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Sponsored App Review: ZEN Launcher

July 10, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

ZEN Launcher is a homescreen replacement app for Android that aims to be as lightweight and easy as possible to use. It comes in at around 1MB, making it one of the smallest launchers available, and it also neatly organizes all of your apps for you, making them easier to find and putting those you use most right in front of you. All of your widgets are in one central place as well, again making them easier to manage and easier to find. ZEN Launcher has all sorts of sensible settings as well as neat features to stop you from using our phone all the time and to let you know just how much time you spend with it. Let’s take a closer look and see what ZEN Launcher is all about.

First of all, you’ll need to download ZEN Launcher from the Play Store. I was surprised at how quickly it was installed on my device, but at just 1MB I shouldn’t be that surprised. Here’s the default look and feel of ZEN Launcher:

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As you can see, there’s a good Material Design look and feel here, and they’ve thankfully kept Google search where it should be. Right away, there’s an inclusion of something that some aftermarket launchers think we can do without, an app drawer:

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The app drawer here is quick, and easy to use as everything is alphabetical. It’s super-smooth and genuinely quite easy to use. Before that however, is the page with your most used apps, another neat and easy-to-use feature.

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You’ll notice the “Maybe you like” portion of the app down at the bottom. These are often included in aftermarket launchers, and I don’t care for them. That’s why I love that the settings in ZEN Launcher has a simple toggle switch for this.

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The settings page here is pretty bare, and this is a recurring theme with ZEN Launcher. Rather than bog users down with all sorts of options that they’re unlikely to use, ZEN just provides simple, and easy to use options.

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Adding an app to the homescreen is nice and easy for instance, and rather than dragging it all the way from the app drawer to where you want it on your homescreen, you select it from a sensible alphabetical list. Adding anything is made easy one simple menu you have pop up.

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ZEN Launcher can also send you reminders of how much time you spend inside each app, and whether or not you’re using your phone too much while in bed.

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Putting all of your widgets together in one space is not something I was immediately sold on, but when you think about it, it’s easier to move a list of widgets than go from page-to-page looking for one. Besides, ZEN Launcher gets you to your apps so quickly you might not even need them as much.

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On the whole, I enjoy many of the features in ZEN Launcher, my ideal is very much that of “less is more”, and with ZEN Launcher, that’s exactly what you get. There aren’t many settings that you can change but that means that there’s less to be confused about. The app drawer and most used apps are great for someone like myself, and while I was initially confused by putting all the widgets on one page, I can see why they went this direction. ZEN Launcher might not be for everyone, those looking for some serious customization options might need to look elsewhere, but if you just want something that looks good, is easy-to-use and makes your phone run better, then this does the trick.

Ratings

  • Speed (5/5) – This is one of the quickest launchers I’ve used on my device in quite some time, and it’s something that can speed up your device as well.
  • Features (3.5/5) – I enjoyed the feature set of ZEN Launcher, it’s my kind of thing, but those looking for more might not immediately like the approach.
  • Theme (4/5) – Everything looks good here, and will blend in nicely with the latest and greatest versions of Android.
  • Overall (4/5) – This sort of minimalist approach might not be to everyone’s taste, but at just 1MB with some quick and easy-to-use features, it’s hard to deny how useful ZEN Launcher can really be.

Pros

  • Makes apps easier than most launchers to find with an alphabetized app drawer that’s quick and easy to use.
  • You can turn off app recommendations really easily.
  • Health features can help people put their phones down and rejoin the real world.
  • Cusatomizing and adding things to the homescreen is super-simple and quick.

Cons

  • Might not have all the features and customization options that some are looking for.
  • Putting widgets all on one page takes some time to get used to.

If you’re looking for a launcher that could help speed up your phone, make it even easier to get to your apps and games, as well as help you get a better night’s sleep or info on your app usage, then ZEN Launcher is the one for you. At just 1MB, it’s nice and quick, there’s very little bogging you down, and it’s a great option for those with older or lower-end devices, too.

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