The Five Best Android Launchers

Whether you're tired of your stock home screen or just want to try something new, there's bound to be an Android launcher that's just right for you. This week we're going to check out our top five Android launchers for customisation, speed, design and features.

Photo by Pen Waggener.

MORE: What Is An App Launcher?

Five Best Android Launchers

ADWLauncher EX

ADWLauncher EX ($3.15), the paid version of ADW.Launcher, is a highly flexible, customisable launcher that supports Android 1.6 and higher. ADW offers hundreds of themes to choose from, customisable home screen layouts, multiple dock styles that fit up to five different shortcuts, customisable icon sets, switchable animations, a hidden dockbar with unlimited scrolling and more. It's incredibly tweakable for the advanced, fast and user-friendly for beginners, and it supports a huge number of devices.

Five Best Android Launchers

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher is free but only supports Ice Cream Sandwich devices. It gives you the flexibility to install ADW icon themes if you want to use them, additional themes to change the layout and look of your launcher, a scrollable dock with up to three pages of seven icons each, scroll effects and launch animations that you can toggle on or off, 1x1 widgets in your dockbar and more. If you have $4 to spend, Nova Launcher Prime unlocks unread count badges, the ability to hide apps, two-finger gestures and dockbar folders.

Five Best Android Launchers

Go Launcher EX

Go Launcher EX's claim to fame is how customisable it is. There are thousands of themes and icon packs you can download to customise Go Launcher EX, heaps of widgets, lock screen tweaks and more. Rounded corners, folder groups, good-looking animations, and an emphasis on customisable layouts make this launcher popular, and it doesn't hurt that it supports Android phones running 2.0 or higher. Combine this with the fact that the developers are constantly updating the launcher (which is actually a drawback for many users) and rolling out additional themes and Go-flavoured apps and widgets that fit right in, and you have a wealth of tools to transform your Android experience. Plus, it's completely free.

Five Best Android Launchers

Apex Launcher

Apex Launcher is free, but it's another one in the roundup that only supports Ice Cream Sandwich devices. It's fast and customisable, offers up to nine homescreens, seven dockbars with five icons each, replacement icons for stock Android apps, and lots of beautiful transition and scroll effects. Best of all, if there's any element of Apex Launcher that you don't like, you can easily hide it. You can lock your home screen so nothing changes, back it up in case you you want to revert a change you've made, and tweak the app drawer's appearance. $3.89 will buy you Apex Launcher Pro, which adds multifinger gestures to the ones already in the launcher, support for themes from other launchers (ADW, Go Launcher and Launcher Pro), 1x1 widgets in the dock and unread count badges.

Five Best Android Launchers

Launcher Pro

Launcher Pro is the non-stock launcher that new users often try first. It supports Android devices running 2.0 and higher, and while it's not as frequently maintained as the others, it still offers buttery-smooth transitions, customisable layouts, dock scrolling and live home screen previews. Launcher Pro supports replacement icon packs, infinite scrolling and more. It has been a long time since its last update, but if you're looking for a good, fast Launcher to get started with, Launcher Pro is a good pick.

Honourable mentions this week go out to Zeam Launcher for its minimalistic and uncluttered approach, and Stock ICS Launcher for being a huge improvement over launchers of yesteryear. Sadly, since most Android users don't have ICS yet, the latter is not an option until you upgrade your device or your manufacturer decides to throw you a bone. Also worth mentioning is Holo Launcher, which does a great job of bringing the ICS launcher experience to non-ICS devices.

Have something to say about our favourites? Is there another launcher you think should be included in this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Republished from Lifehacker.


Comments

    Whats the theme used in the photo at the top? It looks really cool!

      Follow the comments in the Flickr link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/epw/6042013705/in/photostream/

      Yeah, I'd like to know that too! Looks rad!

    SSlauncher should be on the list for it's ability to complete customize your launcher. For some it goes too far, but if you really want to tweak everything its very good. It just might take you an hour or two. If anyone was taken by the Sharp Feel UX teaser, you might like that SSlauncher has a vertically scrollling app drawer that can be added as a 'page' in the homescreen so you can replicate something a bit like the Feel UX.

    The typography and icon design looks suspiciously like Metro. I like it

    I use go launcher and find it pretty good!

    Scrolling bottom tabs, sweet and smooooth transitions and it is real easy to use too!

    Rayo

    I started with GoLauncher but the hate soon sets in with all their news/notifications/additional products. Now I'm happily using Apex.

    Wasn't this posted like a week ago?

      Yeah, but on Lifehacker. LOL

      http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/06/five-best-android-launchers/

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.xiaomi.launcher&hl=fr

    mihome launcher is really the better.

    whats the theme or launcher in the picture?

    Here is a ranking of Android Launcher apps. You can rank your favorite ones.
    http://android.zranks.com/ranking/launcher-apps

    Hi !! wanted to know which is the date widget used in the pic above :D its super cool! :)

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