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Today is a happy day for me. After using an old Android 2.2 device for over a year (and that only after my trusty Nokia 6070 went bust), I’m finally up to par with my fellow authors and readers, and started using a new Nexus 4 device running the latest version of Android. As you can imagine, this is quite a transition — Android has changed significantly since the good old days of Froyo — and having a device with enough room on it to actually install applications is also a refreshing change.
As a newcomer to the real world of Android customization, I immediately started looking for wallpapers, launchers, icon sets, and widgets. Fancy Widgets is one app I kept hearing about in the olden days (which ended yesterday), but could never try for lack of space and screen real-estate. After checking out Matt’s 8 unmissable widgets for all Android versions, Tina’s 6 handy Android widgets, and Angela’s post on the similar Beautiful Widgets, I decided to give Fancy Widgets a try and see what I could come up with. Looking for customizable Android fancy widgets? Keep on reading, and give it a try!
Setting Up Fancy Widgets
Before getting started, it’s important to note that there are two versions of Fancy Widgets: a free one, and a paid one ($2.50) which goes by the name of Fancy Widgets Unlocker. You’re not going to find ads on the free version; rather, its limitation lies with the number of widget skins and styles you can apply. The free version offers 6 or so clock and weather skins for you to choose from, and some additional styles and widget sizes within each skin. With the paid version, your customization options increase significantly.
There’s almost no aspect to an Android Fancy Widget you can’t customize. On the Settings screen, you’ll find everything from specific time, date and weather settings, to refresh settings, appearance settings, and a way to customize what happens when you tap different parts of the widgets.
The app can display weather information from AccuWeather or Google Weather according to a location you set. You can also set the app to use geolocation or GPS to detect your location automatically. Refresh intervals can run from 15 minutes to 24 hours, with easy control over when refreshes happen and when they don’t. For example, you can set Fancy Widgets to never refresh at night.
The Appearance settings is where it gets really interesting, though. From here you can set your clock and weather skins, control things such as font color and background transparency, and decide exactly which items you want to see on your homescreen widget. You can even set the widget to show the current moon phase.
Fancy Widgets is available is 27 different language, so chances are you can have you widgets tell you all about the time and weather in your own native tongue.
Done playing with the settings? It’s time to see what you came up with.
Don’t worry, you’re not done customizing these yet. Playing with the settings is just the first step in getting a widget that looks great on your home screen.
When adding a Fancy Widget to your home screen, you can choose between 5 different standard widget sizes. Each widget can be resized after adding it, but each size is going to have different information included in it according to what can fit and what you chose to include, so resizing doesn’t always yield good results.
Once you have the widget, you can still choose between several different styles for each one. There are more of these available in the paid version of Fancy Widgets.
The bigger the widget you choose to display, the more available information you’re going to have on your screen. The biggest widget of all, for example, includes a detailed daily weather forecast along with little weather icons and high and low temperatures for each day. You can, of course, add and remove elements from the widget as you wish, and end up with something a little less cluttered.
Android Fancy Widgets isn’t for everyone. For the customization addicts, there are other, more customizable options to play with. For the beginners, there are simpler options that don’t require the same amount of work. But this is exactly what makes Fancy Widgets a great option for everyone in between: It’s customizable enough to achieve the right look for your personal home screen, while being simple and easy enough so that almost anyone, beginners included, can easily set it up and use it.
What’s your favorite widget app for Android? Share in the comments!