Xiaomi recently launched a new POCO smartphone sub-brand with a phone running a fresh interface and a new launcher — Poco Launcher. Preinstalled on POCO devices, the launcher is available on the Google Play Store, and you can install it on any Android-based phone.
But will people install it? Especially when there are amazing launchers such as Nova, Microsoft, Evie, Action, etc. We don’t know about the rest of them, but POCO Launcher is out to take on Nova Launcher.
In this post, we pit the POCO Launcher against Nova Launcher to see how it fares.
It’s no surprise that Nova Launcher is one of the most customizable launchers. A typical Nova Launcher installation app carries a size of 5-10MB, while Poco Launcher ranges between 10-20MB.
Import and Backup
Import and backup might not be a crucial factor for many, but it is a useful feature. I have been using Nova Launcher since past couple of years, and am used to the home screen layout.
When I installed POCO Launcher, it didn’t give me the option to import my home screen layout from other launchers. So if you are coming from a different launcher, you need to set it up all over again. Similarly, there is no backup feature in POCO Launcher.
The home screen is almost the same on both the launchers. You have the dock at the bottom with other icons above it. However, there are some differences too.
For instance, in Nova Launcher you can disable the dock, which isn’t possible in POCO Launcher. Similarly, you get a search bar on the home screen with all the customizations. POCO Launcher only lets you add a Google search bar.
But there is one thing that I liked about POCO Launcher, it automatically gives a name to the folder when you group icons or create a folder. While setting up the launcher, I created a folder with Twitter and Instagram which got a new name quickly — Communications. Of course, you can rename the folders.
Xiaomi has another launcher known as MIUI Launcher for its MIUI powered devices. There are many differences between POCO and MIUI Launcher, the most prominent one being the absence of the app drawer in MIUI Launcher.
POCO Launcher doesn’t support folders in the App Drawer. Instead, it automatically categorizes your apps in App Groups, which are present at the top of the App Drawer. You can change the position of the App Groups in the settings.
Another feature that you will notice instantly in POCO Launcher is the location of the search bar. It is present at the bottom where it can be accessed easily. Kudos to Xiaomi for that.
On the other hand, Nova Launcher lets you create folders in the App Drawer. It also supports App Groups (known as Drawer Groups), but you need to add apps in them manually. You need to buy the Prime version to use both features.
Group by Color
This one gets a special mention, as it’s a unique and interesting feature offered by POCO Launcher. Once enabled, the launcher groups icons by their color. You will find the color palette at the bottom of the app drawer. The search bar, which occupied the full bottom row, is now reduced to an icon.
Customization and Styling
The superpower of Nova Launcher is the customization it offers. You can customize everything as per your preference. Be it the icon or grid size, labels, drawer background, dock, etc. Sadly, POCO Launcher lacks most of that. You are stuck with what Xiaomi offers.
I am tired of waiting for launchers to provide a numeric badge for notifications. All you get is a small blue dot at the corner of the icon whenever there is a new notification in the POCO Launcher.
Thankfully, our beloved Nova provides us both — numeric and dot badges. It even offers a great collection of customization for badges. However, badges are a paid feature in Nova, and you pay for the Prime version to use it.
Nova Launcher supports many gestures such as swipe up, down, double tap, etc. However, they are available only in the paid Prime version. On the contrary, POCO Launcher supports only one gesture of swiping down on the home screen to open the notification panel.
While both the launchers let you hide apps, Nova Launcher will only allow you to do that in its paid version. The method to access hidden apps on POCO Launcher is quite easy — you need to swipe right twice. In Nova Launcher, the procedure is quite cumbersome.
Currently, POCO Launcher doesn’t have a premium version. You get all the features free. As you must have noticed, Nova Launcher has a Prime version, and some of the features mentioned above are limited to it. Other features that you get in Prime are icon swipes and other transition effects.
POCO Launcher isn’t bad at all. Some features are fresh and unique such as group by color and the way to access hidden apps. And it’s also clean and fast. However, Nova Launcher crushes it with plenty of the customization features though you need to pay to use some of them.
But if you can live without them, POCO Launcher has just stepped out of its beta testing phase. Even we are excited to see what the future updates of POCO Launcher might bring.
Last updated on 03 February, 2022
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