Android Launcher Review from a Windows Phone Live Tile Refugee

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So I have to finally give up on my trusted Lumia 650. And that means I have been comparing Launcher 10 against Square Home 3, as I am really keen on which Launcher recovers the best Live Tile Experience. I paid for both full version (Live Tiles on Launcher 10) as both developers deserve some credit, where Microsoft have lest us down. I have both launchers running two different Android Phones for side by side comparison.

  • Launcher 10 Marginally seems more professional looking than Square Home
  • Launcher 10 has a brief email content in Outlook Live Tile, whereas on Square Home it just an Alarm notification (no content)
  • Square Home displays upcoming event in the Calendar Live Tile, I have not seen upcoming Event listed in the Launcher 10 Live Tile. This is a rather serious omission if really the case for Launcher 10!   
  • I have not been able to get any Weather (With Microsoft MSN Weather) Live Tile on Launcher 10 working. It works on Square Home, so its not obvious what I am doing wrong (other post suggest this should work on L10?). I can get Microsoft Weather Live Tiles to work pretty easily on Square Home.
  • The  Square Home Photo Live Tile is rather more fun that Launcher 10, and easier to configure work properly
  • I note that the Launcher 10 has Live Tile on Play Store. Not Sure why needed or offered.
  • The (Google) Contacts on Launcher 10 Live are nicely animated (Windows Mobile) style. Square Home it does not to have any animated Contacts Live Tile. This is probably considered a rather superfluous animation by the Sqaure Home developers.
  • The Launcher 10 Google Music Player Live Tile shows album cover whilst playing – Almost as good as the much missed Zune Live Tile much from WP7.    

  • Neither Launcher 10 or Square Home have any integrated News Live Tile. Both leave us with a choice amongst rather weak and really ugly Android News Widgets.

So its still a bit mixed as to which I will eventually choose. I have Square Home on my Main Phone but I would probably adopt Launcher 10, if I could get Calendar and Weather Live Tiles to work properly.

I would be interested to know other experiences on their use of Android Live Tile Launchers

Oh by the way, Thanks Microsoft a Bunch for not supporting us WP refugees.

Comments (8)

8 responses to “Android Launcher Review from a Windows Phone Live Tile Refugee”

  1. Paul Thurrott

    I recommend at least looking at the top 5 or whatever Android launchers, regardless of how much like Windows Phone they are/aren't. There are some really good choices.

  2. goodbar

    I'd throw this out there too, if you find a white icon pack (I think I use Flight Lite Minimalist) it actually does more than you think for giving any android launcher the clean feel of the monochromatic windows phone UI. I personally use the Microsoft Launcher with this icon pack and bing background.

  3. Daekar

    Squarehome 3 is pretty fantastic, and if you paid for SquareHome 2 you get the full functionality of the third iteration too. I switch back and forth between SquareHome and the Microsoft Launcher, but generally speaking I like SquareHome better because the things they've added to the Microsoft Launcher really offer very little utility to me given what I use my phone for. It just makes sense to use the square tiles which are easier to see and hit with accuracy over the little icons in iOS and Android. I love the Whiticons package, it's a great aesthetic.


    For the record, I never had a Windows Phone... I just like good UI design.

  4. Tony Barrett

    If you can pull yourself away from the tile-type launchers (WM10's tiles never lived up to the promises anyway), there are a whole stack of excellent Android launchers out there. Nova Launcher is one of the best, but no tiles for you there!

  5. prettyconfusd

    The calendar tile will show upcoming events, just long press on the tile, choose edit, and it gives you many options for the types of content it can display - including 'show calendar live tile'.


    As for weather, if you install the Microsoft Weather app (possibly MSN weather in the store) and just add a widget you can set the widget to be whichever size you want and it looks identical to the W10 live tile.


    As for news, no idea. Though depending on how many notifications you allow (the W10 version of the app blasts them out with alarming frequency) it will show the headlines and images that are part of the notification just as a standard live tile.


    I love Launcher10, been using it the past couple of years and between tiles and widgets I have a much improved experience than with W10M. Sure, there are plenty of other launchers, but the aesthetic works for me and gives me enough of the extra Android usability features.


    The music live tile will also work with Spotify.


    I posted a screenshot of mine on Twitter recently: https://twitter.com/prettyconfusd/status/1147571843571879937 though admittedly I'd gone through most of my notifications before taking the screenshot to remove personal info so there aren't many "live" tiles.

    • jules_wombat

      In reply to prettyconfusd:

      Thanks for these helpful insights.

      I had to fiddle with the Calendar Tile Edits, to ONLY have "Show Calendar Live Tile" option selected. None of the Default or numerus other interesting notifications. So its a bit cluttered view. I note you seem to be using a widget rather than a Live tile.

      Yep OK, so using the Microsoft MSN Weather Widget rather than pin the App as a Live Tile does work, albeit does take up a lot of room for decent informative display.

      The Gallery Tile is a bit haphazard in limited choice of photos it shows up.


  6. robincapper

    Sadly, the best Android launcher I found after leaving WinPh, Nokia's Z launcher is no longer available. It broke away from the (terrible) grid of icons, it seems everyone else uses, to present the apps on front screen based on use data, an easy to use full alpha app list and other action items (apps, contacts, search results) an ink like finger letter spell away.

    I tried to like Microsoft's launcher, but it has the same ponderous folder/icon grid limitation that others do. A smart device should not require the user to arrange apps and icons like some ancient PC!

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