Android has hundreds of thousands of home screen widgets out there for you to try out, from advanced widget creators to those that come with your favorite apps. Some are beautiful, some are extravagant, and some are refined, but above all, they have to work. Widgets have to earn their keep on my home screen, or they'll be deleted and replaced with something I actually use.
Not all apps have customizable widgets, and no matter how good some of those widgets are — like Google Keep — if they don't play well with themes, then I can't count on them when I'm building my home screen.
The Google Pixel 2 brought a few new tricks to its home screen this year, but none have been as popular as the At A Glance widget. This refined, easy-to-see and easy-to-use widget is only available on the Google Pixel, but enterprising developers have begun to mimic it in apps like KWGT and launchers like Action Launcher. The best interpretation of the At A Glance widget so far is hands-down Another Widget.
Despite the pedestrian name, Another Widget is not just another imitator. Another Widget goes beyond the original by allowing users to customize the text size, text colors, shadows, data shown, and the apps triggered by tapping the calendar and weather portions of the widget. In short, Another Widget is more flexible than the original and available to everyone, not just those who could blow $650 on a new Pixel.
Whether you're trying to make your phone look as Pixel-y as possible or just want an informative widget that doesn't get in the way of a good theme, give Another Widget a try. The app itself is free, but you can support the developer by buying them a coffee, breakfast, or dinner should you appreciate their work.
Calendar Widget Month + Agenda
I'm not going to sugarcoat it: Most calendar widgets are ugly and don't theme particularly well. That said, if you have to have a calendar widget on your home screen beyond a next appointment widget like Another Widget, then Calendar Widget Month + Agenda by Milan Sillik is probably going to be your best bet. The widget is easily resizable and adaptable, you can recolor it and change the transparencies to your liking, and you can try it out for free with all features enabled. Free users have a bar at the top of the Agenda advertising the PRO version license, but it's easy to scroll past while you're testing it out.
Using it with 100% transparency allows your calendar events to scroll in and out of your wallpaper seamlessly, and it's easy to turn the transparency back up when using a busier wallpaper. Just don't set the bottom toolbar to Minimalistic, or you won't be able to get back into the widget's settings without clearing the app data.
Weather widgets are the most popular widgets on the block, and no matter what weather app you have installed, there's bound to be a widget or two with it, but no weather app has quite the diversity or flexibility of the widgets included with 1Weather. 1Weather is a weather app designed by OneLouder, the development team behind popular Reddit app BaconReader and Twitter client TweetCaster, and 1Weather's layout is as easy to use as it is easy to customize.
1Weather's widgets come in all shapes and sizes, and while the icon sets are either black or white, you can set accents for each widget to help the widgets blend or pop against your current themes. 1Weather's widgets are highly adaptable, and I've used them in dozens of themes.
KWGT, king of the widget-makers
When it comes to widgets that fit your theme, sometimes you can't rely on an app to have a widget that fits. Sometimes, you have to make your perfect widget, and when it comes to making your own widget, KWGT is king. KWGT — short for Kustom Widget — is a WYSIWYG widget creator, and its basis is quite simple: what you see is what you get. KWGT allows users of all skill levels to build and modify widgets layer by layer, piece by piece so that they get a widget that fits and performs exactly as desired.
Don't worry, you don't have to build each and every widget from scratch. KWGT Pro enables you to pull in presets — pre-built widgets — from other users and from Kustom packs, packaged KWGT presets and komponents. This means that KWGT widgets are easier the share than they are to build, and themers often share their KWGT presets while showing off their themes in communities like r/androidthemes/.
KWGT is also a good way to introduce yourself to WYSIWYG editors and Kustom's framework before you dive into KLWP — Kustom Live Wallpaper — KWGT's beefier big brother.
Why Zooper isn't here
Once upon a time, Zooper was the WYSIWYG widget maker that diehard themers turned to. The UI was a hair easier to pick up on Zooper, but unfortunately, Zooper hasn't been updated since 2015, and it was even briefly removed from Google Play in December. In short, it's outdated, unreliable, and not worth your effort today.
If you have widgets that are team players when you theme, sing out in the comments below! We're always on the lookout for a few good widgets.
Updated February 2018: This article has been completely overhauled and rewritten to reflect developments and discontinuations in the Android widget space.