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Launchers

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by jmw3025, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. jmw3025

    jmw3025 Newbie
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    Just bought a Galaxy S4, not crazy about stock look & feel (way too cutesy).
    1. Can I switch to a different launcher without rooting my phone?
    2. Is there a way to save current TouchWiz setup & revert back to it if I'm unhappy with a different launcher?
    3. Any strong recommendations: Next vs. Nova Prime vs. other?
     

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  2. jrowlings

    jrowlings Well-Known Member
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    Yes and yes. I use Nova. Do a search of the Forum and you'll find plenty of discussion about the different launchers.
     
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  3. ironass

    ironass Extreme Android User
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    You do not need to root your phone to use a third party launcher, normally.

    You can revert back to the TW launcher at any time by disabling your current launchers Default in Settings > Applications

    Everyone has their own, personal, favourite launcher and you will no doubt receive a myriad of replies. The best bet is to try them yourself and see which you prefer.
    Mine, in descending order, are:- Nova, APEX and GO launcher.
     
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  4. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
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    I'd steer clear of Holo Hd.
    I used Holo on an old phone on Android 2.3.6 and it worked fine. Tried out Holo HD on my new S4 and could make it crash (repeatable) with certain sequence of operations. Read the reviews and others had same problem. So I'd steer clear of that.

    Next I tried Nova and quickly upgraded to the paid version Nova Prime. I'm very happy with that and would heartily recommend it. It certainly works reliably (no crashes, does what it should). Has lots of options. Features are probably the samne as most other launchers except Touchwiz which is limited. You can have up to 9 homescreens. You can turn off infinite scroll (I hate infinite scroll.). You can put a lot of rows/columns of icons in (I'm using 5 wide by 6 high not including dock... having more slots gives more options like empty rows or columns to define groups of related icons). Of course also folders.... quick and easy. Drag icons together to form a folder. Drag them out to remove. Drag around inside folder to rearrange. Name the folder. I like that the folder icon is the first four apps... I can recognize the contents/purpose of the folder by looking at that.even without reading the label. By the way once you add all those rows and columns your icons get smaller but it allows you to increase icon size up to 130% and remove vertical and horizontal spacing so your icons don't get tiny. Up to 5 docks (I use only 3) with many icons allowed per dock (I don't like more than 6). App drawer resembles TW... includes app folder and widget folder. Can arrange both for vertical list which is my preference. Can drag app from drawer to home screen and leave it there or else drag it to the top to uninstall the program altogether which is a handy shortcut. Have quick link URHC which can be set up to go to Playstore (my preference). Can lock the desktop. Has lots of gestures which can be assigned to either launching an App or shortcut or performing a built in launcher action. Gestures include swype up, swype down, two fingers swype up, two fingers swhype down, rotate CW, rotate CCW, double tap. Assignable launcher actions (besides apps or shortcuts) includes go to default home screen, go to specific screen, recent apps, and a lot more. I've probably forgotten a ton, but I think you get the flavor of how customizable it is. I've never really seen lag on this launcher or on TW for that matter...I've read some people think TW is slower than Nova. If forget exactly what's missing in the free version: I think it doesn't have as many gestures available.

    I haven't tried Apex but I read somewhere that Nova and Apex are almost identical launchers (perhaps one copied from the other).

    Adding a launcher is a lot safer than rooting and the stuff that usually comes after that. I'd encourage you to try 'em out. And another good thing about launchers, you don't really have to choose just one. As mentioned, you can tweak the settings easily to change your default launcher. I actually like to use Twisted Home Manager, which a very simple program that makes it a hair easier to manage launchers - from there can either start any of your launchers without changing the default launcher, or else to start the new launcher and make it the default. On my old phone I used Holo as my day to day launcher and ADW to house my many Color Note widgets in an organized spreadout manner and also a few extra screens on ADW for the stuff I need to access when in the car.
     
  5. Riche101

    Riche101 Android Enthusiast
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    I've used Apex for few years now and love it.
     
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  6. GrouchoM

    GrouchoM Android Enthusiast
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    See HomeSmack. It helps you set-up your default apps.
     
  7. jmw3025

    jmw3025 Newbie
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    Wow, thank you so much for all your advice!
     
  8. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert
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    From Homesmack link
    Has anyone tried it on JB?
     
  9. GrouchoM

    GrouchoM Android Enthusiast
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    Me.
     
