Not every Android device is made equal and this is what makes the platform amazing. While top end devices can run the most demanding launchers, a budget one must rely on a nice lightweight Android launcher to keep the resources in check. Sure, you can get the fastest launcher on your phone too, but if you want to extend your battery life a little more, a lightweight Android launcher will do the job nicely.
We have already listed the 15 best launchers for Android before, but this article will go into detail about the most lightweight launcher for Android. Smart Launcher caught my eye back when it was first launched and now it is on version 2.
While the previous version of the launcher was stylish and minimalistic, this launcher is actually the lightest one around. The launcher itself takes only 2MB of space on your Android device; you can’t get lighter than that.
Smart Launcher was tested thoroughly on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Samsung Galaxy Young smartphones. The app worked almost identically on both the top end and low end of the smartphone spectrum giving credence to its stellar optimization and stability.
Our Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Google Play Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars.
The Free Version
The Paid Version
Smart Launcher makes everything simple and minimalistic. I actually mistook the home screen as the lock screen due to the layout of the icons. This is not a standard Android launcher, not by a long shot. The drawer is amazingly optimized and apps are automatically organized in a neat and convenient manner.
Most of all, this launcher consumes a tremendously low amount of system resources while in use. My personal favorite, Nova Launcher, takes a significantly bigger cut from the battery power than Smart Launcher. The launcher also works amazing on tablets.
There are very limited customization options available for the most lightweight Android launcher. I guess it is a price we have to pay for a well-oiled and featherweight experience. There are themes available with great backgrounds but you can’t really change the layout of the home screen.
There are no extra home screens either so you can only use a single widget. I like to have at least three home screens with different widgets on them. There is also no “all apps” tab in the app drawer, which is somewhat annoying.
The Bottom Line
Even though there is limitation in the home screen customization options, Smart Launcher is still the most lightweight Android launcher around. The app only takes 2MB of storage space on your Android device and transforms it into a new and improved experience.
The launcher works like a charm on low end devices too and doesn’t bog down the interface with useless graphical gimmicks and lengthy animations. You will need some getting used to especially with a lack of a traditional app drawer but the replacement is efficient and time saving by far.
There is also a pro version of the launcher available, which enables several features. The pro version costs $4.12 and will allow you to use gesture controls and get superior widget support.
If you require gesture support, this is a great way to spend your hard earned cash. Otherwise the base app is fully capable of delivering a complete user experience. A point to be noted is that the free app is completely ad free.
Getting Smart – 4 out of 5 Stars
Setting up the Smart Launcher is not a big deal. Simply install the app from the official Play Store page and wait for it to download. Once downloaded, open the app and it will ask you some basic questions.
The questions are used to determine what default apps you will see on the circular app wheel located on the home screen of the app. don’t worry if you selected a wrong answer, you can easily change the apps down the road.
Once the simple questions are answered you will be taken to the main solo home screen. You will notice that the home screen is only displaying time, a bunch of apps arranged in a circle and a unique icon on the bottom left corner of the app.
You may or may not see the following screen when running the Smart Launcher, simply select Smart Launcher and tap on always to make it your default launcher.
The App Drawer – 4 out of 5 Stars
The app drawer can be launched by clicking the six mini circle icon located on the bottom left side of the screen. Once tapped, you will be taken to a new kind of app drawer.
While it may seem a little strange or even intimidating, it will eventually make complete sense if you play around a little. The apps are arranged in different categories, for example you will find all the games you installed right in the games tab.
Need to find a media app? Don’t worry. All are located in the media category. The app does this automatically and with great accuracy. I found this feature to be remarkably charming and impressive. You can even hide rarely used apps or the ones which you don’t need.
To find a particular app, simply type the alphabet in the search bar and the app will show matching results. Admittedly, the search bar is not as robust as the one featured on the fastest Android Launcher, it does its job satisfactorily.
Limited Customization -3 out of 5 Stars
The app like I mentioned before has very limited home screen customization options. You can change which widget you want to display but some will not be officially supported and will need to be manually resized.
The clock face can be changed into several other ones but none of them are memorable or unique. The color of the clock can also be adjusted to match the overall scheme.
The app does come with themes but will need to be downloaded before usage. One good thing about the app is that it allows third party icon packs to be installed. This makes it a much better launcher in my opinion.
Additional Features – 4 out of 5 Stars
The most lightweight Android launcher does have some great tricks up its sleeve too. The app comes with a dedicated lockscreen option which really integrates into the whole look of the launcher. The only thing making it not amazing is the lack of PIN or pattern locks.
The notification plugin can also be installed to provide visual representation of alerts. This is a great way to know which app needs your attention in a well-organized manner. You can install the plugin from this link:
If you are into aesthetics, there are several animations available at your disposal too. From the launcher animations to app launch ones; there are many cute and exciting ones to select.
Permissions – 5 out of 5 Stars
The lightweight Android Launcher does a great job of keeping its nose out of sensitive information. The app can only activate SMS apps or Dialer ones but not actually make calls or messages.
The app also doesn’t access any personal information stored on the device. This is a huge sigh of relief for those who value privacy and need to get the most lightweight Android launcher on their devices.
What Smart Launcher Users Are Saying
“The app drawer really won me over. I wish there were more app drawers that would categorize my apps.”
Most of the reviews praise its unique app drawer and its uncanny ability to organize apps. Many others are in love with its simplicity and snappiness.
“The lack of an “all apps” app drawer is a big part. I could add everything manually but it’s still organized awkwardly. No widgets is frustrating as well, probably in the paid version.”
Indeed there is no traditional “all apps drawer” in the launcher. Sure, you can see apps listed alphabetically but that is not the same. The widget thing is exactly the same thing I talked about above, and yes it is a little annoying not having some really awesome weather widgets set on my home screen.
This lightweight Android launcher is exactly what it is supposed to be; a lightweight launcher for Android. Sure there are many great things about the Smart Launcher but there are some glaring backdrops there too.
If you are willing to look past the widget problem in the free version of the app, you will be treated to an amazingly designed and intuitive launcher.