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It sometimes feels as though half of the apps on Google Play are launchers. But this one is different – I promise. While we’ve previously looked at industry giant Nova Nova Launcher - Even Better Than The Default Android 4.0 Launcher Nova Launcher - Even Better Than The Default Android 4.0 Launcher Up until Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) came along, Android’s interface felt somewhat less polished than iOS’s. But with Android 4.0, Google made a clean break with the previous visual style for Android, introducing Holo... Read More that hews close to the official Android line, we also reviewed more unique launchers such as Action Launcher Action Launcher, Reviewed: An Android Launcher That Tries To Be Truly Different Action Launcher, Reviewed: An Android Launcher That Tries To Be Truly Different Tap tap, swipe swipe, goes your Android launcher. No matter how "unique" and "alternative" most launchers try to be, they end up looking pretty much the same. Read More and even context-based Chameleon Chameleon Launcher For Android Phones Offers Context-Based Home Screens And Big, Beautiful Widgets Chameleon Launcher For Android Phones Offers Context-Based Home Screens And Big, Beautiful Widgets Most Android launchers are relatively similar: Nova, Apex, and friends usually offer what you'd expect: One or more homescreens with some third-party widgets, an app drawer, and app folders. And then there's Chameleon: A bold... Read More . We like these, because they capture the spirit of Android: You should be able to customize your phone: not just to make it look different, but work differently, too. Lucid Launcher takes that spirit and runs with it, giving you vertical homescreens, a quick sidebar, and an integrated browser.

We’ll be looking at the $2 paid version, but the free version is available, too (see below for the differences).

The Broad Strokes

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What makes Lucid unique:

  • Vertical home screens: They’re not arranged side-by-side like on almost every other launcher, but top-to-bottom. That’s because it has…
  • Subtle swiping features: Many launchers let you swipe the screen to do stuff. Lucid is more subtle than most, as you’ll see.
  • A favorites sidebar: Instead of the traditional dock, you get a sidebar.
  • Super-fast app search: Start typing the name of any app to launch it.
  • A built-in browser: A weird bloatware feature on an otherwise lean launcher, which thankfully can be disabled.

Now, the paid vs. free question: The paid version gets you earlier updates, custom text for the search box, a way to make the sidebar transparent, and a bunch of other animations. Nice features, but nothing you won’t be able to live without – the main reason to buy is to support the developer.

Getting Stuff Done

To switch between home screens, swipe up and down. To get to the app drawer, swipe right from the middle of the screen:

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To quickly find an app, type part of its name in the search bar:

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You don’t have to be in the app drawer to do this – you can start typing from the home screen, and the search bar is visible on all home screens. Search is very responsive. Unfortunately, you will have to use your device’s regular keyboard for this. A large T9 keyboard would have been perfect here, and could have made Lucid Launcher a true rival for previously-reviewed AppDialer AppDialer Pro is a Lightning Fast T9 App Launcher AppDialer Pro is a Lightning Fast T9 App Launcher On Android, there are generally two ways to launch an app. AppDialer Pro offers a third, much faster way. Read More . No such luck.

You can long-press an app icon to add it to the sidebar or to a home screen.

Swiping left from the middle of the screen puts you into the built-in browser. I won’t elaborate on the browser too much, mainly because I don’t really see the point in this feature. Fortunately, it can be switched off in the settings.

There are two other kinds of swipes, though:

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If you swipe right from the edge of the screen (versus the middle), the sidebar slides in. And in the browser, if you swipe left from the edge of the screen, you get another sidebar.

Customizing Lucid

As befitting any modern launcher, Lucid comes packed with settings:

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I won’t run through them (boring!), but it’s cool to see how much you can customize the sidebar:

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These are two layouts for the same sidebar, created by tweaking background settings, icon size, padding, and so on. On the left you can see me dragging the Phone shortcut up to rearrange things (just press, hold, drag).

Limitations and Drawbacks

One thing you can’t customize, unfortunately, is the sidebar’s alignment. Being a leftie, I usually hold the phone in my right hand – so it’d be nice if I could pop the sidebar in from the right side, using my thumb. This is something previously-reviewed Smart Launcher Smart Launcher: Perfect For Those Who Want No Nonsense Smart Launcher: Perfect For Those Who Want No Nonsense Tired of big and bloated Android launchers that pack in useless features that you'll never use? Read More lets you do, but Lucid doesn’t.

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Interestingly, you also can’t drag icons between homescreens, at least at this point. The developer says this is coming. And finally, I already noted the lack of a built-in T9 keypad in the quick app search.

A Pleasant Surprise

A launcher isn’t a destination in itself – it should let you get to the apps you need, fast, and then stay out of your way. Lucid does this well. It’s a young app and there is still work to be done on it, but it already presents a compelling alternative to the boring, entrenched launchers out there. Try out the free version.

  1. bob
    March 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    this launcher is pretty sexy and you should buy it

  2. Douglas M
    March 11, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Thank you for sharing. I have never really like launchers...they seems to be good in the begining but later on, starting to slow down devices.
    I don't know... I might check this out and see. Maybe I'll change my point of view :)

  3. adrian
    March 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    trying lucid at the moment, need more improvement.
    aviate is a great launcher anyway..

  4. Voovian Malestroom
    March 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Using and liking Aviate too much at the moment :)

  5. Joel T
    March 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks Erez, its hard to find a good launcher in google play there is almost
    hundreds of choices apex,go,nova,themer.I just installed lucid and loved its sidebar.Thanks again for this article.

    • Erez Z
      March 10, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      Glad you liked it, Joel!

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