If you own an Android device, one of the first things you most likely do with it is find a way to customize it to your liking and working style. The stock Android system is however rather lame, which is why we have so many app development companies bringing out launchers that can offer us an out of the box experience.
One such company is the APUS Group, which was founded less than a year ago in Beijing, China. APUS launched its innovative product the APUS Launcher in July of 2014 and quickly grabbed the world's attention drawing over 100 million users in just seven months of launch. Three months later, the APUS user base has touched 150 million users.
So what makes APUS launcher so remarkable? We find out in our Android app review of the week.
The APUS Launcher User System
When you compare the iPhone to any or all of the Android devices in the market today, you can say without hesitation that the iPhone offers a better user experience. That's simply because the iPhone offers users a more intuitive user management system.
The Android world on the other hand is highly fragmented, often resulting in a sluggish and awful user experience for users, especially ones with an older device. APUS launcher aims to bridge that gap with its innovative, user centric system called the APUS User system.
Basically, the APUS User System is divided into 5 main areas that work together to allow users a better way to use and manage the Android smartphone.
One of the first things you'll notice when you launch APUS is how smooth and quick the UI responds. The icons are rearranged into convenient folders, making it easy for you to locate apps especially if you have a ton of them installed on your device.
You can also install beautiful HD wallpapers, themes and transitions as well as more plugins that enhance user experience, such as the Notification app alert that will alert you when you have a missed call or an unread message.
The Google Search bar at the top of the screen displays trending topics you can access at a click of a button while a Wind Chime displays trending topics/apps you may consider checking out. While on the subject of apps, APUS launcher has a cool app called Radar that scans your surrounding area in real time to locate trending apps.
A Swipe tab button that's partly hidden on the left side of the screen opens up a honeycomb panel that contains a menu of recently-used apps as well as your device's system settings. Swiping across the honeycomb panel reveals a stunning new HD wallpaper every time, which you can instantly set to your Home screen.
A swipe of the Home screen from the bottom up will give you instant access to all the news feeds and trending stories of the day.
ASUS launcher also comes with its own App market containing featured apps as well as the latest and popular games collection. There's also Themes & Wallpapers collection and a link to Google Play in case you quickly want to switch over to it from the ASUS market.
You can tweak and customize all your settings in depth from the APUS Settings option that is available when you right-click the Home screen.
Here's a summarized list of all the top features of ASUS Launcher.
TOP FEATURES OF APUS LAUNCHER
- Smart Folders: ASUS Launcher organizes your most used apps on the Home screen and places apps into folders based on categories and usage. The folders appear on the Home screen and you can then between folders to quickly find apps belonging to a category.
- ASUS Boost+ : ASUS Boost is an app that comes pre-installed with the launcher. It lets you clean up the RAM so you can switch between apps, games, messaging and other activities without lags. This also eliminates the need for a third party app like Clean Master.
- Location-based app recommendations: ASUS Launcher offers an attractive radar that scans your neighborhood and picks up apps that are being used by folks in your locality. That's an interesting way to discover new apps that are trending in your locality.
- Themes, Wallpapers and Transitions: ASUS has a very rich collection of wallpapers, themes and transitions that you cannot resist checking out. I noticed that they were all free and updated every month.
- ASUS Power: ASUS comes with its own battery manager that shows you apps that are draining your battery life and offers a one tap optimization solution. It doesn't just stop at showing you how much of battery life is left, it also tells you the approximate time of day up to which your battery will last.
As you keep using ASUS Launcher, you'll notice plenty of little surprising features that improves the way you use your device. Let's take a quick look at where ASUS Launcher shines and where there is room for improvement.
ASUS Launcher has a sleek modern design that's easy on the eye.
It loads up really quick and is unbelievably fast.
It makes it super easy to find anything you want on your mobile; a trending app, the breaking news, top games, popular apps in your locality, hot deals, and more.
Comes with its own booster eliminating the need for installing another 3rd party app to clean up your RAM.
Makes it more intuitive to manage your calls and messages as you can see notifications of missed calls or messages inside bubbles atop the app icons and folders.
Its hard-to-resist, gorgeous collection of themes, wallpapers and transition effects brings a refreshing new look to your mobile everyday.
Brings a great amount of intuitiveness to the UI because you can find just about anything you want from the Home screen and most interactions involve just a tap or swipe. For instance, just a double tap on the Home screen will let you change your wallpaper.
The app is set to auto boost every morning - you have one less task to do and you never have to wake up to a slow mobile anymore.
The launcher has plenty of interact?ive elements, yet I did not see any battery drains or other performance issues.
Room for Improvement
My take on the launcher's additional app market is that it is rather unnecessary. It neither enhances the existing app market experience nor does it offer anything new.
It would have been nice to have all ASUS apps and plugins in one folder location. At the moment, the apps are scattered across the Home screen either individually or in different folders.
I have used over 5 different Android phones over the last few years and one thing that has always irked me about them is the UI. Stock Android is not user-friendly, TouchWiz is slow to the touch and HTC Sense has seen better days.
I also tried my hand on a number of Android launchers but they were either over stuffed with customization options or drained the battery and slowed down performance. I completely swore off Android launchers until I tried APUS and now I'm finding it hard to go back to where I was before :- hardly surprising news considering that it has over 150 million users within its first year of launch.
The most delightful aspects of APUS lie in the most simplest of touches; like a double-tap to change the wallpaper or a swipe to the right to read the latest news. The apps offers such a refreshing Android experience that it has transformed my rather plain and insipid Moto G into an exciting lively place I want to spend every minute of my day.
If you have an Android device, be sure to check out the FREE APUS Launcher. Its fast, its light and its brimming with plenty of awesome features you'll love using.