Android rules: not only is it possible to add all sorts of widgets and icons to your homescreen, you can even decide which launcher you want to use. Not an easy choice to make, considering how many home replacements there are nowadays. ADWLauncher EX has been considered to be one of the best replacements since a while now, and when it launched a new version which promises lots of new features and settings we decided to take a closer look.
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|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
The free ADWLauncher has been chosen as the Standard Home Replacement on some ROMs because of its excellent functions and general performance. So the question is: will the EX manage to turn the previous version into an “ex”?
ADWLauncher Ex comes with Presets, and iPhone fans will be pleased to note that there’s an iPhone-like preset. Homescreen and controls have completely changed. The icons now come with a colorful background and scrolling has gone from vertical to horizontal. You can pick between the Nexuish (3D Nexus look) and the Fast variants.
In order to enlarge your homescreen go to UI Settings in the Settings options. You can also change the settings so that more icons fit onto the same spot; in order to do so simply change both the icon and text size. Select the number of columns/rows under Screen Preferences; these settings are useful if you’re the type of person who likes to have a lot of apps on your homescreen.
Your dock bar can harbor whatever amount of apps you need. You can use 1, 3, or 5 icons as shortcuts. If having a dock is as useful to you as a hole in a bucket you can banish it from your homescreen. The app launcher can also be accessed via icon on the homescreen—and, again, you can set the icon size and color. There’s also a Hidden Dock option (on top of the normal dock), which can harbor even more apps. You can decide how this hidden dock is accessed: via icon on the homescreen or gesture controls. Gestures, you ask? Yup, another great function under ASWLauncher EX’s belt.
Gesture controls has only been available for a short time for this app. In order to appoint gestures to specific actions go to ADW/Settings/General Behaviour/Gestures. The app comes with pre-established gestures: swyping from top to bottom and bottom to top. You can assign these gestures to controls that influence the homescreen, such as accessing the Hidden Dock or starting the app.
The app comes with a great feature that will help you save time when it comes to uninstalling: rather than having to comb through the app on the lookout for the uninstall-manager it’s possible to do the uninstalling via the context menu on the homescreen. Long tap on the icon and the option for uninstalling pops opens. And for all you individualists out there: there’s also an option that lets you change the app name and icon on the homescreen so that you can really make it your own.
Like the homescreen, the App Drawer can also change the size of icons, which means that more icons fit on my screen and I don’t have to scroll down the display. If you find the indicator that shows you which homescreen page you’re currently on too boring you can switch things up and go for the Sliding Paginator (top or bottom).
When installing the widget you have your say in how much space it should occupy. If you opt for a small amount of space the widget will be cut down. My advice: the standard settings are really the way to go—unless you’re planning on scaling the Widget… yes, that too is possible!
ADWLauncher EX is currently available in English only.
You just can’t get enough action(s) (sleazy pun, sorry!)? Don’t miss out on Launcher Actions which make it really easy to put icons on the homescreen and display the Hidden Dockbar, or else make the status bar disappear.
The Market description sounds pretty promising:
• 5 different app drawer styles/behaviors
• 3D Nexus One like application drawer
• 2 different plain vertical drawer styles, the "old one" and a new fast and smooth one
• 2 different Iphone-like horizontal application drawers, a traditional paginated one and a new one with continuous fling
• Different desktop transitions: new animations while navigating through your desktop screens. Try them all, they're crazy!!!
• New Icons configurations/look and feel: Tweak your desktop icons, change its sizes, add coloured backgrounds, change font size, color, etc!
• New fast presets mode: Quickly change the whole desktop configuration by 1 click!
• Editable desktop icons for applications, shortcuts and folders!
• Lots of code improvements
• More, more more to come!!
• Very adaptable
• More icons fit onto homescreen
• Use standard settings if you don’t feel like experimenting
• Icons and text size can be altered
• Effective Hidden Dock Bar
• Can be completely individualized to suit your needs
• Personalized presets not possible
• English only
Presets are ideal for Android users who don’t feel like racking their brains to come up with own ideas but do enjoy fun gimmicks. Unfortunately, it isn’t – yet – possible to create your own presets. In short: ADWLauncher EX provides almost all the functions that other launchers come with, as well as a few that no one else has got. We recommend it!
Screen & Controls
You’re the master of the homescreen! You can make almost any adaption, depending on your preferences. One of the app’s highlights is all the nice animations between the screens. Hats off to the developers!
ADWLauncher EX is also Full Themeable which means that you can pick out of more than 400 themes in the Market in order to change icons and backgrounds. The selection ranges from iPhone themes, Ubuntu, and themes which ADW community members have come up with. Sense themes are also available.
Controls are a dream: swyping, scrolling, and gestures—what more could you ask for?
Speed & Stability
ADWLauncher EX’s performance is excellent. We were especially impressed by the app’s speed and smoothness.
ADWLauncher EX can be downloaded for € 2,50 in the App Center or Android Market.