Nova Launcher Prime Review

Nova Launcher Prime Review

Sep 19, 2012

Android defined mobile customization. Third-party launchers exemplify that customization, and competition breeds a great selection, and it takes an awful lot to stand out from the crowd. At first glance, it seems that Nova Launcher Prime from Android third-party heavyweight TeslaCoil Software just might be able to do it.

Nova packs a productive punch. I am picky about my homescreens, and Nova became the horribly indulgent uncle. I was resizing widgets in no time, and working on animations, theming and more.

I was a huge fan of the LauncherPro. The combination of tweaks (like sliding docks and icon hiding) appealed to me. Nova seemed to incorporate a lot of these features, and more. I found Nova’s UI smooth, with it natively giving me access to its menu and the device’s menu, as well as wallpaper. The initial five homescreens were snappy, and the pop-out animation of the application drawer worked without a hitch. I thought that it incorporated some of the better aspects of Sense, and actually improved upon it.

Widget re-sizing is nothing new; it is an almost expected feature in any third-party launcher replacements. Nova makes it easy by using an adjustable grid to facilitate sizing. Thus, I was able to make widgets that were truly my own.

As if that is not enough, as noted earlier, I was able to change the icons using themes. Customization is where Nova truly shines, and I appreciated the ability to use themes made for ADW and Go (other popular launchers for Android OS); I was able to find dozens icon sets in the Google Play Store and XDA Forums. I could also hide icons I didn’t want to appear in he app drawer, and also able to adjust the number of icons in the dock.

Two features I truly liked were the gesture-based button functionality and the sliding docks. The former created the ability to make one dock button do an additional action based on type of interaction — interactions like either press, swiping up or down, zooming in or out and double tapping, among others. As an example, I was able to create a direct dial action as an alternative action for the phone icon in my dock. The latter gave me easy access to icons in any screen by swiping.

I liked Nova way more than I thought I would. I mourned the fact that there was not a social widget, and wished for a hub-type functionality that allowed the downloading of icons from within Nova itself. Still, I am sure that most people will love Nova, and will be pleased enough to make it the default portal to their devices.

Theme Thursday – Minimalist

Theme Thursday – Minimalist

Apr 14, 2011

As many of us already know, one of the great things about Android is the large number of ways you can customize your device. Using the right combination of widgets, launchers and home replacements, you can have a radically different user interface for a truly unique experience. One of the most popular home replacements (and my personal favorite) is the ADW Launcher.

Not only does ADW Launcher add some nice customization features, it also comes with support for hundreds of themes to give it a whole new look. There are themes based on ideas, color schemes, movies, games and products. With so much to choose from, we figured it would be a great feature to highlight some of them here on Android Rundown.

And so, without further ado, here is this week’s theme: Minimalist, a theme available for free on the Android Market.

Minimalist contains stark contrasts between the black, white, grays and blue highlights, which is something I like about this theme. It’s very simple without any distractions and comes with a nice wallpaper (which you can change, if you prefer). Also, it comes with a large assortment of custom icons to keep the theme going.

There were icons for almost all of my favorite applications, from Astrid and PowerAMP to Angry Birds Rio, as well as the default applications that come on most phones. The designer also notes that if there are any icons you’d like to see, he’d be more than happy to fill the order if you just contact him.

You might find the theme too simple, but I found it to be elegant and pleasing. I also found that it made my phone feel “snappier.” However, I’m not too crazy about the browser icon. Thankfully, ADW makes that easy to change, as you can set any icon you like.

If you’re looking for a nice, clean theme for ADW Launcher, Minimalist might be the theme you’ve been looking for. If not, join us next week when I highlight another theme!