GO Launcher EX
Go Launcher EX is a home replacement app from Go Launcher Dev Team. Unless you are very new to Android, you’ll probably be aware of this home launcher. The app entirely replaces your native launcher, whether that be HTC’s Sense, Motoblur, the original Froyo and Gingerbread Android launchers or other manufacturer created homescreens. The app is completely free to download and is similar to LauncherPro and the recently reviewed by AndroidTapp ADW Launcher EX.
Tested on: HTC Desire HD, HTC Wildfire, HTC Hero GSM
Content Rating: Everyone
Pros & Cons:
- Lots of powerful customization possibilities.
- Plenty of themes to personalize your phone.
- You can further download ‘GoWidgets’, including Message GOWidget, Contacts GOWidget and Calendar GOWidget.
- Smooth screen transitions.
- Scrollable and resizable widgets.
- Works on nearly all phones.
- Widgets are unthemeable. If you’re going for that Minnie Mouse theme the widgets might not work with your color scheme!
GO Launcher EX is a superb home screen replacement app that I’ve recommended to a number of Android-using friends fed up with their native launcher. Due to the huge number of themes available to download you can greatly customise the appearance of your home screens.
My HTC Sense is limited by only being able to have 7 screens as a maximum. If I want to fill my screens with widgets I’m going to struggle. GO Launcher EX lets you add as many as you like. Icons can be heavily themed to fit in with the overall look of the homescreens. Fed up with those dull native icons? Either use a theme that makes your icons look cool, or use another app such as BetterCut, in conjunction with Go Launcher EX to change the icon to whatever you like. Launchers like Go Laucher EX are a modders dream for the customizability.
I particularly like the dock along the bottom of the screen. This can be scrolled (separately to the homescreens) sideways to present shortcuts of up to 15 apps. It really is a great launcher for hosting shortcuts and getting to apps fast.
You can also customize lots of other aspects of the launcher: hide the status bar, hide icon labels, change to a larger grid size (usually 4×4- but GO Launcher EX lets you change this to what suits you), various screen scrolling options, superb transition effects (Bounce, Bulldoze, Cube, Flip, Roll, Wave and Windmill)- these effects really change the way your homescreens look and is great for impressing friends. You can also choose whether you have a screen indicator- another option unavailable to most native launchers. All this places the user in control of their Android experience and it is why home replacement apps continue to be popular in the Android Market.
You can back up your configs, useful if you like tinkering with the look and feel of your homescreen. The App Draw settings also give you complete control of your app draw. Have a side scrolling app draw, vertical scrolling, backgrounds that match your theme or one that is set by you. The options available are very impressive. Whether you want to fill your screens multiple shortcuts for productivity reasons, or reduce everything to a very minimalist look- GO Launcher EX is very good at giving you the tools to make it look the way you want.
Now, GO Launcher EX pretty much goes up against the 2 other big players in the Home Replacement apps arena: ADW Launcher EX and LauncherPro. The first difference is that GO Launcher EX- unlike ADW and the full version of LauncherPro, is that’s it’s completely free. Initially when GO Launcher EX began there were about half a dozen themes, then after a while GO Launcher Dev opened it up and now- like ADW and LauncherPro themes- the markets is veritably flooded with various skins, looks and themes for GO Launcher EX. These vary in quality, and some cost money, but the majority are free and look pretty cool.
For me though, there is a let down in that the widgets- despite growing in number and being very functional and smart- is that they are unthemeable. So, if your home settings present you with a very minimalist black theme, the bright blue widgets probably aren’t going to look as nice. Likewise if you decide to go for the super-pink Minnie Mouse theme (well, you might!) again the widgets are not going to fit in as well. This is where particularly LauncherPro (in my experience) works very well and theme packs that change the way the widgets look are widely available in the market. This aside GO Launcher EX is a very capable and easy to use application with a host of options and customizations available. The GO Launcher EX ‘world’ however continues to grow and new themes, widgets and updates are added regularly.
Go Launcher EX is a brilliantly useful launcher and a great option for people who like lots of control over their phone and how it looks.
Ease of Use:
All the options take a bit of navigating- knowing what the ‘Bulldoze’ transition looks like might not be obvious unless you try it out- but it’s simply laid out and nothing is too confusing or complicated. There is more than enough under-the-hood to please both first time users and more hardened modders alike. It’s a really good place if you decide to step away from your native launcher and see what is possible.
If you adopt Go Launcher EX as your default homescreen, you will use it all the time.
The interface is beautifully smooth and buttery- but then even that can be customized to have great elasticity and effect- so it’s up to you. Some launchers- particularly native ones in my experience- can be clunky or laggy. With each of the phones I’ve used Go Launcher EX on, I’ve not experienced any slowing down or speed issues. There’s nothing worse than an unresponsive launcher!
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