The best launchers for Android
A mobile is something very personal, so why not differentiate it from the rest? With a Launcher you can change the appearance of Android with new themes and widgets, and achieve your own style, whether simple or very complete. We show you the best ones so you know what options you have.
Next Launcher 3D
The same creators of Go Launcher EX have developed Next Launcher 3D , one of the best 3D customizations for Android . This app provides a 3D interface with a very attractive and modern look , in which themes with excellent design can be installed. Its configuration offers many adjustment options and includes gesture commands and other tools that facilitate the use of the main functions of the terminal.
It is also one of the most expensive on the list, with a price of 12.17 euros , and some of its best themes are also paid. In any case, it is one of the best options if you want to enjoy such a customizable and well-finished 3D interface. In addition, its developer frequently updates all its apps , providing them with greater stability and more advanced features.
Interface and plugins in 3D
The modern and 3D feel of Netx Launcher is noticeable in every aspect of the interface, from the movement of elements on the screen to transition effects and widgets created especially for this launcher . Among them are almost all the most important and useful ones: calendar, music player, task manager, notepad, contact manager, clock and switch for main functions. And, according to the developer, the list will continue to grow.
It is very easy to configure, even having more functions and settings available than other similar ones . In addition, it supports almost any widget and includes an editor to customize the icons to the user’s liking, changing the size, style and inclination, among other parameters.
Many styles to choose from
Although there aren’t as many themes available for Next Launcher as there are for Go Launcher, Apex, or ADW, there have already been many created, and most of them with a slick design. You can find from the most futuristic to the most classic, or with an aspect inspired by other operating systems.
In addition, it allows you to combine elements of different themes (icons, backgrounds and fonts) which allows you to take advantage of the best of each one and obtain a totally unique look.
Apps for Next Launcher
In addition to backgrounds, themes and widgets, there are several applications designed for Next Launcher 3D. The main one is a web browser that includes voice search, tabbed browsing, extensions, incognito mode for private browsing, and night mode. There is also a QR code reader and a notification manager.
3D scene mode
Like other 3D Launchers, Next offers an advanced 3D mode , in which the elements are framed in a fully three-dimensional cylindrical environment, which allows one element to be seen in the foreground, while the rest are seen “in the distance”. The app drawer also has a cylindrical appearance.
This scene mode is still in beta, so there may be errors in its operation. In addition, it requires a lot of graphic power, so it is reserved for high-end smartphones. In any case, it is interesting to try it.
With this launcher you can radically change the interface of your Android 2.1 or higher, creating a personal style from start to finish, in which three-dimensional elements predominate. It is very complete, with very well designed themes , and uses many 3D resources in widgets, screens, animations, and scrolls , which gives it a very dynamic touch. In addition, it includes gesture commands and an interaction system that, when you click on certain icons, options or parts of the interface that are normally hidden are displayed.
Like most 3D Android launchers , TSF Shell is expensive, priced at 13.43 euros . Although it may seem like a lot of money, it offers a different environment from other similar options, with an interesting way of interacting with the system, and a very original aesthetic.
3D app drawer
The app drawer is hidden unless you place a button on the desktop to open it. When you open it, the grid of apps is shown “flat”, but when moving through its screens, quite successful three-dimensional effects are generated.
In its configuration, accessible with a touch button on the side, TSF Shell includes various 3D effects, ranging from a vertical cylinder to different animations based on moving planes that overlap or move.
crowd of desks
This Android customization supports a multitude of desktop screens, where elements of the launcher can be located, and most of the system widgets or other applications that you have installed.
It is also possible to create folders in three dimensions , shortcuts and a series of default commands that allow you to show and hide system elements, or perform preconfigured actions. Using all these elements you can get a very complete interface with all the elements that the user may need.
Own and original widgets
The creators of TSF Shell have developed a few very useful and attractively designed widgets that fit perfectly with their 3D interface philosophy.
When tapped, many of them scroll or start animations to display more information . Others, like the clock, change to show the alarm settings. Some useful widgets are missing , such as contacts or calendar, but it is possible to add those from other developers without compatibility problems.
A highlight is the gallery widget, which displays the images in the selected folder in a 3D spiral that you can scroll up and down on the screen. And also the application folders. These have a 3D look and have two ways of displaying their content. You can click on them to open a window with shortcuts, or display their content following a path with your finger .
As with other Android launchers , especially those with a 3D interface, TSF Shell does not have many themes. But there are many other third-party ones, so the possibilities increase. In addition, it is possible to change the desktop background and, thanks to the peculiar philosophy of its interface and its multiple customization possibilities, each user can obtain a 100% personal design.
SPB Shell 3D
With a design where screens and 3D elements predominate , the SPB Shell 3D launcher is a good option if you are looking for a modern interface with a three-dimensional touch. One of its positive points is that it can be installed on terminals with Android 2.1 or higher system , although it is convenient that, if they are old, they are high-end. Otherwise, it may work fine at first, but after installing applications that drain memory resources, you may experience performance issues. Its negative points are the price (10.45 euros) and that it is not updated very frequently . In fact, it has supposedly been improved in May 2013, but there is no change since the end of last year, when we tried it for the first time.
The best thing about SPB Shell 3D is that its interface looks very good, with the screens arranged in a circular or linear carousel. Although it is not possible to install themes for now, it does look very attractive, with 3D animations that are displayed when you stop at any of the screens.
