Best homescreen launcher apps for Android

August 1, 2012
24 36 13

If you compare an iPhone with another iPhone, you can see a lot of similarities. You can see similar square icons, the white or gray interface, the same search bar design, and the same virtual keyboard. Unless you gain special access to your phone, you cannot see a big difference between two iPhones.

On the other hand, when you compare two of the same Android devices, they may look identical on the outside but they can be different on the inside. If you have read our article about the best applications for customizing and personalizing your phone, the Google Play Store offers a variety of apps that allow you to customize and personalize your Android device. You can change the keyboard, customize your ringtones, and personalize your SMS app. The ability to personalize and the freedom to do what you like on your Android device is one of the main reasons why, like millions of other people, I prefer Android over iOS.

Android launchers are also one of the many varieties of apps that allow you to customize your Android device. Installing these apps lets you customize and manipulate your Android skin. You can change the page transitions, enjoy 3D widgets, and even transform your device into a Windows 7 phone look-alike, or an iPhone wannabe. In today’s app list, we will be tackling some of the best homescreen launcher apps for Android.

GO Launcher EX

If you’re looking for an app that will totally change your Android device, look no further than GO Launcher EX. This launcher features a lot of customization and personalization options. With its features, such as page transitions, effects, widgets, themes, and a lot more, you will never get bored customizing your Android device.

The launcher features various options that lets you customize your Android skin. You can change the transition effects on your homescreen or the app drawer. The launcher also allows you to customize your app drawer by adjusting the grid size, scrolling orientation, and a lot more.

You can also instantly customize your phone by installing themes. A lot of GO Launcher Themes can be found on the Google Play Store. Installing themes will customize your lockscreen, homescreen, app drawer, and all other areas of your Android skin. With themes, you can instantly change your phone’s look and feel into that of the iPhone or an Android device running an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich ROM.

Perform a total makeover on your Android skin with the GO Launcher EX app.

 

 

Apex Launcher

There are many custom ROMs that let you enjoy pure Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). That’s why a lot of Android users risk bricking their device just to experience ICS on their Android device. But, thanks to the Apex Launcher, you can now enjoy the look and feel of ICS without having to go through complicated developer stuff.

The launcher includes options that let you change screen transitions, add effects, customize the app drawer, change app drawer background, open a menu via gestures, and a lot more. You can even change the search bar and make it look like the one on pure ICS or on Jelly Bean.

You can also unlock the launcher’s extended features by downloading the premium version for a price from the Google Play Store. Premium features include notifications for unread count, additional transition effects, two-finger gesture, merge folder content, overlapping widgets, and a lot more.

Enjoy the pure Android Ice Cream Sandwich skin with the Apex Launcher.

Nova Launcher

Another ICS launcher is the Nova Launcher. Installing this launcher lets you experience pure Android ICS skin on your Android device.  Just like the Apex Launcher, this launcher lets you install the Android ICS Skin on your Android device. It also contains options that allows you to change the skin. You can change the transition effects, adjust background transparency on your app drawer, customize the app dock on your homescreen, and much more.

But, unlike Apex Launcher, the Nova Launcher doesn’t have the option to change the search bar into that of Jelly Bean. It also doesn’t have the same app drawer widgets tab that you can find in most ICS ROMs. Another difference between the two is that its gesture settings can only be used after purchasing its premium version. Nevertheless, the Nova Launcher is still a good choice when you want to experience an Android ICS skin without having to flash a custom ROM.

Launcher 7

With the freedom that Android gives to their users, you can actually make your device look like another device. The Launcher 7 app will transform your phone’s homescreen into a Windows 7 phone’s homescreen, on which tiles are prominent.

Launching the app will let you assign an app for a specific tile. For instance, you will have to choose a contact app from your phone that will be accessed through the contact tile within the launcher. You will also need to identify apps for messages, phone, browser, video player, app market, and music.

Once you have set the apps, you will be brought to your Windows 7 homescreen. The homescreen consists of tiles and tapping one of them will open the app that you have associated with that tile. To access your app drawer, just tap the Arrow button at the top-right portion of the screen. Your apps will be arranged alphabetically on a list.

