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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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            Published on October 9, 2018

            Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

            Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

            Note-taking is useful in helping improve your memory and increase your productivity at work. By writing down notes, you have something tangible you can refer back to, remember what needs to be done, and regain control of your work throughout the day.

            There are thousands of different note-taking apps you can use on your desktop or mobile device. The two most popular are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote because they are incredibly efficient and effective that each has a following of extremely loyal users and advocates.

            So if it comes to Evernote vs OneNote, how do they improve productivity?

            An overview of Evernote and OneNote

            First, an introduction to the two platforms. Evernote is an app that lets you store content, take down notes, write lists, and organize all of them. While these are stored in Notebooks, the whole concept behind this productivity app is more like a Universal Inbox where you can save everything you’ve collected so you can quickly find it when you need them through the use of tags.

            Microsoft’s OneNote, on the other hand, works very much like a digital version of the notebooks you used to carry around in school. Aside from storing all your notes and different types of content you’ve collected, you can also organize them into sections, pages, and containers.

            Each of these apps offers their users a host of features to help them improve their productivity and memory. Also, because no app is perfect, each also has their strengths and limitations.

            To get a better idea of which app will be your best choice, we’ll be comparing the two based on three key features most used by their users: collecting information, note-taking, and mobility.

            Collecting information

            Both the OneNote and Evernote come with their own web clipper extension that allows you to quickly collect and store information from different websites as you find them.

            Both give you the option to choose whether you’d like to save the entire web page as is, a simplified version without the ads, or just a section of the page. You can also add some notes before saving them to make it easier for you to remember why you “clipped” that particular resource.

            Since OneNote gives you more structure to organize your content, its web clipper allows you to choose not just which notebook to save the details, but also what section within the notebook.

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              Source: OneNote.com

              Evernote gives you the option to add tags to your web clippings before you save it, so it’s easier for you to search for it later.

              Premium users get access to Evernote’s Related Results feature located in its Options section. When you search on Google, Evernote will launch a secondary search that will show all the notes related to the keyword you used in searching for information.

                Source: Zapier.com

                This feature, according to Jeremy Skillings, President of Youcanbefound.com, is beneficial because it lets you know what information you already have stored in your notes.

                “In some cases whenever I do my research, I find out through this feature that I already have the exact information I need stored in my Evernote account. That alone cuts back a significant amount of the time I spend on projects.”

                Note-taking

                Both of these productivity apps allow you to create and format your notes to create rich documents. Among these features include changing the font size and color, adding tables, and inserting media files.

                Evernote’s note-taking features are very similar to a Word document in that it’s very structured concerning how you input your notes.

                  Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbert of RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

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                  While he enjoyed the features, his personal experience with using it in the field revealed that the formatting features,“mean that if you need to change parts of your notes around, it can get tedious”. He continued, “the formatting features are quite finicky, so you may need a bit of patience to get the end results you are looking for.”

                  Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbertof RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

                  Structuring your notes properly from the get-go can have an effect on your productivity. A blank slate can sometimes be puzzling. Evernote allows the ability to use battle-tested templates and workflows that save you time. They can provide inspiration and structure on what’s possible.

                  On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way notes are created. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                  On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way you create your notes. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                    Source: Lifehacker

                    Also, it gives you the option to create Templates that you can use to layout your page properly, so all you’ll need to do is to fill in the information.

                      Source: MakeUseOf

                      This is a particularly handy feature that stood out to many of the people who shared their love of OneNote with me. Steve Lionais, longtime user and Co-Founder & CEO of Dr-Bill.ca, claims that this feature helped him build his business by affecting his memory in a powerful and helpful way.

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                      “This [feature] is what makes OneNote great memory retention app,” he said of the templates. “I find that I remember things more when they are arranged in a certain way. OneNote allowed me to do that for my meeting and presentation notes, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the next point!”

                      However, what really makes OneNote the winner of this round is its ability to allow you to embed media files from other sources like Youtube. In addition to including the link, OneNote launches a media player, allowing you to watch the video or listen to the audio file directly from the page where you saved it.

                        Source: Windows Central

                        Mobility

                        Evernote and OneNote can be used both on desktops and mobile devices. At the same time, they provide their users with the ability to sync the content from one device to the other.

                        Judging which of the two productivity apps is best here is quite tricky because it greatly depends on several factors. One of these is the operating software you use.

                        Many of the power users we asked were using iOS, and that put some points toward Evernote. Greg Reese of AmeriEstate.com found himself frequently using the built-in camera option (and other iOS integrations) to manage his daily duties as President.

                          Evernote’s camera also integrates with Post-It, Moleskin notebook pages, and business cards. When you take a photo of any of these, the camera will capture the information and format this for Evernote so that it’s quick to find it when you search.

                          OneNote, on the other hand, dominates the Android environment. In addition to the app, Android users will also find a OneNote floating badge on the side of the home screen. So you can take notes on the go very quickly.

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                            Source: MS Power User

                            Another factor to consider is the cloud storage you use. For you to sync OneNote across different devices, you’ll need to first set up an account with OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

                            “This is something that Evernote users like me don’t have to worry about,” according to Matt Willens, Head Attorney for Willens Law Offices. “Whether you use a free account or one of their paid plans, you can immediately sync your devices without having to get a separate cloud storage account.”

                            The drawback here is the amount of storage and number of devices that you can sync. Free users are only given 60MB of storage space and can sync up to two devices. If you need more storage space, you’ll have to get the paid plans.

                            Which app is better for improving memory and productivity?

                            The honest—and most straightforward—answer is:

                            It depends on you.

                            While Evernote and OneNote have their strengths and weaknesses, how well it will help improve productivity and memory greatly depends on what works best for you.

                            If you find that you’re able to work best and remember things more using visual cues, OneNote will be the best productivity app to use. However, if you consider the speed and ease of finding the information you need as your top priority, Evernote will be your best option.

                            Since both productivity apps have free versions, you can give both a try and see where you’re most comfortable. In the end, the right productivity app to use is one that complements the way you work and do things rather than dictating to you how you should get them done.

                            Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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