My quest to find interesting and useful productivity apps seems to never end, and this week I’m taking a look at Sulia Quick Launch. Quick Launch is a lockscreen replacement that offers users a bevy of functions and features to stay connected right from the lockscreen. Conduit, the creators of Sulia, also have a nice selection of other useful apps, including a more social version of Quick Launch. I found Quick Launch to be functional, easy to use, and just very handy to have. It’s a slight contrast to Active Lock Screen, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. For users that are more news-focused, Quick Launch may be worth a look.
Jumping right into the app, the basic layout is fairly simple. You’ve got a lock icon in the lower center of the screen, and pressing it brings up four options: Phone, Camera, Unlock, and Messaging. Each has an obvious function, but the unlock icon holds a secret gem. When the user drags the lock icon over the unlock icon, they’re greeted with the 5 most recently used apps. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews how useful something like this can be, and Sulia does a nice job of implementing it without giving users another icon to stare at.
On the left side of the lock icon, there’s a nice little slider for vibrate/silent functions. At the bottom of the screen, users are given a tab that slides up to reveal a settings button and the option to select which topics are shown in the stack.
The top half of the screen is occupied by what I like to call the carousel stack. Users can select up to four news topics from a typical list (I chose politics, technology, food & dining, and football). News articles on each topic are displayed in their own row. Users can swipe left or right within each row to see other articles (hence the “carousel”), or swipe up and down to get to one of the other three topic choices (hence the “stack). This is very well thought out, and it’s a different take on a widget or something along those lines that just gives users a boring, scroll-able list of words.
It’s interesting to me that Conduit didn’t stop with news here. There are also options to add Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram carousels, which appear at the bottom of the stack. Obviously the items in these carousels are not articles, but posts from social network friends. While this is fun and convenient, I did find a few minor issues. Namely, the Facebook carousel only shows photos from friends, and not regular posts. As nice as it is that I now get to facepalm at those duckface photos without even unlocking my phone, it’d be even nicer if I could see good old-fashioned image-less posts as well. Ironically enough, the Twitter carousel only shows tweets, and not images that my friends tweet.
The only other issue I’ve found with these social carousels is that each is restricted to its default app. If I want to comment on a Facebook friend’s photo from Sulia, the only option is to install the Facebook for Android app, which I haven’t used in at least six months. The same goes for Twitter and Instagram. The option to choose other apps (like Scope Beta, for example) would be a great addition to Sulia Quick Launch.
Above the carousel stack is a pretty little Sulia logo and a search bar. I do love that Conduit took the time to add that here. Users can search for anything right from the lockscreen, and Sulia takes them into the browser. I can only imagine how awesome this will be if Google Now is integrated into the search feature.
As far as usage goes, I’ve been very pleased with Quick Launch. From day-to-day, it’s served me fairly well without any major bugs or crashes. It’s smooth, fluent, and just downright useful. Aside from the minor grievances with the social features, Sulia Quick Launch is one of the most functional lockscreen replacements I’ve come across in recent memory. It’s right up there with Active Lock Screen in terms of usability and features, although Sulia seems to cater more to news-oriented users than users that are looking for a minimal look. In any case, it is nice that there are several great lockscreen options on the market. If you’d like to put Quick Launch through its paces, you can download it below.
What We Liked
- Layout is interesting, very easy to use
- Smooth and fast, with no major bugs
- Users are able to customize what topics they see
- Social network carousels are a nice touch
Room for Improvement
- Ability to see more than just photos for Facebook, vice-versa for Twitter
- Option to choose different social networking apps to view content
Download Sulia Quick Launch (Google Play)
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