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  10. cocokasper

    cocokasper Well-Known Member
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    I've used launcher pro in the past... and loved it on my Admire.... but for the GS4 I prefer Nova prime, and if you install the "missed it" app you can have the apple style missed notification flag on the app Icon, this shows on the dock, desktop and even in the app drawer.
    I'm running 4.4.2 with Nova prime, and having the notification bar autohide clears the screen for apps. but since I can't see the bar at a glance. the missed it counter mixed with the Nova prime unread counter... it's amazing.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. speedlever

    speedlever Android Enthusiast
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    Did I read somewhere that Nova remembers custom app settings so that if you do a FDR, you can reload the apps and Nova will reinstall the custom settings for each app?

    Apps like Missed It mentioned above seem very useful... and very customizable... which takes some time to do on an individual app basis. So doing a FDR presents a formidable task to go back in and tweak each app's settings, hoping you remember enough about it to recreate what you set up in the past to your liking.

    If Nova can restore those app customizations, that is invaluable.
     
  12. ironass

    ironass Extreme Android User
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    Yes, Nova has a Backup feature to either internal or external SD card. It also is KitKat compliant and ready, as I have found.
     
  13. speedlever

    speedlever Android Enthusiast
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    Thanks. I have Nova Prime but have not dug into it other than using it as my launcher. Is there a tutorial that explains all this somewhere?
     
  14. ironass

    ironass Extreme Android User
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    Nova Launcher
     
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  15. speedlever

    speedlever Android Enthusiast
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    Well yes. But I don't see much in the way of any tutorials there. Maybe I'm making this harder than it really is. ;)

    Under Nova settings, I have a backup and import option. But that only mentions Nova's settings. Does that include other app settings too?
     
  16. ironass

    ironass Extreme Android User
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  17. speedlever

    speedlever Android Enthusiast
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    Ah, I see. Back in post 12, I thought you were saying that Nova could also backup other app custom settings too.

    Yes, I have Helium, but going through a backup routine seems pretty cumbersome and I don't have a lot of confidence I can safely recover my settings when moving to an upgraded OS.

    I may just be stuck with doing installs and re-customizing everything at some point.
     
  18. Rafael

    Rafael Android Enthusiast
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    I am very happy with the non-HD version of Holo on my Verizon S4.
    I tried the HD version but could not see it giving me any benefit over the standard one so I switched back to save memory. I really like the ability to get rid of the page indicators, and the ability to customize the menu, and gaining an extra row of apps by trimming off the indicator and upper and lower fades. I now run only one screen....and find it is plenty of room for everything I need. Single screen was my goal and this is the first launcher of many I have tried that is small, fast, and does everything I need with only one exception......upgrading to the paid version does not give you message indicators for Email with the stock E-mail app.......and the indicators for Messaging, Gmail, and missed calls is unreliable. I chose to do without them and no longer use any of the extra features you get with the paid version.

    I tried Nova a few months ago. It locked up every few minutes. Horrible experience for me.......was shocked at how poorly it ran.

    I prefer minimalist launchers overall. The fact that the Samsung TW launcher takes up 22 Mb of space made its replacement an imperative for me. :) Holo only takes up about 1 Mb as currently configured.

    I loved Zeam launcher on my old Casio Commando...but it does not get along well with the S4.
     
  19. Kris.Is.Awesome

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    Next launcher!!!
     
  20. Mr. Lucky

    Mr. Lucky Android Expert
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    OP: Your question has been answered (and then some!). So, I will just add a couple additional points that have not been covered.

    1. Although you can revert back easily (as already described), be aware that any live widgets (e.g., time, weather, stock ticker) in the launcher(s) you are not using will be running in the background and consuming battery. Once you decide on a launcher, go back and remove those widgets from the unused ones, or uninstall them totally.

    Finally, a suggestion: Check out the S4 Home Screen thread. If you find any that you particularly like, PM the author for what they are using (if they didn't specifiy in the thread).
    :beer:
     
  21. jmw3025

    jmw3025 Newbie
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    Been using Nova for a couple of days, now. Quite pleased, except I was hoping it would also change the look & feel of the Messaging & phone apps--way too cutesy for my taste. Would prefer something more serious/business-like. Any suggestions?
     
  22. jmw3025

    jmw3025 Newbie
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    What do you mean by "the missed it app?"
     
  23. jmw3025

    jmw3025 Newbie
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    Nevermind, I found the app.
    Thx.
     
  24. speedlever

    speedlever Android Enthusiast
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    I'm a little confused by this. If I used Accuweather on TW, and then use Accuweather on Nova Prime, how do you deal with the live widget on TW?
     
  25. Mr. Lucky

    Mr. Lucky Android Expert
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    Accuweather only works with TW. You won't even see it in the widget selection using Apex or Nova.
     

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