Best Android launchers for your smartphone

By Abhishek Joshi

Best Android Home-screen replacement appsIt is a well known fact that Android operating system is very customizable to suit your needs and uses. However, with plethora of options available in Google Play, you’re bound to get confused and lost in choosing the best ones to satiate your needs.

You need not worry anymore. To make your task easier, we have dug out a list of the best Android home-screen replacements apps in Google Play, which ensure zippy performance and timely updates to get the best out of your smartphone.

Apex Launcher

If you really want to give a makeover to your Android smartphone then look no further than the Apex Launcher. It is one of the best home-screen replacement apps out there and also the slickest. It provides a stock Android like experience, but with a few icings on the cake.

What sets it apart from stock Android launcher is a range of customizations like transition effects, scrollable dock, folder styles, drawer styles, neat homescreen gestures and variety of themes. It also comes with a paid Pro version, which allows you to go deeper into the themes, customize your drawers and docks. Also, change the way your widgets look and add more widgets as per your requirements.

Highlights

  • Add-on themes over stock Android

  • Customizable app drawer and dock

  • Up to 9 homescreens

  • Lollipop theme in the latest update

  • Scroll speed controller and new transition effects

  • Battery intensive notifications

  • Takes up about 4.4MB in your phone and compatible with Android 4.0.3 and above

Download from Google Play

Yahoo Aviate Launcher

It is probably the smartest launcher in Google Play. It automatically organizes your applications into categories like productivity, music, social, transport, photography etc. A left swipe takes you to a Google Now like information page with quick toggles for events, weather, news updates and personal profile. Unlike other launchers, it is very uncluttered and neatly arranges your apps in an alphabetical order in case you need to access an app other than the ones listed in the categories above.

The icon designs are very similar to a stock Android and may not make it the prettiest launcher, but it stands out because of two major reasons: a) The ease of finding any app and the convenience of organized application drawer, b) The subtle integration of Google Now like feature with added features of quick profile mode toggles.

Highlights

  • Organized app drawer and ease of finding applications

  • Beautiful transitions

  • Beefed up a Google Now alternative with profile mode toggles

  • Light on the RAM and works on Android 2.3.3 and above

  • Nifty feature of swiping up to see and call the most frequently contacted people

Download from Google Play

Zero Launcher

This launcher is like a dream come true for Android fans craving for the simplicity of iOS without having to spend too much on an iPhone. It has beautiful widgets and icon packs which resemble MIUI and iOS a little. All the applications are tidily segregated into folders along with a bunch of system toggles and weather widget. Swiping down anywhere on the screen opens up a quick phone search like iOS, which is quite a smart feature. Swiping up reveals system settings and a bunch of other launcher settings.

There are several icon packs preloaded in the launcher and they are enough to please you for a long time. The launcher also offers ‘Hidden’ application support, which locks and hides any application requested by the user and seems like a useful feature. The transitions in the app are by far the best among the launchers we tested and one can see 3D effects as well in all the processes in the launcher.

Highlights

  • 3D effects coupled with smoothness and refinement

  • Extremely light on RAM and quick launch

  • Very well designed widgets and icons with a variety of options

  • Smart features like swipe down to reveal search and ‘Hidden’ application support

  • Add-on features like Zero Boost (to clean up memory), Zero Locker (Lock phone with a single touch), Zero Wallpapers to name a few

  • Works very well on low end smartphones due to low RAM usage. It takes as low as 2MB on certain phones and is compatible with Android 4.0 and above

Download from Google Play

Hola Launcher

With a size of just 1.8MB, it is one of the smallest launchers which is aesthetically pleasing and works swiftly without any lag. Similar to Zero Launcher, Hola Launcher categorizes your apps into folders and makes your life a lot easier by giving you an option to have a look at all apps in case you get lost. Although the icons look good, the best part about the launcher is the ability to customize your theme, text message background, font, wallpaper and screen lock. The transitions are not as smooth as other launchers, however they are in no way laggy.

It has a unique interesting feature called ‘Hola Shine,’ which has not been seen in any of the launchers we tested. It is a sideway opening feature which shows you the most frequently opened applications, newly downloaded applications and quick toggles for Wi-Fi, data, Bluetooth etc. It is an excellent feature, which makes the launcher stand out.

Highlights

  • Quickly categorizes all apps into folders

  • Takes about only 2MB of space and is compatible with Android 2.3.3 and up

  • A lot of customization options in terms of themes and wallpapers

  • Swipe down anywhere on the screen to drag down status bar and notifications

  • ‘Hola Shine’ an innovative feature with quick access to toggles and applications

  • ‘Hola Boost’ an inbuilt memory cleaning app

  • Inbuilt screenshot taking app ‘Hola Show’

Download from Google Play

Google Now Launcher

Google’s own stock Android launcher is free in Google Play and probably the simplest-to-use launcher out there. It has no confusing customizations on top, making the launcher very light and easy to use. With the added left-swipe-to-Google-Now support and Google Search bar at the top of every home-screen, it is a great option and is backed by continuous updates from Google itself.

Highlights

  • Stock Android experience like Nexus devices

  • Integrated Google Now

  • Easy on RAM and fast transitions

  • Google Cards integrated with just a left swipe

  • Voice control with “Ok Google” functionality

  • Takes up around 12MB and is compatible with Android 4.1 and above

Download from Google Play


4 thoughts on “Best Android launchers for your smartphone

    Caro

    (February 3, 2015 - 2:24 pm)

    No UR Launcher?

    Nitish Vashishtha

    (February 2, 2015 - 2:46 pm)

    No mention of Nova launcher. I am stumped!

      Abhishek

      (February 3, 2015 - 5:43 pm)

      Even I am, this is the best and very popular launcher out there!!

    farooq

    (February 2, 2015 - 11:33 am)

    how could u miss APUS launcher?? it got 70million users in less than 6 months, kindly do a review 🙂

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