Quick review – Lightning Launcher

April 10, 2012
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Many older devices are a bit limited when it comes to RAM. RAM (Random Access Memory) is where your applications store parts of their program and data during operation. One of the biggest RAM-hogs on stock phones are the customised Home Screens, such as HTC Sense.

If you were to swap out to a homescreen that takes up a fraction of the memory the bloaters do, it would load faster, operate smoothly, and leave far more memory available for other multi-task applications to make good use of.

Without further ado lines, I bring you Lightning Launcher, a homescreen launcher which has one objective – be tiny. The developer even makes the configuration window install as a separate package, so that it isn’t loaded into memory during normal operation.

What it looks like…

The launcher is highly customisable and these screenshots do not give an extremely good representation of that. You can change the whole homescreen from a list into a set of icons and widgets with a few menu selections. Still, these are my two favourite configurations.

"Zune" style on the left, and adjusting padding of an icon on the default homescreen on the right.

Multiple, minimalist themes

There a couple of theme setups included, such as ‘Icons only’, ‘list with icons’, and my favourite – Zune Mode (in the screenshot, left side).

Interestingly, these home-screens can scroll vertically, almost as if you are making a list of your favourite applications. When you eventually run out of space, you can start placing icons below your existing ones, making a scrollable homescreen ‘page’.

Here’s a video of the Lightning Launcher in action:

Widget Support

If you install ‘LLW Any App Widget’ from Google Play (the Launcher can prompt you), then all of the widgets from your applications can be rendered in this minimalistic environment. Though you shouldn’t really be loading up Widgets if your device is low on memory, this is a nice inclusion for people who have larger memory devices that want to enjoy Lightning Launcher.

By default the application only comes with one homescreen pane. However if you prefer having several to arrange your icons and widgets, installing the ‘LLW Simple Pager’ widget lets you have up to five homescreen panes

A Rating

If your phone is older and often running low on internal memory, Lightning Launcher may be a godsend. As for people who have plenty of memory to spare, you needn’t use this application as it could never compare to the one you are currently running.

I suppose Lightning Launcher (you can get from here on the Play Store) gets 6/10 when all the viewpoints of smartphone owners are combined. Though it lacks in a lot of features that we take for granted in other launchers, that minimalism is what makes it super-lightweight and fast.

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