Highlight the good aspect of the animations of contacts, the time or the information of the social networks to which you are subscribed.
Widgets with their own style
Another important aspect of this launcher for Android is that it has its own widgets, all with a well-chosen style, and that add great value to the interface, facilitating access to the most important information and the most used functions.
In principle, these widgets are displayed “flat”, and you can switch screens to see them as in a conventional 2D launcher. But if you press the middle button, you enter SPB Shell’s 3D mode, where all elements and screens move in 3D. In general, it works quite smoothly, with smooth movements.
three dimensions of truth
In the configuration of this launcher there is a section called “Experimental”, in which you can find an authentic 3D mode. It has a side-by-side viewing option for the HTC EVO 3D phone , whose screen is used for viewing 3D, and also other modes, such as anaglyph , which allows you to see in three dimensions with two-color glasses, such as in the old 3D movies.
In this “Experimental” section there are also functions such as the one that adapts the interface of this launcher for tablets, or the one that allows you to resize the widgets. The developer warns the user that all of these capabilities are not included in the core of SPB Shell 3D , so they could cause serious system instability problems.
GO Launcher EX
It is one of the most popular Android launchers , since its free version is very complete and you can install a multitude of themes, widgets, and add-ons created by the developer himself. In addition, it has one of the largest catalogs of themes created by third parties, which allows great freedom when choosing the design that best suits the user’s tastes. This, added to its many customization possibilities , makes it the star of our list. In addition, it has interesting functions, such as gesture commands , multimedia manager and 3D transitions .for the app drawer and home screens.
Although it is not one of the most demanding launchers, it does require a mid-range smartphone to work smoothly and to properly enjoy its possibilities. Its ideal ecosystem are terminals with a dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, especially if you want to use the best effects, transparencies and the most interesting widgets.
Lots of downloadable content
The creators of Go Launcher EX have devised an easy way to access apps, widgets and themes for your launcher, using a link that is generated from installed apps. It’s worth taking a look at what they offer, as it’s much easier to find worthwhile items than from the Google Play Store, where the organization is more chaotic and you’re forced to do simple searches.
Among the official themes there are many with a classic design and variations of many of them, in which only the colors change. But you can also find others with a very attractive futuristic air. There are also interesting themes for Go Launcher EX with animations integrated into the background, and with elements that you can interact with, beyond Android ‘s own , applications and widgets that you have installed. An example is the one you see in the first screenshots of the launcher that we show you.
Widgets and screens for everything
Something very positive about this launcher is that its developers have also created official widgets for many of the phone’s main tools . For example, calendar, contacts, social networks, notepad, wireless connections and networks, among many others.
As in other launchers , it is possible to increase the number of available screens, and it is very easy to move the elements between them, as well as to customize the size of the widgets to adjust them to the desired dimensions in each panel.
From a menu that appears at the bottom you can easily access Go Launcher EX settings , and also the interface to add widgets, shortcuts and folders, or to download new items.
One of the most interesting utilities offered by the creators of this launcher is Go Locker , an application that replaces the lock screen of your smartphone. With it you can customize this initial screen with the theme you prefer and with different aspects and functions.
Some themes for this blocking system include, in addition to the main functions, access to certain basic mobile tools, such as the camera. Thus, it is not necessary to enter the password or the pattern to take a photo, which greatly speeds up the taking of images with the mobile.
There are other official tools such as Toucher Pro , which with a single slide of the finger on the screen allows the main interface to be transformed into a very simplified version , but which contains access to the most used functions of the phone (email, instant messaging, social networks, camera , etc.). This app works very well and is customizable, both in its appearance and its content. Highly recommended for users who want a simple interface (which other launchers could provide) but who don’t want to completely give up a full Android interface .
Since its inception, Go Launcher EX has been free, but there is also a paid version that has recently been updated: Go Launcher Prime (4.43 euros). This eliminates the advertising that appears in the free version (very non-invasive, for true) and includes additional features such as two-finger gesture commands , a built-in phone lock system, and new 3D transitions for screens and the app drawer . To obtain it, you can use the settings of the launcher itself, or wait for a notification to arrive on your mobile.
Apex Launcher Pro
Designed especially for mobiles and tablets that have Android 4 or higher, the Apex Launcher Pro application is a good alternative to the basic interface. Its functions and customization philosophy are very similar to those of ADW Launcher, but it takes better advantage of the possibilities of the latest versions of Google’s operating system.
To download it, you first need the free version , which is more limited, and then you can buy the Pro version, which costs 2.99 euros . Installing this one (which is only 33 kilobytes) unlocks extra features: two-finger gesture commands , new transition effects for screens and app drawer, ability to install Go Launcher, LauncherPro and ADW Launcher themes , options advanced for widgets and folders, and other features.
Apex Launcher Pro allows you to fully customize the behavior of the interface at all levels. For example, it allows you to have all the desktop screens you want, it is capable of resizing the widgets to adapt them to any size and, thanks to the fact that its Apex Notifier notification manager is included as standard , it is also possible to customize the style of the notifications and a large number of functions related to them.
Another feature of this launcher, also present in ADW, is that it includes actions that can be placed in the main windows, to execute certain tasks that are not standard on Android. For example, hide elements such as the application bar, the notification bar or the app drawer itself.