Review: Action Launcher for Android

Posted on Dec 10 2012 - 10:00am by Kyle Morris

Another day, another Android Launcher.  There are so many launchers available it hs become very hard to choose the “best” one.  Many of the launchers offer similar features in a different package but essentially are the same thing with each having its ups and downs.  Every now and then an innovative and unique launcher will pop up.  Along comes Action Launcher by Chris Lacey, the same developer who created Tweet Lanes.

When developing Action Launcher, Mr. Lacey designed it to “get where you need to go, faster.”  For the most part I think he succeeded.  When using launchers I set them all up the same and only use one page, so my setup is already pretty fast when it comes to navigating and getting to apps.  Below is a screen shot of Action Launcher set up the same way I set up all my launchers.

There are a few things that make this launcher unique from the very beginning. First, the ever present action bar which has a shortcut to the play store, Google Search/Now, the Action Launcher menu and most uniquely a shortcut to the drawer.  I am a constant user of Google Now and would typically have the search bar where the action bar resides on this launcher.  I really like having it there and the shortcut to the play store is a bonus.  It is also a great place for the menu as it follows Google’s standards.  As for the shortcut to the app drawer I have not used at all and I think it is worthless.  One may wonder how it could be worthless if it is how you access the app drawer.  The much more convenient and easier way to access the app drawer is a simple swipe to the right.

Action Launcher features an alphabetical app drawer very similar to the stock android contacts app.  This layout works very well when trying to quickly get to an app.  Although not completely unique, none of the “big boy” launchers use this style of app drawer.

Tapping the menu icon gives you four options: customize, system settings, manage apps, and settings.  Selecting system settings will take you to the main settings menu for your device.  Selecting manage apps will take you to the manage app screen within the android settings.  Selecting customize will take you to the following screen:

From this screen you can add apps and widgets to your home screen or change the wallpaper.  This is a quick and convenient way to add items to the home screen.  Like many launchers dragging an app shortcut on top of an existing one will create a folder.  A unique feature of Action Launcher are covers.  A cover is simply a folder except one tap on the cover opens the first app in the folder while two taps opens the folder.  This is a neat feature but a little gimmicky in my opinion.  If you know the layout of a folder you can easily get to any app in that folder with two taps so it only saves time on opening the “cover” app but it does allow for better control of the appearance.

Selecting settings from the menu will take you to Action Launchers settings.  Here you can change a few basic things including:

  • Number of home screen pages
  • Show/hide dock indicator
  • Show/hide page indicator
  • Make Action Bar transparent
  • Change app drawer background
  • Home button action

The only downside I found while using the launcher is the inability to be able to drag an app from the drawer to the home screen.  The launcher was just released and if Chris Lacey treats this launcher like he treated Tweet Lanes we will see many updates and additions.  I highly recommend anyone looking for a fast launcher to give this a shot.  It may not be for everyone but that is why we have so many options when it comes to launchers.

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About the Author

I am an all around tech junkie that is addicted to mobile technology. I have a BS degree in Management Information Systems with a minor in Finance and Banking, run a small business and have been involved in numerous .com start ups. If you have any questions, concerns, ideas or just want to chat, feel free to contact me.