July 21, 2010 | by Chris Smith
There are plenty of home replacements on the Android market today, all promising the same things; more features, smaller packages, and faster, better performance. Today we are going to take a look at a popular home app that brings some slick features, heavy customization options, and decent UI to the table: dxTop.
dxTop is an Android home replacement app that takes the idea of the standard home screen and extends it. Users will notice immediately that dxTop offers a “diamond” pattern of homescreen switching opposed to the normal linear left and right scrolling. There is a good level of inertial scrolling when switching between home screens, but it does seem a laggy even on the Incredible with its 1Ghz processor. It is definitely usable but needs a tad bit more polish.
There is a launcher at the bottom of the home screen that has two configurable buttons on the left and right where you can set some of the more commons Android apps like phone, contacts, browser, email, calendar, etc. Users can slide the dock left or right which exposes an app tray that is able to accept any app from the app drawer by long tapping on it and starting to drag. Once you start to drag the app tray will show up and allow the app to be dropped on it. The last part of the dock is a “dual” launcher that has the regular launcher as well as another launcher with the most recent apps and services running. This is kind of a cool feature that I haven’t seen on any other home replacement.
dxTop offers its own custom homescreen widgets including a search widget (which seems to be the standard Google Search widget), an analog clock, recent activity widget, and a picture frame. The widgets are decent, especially the recent activity widget that shows all recent messages and calls.
Customization is rather intense on dxTop as the settings contain several different choices. Users can change the screen transitions with some of them being a little more choppy than others. Users can change the dial bar choices, reverse the dial bar, capture screen shots (only works when on the home screen, not within apps), change wallpaper dimensions, and enable persistent mode among others. Also, dxTop is fully “skinnable” allowing custom themes to be made which are available in the Market.
It seems that dxTop is quite the application but really it is somewhat laggy and requires a little more attention to detail. In fact, without reading some of the help topics on the dxTop website, many of the features are difficult to figure out for yourself making them somewhat useless.
- unique diamond home screen layout
- multiple home screen transitions
- customizable dock, launcher, application categories, and different views
- many custom themes available
- slide to unlock screen ala iPhone
- custom widgets
- somewhat laggy performance
- confusing settings and difficult learning curve