Two Android Launchers compared: Apex vs Nova

Two Android Launchers compared: Apex vs Nova. Android comes with a huge array of interfaces allowing you to adopt a look for your smartphone that meets your own personal taste. The easiest way to achieve this is by installing a launcher and in this comparison, I took a look at the Apex and Nova launchers, two popular ones among Android users.

I tested out the free versions for either launcher, though I had been using Nova for quite some time now. What I noticed when installing Apex (install Apex) is that it has a lot of similarities with Nova (install Nova): both have the almost the same look when looking at the home screen. They are built quite modestly, though I wouldn’t say that their strengths lie in how radically different their designs are, but rather how sleek they appear, reinforced with multifaceted and rich customization options.

Settings: limitless possibilities

Glance at the settings menus and you’ll see that both launchers have adopted a whole stack of customization options. It’s all possible: from the number of app symbols that can be added to the home screen and dock, to the presentation of the notifications bar, to scrolling behavior in the app drawer.

The Nova Launcher shown here offers a huge array of home screen settings, just like Apex. 

It really is worth it to try these out and get a feel for all the individual effects and what they do. Many functions are supported by both, though the individual settings aren’t always found in the same spot. The Apex launcher does have one advantage over Nova in that it supports tablet mode which is optimized for the usage of bigger screens.

The app drawers for either are almost the same, other than Apex (left) also lists downloaded apps. 

Home screen: no new themes

When setting up the look of the home screen on either launcher, there really isn’t that much difference. Like you can see above, the icons, quick start dock and folders presentation is identical. The small differences are due to the fine-tuning that I had applied myself, which can be adopted with either launcher. (What home screen type are you?)

Neither offers its own themes, though Apex does offer one extra wallpaper and Nova will allow you to alter the colors.

Apex (left) and Nova don’t have much in terms of themes/wallpapers. 

Widgets: straightforward choices

Even when choosing widgets, which you can do straight from the home screen, Nova and Apex are quite similar, though they don’t offer their own widgets. This is where both show their prime weakness in that there is a limited number of widgets (those from the system). Other launchers are much better in this aspect, like Yandex.Shell 3D (install Yandex.Shell 3D) for example.

Widget choices: it’s slim pickings with either launcher. 

Gestures: Apex offers more

Apex has a major advantage because it allows you to set up gestures. While Apex lets you customize pinch-to-zoom or swipe up and down with various actions, Nova only offers this with its premium versio (install Nova Launcher Prime).

Even with the free version, Apex lets you customize gestures. 

Bottom Line

Both launchers are very similar and the only differences are found in smaller details. During my test, it was hard for me to see what made Apex that much better than the Nova launcher. Most importantly, Apex has its own tablet mode as well as many gesture settings in the free version. The advantage that comes with both launchers is the huge amount of settings which give you lots of freedom to customize the home screen. The biggest disadvantage is that both have very limited widget and theme choice. To counter this, you’ll need to be active yourself and find your own pictures to spruce up the look of the background. All in all, either launcher follows the motto ”it is what you make of it”.


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