Freedom Of Customization is one of the distinctive feature android holds over its competitors and is also one of the main reasons why people opt to choose Android. There are a plethora of customization options available to android users which enable the users to fine tune the look, feel and experience of their android phone to their liking and taste and to make it stand out.
When we talk about android customization the very first thing that comes to mind is Custom Launchers and when we think of Custom Launchers, NOVA LAUNCHER comes to mind. So let’s talk about why Nova Launcher has held its crown as the King of Custom Launchers for so long and why you should consider getting it if you haven’t already.
Yes, that’s not a typo. Nova launcher is absolutely free on the Play Store. There is also a Prime Version available which is optional and costs $4.99 at the time this article was written and unlocks even more features. However, if you do not wish to purchase the Prime Version you still get the core features which Nova Launcher has to offer and what makes it great.
Difference Between Free Version & Prime Version
As mentioned earlier, the upgrade to prime is purely optional and the free version is in no way on trial basis and you will never see an ad on the free version either as is the case with other launchers available on the play store. The difference is that the prime version simply unlocks some features that are not available to the free users. These features include Gestures, App drawer Groups, Hide apps, Icon swipes.
Why You Should Consider Going Prime
$4.99 may seem like a hefty price for a launcher but In my opinion, it’s worth every penny and here’s why;
Smartphones are becoming bigger by the day which makes it harder to use it with one hand which is where the Gestures feature comes into play. This feature enables you to use a gesture to execute a function that would usually require you to reach for a button on your phone. For example, I have mine set up to open up the app-switcher on a double tap anywhere on the home screen, easy right?
Another issue with smartphones these days is that it comes pre-installed with unnecessary applications which nobody ever uses and are referred to as bloatware this is where the Hide apps feature shines, it enables you to simply hide all of the unwanted and unused applications from the app drawer making it cleaner and easier to find the apps you actually want to use.
App drawer groups will enable you to organize your app drawer into tabs and folders. For instance, you can create a tab named SOCIAL and organize all of your social apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram into the social tab for easier access.
Icon Swipes are a swipe up gestures for individual application icons and enable you to set a function which will execute when you swipe up on that specific icon. For instance, I use two camera applications on my phone and rather than swiping through my app drawer to find the one I need at a given moment I simply swipe up on one of them to open the other.
What Makes Nova Great?
Now that we have covered the basics let’s talk about some of the features which set Nova Launcher apart from the competition and why it is recommended by almost everybody.
Who doesn’t like a snappy phone? With nova launcher, you can make your phone feel faster by adjusting the scroll speeds and animation speeds. It offers a variety of different settings tailored to fit everybody. If you are one of those people who enjoy the animations then you can set it to “Relaxed” and if you are one of those people who favor speed over animations then you can set it to “Faster Than Light”. All of these settings can be adjusted in Nova settings- Look and feel.
- Adjusting Grid Sizes
Another feature nova has to offer that is overlooked many times but can change the entire look and feel of your phone is the ability to adjust the grid sizes for both your home screen and app drawer. To put it simply, a grid size enables you to set a number of rows and the number of applications to be displayed on each row on your home screen or app drawer.
For instance, if you set the grid size of your app drawer to a six by five then your app drawer will show a total number of six rows containing a number of five application icons in each row. This feature is very useful for those who do not want to spend their time swiping through their app drawer. Here’s an example of a six by five grid for the app drawer.
Number three on our list comes gestures. As mentioned earlier the ability to fiddle with gestures is only available to Prime users. Gestures is a very useful and a powerful feature which Nova Launcher has to offer and I recommend to those who purchase the Prime version to take their time setting it up and understanding it as they have the ability to greatly simplify your experience.
Nova launcher has a lot of gestures available and the user can fine tune each gesture according to their liking to make their life that little bit easier. Each and every gesture can be set up to do one of there things which are discussed briefly below;
It can be set up to trigger a nova task which includes basic tasks such as opening the app drawer, expanding the notifications drawer and even locking your screen without the need to use your power button; or
It can be set up to launch an application, for instance, you can set it so that a swipe up gesture on your home screen will open any of your most used application; or
It can be set up to launch a predefined shortcut, for instance, you can set it so that a two finger swipe up gesture on your home screen would directly dial a call to one of your contact.
- Icon Packs
Not only does nova launcher give you the ability to make your launcher act the way you want it to but it also gives you the ability to make your launcher look the way you want it to. If you are like me and want to take total control over how your phone looks then you will definitely want to consider downloading a custom icon pack from the many available on the Play Store and then changing the icon pack within nova settings-look & feel-Icon theme.
Although many launchers offer you the ability to change icon packs but Nova Launcher gives you more freedom to mix and match icons, every icon can be edited individually enabling you to have a different theme of icons matching your wallpaper of choice on your home screen and a different theme of icons in your app drawer. Here’s my current home screen setup which will give you an idea of what is possible.
To wrap it up, if you want to get a taste of what android is capable of or you are just simply bored with how your phone looks and feels out of the box, why not try and spice things up by downloading Nova Launcher now! The best part is that the free version is absolutely ad free. Trust me when I say that, you won’t regret it.