People often ask me about what my favorite thing about Android is as a user. For me, that is the customization. I can completely change the entire look and feel of my device quickly and easily. This is even possible without rooting the device.
I do however have an arsenal of apps to help me accomplish this task. Among the apps that I use are Zooper for custom widgets, a variety of icon packs and a third party launcher. This last app changes from time to time.
Recently, I found a new home replacement app called Launcher Lab. Always open to try something new, I jumped straight into it.
Initially, Launcher Lab was only available for devices on 5.0 and above, but that has changed. Here is how Launcher Lab fairs on my Moto X (2013) and HTC One M8.
Launcher Lab feels like Themer with Lollipops. The launcher includes a theme store where beginners can turn to pick up already created themes and apply them to their own phone much like Themer does.
There is a wide variety of themes to chose from, but there currently is no way to filter through them. You just have to keep on scrolling until you find one that you really like.
There are some cool features available in Launcher Lab that I enjoy. The feature I enjoy the most is the ability to set a different wallpaper for each new screen. As a heavy themer, this allows me to go have numerous different setups that are completely different from each other all at the same time.
More than just wallpapers, Launcher Lab lets you use gesture controls. Swipe up and you are rewarded with an iOS styled quick settings widget. This allows you to do things like toggle airplane mode, Wi-Fi, data connection, Bluetooth, ringer modes and your torch. You can also adjust your screen brightness, ringer volume and a few other options.
Double taping on empty spaces will give you your app drawer which is ordered alphabetically by default. A downwards swipe will give you an app search. Then you have your usual left and right swipe to cycle home screens.
Tapping and holding on an empty space gives you your tools. Here you can add elements to the screen, upload an “X-Screen” (I will touch more on this in a bit), enter a screen overview mode, open your app drawer, or open the theme store.
The theme store is like Themer. You have a bunch of premade screens that you can download and use. The difference is that you get to pick which walls out of a theme you use. If you download a theme with an app home screen and a music widget screen, you can chose to only use the music widget screen, so you are not stuck with the entire theme.
In a similar fashion, you have the ability to mix and match various walls from various themes. The coolest feature on Launcher Lab, in my opinion, is the X-Screens. There are two different types of walls in Launcher Lab.
With regular walls, you can use the launcher how you would use any other launcher. You have your grid for various apps and widgets along with your app dashboard on the bottom housing five different apps.
The fun really begins when you start messing with the X-Screens. These X-Screens act like one whole widget. With the X-Screens, you get access to widgets similar to Zooper widgets. You have the static texts, shapes and dynamic texts.
The advantage you have with X-Screens over Zooper widgets is that you can see the background while you are working. Every edit you make is done on the homescreen, so you know exactly where each element is positioned in relation to your wallpaper and other elements.
In addition to a powerful widget, X-Screens also offers independent walls. What I mean by this is that each X-Screen could have a completely different wallpaper than the previous walls. You are not limited to a single static or scrolling wallpaper.
Launcher Lab also boasts unique icons and animations that are suprisingly smooth and don’t lag up my device. Warning, your results may vary. If these icons aren’t to your liking, you can apply custom icons through Launcher Lab, but you have to apply them one by one and find the image from within the icon pack manually.
Over all, I found Launcher Lab to be a pleasure to use and simple to set up. Applying my preferred icons was a pain, but well worth it in the end. The end result was a unique homescreen that left me happy and content.
Only issue here is that it might be too resource intensive for older devices to handle, but you can always try it. It is a free app, so you have nothing to lose, but there is everything to gain.
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