Featured Android App Review: Why you should consider Action Launcher to be your launcher of choice

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With Action Launcher finally splitting into two apps (Pro and free), I felt like it was finally time to give it a review. I have been a long time user of Nova Launcher and have absolutely no problems with it, but as the months passed by, I began to see so much development that author Chris Lacey was putting into Action Launcher that I just couldn’t ignore it anymore. Action Launcher has so many unique and exclusive features that no other launcher in the market has that really puts it in a class by itself, plus it offers most of the same stuff found in Nova and Apex. If you have yet to take the plunge to give Action Launcher a shot, maybe this review might just give you that extra push!

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Upon installing the app, you’re greeted with a welcome screen in which you can swipe continuously to give yourself a short tutorial of how the app works along with its features. What makes Action so popular and a favorite for many are its following features:

  • Quickdrawer
  • Quickpage
  • Covers
  • Shutters
  • 1-Swipe (Currently still in BETA)

Quickdrawer:

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Quickdrawer, I believe, is Action’s signature feature and really the first big one that differentiated itself from the other launchers out in the market. It offers a unique and “quick” way to access your applications/widgets (in alphabetical order) along with Google Search, the Play Store, and Action’s settings. To access this feature, you can either grab the far left edge of your screen and drag it out, which is the quickest and easiest way, or you can swipe and pan to your furthest home screen to the left.

While Action doesn’t provide the traditional app drawer and its icon, it does provide a unique and very non-intrusive alternative to access your application list. I’ve found that finding the app I’m looking for is faster through Quickdrawer than using the traditional app drawer. You can also easily pan through your apps in alphabetical order by swiping down through the letters. Quickdrawer also allows you easy access to your widgets. Just simply swipe to the left to access them right next to your apps.

Quickpage:

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Quickpage is one of those things that you think you wouldn’t find useful until you try it, at least that was the case for myself. Quickpage is essentially its name, a page of widgets and apps that are easily and quickly accessible from anywhere on your home screen with a simple swipe from the right edge. It’s a fairly intuitive way to access content that’s most important to you. In my case, for example, I placed my calendar widget, Google search bar and Google Music Search in it so that I can easily access those widgets at any given moment. Changing/adding things around in your Quickpage is as easy as adding things onto your home screen. You can long press to take them out or to add anything else. Like I said, it may not be useful to you at first, but give it a shot, and it may just turn out to be your favorite feature!

Covers: 

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Covers offers a fast way to access your most important contacts for either viewing or calling. To make a Cover, you simply head into your widget list and create a contact widget of your desired contact, or a direct dial widget of that contact. Once that’s on your home screen you just simply drag them on top of the “Phone” icon and it’ll create a Cover for you. Now to access your cover, a simple swipe up from the icon can access the window. I love that it’s much faster to directly dial my frequent contacted friends and family.

Shutters: 

Shutters is quite possibly Action’s most beloved feature by its users. Chris Lacey, the developer, certainly put a lot of thought and time into making the Shutters feature. Shutters is an intuitive way to keep your home screen clutter free of the numerous widgets that you may use. With a simple swipe up of the app icon on your home screen, you can easily access widgets. The best part is that it’s not just a visual, what you get is a fully functional widget as if it were directly on your screen. For example, you can see that I can easily access the widgets of my G-Mail, PowerAmp and Chrome Browser all within my main home screen. Those 3 widgets alone would normally take up a half to a full page each if it were not for Shutters. You can easily change your Shutter widget by long pressing the app for more options. To visibly know that your app has a Shutter available, you will find 3 small horizontal lines at the bottom right corner of the app.

1-Swipe (BETA)

The 1-Swipe feature is certainly something that can take off very nicely once it’s out of BETA. I currently disable this feature as it just doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to 100% of the time, but that’s why it’s still in BETA stage. 1-Swipe gives you access your Quickpage within any app. With 1-Swipe you can access it while you’re in G-Mail, Facebook, Instagram, or any app for that matter. To trigger it, you grab the right side of your device’s screen to trigger the “edge glow.” Once that’s triggered you can pull out your Quickpage. The problem is, many apps on Android offer the swipe gesture to perform many different functions within the app (G-Mail, various Twitter apps, Hangouts, just to name a few), thus it’s quite difficult to trigger 1-Swipe. After a couple of futile attempts, I got a little frustrated and turned the feature off. Either way, it’s still the newest feature of Action and I’m sure in time the bugs will be fixed, thus making the feature a much more viable option. I love the idea of 1-Swipe and I’m sure in future updates I’ll be sure to give it another go.

Other Miscellaneous Features

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To round up my review, Action also features plenty of customizable options that other launchers have so that you don’t miss out on the features that you’ve been accustomed to. Action allows you to apply any icon packs that you may love from the Play Store, grid dimensions, icon scales, and much more. The only thing I miss from Nova Launcher since switching to Action is the gesture support. Action somewhat offers it, but it’s quite limited compared to Nova. Who knows, considering the development and attention the developer has shown towards this app, maybe that will be incorporated sometime in the future.

Action Launcher certainly lives up to its name. It’s a launcher that gives you what you want easily and quickly. There may be plenty of other launchers out there in the market, but with Action’s unique features, it certainly separates itself from the rest. I’m not saying it’s the best launcher for you, but it can certainly make a case if you give it a shot! Check out the QR code and download link below! Action Launcher is usually $3.99, but is currently on sale for 50% off at $1.99 for a limited time, so now is certainly a great opportunity to get your hands on it. Or you could always give the free version a shot to help make up your mind. Action Launcher is available for both phones and tablets.

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  • Alan Goldman

    To me it sounds like a lot of bloat.

    • Mackster248

      You’ll never fully know until you give it a shot.

    • Launcherman

      Action Launcher is certainly not bloated, quite the opposite I think. If what you want from a launcher is a fast, clean experience that helps you do or find what you want quickly, then I don’t think Action Launcher can be beat.
      Give it a try, it’s free, and it only takes a few minutes to set it up just the way you want it.

    • nearvanaman

      I moved to Action Launcher from Nova. I’m now down to one screen from three with my widgets in the right hand panel. Maybe other launchers do all this but AL almost coaxes you to be minimalist. It’s far from bloat.

  • mesterguest

    I think the author of this article (Macky Evangelista) is in love with this particular launcher. It looks like fancy names for things that already exists in other launchers. For example, Covers is just a folder with shortcuts. Some the other launchers will list the apps in the drawer alphabetically which is annoying if you’re just a bit organized (category based folders). Unless you have a ridiculous number of screens/pages (disorganized) you wont need a dedicated swipe view to list them or the apps. Most launchers give you the option of choosing the grid and/or icons size.

    • Mackster248

      Actually, Nova is still my favorite and go-to launcher, but this has things that other don’t. Do other launchers have Quickpage? Shutters? 1-Swipe?