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The first time we took a look at Nova Launcher, I could only pine away for the day I'd actually have a phone that could run it. Finally that time has come, so after consulting the Google+ populace to make sure I was making the right choice, I installed Nova Launcher and upgraded to the full, Prime-laden version. Let me tell ya, it was so worth it.
If Nova Launcher by itself is a completely superior launcher to the stock Ice Cream Sandwich launcher (and it is), Nova Launcher Prime takes it up to 11. When you upgrade to Prime you unlock swiping gestures for your phone, app hiding in your app drawer, dock swiping, and a whole host of cool scrolling effects.
Nova Launcher by itself is unbelievably awesome because it's so darn fast. Scrolling is fast, menus are fast, screen previews are fast. It's like the Speedy Gonzales of Ice Cream Sandwich launchers. And on my Galaxy Nexus, Nova Launcher Prime absolutely screams.
Nova Launcher Prime is also incredibly customizable. You can change how many homescreens you have, change the amount of icons on the dock, change the screen transitions, the folder background shape, how many docks you have, well, the list goes on and on. If you're a bit OCD about how your launcher operates (or just about what size your grid is), Nova Launcher will help you keep everything in check.
Last but not least, there's also a backup and restore function included, so in the event you lose everything (or get a new phone or do a ROM wipe or something), you can easily restore all of your settings that you so painstakingly put together once and save yourself both the heartache and time. It might seem like a small thing, but once you restore a launcher once, you'll wonder why you ever bothered to manually set one up again.
My final verdict? Nova Launcher Prime is the real deal. It's easily the best launcher for Ice Cream Sandwich that's out right now, and if you're rocking a phone with Android 4.0, at the very least, Nova Launcher (free) should be installed. It's that good. TeslaCoil Software knows how to produce great Android apps, and with Nova Launcher, they've kept their streak going.
Nova Launcher Prime is $4 in the
Android Market Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.
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