Gather ‘round, gather ‘round! The time has come to answer the age old question: What’s on your phone? I get this question A LOT, but I don’t answer it often since it changes so much. I thought I’d take a bit of a spin on it and also show you what I did to make a particular device (in this case the S7 Edge) really feel like my own. I’m convinced there’s a metric here. For now, I’ll call it the ‘make it work’ factor. This comes from my days living in NYC.
Every apartment has a ‘make it work’ factor. Yes, you love the location and the apartment, but the windows are drafty. That’s a low factor. If you love the apartment, but the walk to the train is long and there’s no dishwasher and the AC unit needs to be replaced, the factor is high. Same idea with phones. Yes, the hardware is amazing on the S7, but the software leaves a lot to be desired for me. How much I have to do to feel comfortable on it is the ‘make it work’ factor here. Now, I didn’t go too much in depth because I really just want to run the idea past you guys. If you think it’s a good one, I’ll dive deeper and even more so on other devices in the future. If not, you’ll never hear it uttered again.
Let’s start with my launcher of choice. It’s Nova Launcher. I’m sure you’re not surprised, but after keeping eyes on all the major options, I still think Nova is the one to beat. (We’ll go into more detail here in another feature.) Icons that don’t look like they belong on Android really bug me, but I don’t use icon packs as a blanket solution because, honestly, very few packs have a full outfit that I think works well enough. More often than not some icons are better in one icon pack over another, so I select on a per app basis.
I am still very much in love with widgets, and I use three major ones on my home screen. Feedly for my news, Fenix for Twitter, and Google Calendar for my scheduling. Nova also lets me use folders with covers which helps me keep things nice and tidy without sacrificing function. If it were up to me, form and function would go hand in hand, and that’s what I try to go for on my setups.
The real test here is how far a user has to go to settle in when it comes to the software the OEM has provided. More often than not there's a lot that can be done to strip much of the identity of the device away without losing out on the cooler features. I had to disable a ton of bloatware on the S7 and I don't find myself using much of Samsung's software features because they seem like the kinds of features that are so specific and niche that I don't encounter them every day. Of course, there are a few things that stand out. Edge Screen is terribly useful now, and Samsung's Game Tools really improve the experience when it comes to gaming.
I'd love to dive deeper on the next device I do this on so we can dig into the settings and really start to hone in on what that 'make it work' factor means.
You can check out all the gory details in the video and I’ll leave links to a lot of the apps I mentioned down below.