I used Apex for a while it's one of my favorites. Using Nova right now. The issue with the very many launchers I've tried is the frigging LAG. Seriously. 1.5GHz dual core processor with 1GB RAM should not be struggling whatsoever with drawing a couple icons and swiping between home screens. The same hardware on a Gingerbread Note was almost lag free compared to my Note on ICS.
So far the Nova launcher while keeping a minimal number of icons is the smoothest. If I start filling up the home screen with icons then it lags horribly to swipe from one home screen to another and even long pressing an icon to delete it then dragging the icon around lags insanely. Not so if I only have a few icons.
Ah well I still love my Note but Jelly Bean can't come soon enough!