You can also go to the app’s settings to customize the launcher. You can change the background color, add a wallpaper, select a tile color, select an animation, enable Windows Phone 7 status bar, and a lot more.

Transform your Android phone into a Windows 7 phone by using the Launcher 7 app.

 

 

Espier Launcher

Aside from making your Android phone into a Windows 7 phone, you can instantly transform your Android device into an iPhone or an iPad with the Espier Launcher app. This app will instantly transform your Android homescreen into an iOS homescreen.

Just like on an iPhone, all your apps will be displayed on the homescreen, so your app drawer will be removed. The launcher’s design and layout is strikingly close to that on the iPhone. In fact, to access the search bar, just scroll to the last homescreen to the left.

You can also access the Settings menu to customize the launcher. You can enable or disable some animation and effects to make the launcher run smoother. For Android tablets, you can enable the “Pad Switch” to transform your launcher to its Pad version. This setting is perfect for those who own an Android tablet such as Galaxy Tab or the Google Nexus 7 tablet.

Instantly transform your Android device into an iPhone or iPad with the Espier Launcher.

 

 

Regina 3D Launcher

If you want an Android Skin with tons of amazing 3D effects, you can try the Regina 3D Launcher on your Android phone. This launcher brings tons of cool 3D effects and animations to your Android homescreen.

Unlike the usual Android skin, the Regina 3D Launcher uses a workspace as your homescreen. You can also add a name to your workspaces. For instance, you can add a workspace for games and place all the game shortcuts on that page. You can even assign a specific background for each workspace. What’s best is that you can scroll your workspaces through a 3D wall or carousel.

To enjoy more features, you can update the launcher and install additional components. You can install the weather widget to add a weather forecast on the clock. Enjoy a lot of beautiful wallpapers with its default theme add-on.

Customize your Android skin with the Regina 3D Launcher app.

 

 

ADWLauncher EX

The ADWLauncher EX is a simple and customizable launcher on your Android device. This app lets you customize every aspect of your Android skin.

This launcher offers a variety of app drawer styles to choose from. You can choose from vertical old, vertical 4D, vertical new, horizontal fling, and many more. You may even adjust the numbers of rows and columns on your app drawer.

The launcher also allows you to customize the dock on your homescreen. You can change the size of the apps on the dock, enable or disable the dock, add a reflection effect, add a tint color, and much more. You may even drag and drop an application on the dock for faster access.

The best thing about this launcher is that it has an app icon editor. This will allow you customize your app icons such as adding a background color and setting the highlight color when you tap an icon. You may even adjust the size of your icons. The launcher also allows you to add themes for an instant makeover on your Android device.

Customize and personalize your Android device with the ADWLauncher EX app.

 

 

[SSKIN] Butteryfly+ launcher

If you love the purple or shades of violet and want to use a simple launcher, you can try using the [SSKIN] Butteryfly+ launcher on your Android device. You can enjoy violet app default icons, violet widgets, and violet layouts within the launcher.

Aside from enjoying the violet icons and widgets, the launcher also features some options that let you customize the launcher. You can customize your app icons with the launcher’s app icon editor. You can edit your icons by changing the icons’ design or adding frames to your icons.

You can also adjust the opacity of your widgets and icons. To adjust the opacity, go to the homescreen and swipe up from the dock bar to view the bar gauge. You can also add up to 9 apps to its dock. The launcher also allow you to add themes. You’ll need to download the SSKIN Theme Shop to download themes and instantly change your Android skin.

 

 

MXHome Launcher

For all coffee lovers out there, you should try out the MXHome Launcher on your Android device. This launcher features 3D animation and has a default coffee theme installed on your Android homescreen.

Pressing the center button brings you to its control tray. Here you will be greeted with a very large 3D animated widget clock. Try tilting your device and the clock will also move. Want more? Try shaking your device and you will see coffee beans falling behind the 3D clock. On this page, you can also check your battery level, connect to Wi-Fi, enable Bluetooth, adjust sound, and adjust the opacity.

