If you are an Android user and have never tried Nova Launcher even once, you don't know what you've been missing. Nova Launcher is the most popular Android launcher out there. And the hype isn’t unreasonable as the launcher is top-notch.
Why do we say that? Well, because of the superior customizations and features offered by the app. You can customize anything with this launcher. Be it icon size, gestures, effects, dock, unread count, etc., the app has everything at your disposal.
However, there is a small issue. You don’t get all the cool features in the free version. You will have to pay a few bucks to unlock all the features included in the Prime version of Nova Launcher.
But we've already bought and tested it, and this guide will explain the difference elaborately .
Let’s get started.
Icons are the main elements of any launcher. While you can change the icon packs and customize the icon labels in both the versions, only the Prime version lets you change the icon size as per your preference. This is applicable for desktop and app drawer, both.
Note: The future versions of Nova Launcher might make this feature available in the free version too.
When you scroll to right or left on the home screen or in the app drawer, you might have noticed an animation or a transition effect.
While in the free version, you only get three effects: Simple, Cube, and Card Stack, in the Prime version Nova offers more than 10 effects such as Revolving door, Flip, Glass, and Throw.
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In the free version of Nova Launcher, you cannot create folders in the app drawer. But when you buy the Prime variant, not only do you get the ability to create folders, but you can also add new tabs in the app drawer.
By default, there is a single tab known as Apps that lists all the installed apps. But when you create tabs, you can then group apps under these tabs. For instance, if you create a social tab, you can place all the social apps there. Similarly, you can separate your work apps under a different tab.
You must have noticed in the above screenshot that even hiding the apps is a premium feature. While some other launchers provide this feature in the free version, it’s not the case here.
It’s no surprise that gestures make our work a lot easier. Whether it is the swipe-down gesture to expand notifications or double tap to lock the device, gestures are indeed helpful.
Sadly, the free version of Nova Launcher doesn’t support any gesture, you will have to switch to the premium variant to make use of Nova gestures. For those who are wondering, you get more than ten gestures such as swipe up/down, double tap swipe up/down, pinch and rotate.
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One of my favorite features in Prime that's not there in the free version is the option to give more than one action to an icon on the home screen. You can set the swipe action to open any of the Nova settings, an app installed on your device or a shortcut such as direct dial, location, or Gmail label.
For example, on my device, a single tap on the Phone icon opens the app but swipe-up gesture opens up True Caller. Same is with maps. A simple tap opens up Google Maps but the swipe-up gesture directly navigates to the location marked as home.
Nova Launcher is one of the very few launchers that offer notification badges or unread icons. However, it is a paid version and you will have to install another app (TeslaUnread) to activate this.
Once you have the Prime version, it offers multiple customizations for notification badges. For instance, you can choose from different styles such as numeric badges, dots (similar to Android Oreo), and dynamic badges. In addition to that, you can also change their size and color.
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Is it Worth the Money?
The price of Nova Launcher Prime varies from time to time. Sometimes it is priced at $1 and at other times, you will have to shell out $4. Well, if you want the customizations offered by Nova Launcher in the Prime version, then yes, it's worth the money. You will not regret your choice.
However, if you are okay with the features offered by the free version and none of the Prime features look important to you, then sticking with the free version makes more sense.