’ll mention in this round up but if you just want something that’s neat tidy and fast then definitely check it out alternatively if you’re more sold on nova’s approach where you’ve got that nice sort of stock android vibe but you’ve got really really deep customization once you dive under the surface then definitely have a squinted hyperion launcher at first glance there’s little to distinguish hyperion from the pixel launcher but like nova you could basically piddle about with pretty much every aspect of the ui all the features you’d expect are packed away in those settings including some smart gesture support for easier one-handed use so there’s plenty of control over the ui theming including the color schemes animations and the icons as well as the ability to add folders to your app straw and basically so much stuff i could even possibly go into all of the loveliest bits right here and best of all it stays a silky smooth experience note however that to unlock all of the luscious type hearing features you will

have to stump up for the pro version although that was less than two quid and it’s a one-off fee so not exactly bank breaking if you’re looking for more launches like nova and hyperion then definitely check out the action launcher pixel edition which once again keeps that sort of stock android feel but again with plenty of customization options and you’ll also get very similar vibes from the roller bornely titled customized pixel launcher just remember to spell customized wrong with a zed when you type it into the google play store customized and another android launcher that doesn’t mess around with that stock look and feel is the rather brilliant launch air launcher now in an even more awesome version too like the others i’ve already mentioned you get a great selection of customization options basically everything you see can be tweaked and fiddled with you can keep the likes of the google feed if you download the separate loan feed plugin or ditch it entirely if you’d prefer and i like the selection of gesture shortcuts too which allow you to easily yank down that notifications panel hibernate the phone or load up your favorite app and best of all the launcher launcher is completely free to download and check out so you got no excuses whatsoever now if you’ve used one of blackberry’s android smartphones in the past something like the amusingly titled blackberry prav then you’ll know just how good that blackberry android launcher really is well the good news is you can download a version of the blackberry launcher right now from the google play store and while it’s not quite as

fully featured as the ones that you’ll get on the actual blackberry smartphones it’s still pretty damn good with a lot of those best bits chucked in there as you’d probably expect this launcher is all about staying organized one of my favorite features is the task shortcuts which saves buckets of time on anything you do over and over again just shove one on your desktop and you can jump straight into that specific action rather than having to tap your way to it through the relevant app and if you’re a massive fan of widgets the point where your desktops are absolutely crammed full of them well blackberry definitely has you covered there as well because now you can actually hide those widgets away and then reveal them with just a quick swipe over the app icon it’s a really neat and tidy setup and it works a treat and of course you can use all of blackberry’s own apps for your mail messages and the rest or just stick with your preferred alternatives however unfortunately it’s not all great after 30 days of using the blackberry launcher you’ll have to stump up for a subscription to continue using it otherwise have to put up with the occasional ad popping up which is really really annoying and as a blackberry subscription cost you 89p a month that basically means you’ll be stumping up over a tenner a year to use the blackberry launcher and making it one of the most expensive options out

there now if you’ve got more love overall for microsoft compared with blackberry then you’ll definitely have to check out the excellent version 6 of the microsoft launcher again available via google play this latest update has improved the overall performance and added in some worthy new bits as well like a proper dark mode making a slick and enjoyable launcher even better it’s not vastly different from standard android but with a pleasing aesthetic and some bonus bits that i rather like such as an expandable dock to stash away most of your favorite apps to the rather good feed which is basically a scrollable page of widgets that you can customize to your heart’s content unlike blackberry’s effort the microsoft launcher is completely free to use and enjoy for the rest of your existence basically and thankfully in version 6 they seem to have iron out most of the quirks and annoying little bits that i saw in the previous version so it’s definitely one of my more favorite options right now now next up in my roundup of the best android launchers that you can download right now in 2020 is the niagara launcher this offers a very different presentation to the previous launches that i mentioned offering a more streamlined approach to dealing with your smartphone instead of cluttering your screen with a whole grid of apps you’ll get a short list of your favorites up to eight in total although your other apps can be quickly opened using the cascade and adazid index after spending some time with niagara i actually think i prefer this system to hide in everything away in an app store it’s very neat and efficient but because

all of your apps aren’t just immediately on display as soon as you unlock your smartphone it’s much harder to get distracted and stop piddling around in social media and stuff that you don’t really need to do a niagara makes life easier in lots of other little ways as well so for instance if you’re playing a bit of music or an audio book some handy media controls will appear on the desktop for fast access i think swipe right on any app to check out weight notifications or jump straight to certain features while a swipe down will open the notifications tab you do get some simple customization including a choice of light dark or ultra dark theme and for the settings panel however the ui is very straightforward so it’s not actually that much to tweak overall if you want something that’s just quick and simple to use and it’ll prevent you from getting distracted when you just need to have a quick check of your emails or whatever then niagara is pretty bloody wonderful and another great android launcher option for anyone else to streamline their overall smartphone experience is the kiss launcher which certainly has nothing to do with the 80s glam rock band or playing tonsil hockey rather the case of the title is an initialism which stands for keep it simple face or something like that there’s no widgets here no multiple pages although you do still get an app straw but all you’ve got there on the main desktop is a search bar which you can use to find whatever you need be it app contact even a specific setting as you search for bits they will stack up in your history so you can fast access stuff that

you use a lot where you can also add anything you like to a row of permanent favorites housed there at the bottom once you get used to this general setup it’s surprisingly intuitive and also just like niagara launcher it’s great for not getting distracted by stuff that you really don’t need to look at you’ve still got some customization options thrown in there for good measure although obviously they are once again pretty basic compared with a lot of the other launchers mentioned best of all the kiss launcher is once again completely free to download and check out so there’s no excuses sticking for a bit longer with this streamlined approach as well i really like the sleek design of the ratio launcher although sadly i have not had a chance to personally check it out because it’s only available to download via invitation i have put in my request though so stay tuned for an update on that bad boy and if you like the look of both kiss and niagara then definitely check out the before launcher as well which is a very similar sort of thing now last up in my roundup of the best android launchers you can download from the google play store in 2020 i’m still very much a fan of the smart launcher 5 as well which has evolved quite a lot over time the idea here is that your home page acts as a central hub you can fill it with icon shortcuts to your favorite apps while swiping up reveals the app page where you’ll find all your stuff sorted into different categories swipe right to access a selection of cuts from microsoft news which isn’t the most customizable effort out there but it’s still pretty decent and meanwhile

swiping left serves up the widgets page which you can cram full of your favorite goodies and if you swipe down to access the search page you can use that to quickly access a specific app or contact thankfully these different pages can be rearranged or even removed entirely from within the smart launcher settings so you can set up your handset however you like and there is a shed load of customization options if you’re willing to stump up for the pro version that pro version show in cheap though at the time i shot this video it’ll cost you a whopping 8 pounds and 49 pence precisely in order to unlock it making it one of the more expensive options out there again and thus concludes my roundup of my favorite android launchers that you can download in 2020. unfortunately there are so many good launchers out there there are as many good android launchers as there are crap steven seagal films so undoubtedly i’ve missed out a few of your own personal favorites and if so definitely feel free to call me a numpty down in the comments below and clue me in with your own preferred option and please also do poke subscribe and dig that notifications bell while you’re at it for more on the latest and greatest tech cheers everyone love you

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