The built-in Android launcher offers the user a limited set of functions, and this is often true not only for AOSP, but also for its own launchers of manufacturers of smartphones and tablets. But at any time you can expand the capabilities of your gadget by installing some third-party launcher, for example APUS Launcher. So let's see how this launcher is convenient, functional and whether it is worth it to be installed on a smartphone.
Interface and Key Features
APUS Launcher can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store, and the size of the application, regardless of the model of the device, will be no more than 20 megabytes, which allows you to install it even on inexpensive gadgets with a limited amount of internal memory.
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The first thing you immediately notice when you start the launcher, in addition to the redesign of some system icons, is the animated bell in the upper part of the display. It denotes the APUS Know function, which provides a semblance of a digest for the day: pulling the “bell” you can open a screen that displays weather information, upcoming events on the calendar, interesting articles from visited sites, new wallpapers and recommended applications. In its functionality, APUS Know resembles Google Now, but if you didn’t like this feature, you can disable it in the APUS settings.
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On the home screen is the usual search bar. But, unlike most of these widgets, APUS Laucnher allows you to independently select a search engine of your choice, and also shows the search results for the device, and which ones the user selects. Until the icon search is clicked, you will be shown the results of a local search on the device, and after clicking on it, a browser will open to search for information on the Internet. If you decide to start the browser manually in the old fashioned way, then the search bar from the home screen can be easily removed.
The ability to customize the functions used is one of the main advantages of APUS Launcher. The launcher offers many possibilities, and which ones should be at hand and which ones should be hidden - the user chooses (including starting the search and APUS Know with swipes, up and down on any of the desktops, respectively).
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To the right of the home screen are the usual screens, which house application shortcuts and widgets - their number is practically unlimited. Folders for applications of various categories are located on the second screen — all programs installed on the device are sorted automatically and immediately fall into one of the folders. Convenient not only the sorting itself, but also the ability to move between swipe folders left and right if you have already opened one of them. But a quick transfer of programs between categories, unfortunately, is not provided: the application must first be moved to the desktop, and only then to the desired folder. New folders are created by moving one program icon to another. When you place applications of the same type in the folder, it will be named automatically, but renaming it at any time is no problem.
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At the bottom of each folder is a block of the Discovery application built into APUS Launcher, which displays programs of the same category that are popular in your area. In full screen mode, APUS Discovery opens when you pull this block up. If you do not want to see such recommendations in program folders, then, like other functions, you can disable them in the launcher settings.
To the left of the main screen is the APUS Headlines app. This is a news aggregator in which all events are divided into categories. News in Headlines is displayed in the form of cards, clicking on which opens the full text in the internal APUS browser. Interested entries can be saved in favorites and viewed later.
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The list of all programs in APUS Launcher is presented in the form of a vertical tape. The list is alphabetical.
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Above the list of programs there is already a familiar search bar: to find the right one, just enter the first couple of letters of the name - a useful feature if you have many applications installed. Well, if you are used to placing program shortcuts on desktops and don’t use the list, then its icon can be completely removed from the main screen dock.
Among other things, when installing APUS, a new widget appears in the notification panel with a search bar and radio buttons. You cannot configure their location and type, but clicking on the “More” button opens their complete list.
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When connecting the smartphone to the charger, APUS Launcher replaces the lock screen with its own (if you use a password, this will not affect the security functions). On this screen, the current battery level, as well as the type of charging currently in progress, are displayed in large print. This is “fast” charging of the first 80% of the battery capacity, then “continuous” charging with low current and at the very end - “drop” charging in small intervals, necessary to extend the battery life. By the way, if you treat your smartphoner very carefully, then in the launcher settings you can turn off fast charging altogether.
In order for APUS Launcher, like the device as a whole, to work quickly, the launcher provides several functions for cleaning and speeding up the system. One of them, APUS Boost +, starts automatically and frees up RAM. Another function works automatically and, although it has a similar principle of operation, is needed not to clean the RAM, but to extend the battery life of the device. After activating the “Auto Acceleration” item in the shell settings, APUS Launcher will monitor programs that consume too much power when the screen is off, and force them to stop.
In addition to its wide functionality, APUS Launcher differs from standard corporate shells by the ability to change the appearance of desktops thanks to many free themes. To search for them in the launcher there is a special application, and to install your favorite theme, just a click of a button. Each theme changes not only the wallpaper and icons of standard applications, but also the design of the icons of third-party programs.
Thanks to this, when you change the subject, you get the feeling that another smartphone fell into your hands - you won’t get bored with using APUS Launcher.
In the same application, there is a large catalog of high-resolution wallpapers: if you do not like the picture built into the theme, you can set another. The catalog contains both wallpapers selected by the developer and Photo Story - images added by users themselves.
Another customization function turned out to be really unusual: if you install APUS Launcher on two smartphones, then log in to them through your Google or Facebook account and confirm the connection between devices, then changing the wallpaper on one will set the same on the other. The function can be used both to automatically change the background pictures on several of your devices (for example, on a smartphone and tablet), and by connecting the gadget of your half - you get a rather interesting way of non-verbal communication.
Among other options for changing the interface in APUS Launcher are blurring wallpapers, applying a translucent background to the icons to give them a similar appearance with a standard theme, as well as setting the animation for scrolling through desktops. But what APUS Launcher clearly lacks is the ability to change the grid of the desktop. Despite the fact that on a 5.5-inch display, the 4x5 grid is quite convenient, many will probably want to increase or decrease its size.
APUS Launcher has become not just a launcher, but a full-fledged “harvester” that can introduce the user to the latest news, provide a daily summary of events, recommend applications and automatically sort installed program shortcuts into folders. If the all-in-one approach is not to your liking, then additional functions can be turned off and APUS Launcher can be used as a lightweight and very fast launcher, which also has wide functions for customization and appearance change.
• Ease of use and intuitive interface;
• Built-in functions to speed up the system;
• A large catalog of themes and wallpapers;
• Small size and high speed.
• No own lock screens;
• There is no way to change the grid of the homescreen icons
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