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5 Launchers Every Android User Should Consider Using

5 Launchers Every Android User Should Consider Using

If you are an iPhone user, or are a novice when it comes to customizing your Android device, you are probably unfamiliar with what a “launcher” is. To put it into simple terms, it’s essentially a layer of software that runs on top of the base layer of Android loaded onto your smartphone or tablet.

If you have a Samsung phone, the TouchWiz interface they use is a form of launcher (albeit a clunky one, at least compared to a number of third party offerings). Really, all Android phones use a launcher of some sort, except for Nexus devices, which run using a vanilla version of Google’s mobile software.

With that out of the way, you’re probably asking yourself this question: “why do I need a new launcher?” Well, for one, your mileage may vary. There are a number of reasons to want to use a third party launcher on your Android device, namely, to increase its speed, to improve its usability, etc.

Below are a few launchers that are proven to add to the Android experience in a multitude of ways. Some will make your device faster, some will add functionality, and others will do a combination of both.

1. GO Launcher EX – launch apps with gestures and access more transition effects (free or $5.99 for the paid version).

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Launchera1z

    GO Launcher EX boasts that over two hundred million people use its services, which makes sense given its sleek and streamlined presentation. What makes this launcher particularly interesting is how it gives you the ability to customize your homescreen in the exact way you want it without compromising your device’s performance.

    You also get access to thousands of free themes, meaning you won’t get tired of playing around with the look of your phone’s homescreen any time soon. Additionally, Go Launcher offers even more advanced features as a part of its paid option, such as multi-touch gestures and additional transition effects.

    2. Action Launcher – an innovative way to access the content you want faster (free or $4.99 for the paid version).

    launchera2z

      Action launcher is all about making it both interesting and easy to use all of your apps. It utilizes a number of clever graphical interfaces, which they dub “Quickdrawers” and “Shutters” to make it easier than ever before to access your apps whenever you need them.

      Additionally, Action Launcher includes a feature I first witnessed on my iPhone when I downloaded iOS7 — the theme of your phone changes based on the wallpaper you choose. So, no matter what wallpaper you select, Action Launcher will ensure that its theme’s colors match the image you selected as best it can manage.

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      3. Nova Launcher – a classic that still serves as a jack-of-all-trades today (free or $4.00 for the paid version).

      launchera3z

        While Nova Launcher may not be as snappy or as flashy as others, it gets the job done, as seen by the multitude of great reviews it has acquired over the years.

        As a one time user of Nova Launcher, I can attest to the fact that it is definitely a joy to use compared to something like TouchWiz. It is fast and offers enough customization options to keep you busy for weeks, if not months.

        4. Google Now Launcher – for those who want the stock Android experience (free).

        launchera4z

          Anyone who has used a Nexus device will be familiar with this launcher. It is essentially Google’s way of giving non-Nexus users a chance to get a sense of what the stock Android experience is like.

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          As such, there are few bells and whistles, at least compared to the stock launchers on say the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8. The trade off is that the Google Now Launcher runs faster, and gives you far easier access to the Google ecosystem.

          5. Smart Launcher 2 – an automated launcher experience, with customization options for those who want to use them (free or $3.92 for the paid version).

          launchera5z

            Unlike some of the more advanced launchers on this list, Smart Launcher 2 is all about making life easy for you. As such, it automates a number of thing for your benefit, such as organizing apps based on the categories it determines them to be in, and providing you instant access to apps it notices you using frequently.

            For those looking to make their own customizations, Smart Launcher allows you to do that as well though its plugin system, which allows you to install additional features when you need them.

            While Smart Launcher 2 might not appeal to advanced users, those looking to dip their toes into the world of launchers might appreciate the simplicity offered here.

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            Conclusions

            At the end of the day, most launchers offer similar functions and features, with the main difference being how those two things are presented to you. While launchers are great tools and an awesome luxury available to those with Android devices, don’t download them unless you know what you are getting into.

            Indeed, if Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense launchers are working for you, don’t feel obligated to make a change. If, however, you know you want more out of your device and really want to customize your experience, feel free to go all out and try launchers until you find one that suits you.

            Have you downloaded a third party launcher onto your Android device? Do you suggest that others do the same? Comment below!

            Featured photo credit: HTC One/ Rob Bulmahn via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on January 13, 2020

            11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

            11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

            Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

            Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

            Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

            1. Lumosity

            This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

            Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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            Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

              2. Fit Brains Trainer

              This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

              Free.

              Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

                3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

                Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

                First four games free, then $13 a month.

                cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                  4. Brain Fitness Pro

                  The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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                  Buy for $3.99.

                  5. Happify

                  If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

                  Free to use.

                  Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                    6. Clockwork Brain

                    You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

                    Free.

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                    Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                      7. ReliefLink

                      Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                      Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                        8. Eidetic

                        Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                        Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                          9. Braingle

                          Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                          Free.

                          Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                            10. Not The Hole Story

                            If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                            Free.

                            Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                              11. Personal Zen

                              This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                              Free.

                              personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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                                Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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