The launcher also allows you to you arrange your apps in your app drawer by category, alphabetically, or by date installed. You can also go to the settings menu and customize the launcher further by changing transition effects, changing icons, installing theme, and many more.

 

 

SPB Shell 3D

Last but not the least, the SPB Shell 3D is another launcher on your Android device that features cool 3D animation and 3D widgets.

The homescreens in this launcher are called Panels and each Panel has its own function. For instance, you can check your contact list on the People panel. You will also never miss your friend’s birthdays by visiting the birthday widget in this panel. The Weather panel also lets you know the weather forecast of the day. Be sure to check this panel to know if you need to bring an umbrella before going out to work. The launcher lets you add additional panels such as news, picture of the day, deals, calendar, and much more.

This launcher also features amazing 3D effects. To view your panels in 3D, just tap the middle button below and watch your panels rotate in 3D. You will also be surprised by the popping 3D widgets in each panel. You can see a 3D virtual moon, a 3D weather forecast, a 3D globe, and much more.

Enjoy 3D effects and 3D widgets with on your Android homescreen with the SPB Shell 3D.

 

 

There various ways for you to customize your Android device. You can install a keyboard app, add a widget, and install a launcher to personalize your Android skin. With these apps, you can transform your Android device to suit your personal taste and style. What launcher app do you like most from the list? Do you use a different launcher app not on our list?  Tell us about it in a a comment below.

Which of these homescreen launchers do you find to be the best?

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Comments

  • BDAG

    And Holo Launcher?

    • arpoc

      This worked much more efficiently than GO Launcher EX, I agree, Holo should be at the top of the list!

  • WolfmanRobby

    There is an error in your review of Nova Launcher. It DOES have the ability to choose a Jelly Bean style search bar. (It’s under the DESKTOP Settings menu.) It’s possible your review is based on an older version as this was added in the last few weeks.

  • Jdawg

    Holo? LP? Claystone? Lots more to choose from! :)

  • John Bowdre

    As WolfmanRobby pointed out, Nova *does* let you choose a Jelly Bean search bar – this option has been there since around JB’s release:
    http://goo.gl/QmYB5

    Nova also lets you use the ICS-style widget drawer: http://goo.gl/ovUc8

    While we’re at it, if you’re going to include the disappointing SPB Shell, you should really cover the much better TSF Shell: http://goo.gl/KPR8R

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000536780782 Travon Trey Trey Cleveland

    What? No Holo Launcher?

  • sonic.boom

    Wow where is fantastic completely different SS launcher ?

  • rich_bown

    “But, unlike Apex Launcher, the Nova Launcher doesn’t have the option to
    change the search bar into that of Jelly Bean. It also doesn’t have the
    same app drawer widgets tab that you can find in most ICS ROMs”

    as others have pointed out, you can do both these things with the paid version of Nova – Nova Prime (you’ll need root for the widgets though)

  • LuisCatalánQ

    another laucher not reviewed is the Panda Launcher which is nice. I used for a long time since GO Launcher came to my life!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Falkure Scott Dresden
  • http://www.facebook.com/Falkure Scott Dresden
  • swtrainer

    I’ve pretty much tried most of the launchers you reviewed except for the
    Regina, Butterfly and Espier launchers. One you didn’t review (and its still in Beta invitation only) is the Aviate Launcher. I have used Launcher 7 (and Launcher 8), ADW and Nova extensively and each has their own strong points. But since I’ve started playing with Aviate Launcher, I have to say that I’m sold on the concept. It is simple, less resource demanding and just plain useful. It has the ability to give you different home screens based on the time of day or location…when I’m traveling, I have instant access to Maps, Tripit, etc…when I’ve sitting at home in the evening, instant access to Flipboard, Maxthon Browser, etc…I haven’t found any launcher that is so attuned to what I want at any particular time…and its still just in Beta!

    • zkent

      +1 for Aviate