Sure, widgets tend to take up a chunk of your homescreen and sure, they may suck a bit more juice than your regular app icons – but widgets are what make our phones truly unique and easier to use. Whether it’s a stock widget or it comes with the app you just downloaded, take a bit of time to get to know what these nifty little applets do and how they can help you out.
Before you go gaga and install every widget you see in the Market, here are our top 5 picks that should be in every user’s homescreen.
1. Battery Widget (Free)
Let’s face it: smartphones still don’t have the battery life to rival regular phones and that little battery indicator up top is a little too optimistic when it comes to how much juice you have left. This is where the Battery Widget comes in. It’s the size of a regular app icon, but displays the amount of life left in your battery. Press on it and it can access your display settings, actual battery consumption report, and toggle the GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity of your phone. On top of that, the number displayed on the widget itself is pretty darn accurate.
2. AudioManager (Free, $1.99 for Pro)
Audio Manager is a horizontally-oriented widget that you can use to quickly access the volume controls for your phone. You can adjust your alarm, music, alerts, ringer, system and voice call volumes with a few swipes. Get the Pro version and you can even skin it and use the scheduler to save preset audio profiles. With this handy widget, you’ll never need to fumble through your individual apps or settings to set the volume. You can do it anytime you want!
3. Power Control (Free, €1.49 for regular version)
To people who are obsessed with saving power and twiddling settings, Power Control is a godsend. Like the Battery Widget above, you can toggle WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth. This one is more powerful though and you can quickly lock the device orientation, sync your phone online, and even adjust the brightness of your screen.
This little widget is perfect for people who don’t want to be constantly connected to the internet, or don’t have data plans. Don’t want to use the WiFi or Bluetooth anymore? Simply go back to your homescreen where Power Control is located and just touch the icon you want to disable.
4. Evernote (Free)
You may have a favored note-taking app, but for us, it’s Evernote. The best part of Evernote is that it comes with a widget! You can view all your existing notes by touching the little gray elephant, or you can create a new note by tapping the other icons. The best part about the widget is that it opens up faster than you touching the app icon. Trust us, this little boost in speed is great for Forgetful Joneses that need to jot down thoughts quickly before they vanish into thin air.
5. Calendar (Stock)
The stock calendar widget is fast-loading, easy to view (especially the full screen one) and automatically syncs with Facebook, never letting you miss birthdays and other occasions. Go to any day of the month and you can easily add notes, details, and alarms to your events. On top of that, it’s a quick way to stay on top of your to-do list. Best of all, you’re actually using a stock app! Hooray!