Monday, July 27, 2015

App Review: Home UX(Beta)-Phil Monnier

First of all, I’d like to use this review to make an announcement. Last weekend, my Moto X 2013 got Lollipop. Yes. It happened. Let’s take advantage of this to review a Lollipop exclusive launcher in all of its material design glory: Home UX (Beta).

Before we begin, bear in mind throughout the review that it is a private beta, therefore it may lack features/stability.

Home UX is very simple regarding functionality and aesthetics. On the top there is a bar, which contains the clock and the date. When swiped left, a list of user determined app categories is found. When swiping right, we are presented with the launcher’s settings.

To switch between categories we must swipe up/down. Swiping left will show more apps, if there is more than one page in said category.

In addition, there is a QuickAction bar, which functions similarly to a dock. It resides under the clock, and apps can be dragged and dropped there.

Compare these pictures, and the first three ones. Notice the difference? Under the settings there is an option to enable/disable the apps background. I have it enabled for more material design goodness. Other customization options include icon packs, changing the color of each categories’ top panel color, as well as the accent color which lies on the action button (in this case, the search button). There is an option to hide apps, and you can modify the app grid’s height/width, as well as the app icon size. Changing pages’ transitions is also possible, as well as removing app labels. The clock’s format can also be modified as well.

Using this app, the stability and lack of lag is impressive. It doesn’t stutter at all, not even with all the fancy animations. The app is very responsive and smooth. The animations are gorgeous, I have fallen in love with them and the material design which flows throughout the app.

Unfortunately, as you can tell by the screenshots, there is no widget support (yet). The devs are working on it. There is one thing that does bother me, and should be customizable: the apps background doesn't adjust to fit them. This means that if you have only two apps in a category, the background still occupies most of the screen with emptiness. It can be seen here:

Another thing which is lacking, is a tutorial I had to fiddle a lot with the settings to understand them, and make the launcher’s colors to my liking. Hopefully the final release will have some sort of tutorial.

Overall, the launcher is great. It does minimalism correctly. The animations are flawless, and the aesthetics are too. Yes, it lacks in functionality, and no widget support is a bummer. Fortunately, it is a beta and this means that there are many features to come!

  • Beautiful animations
  • Great aesthetics
  • Minimalist
  • Easy to navigate
  • Missing features (which will be implemented in later versions)
  • Slight learning curve

Tried Home UX for yourself? Let us know what you think of it on Twitter @masala_tech, and remember to keep things spicy!

By Phil Monnier