Days of feature-heavy, bulky, flashy ROMs and launchers are behind us. This new breed of smartphone users want efficiency and clean design, and developers have been doing their best to facilitate their customers’ demands.
The leading smartphone manufacturer in the world, Samsung, has had a hard time dealing with this change. The South Korean OEM was knee-deep in its heavy, feature-rich launcher TouchWiz when this pattern started to emerge. Samsung took its sweet time to implement these changes, but they eventually came up with a solution.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has been out of the mobile OS race for a long time. They still have some apps on the Play Store and some of them can actually improve the look and feel of your smartphone. Amongst these, there’s one that is more than capable of replacing your stock launcher application.
In this piece, we’ll pit Samsung against Microsoft and help you find out which launcher is the best fit for you.
What is Galaxy Launcher?
As mentioned earlier, Samsung has had a hard time adjusting to public demands and creating a ROM that’s not resource-hungry. TouchWiz UI, which was prevalent in Samsung smartphones, had a few good features up its sleeve, but it wasn’t optimized enough to stand the test of time.
After months of testing and development, the South Korean giant finally brought in its successor with Android 9 Pie in 2018 — One UI. It wasn’t as flashy as TouchWiz and was clearly built keeping the overall efficiency in mind. The majority of users embraced the new UI with open arms, and Samsung has only built on from there.
In 2019, Samsung released One UI 2 based on Android 10. The look and feel of the native launcher did not change much, but the amount of detailing that went into the software is truly commendable. The current One UI 2 launcher is agile, respectfully feature-rich, and won’t make you switch over to a different launcher almost immediately.
What is Microsoft Launcher?
There are a bunch of launchers available on the Google Play Store — Nova Launcher, Apex Launcher, Go Launcher, etc. — and standing out in this competitive crowd is easier said than done. Still, Microsoft has taken on the challenge, and, so far, the results have been more encouraging than anticipated.
Since launch, Microsoft has done its fair share to bless its launcher with impressive features. Almost all of these updates have been incremental and subtle. But the release we’re concerned with here — Microsoft Launcher 6.0 — is as big as they come.
Microsoft Launcher 6.0 Preview
The Microsoft Launcher, formerly known as Arrow Launcher, has been around for a long time. However, it hasn’t received such a massive overhaul thus far. Developers over at Microsoft have built Launcher 6.0 keeping Surface Duo in mind, which works both as a tablet and a regular smartphone. The Microsoft Launcher 6.0 is currently in Alpha, so, expect a few bugs here and there. The final release date hasn’t been announced yet.
Samsung Launcher vs Microsoft
Both have their pros and cons, so, expect it to be a pretty close encounter. However, by the end of it, we hope to give you a clearer picture of which launcher may be better suited for your needs.
For now, you can easily download the Alpha build of Microsoft Launcher from Play Store. The stable build will also be available on the Store in due time.
Samsung, on the other hand, hasn’t made its launcher available for other devices. The One S10 Launcher is a pretty decent alternative you can find on the Play Store.
Microsoft Launcher Preview is pretty lightweight and won’t hog a big chunk of your storage. Actual size varies with the device.
Ease of use
Both launchers are super easy to use, and it won’t take more than a few minutes to get acquainted with the systems.
Unique features of Microsoft Launcher
- Swipe up the dock to put in additional icons
- The left-most screen reveals Tasks, Calendar, Sticky Notes, Device Info and more. Can also take a look at the latest news
- Search Pane supports image-based searching
- Windows 10-inspired design
- Customizable gestures
- Dynamic wallpaper thanks to Bing (Samsung launcher has Dynamic Lock screen)
Features you’ll find both on Samsung launcher and Microsoft Launcher
- Ability to use the Home screen in Landscape mode
- Dark theme
- Seamless transition between pages
- Ability to pick your favorite widgets
- Icon notification badges
- Simplistic, easy-to-master UI
Which one is the best for you and why?
Both Samsung and Microsoft clearly understand what people want in their smartphones. The companies have shed all the extra weight, packed their systems with features, and are ready to get into as many devices as possible. As mentioned earlier, Samsung’s official launcher cannot be downloaded off the Google Play Store, so, practically, Microsoft Launcher already starts off with an advantage.
If you happen to use a Windows computer and want to keep in touch with all the notes and tasks on your PC, Microsoft Launcher may be a better fit. However, if you want to keep using Android 10‘s new gesture navigation, you’ll have to stick with Samsung’s stock launcher for the time being. As this is only the alpha build, not all features have yet been included. So, there could be many more exciting additions — Android 10 gestures, too, maybe — in the final Microsoft Launch 6.0 build.