10 best Android launchers: amazing ways to supercharge your phone

Surrender unto the mods

6. Apex

Apex Launcher

Apex Launcher, just like Nova, blends smooth performance and ease-of-use with a good level of customisation to create a genuinely appealing alternative to most standard Android launchers.

Standout features on Apex include a superb tablet mode (finally allowing Nexus 7 owners to rotate the home screen); and the Pro version has the fantastic Apex Notifier service, which pushes notifications to a widget on your home screen. (Although, Notifier requires running an extra app in the background, which is a small drain on battery life.) Once again, the Pro version does cost money, so it's worth downloading the free version first.

7. Action Launcher Pro

Action Launcher

Action Launcher has some nifty, unique features – stuff like a quick-access set of shortcuts (all customisable, of course), special gestures for launching apps from within folders, and a cool one-touch method of creating widgets from apps.

Sadly, you have to pay the requisite couple of quid for the premium version if you want to get your hands on the goodies.

8. ADW Launcher

ADW Launcher

ADW's probably the ultimate modder's launcher – anything you want to tweak is tweakable, from the particular shade of Gmail red, to the precise gesture needed to open an app.

Sadly, it all comes at a price – ADW is complicated to use and sluggish compared to other offerings. More worryingly, development has ground to a halt, with no new releases to support versions of Android after 4.1.

9. Next Launcher

Next Launcher

Some will consider Next Launcher jaw-droppingly cool – a 3D launcher that's completely different to the standard grid-with-some-widgets-whacked-on-top. Of course, it's insanely impractical and a complete battery hog, but it might just impress a girl at the bar on Friday night.

However, it costs more than a Blu-ray, which is money that could be better spent buying drinks at the aforementioned bar instead.

10. Zeam

Zeam

Zeam is at the other end of the spectrum to the rest of these launchers – all the developers seem to care about is speed. It's the stripped-out racing version, ditching pretty much all the customisation options or swanky floating menus of the other versions, in favour of a minimalist code-base.

The upside of course is super-smooth performance, even on the oldest, crummiest phones around. If you're looking for a speed boost for a handset running Gingerbread (that's Android 2.x to you and us), Zeam fits the bill pretty well, and it's also free.