Launchers are basically the Android equivalent to a "desktop environment" on a PC. The stock launcher on my device is TouchWiz. I've been switching between it and the Nova Launcher, which is a popular launcher. I tried out Nova not because I really want all the fancy fancy features of it, but because there are a couple of the features I like, which are lacking in TouchWiz. Unfortunately, there are a couple of features that I like which TouchWiz has, which Nova does not. So both of them irritate me a little.
- You can't have scrolling wallpaper. Full stop. Not even with the MultiPicture Live Wallpaper app. Whatever hooks are needed for scrolling wallpaper in this launcher, they are not there.
I've tried some live wallpapers to see if I like them as much as I do scrolling wallpapers, and while they're fun, they're also rather distracting.
What irritates me about Nova:
- The selection screen for widgets is horrible. The widgets are in a list which you have to scroll down forever to get to where you want, rather than pages that you can jump around in as well as swipe back and forth. This may be better in the paid version of Nova but I'm not sure I want to pay for it just to get this one feature.
- The AccuWeather widget which works fine in TouchWiz, behaves differently in Nova. Oh, you can still use it, but for some mysterious reason, it no longer has a clock, it just shows the weather without a clock. I like the clock! And I like the nice background picture which shows the type of weather (picture of a sunny field, or a stormy sky etc). (Yes, there are other weather widgets out there, but I haven't found one with both those features. I don't care about how much detailed information the weather app gives, because I use the Bureau of Meteorology app for that: good and accurate and free.) Now, it may be that the paid version of Nova doesn't have this problem, but I highly doubt it, considering that for some people using Nova, they can't even install that widget, let alone have it work fully.
Yes, there are other nice and pretty features in Nova, but I can live without them. I do like the range of screen transitions (even in the free version, there are some cool ones), but I haven't managed to find a custom icon theme that works well with ALL my icons; they have pretty icons for standard things, but I've been less than pleased with what they do to icons that they don't have specific replacements for -- they usually wrap some effect around the icon which makes it smaller and harder to see. I tried three different icon sets before I gave up. (sigh)
Okay, I did buy Nova Launcher Prime. And the weather widget is still behaving weirdly. (sigh) Oh well. And the widgets access is just as horrible, since one can't seem to add a "widget drawer" as one is supposed to be able to. Crap. At least I could uninstall it and get a refund.
So... I'm giving Apex Launcher a try.
"No more room on this home screen" when I try to add any widget! What?! Oh well, that was a big fail.
Action Launcher 3:
I hate the "quickbar" and one can't get rid of it.
I couldn't figure out how to add more home pages than just one. 8-( This one also has the persistent search bar feature that I didn't like in Action Launcher 3.
Okay, it has scrolling wallpaper. It wasn't able to import my settings from TouchWiz or Nova. Ok. Has the same annoying widget list that Nova does. Can't find the weather widget at all. (sigh)
Since finding how much worse all the other launchers are, I may go back to Nova. Or TouchWiz. Which leaves me in the same position that I started in! Except that now at least I know that everything else is worse.