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Thread: My Ideal Home Screen Replacement

  1. Master Droid
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    RobertMilk
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    #1

    My Ideal Home Screen Replacement

    I have a Motorola Droid that is unrooted and running stock 2.1.

    In order to make switching between replacement Home Screens easy, I use the Home Switcher app from the App Market.

    Over the past 3-to-4 months I have been playing with various replacements for the stock Home Screen. This lists the Home Screens in alphabetic sequence that I evaluated:
    • FreedHome
    • HelixLauncher
    • HelixLauncher2
    • Home (stock)
    • Launcher Pro
    • Tag Home


    Any one of these is a great replacement for the Home (stock). All are sufficiently stable for everyday use. I will not go into what I perceive as the strengths and weaknesses of each, but after setting these up as close to the same as possible, I used each for 2+ weeks.

    The following lists the features I would like to see in a single replacement Home Screen.

    1. Number of screens 7 or 9. No matter how many there are, someone will always want more. If you think you need more screens, consider using Apps Organizer of Folder Organizer. You might find these are easier to use than manipulating a large number of screens.

    2. Screen movement - back-and-forth, as current crop does, plus circular so that when you get to highest screen number you, your next screen in #1, or the reverse. (I have not seen any Home Screen replacement with circular yet).

    3. Screen(s) preview - double-tap (HelixLauncher/HelixLauncher2) or pinch-in (Launcher Pro). Larger display like B]Launcher Pro[/B].

    4. Icon labels - the ability to remove the label (FreedHome).

    5. Number of icons - Increase the number of icons in each row or column (FreedHome). However, when you increase the number of icons, the ability to resize widgets as opposed to cutting or squishing them needs to be considered.

    6. Folders - the ability to change the icon for folders or folder-like objects such as can be done with Apps Organizer of Folder Organizer.

    7. App Drawer - 2D/3D - It does not matter to me; the fly-in/fly-out is nice to see once or twice but looses something real quick.

    8. App Drawer Organization - Organization tags/tabs (Tag Home) but include the ability to change the folder icon when these tags are moved to screens.

    9. App Drawer area - 4 user-assignable spots (HelixLauncher / HelixLauncher2) and Tag Home

    10. Notification Bar - have the option of showing/hiding the notification bar (FreedHome) and HelixLauncher2.

    11. Rotation - Both vertical and horizontal (all listed replacements)

    I primarily use FreedHome and frequently switch to HelixLauncher. The reason for my preferring FreedHome is that I like the cleanness of the screen without seeing the notification bar and without the icon labels. I use Folder Organizer to minimize the number of screens I need to page through; I use the same Folder organizer setup with every Home Screen app.

    These are my personal preferences, I am sure that your preferences and your opinions may differ.

    Bob
    Last edited by REMilk; 05-24-2010 at 04:33 AM.
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  3. Droid Ninja
    MiXoLoGiSt's Avatar
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    #2
    With HelixLauncher2 you can hide the notification panel.
  4. Droid
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    #3
    I recently did something similar. I've played with:

    - Stock (obviously)
    - Home++
    - Helixlauncher1
    - LauncherPro
    - Tag Home

    I also use Home Switcher to switch between them.

    I need to check out Freedhome (thanks for the heads up).

    So far, I like Tag Home the best. I had used Helix1 for a long time, then heard about LauncherPro and Tag Home. (didn't bother with Helix2 cos I heard it was slower).

    LauncherPro is EXCELLENT for speed, but the deal-breaker for me is that you cannot customize the 4 home icons at the bottom. Helix and Tag (and even Home++!) can do that.

    Ultimately, it came down to Helix and Tag (Home++ is too slow). I find Tag faster than Helix, plus one thing Tag has that NO OTHER launcher has is the app tray compartmentalization (with grouped tabs (sorta)) - I think it is EXCELLENT. With this, I don't even need many home screens! It's far more convenient to get to your apps via the App Tray tabs than by flicking through home screens, and you can customize the group tabs all you want so you're not faced with a big bunch of little-used tabs on your main app drawer screen.

