WidgetLocker Review

WidgetLocker Review

Mar 9, 2011

One of the things that disappointed me about Android when I first started using it was how customizable everything was – except for my lock screen. It seemed like I was stuck with a basic lock screen that didn’t display anything I truly wanted to see besides what was provided – just clock and battery info and an ability to unlock the phone. I wanted something more – then I came across WidgetLocker, a lock screen replacement that lets you edit your lock screen by adding custom sliders, so you can slide to unlock your phone, and also have a slider to open up the camera, for example. You can also add shortcut icons, the standard time and power/alarm displays, and of course, you can add widgets. Essentially, think of WidgetLocker as a home screen page that’s available whenever you wake up your phone. Note that WidgetLocker respects any security settings you may have, like a pattern or PIN unlock – it will pop up after you interact with anything on the WidgetLocker screen, so you can use this app with security.

WidgetLocker is incredibly useful – it’s fantastic for either just having quick information, like if you want to see what the current weather is via a widget quickly, or if you want to tweet something quickly. I use it primarily as a replacement for my first home screen that I’d see when I unlock, with all those widgets now on my lock screen. The features I use the most are available to me as soon as I hit the power button, and I appreciate that. As well, being able to pull down the notification bar without having to unlock is great. If you’re worried about battery drain with WidgetLocker, it appears to be trivial if not nonexistent.

WidgetLocker comes with a lot of options, and many of them can be hard to decipher their meaning or usage until you actually test them out. You’ll get to a point where you have something you like, but this is something that may not be user friendly at first, as it does give you a lot of power to wield, and figuring it out how it all actually works takes time. As well, you can’t edit the functions of sliders once they’re placed, you have to trash them and make a new one if you want to change their function. Also, this seems like something that should really be available as a default Android option, to customize the lock screen. While this does prove to be extremely useful, there’s part of me that thinks that this is unnecessary, that widgets and lock screen customization should be available as a stock Android setting.

WidgetLocker is a must-have tweak for your Android. It’s extremely useful, especially if you want to use something like a music control widget on your lock screen, or to check information via widgets quickly. This is something that can improve your phone’s user experience dramatically, and is well worth the $1.99 to try out.

WidgetLocker Review Rundown

Appearance - Utilizes standard Android menus to change settings and apply widgets - it feels a
User Interface - There are a LOT of options, whose functions are often difficult to glean until you actually use them.
Functionality - Widgets work perfectly on the lock screen with no issues, and battery drain is trivial if not nonexistent from my testing. There are some usability quirks with this being an unofficial solution, though they are minor.
Usefulness - Formerly the least customizable aspect of Android has become as customizable as the home screen, and with the variety of widgets available, your lock screen can become a quick access information and/or functionality powerhouse.
Overall - This is a tweak that will stay on my phone as long as I have it, or until Android lets me put widgets on the lock screen myself. In a short amount of time, it has changed the way I used my phone, and made it feel more useful instantly.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
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