App Review: Launcher 8

By Zy Gonzales

A lot of people have often praised Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS for its simplicity and minimalist appeal. Unlike other mobile operating systems, that make use of fancy icons, effects and deep menus, Windows Phone 8 is relatively simple, clutter-free and easy to use.

By Zy Gonzales

A lot of people have often praised Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS for its simplicity and minimalist appeal. Unlike other mobile operating systems, that make use of fancy icons, effects and deep menus, Windows Phone 8 is relatively simple, clutter-free and easy to use.

However, the Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system is far from being perfect. The platform’s restricted app ecosystem has prevented developers into creating apps to enrich the operating system’s user experience. This has caused Windows Phone 8 devices to lag in terms of sales compared to phones powered by other operating systems.

Fortunately, there are ways in which you can still get the simple and minimalist UI of Windows Phone 8 on your Android device through the aid of an app called Launcher 8. The app was developed by the QiHang Dev Team and brings Windows’s Metro UI (lock screen, homescreen and app drawer) to Android devices.

The app is basically a home replacement app that puts the Windows Phone 8 UI on top of the default Android OS. With Launcher 8, a user’s homescreen will now contain tiles (instead of icons) that act as shortcuts to different apps similar to a real WP8 device. The can even skin the menu and the status bar to look like WP8.

Users can also pick custom colours or even place a background image for each tile. In fact, the app offers more colour options (over 120 colour combinations with settings for transparency) for users in contrast to the real Windows OS. The same goes with tile sizes with the app offering a wider selection of tile configurations (1×1 to 4×4 tiles) compared to the genuine Windows Phone 8 OS.

For users who only want to get the WP8 feel on specific areas of their phone, the app provides options to disable the WP8-styled lock screen or app drawer, offering users the ability to still use a custom lock screen app or for those who still want the familiar grid app drawer used in other launcher apps. However, do note that the app drawer will retain the same icon set on Android as opposed to the monochromatic icons on Windows Phone and there is currently no way to change this.

Launcher 8 app drawer

Launcher 8 also features animation options for a number of specific tiles which includes the People tile, Folder tile, Gallery tile, Dialer tile and SMS tile. The app also mimics app transitions in Windows Phone 8 but in a less smooth and fluid manner.

Lastly, Android users will still be able to use their favourite widgets on Launcher 8. Widgets on Launcher 8 are treated as a normal tile and thus will have the same customisation options available on ordinary tiles.

To sum it all up, Launcher 8 is a really nifty app if you want to give your Android phone a new look that’s both clean and minimalist. Of course the experience is not identical as in the original but if you’re really that user who wants the Windows Phone 8 experience but you still can’t let go of the practicality and intuitiveness of Android not to mention the thousands of apps in your disposal, Launcher 8 offers practically the best of both worlds.

PROS: Price, High level of customisation, almost identical look to Windows Phone 8, Ad-free, small installation size

CONS: Limited number of animation options, app drawer icons cannot be customised; animations are not that smooth.

Cyberhshack Launcher 8 rating

Launcher 8 icon

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