OnePlus Launcher vs Nova Launcher: Should You Switch

After ditching Cyanogen OS in 2015, OnePlus introduced a custom Android skin called Oxygen OS. What started as a small experiment, turned out to be quite popular among the enthusiastic audience that adored stock Android interface.

Best Oneplus 6 T Lock Screen

The recipe of OnePlus is straightforward — keep the look and feel of the software close to Google’s Android while adding some custom flavor. The most popular launchers, such as Nova and Action, also follow the same path for success.

For the last few years, Nova has been the undisputed king of customization. We have seen many reviewers simply slapping it on the new device from day one. But on the other hand, OnePlus also delivers a smooth and near-stock Android experience with its launcher on Oxygen OS.

In this post, we are going to compare the default OnePlus Launcher to the Nova Launcher to see if you need to switch or the default options are enough for you.

Home screen

The default setup is simple. Nova launcher lets you import the default settings from the current launcher, which is nice. With Nova, you can change every aspect of the UI, including home screen layout, wallpaper scrolling, and search bar.

Nova Home Screen
Nova Dock

You can play with desktop grid options, icon layout, search bar design, and even change the search engine to your preferred option.

OnePlus users can simply long press the home screen and access the settings menu. From there, you can customize the app grid layout, icon size change, and icon style. OnePlus is one of few OEM launchers that lets you integrate the third-party icon packs.

More Setttings
One Plus Colums

As always, OnePlus offers few options than Nova. But then again, it’s more than enough for an average user out there.

App Drawer

Here is where you will see the true potential of a third-party launcher over the default one. You can add colors, revert to the horizontal menu, switch to card style, and mess with the transparency options.

Nova App Drawer
One Plus App Drawer

One of the biggest advantages of using a third-party launcher is it lets you change the UI elements to the prior Android version. Let’s say you are not a fan of some changes made by the OEM and want to revert. Launchers like Nova perfectly fit in such scenarios.

Talking about OnePlus, you can add new icons to the app drawer and add a quick search bar at the top to quickly find an app.

Dark Mode

Nova offers two types of dark modes. Head to Night mode and select a dark grey or pure black theme to select. The chosen theme will reflect in the search bar, app drawer, drawer icons, and folders. You are using a phone with AMOLED display then go with the pure black theme to save extra juice.

Nova Theme
One Plus Display

OnePlus goes above and lets you change the accent colors too. Of course, you can automate the day/night mode, but the ability to change the accent colors is a bonus for the users. OnePlus has nailed this one.

Feed Menu

OnePlus has replaced the Google Now feed menu with their take called Shelf. Swipe left and you are treated with the default information page from the company. You can quickly access the most used apps, frequent contacts, add widgets, and even see the live Cricket score.

One Plus Shelf

I like OnePlus’s approach here. It has removed the unnecessary elements from the bloated take by the other OEMs and has added user-oriented features.

Nova doesn’t offer such function out of the box. The company lets you integrate the Google Now functionality to the launcher. You can’t use it by default but can download the Nova Google Companion app from the APKMirror to expand the functionality.


Let’s talk about the gains and loss of the using the one launcher over the other. Nova fires the guns when it comes to customization. You can mess with different gestures, dock options, and even the folder settings are more than anything I have ever seen.

Nova Gestures
Nova Animation

One can also change the app open/close animation speeds to their liking. Guys, there is a reason why we call Nova Customization king, and you can see the reason why.

Nova Folder

OnePlus has focused on adding the functions that are directly useful to the end consumers. There is a dedicated Gaming mode, reading mode, scrolling screenshots, and screen recorder, which are worth having over the boring stock Android. And on the plus side, even if you opt for Nova launcher, the OnePlus goodies applies to you as well.

Gaming Mode
Reading Mode

So, then again, where is OnePlus marching forward against the Nova? The multitasking menu and the overall smoothness. Nova might me be better at speed, but OnePlus launcher offers better touch latency and smoothness.

Also, for some reason, the navigation gestures are junky with the third-party launcher and it stays the same with Nova too.

Which One Should You Prefer?

As you can see from the above comparison, if the default customization options of OnePlus are not enough for you, then Nova might fill-in the gaps. But then again, you aren’t much losing with the OnePlus launcher, and the company is only adding new additions at the brisk pace. As of now, I’m sticking with what Oxygen OS is offering out of the box and will keep an on Nova’s upcoming developments.

Next Up: Do you know Nova also comes with a premium price tag with added functions. Read the post below to find out the differences between the two.

Last updated on 07 February, 2022

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