Review: Launch apps fast with Nova Launcher

Organize your apps with this versatile Android dock.

Teslacoil's Nova Launcher replaces your Android device's home page with a highly customizable front end. Its Dock launches your most-used apps, while stuff you don't need as often goes in the Drawer (just like your real desktop). You can customize just about everything about Nova Launcher, from background colors to horizontal or vertical scrolling, 3D effects, and more. Nova Launcher is free and runs best in Android 4 or better. At 2.04MB, it's compact, especially considering its versatility. A premium upgrade adds app grouping as well as gestures and scroll effects.

We didn't notice much difference between our usual home page and Nova Launcher until we swiped the screen, flipping through pages with a smooth 3D rotating effect. Nova Launcher's main tools are its Dock, a customizable toolbar, and the Drawer, a tabbed, flippable series of pages accessing Apps and Widgets. We added a flashlight widget to our main screen from the alphabetized Widget pages and then opened the Nova Settings from a menu that also accessed our device's System Settings, Wallpaper, and Application Manager. An important feature is highlighted in red: Previous Launcher clears other launchers from your system's memory and history. Nova Launcher has so many options that it takes time to go through them all. We could change the Dock's width, height, scrolling action, and more. When changing the Dock's shape or transparency, be sure to swipe the "On" button as well as checking "Enable Dock."

Nova Launcher lets you customize your phone or tablet where you need it most, at its "business end." Few free tools of its type do as much.

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