Last updated on May 31st, 2016 at 10:10 pm
There are tons of launcher apps available for Android at the Play Store. However, the users who have been an Android user for years already know what launcher should they use. But, they barely try out a new launcher (they think that their launcher app is the ultimate choice!). Well, I wouldn’t argue with them, but I guess they may miss out something awesome later.
It’s the pace of development in Android launchers. New launcher apps emerge, some are good, some are very good and the others shouldn’t have launched the app on the Play Store in the first place. So, you never know what hit the Play Store.
We’ve always talked about Nova launcher, Arrow launcher, CM launcher and other popular launchers on our previous articles. Now, we’re going to add “Solo Launcher” to our bucket list and review it for you whether it would be something you’ll love or hate.
The User Interface
It seems pretty nice to me. It’s smooth, responsive and something which you can easily get acquainted with. The icons are crisp and do look good even on large display screens. However, the material design effect at the app drawer when scrolling down (sliding up) till the end doesn’t get noticed much. It could have been perfectly implemented to let the user experience a better elastic material design effect in the app drawer.
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It supports icon pack as well. Although, you won’t find the option suddenly, but you’ll realize that you will have some default themes available when you click on DIY and then head on to the theme tab (when you’ve icon packs installed). And, you’ll just have to select the new theme to activate the respective icon pack. You can check out one of our previous articles here to know more about the best icon packs available on the Play Store – top 9 icon packs for Android.
It’s fast and responsive. It took around 90 MB of RAM on the time of our usage and according to the Android’s own information analytics, it says the app consumed 30 MB of average RAM. It’s a pretty good figure to keep the device running smooth while having a launcher.
It has been recently updated (April 4, 2016) with the official support for Android 6.0. It gives a complete control on customizing the user experience according to different individual needs.
You’ve got some amazing themes to try out to make it look even better than it is by default. I would say there’s a plenty of them to suffice your taste. Also, it provides you a dedicated wallpaper database collection for which you’ll not have to install a dedicated wallpaper app. However, there are some great wallpaper apps as well which you shouldn’t miss.
Pretty good transition effects. It gives you the option to modify the font style, icon text color, shadow, label etc. You can control the icon size easily. I’ll leave the rest for you to explore!
Also, you can setup gestures you’re comfortable with to make things faster. Well, there is a support for unread counts, but that doesn’t come bundled up with the launcher, you’ll have to download it as an add-on from the play store.
What’s Solo Now?
There’s a “Solo Now” feature resembling “Google Now” present on the launcher. It feels quite good, switching from the stock Google launcher and still getting some cool stories from the web right from your homescreen by just swiping.
We thought of contacting the responsible team to know how does it work? Does it work like Google Now? Tracking our online activities and suggesting news and stuff? Well, that would be a serious privacy issue. And, luckily it isn’t the same mechanism. Their team told us about how it works and for what we know, it’s just a cool Internet magazine. So, you can be sure that they aren’t tracking your online activities to suggest you stories/articles or news.
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We didn’t encounter any abnormal battery drain problem. So, we can safely assume it’s battery efficient.
Final Verdict & Opinion
It’s definitely something worth a try. It is indeed a smooth launcher, didn’t crash a single time we used it on multiple devices (High-end and low-end devices). Yes, it still needs more improvements (nothing’s ever perfect). In my opinion, I would keep an eye out for a more polished material design on the App drawer and it was annoying to get pop-up ads when clicking on the DIY and theme settings (It appeared sometimes). Also, I cared for a minute detail, you might notice that there are only three options for the layout settings for the number of desktop rows and desktop columns but the toggle slider seems a little odd being that long with just three switching options. Maybe a drop down menu will be suitable.
Nevertheless, that’s just my opinion. It may differ according to what one likes or dislikes. Check out the overall rating below!