    Basically, with Tag Home, home screens are now only useful for widgets, if you really need them. Now I've cut down my home screens to 3!

    I wish more people would know about Tag Home, cos most ppl nowadays only seem to talk about LauncherPro and Helix.

    BTW, my main phone is a Nexus, now running 2.2, and all the launchers need to be tweaked cos they are FC'ing when pressing the HOME icon.
    Last edited by Oohyeah; 05-24-2010 at 02:04 AM.
  5. Senior Droid
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    #4
    I've been through this too.

    I've tried
    Helix
    Freedhome
    pandahome
    crazyhome

    All free versions.

    1. I love how Helix's 4 bottom buttons are customizable. However, I would love to be able to drag a widget into there.

    2. I love Freedhome's GRID options. I strongly believe that 5 icons across and 6 icons down should be how Android was presented. The layout just looks so clean and professional as it doesn't seem like there are huge gaps everywhere.

    3. Crazyhome, I didn't really have any particular likes about this replacement. I essentially tried it because I found a theme that I might've liked.

    4. Pandahome, now I love the two side app pull outs. This is a very great feature they offer as it is basically a customizable application pullout.

    In the end, I ended up using Helix as it was the one that was the most stable for me. Have had absolutely no issues with it since using it.

    Also, I think someone should compile a list of these launcher/home replacements! Searching for HOME or LAUNCHER will not show results such as aHOME and what not. I just found out today that there are two other ones called sweeter home and GDE!
  6. Master Droid
    REMilk's Avatar
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MiXoLoGiSt View Post
    With HelixLauncher2 you can hide the notification panel.
    Thanks for pointing that out! I updated my writeup to include this.

    Bob
  7. Droid Ninja
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by REMilk View Post

    2. Screen movement - back-and-forth, as current crop does, plus circular so that when you get to highest screen number you, your next screen in #1, or the reverse. (I have not seen any Home Screen replacement with circular yet).

    Bob
    GDE has this feature. I believe I read that one of the more recent entries in the launcher competition has it as well.
    Curmudgeon Member of Rescue Squad
  8. Senior Droid
    Shusuke028's Avatar
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    #7

    Sweeter

    Quote Originally Posted by droijo View Post
    I've been through this too.

    I've tried
    Helix
    Freedhome
    pandahome
    crazyhome

    All free versions.

    1. I love how Helix's 4 bottom buttons are customizable. However, I would love to be able to drag a widget into there.

    2. I love Freedhome's GRID options. I strongly believe that 5 icons across and 6 icons down should be how Android was presented. The layout just looks so clean and professional as it doesn't seem like there are huge gaps everywhere.

    3. Crazyhome, I didn't really have any particular likes about this replacement. I essentially tried it because I found a theme that I might've liked.

    4. Pandahome, now I love the two side app pull outs. This is a very great feature they offer as it is basically a customizable application pullout.

    In the end, I ended up using Helix as it was the one that was the most stable for me. Have had absolutely no issues with it since using it.

    Also, I think someone should compile a list of these launcher/home replacements! Searching for HOME or LAUNCHER will not show results such as aHOME and what not. I just found out today that there are two other ones called sweeter home and GDE!
    As my small input, I'd just like to say that if you're thinking about using SweeterHome, IMHO, go for it. If you want customizability, then it's for you. I admit it's not as quick as LauncherPro or Helix, however, if u want decent speed, and max amount of customizability. GO FOR IT
  9. Senior Droid
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    #8
    I used to think Helix was great until I tried LauncherPro. Aside from missing the customizable app tray the speed and stability blows helix away. That alone was enough for me to replace it.
  10. Droid
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    #9
    I'm gonna have to agree with most people on this one:

    -Home++'s powerstrip is a must, and make it customizable
    -LauncherPro's speed and smoothness is great
    -FreedHome's ability to have 5/6 icons across/down, as well as getting widgets to play nicely, (i.e. not getting cut off)
    -Proper Sense UI Previews of all homescreens
    -Hiding of the status bar at the top is also a must
  11. Senior Droid
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    #10
    thank you for alerting me to file organizer.
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