SOLO Launcher tested: A good alternative to Apex, Nova & Co.

SOLO Launcher tested: A good alternative to Apex, Nova & Co.

A popular hobby amongst Android users is playing around with the myriad Apex and Nova launchers. I've been testing it recently and thought I'd share my first impressions with you.

solo launcher teaser
© NextPit

First Start

After a brief introduction, which takes you quickly through the functionality of the launcher, you have the option to import your settings from other launchers. However, not all launchers are supported, in particular those from manufacturers. Anyone who owns, for example, a Sony Xperia smartphone will have to set up their home pages manually. After the introduction you land on the default home screen on which you already find some stuff belonging to the SOLO Launcher: namely the clock and weather widget, as well as several links to app and other settings.

AndroidPIT SOLO Launcher1
Question marks indicate new features and there's a tutorial too. / © SOLO Launcher Team

Options, as far as the eye can see

In the field of settings and customization options, SOLO Launcher is exemplary. SOLO offers, free and ad-free, functions that you have to pay money for with other launchers. So not only can you adjust the layout of your home screens to the tiniest detail, but the use of themes is also possible. SOLO Launcher supports the design of GO Launcher EX, Nova, ADW, Apex, Buzz and Dodol launcher. If you feel like something fancy, you can download and activate a design in the style of, for example, Windows Phone 7 or iOS7, as I did for the pictures here.

AndroidPIT SOLO Launcher2
The default SOLO Home screen and the iOS7 theme applied. / © SOLO Launcher Team

Another great inclusion: gesture controls. So you can, for example, start Chrome by double-tapping anywhere on the screen. A quick swipe from top to bottom by default shows your recently opened apps and bottom to top opens the app drawer. There are heaps of gesture options to customize and the assignment of the gestures can be quickly and easily changed to adapt to your changing needs. Speaking of: you can not only make sweeping changes with themes over the entire launcher but you can also explicitly only change certain parts, such as app icons, colors or folder icon backgrounds.

AndroidPIT SOLO Launcher3
There's 9 customizable gesture controls and tons of settings. / © SOLO Launcher Team

Settings for professionals

Thanks to the clear menus SOLO Launcher can be set up quickly and easily. But the upshot is that pros won't have to do without expert options in order to have full - and simple - control over the look and behavior of the launcher. For example, apps can be hidden, multiple pages can be placed in the dock and individual application groups can be defined within the app drawer. According to the developer, there is a total of more than 300 settings.

AndroidPIT SOLO Launcher4
The clock/weather widget and the Home screen overview. / © SOLO Launcher Team


SOLO Launcher really leaves nothing to be desired: the performance is exemplary, options are diverse and the app is also still available completely free of charge. Anyone that loves to adapt everything to the smallest detail will definitely find SOLO Launcher to be a very good choice, especially owners of smartphones with manufacturer launchers who want to have a touch of pure Android. 

Have you tried SOLO Launcher yet? What other launchers do you like?

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  • Had some issues with it locking up my phone a couple times a day when changing widget. It also blocked me from using my data plan a couple times. Uninstalled and was instantly able to access my 4G network again. Other than that I love the interface and look forward to when they work out all the bugs

  • I've been using it for a couple days now and the thing I like best is you can install the Android 4.3 theme and get basically stock look and feel with additional customization options. Nice. I had the iOS7 theme installed to take the screenshots for this article and deary me was it awful! I don't know what Apple are putting in the water, but UI-taste is certainly not part of it!

  • I am lovin this launcher better than my nova or stock they kept on crashing

  • will try it now.

  • switched to this Launcher from Buzz, I love it on my Lg spirit

  • Locked up my home screen uninstalled it.

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