Home

Share this Story

Review: WidgetLocker 2.0

The lock screen is one of the most important parts of a phone; it allows us to see multiple information sets without unlocking our phone. Most importantly, we can see items in our notification bar and the time; other features include being able to mute/unmute the phone without going into the settings menu.

At it’s core, this is all very basic functionality. Clearly, Google believes that the functionality we have is enough, and an average user should be able to get by.

However, what if we want… more? It’s the nature of Android to have a degree of customization over other phones, so why should the lock screen be any different?

Enter WidgetLocker. In a sentence, WidgetLocker replaces your lock screen with its own version – one that you can customize. With this customization comes increased functionality; users can add new sliders which accomplish pretty much any task the user can think up, like opening your SMS inbox or opening another app. To someone who likes being able to perform certain actions at a moment’s notice, this is invaluable.

The app recently upgraded to version 2.0, which brings a number of improvements. Most notably is the performance fixes and the inclusion of themes, the latter of which makes customization even deeper. One hesitation I had about the old version was its insistence on using the horizontal slider graphics; in this new version, you can skin your unlock bar in horizontal, rotary, Motorola or even iPhone styles. With the new sliders come new icons, and with those new icons come custom notifications through ADWNotifier. However, since I run GO Launcher EX, I didn’t get a chance to test functionality. Those using HandCentSMS and ChompSMS have options for pop-ups to appear over the lock screen.

This is all a matter of artistic preference, but I’m guessing a lot of people reading this review are more concerned about how it runs. This has always been a bit of a moot point with my reviews, as I’m running a dated phone (overclocked Milestone) which doesn’t seem to like running certain apps too well. WidgetLocker is one of them: because that extra layer is always running, sometimes it slows my phone down to a chugging pace. Attempting to utilize the unlock screen before I did an audit of all my apps (and uninstalled a few) commonly led to a ten second gap between when I “unlocked” the phone and when I’d actually get to my home screen.

This, sadly, is inexcusable. I’m guessing faster phones (and Gingerbread, since it’s been optimized for that distro) will handle WidgetLocker a lot better, but for those without access to cutting-edge hardware, this could be a problem.

Otherwise, my only complaints about the app are few and nitpicky:

  • Unlocking the phone will play the default Android “unlock noise” about 5-7 times in quick succession. This is only fixed by going into the Android settings and turning it off completely. There’s no option to keep the default noise in WidgetLocker settings, so you’re stuck with their new sound.
  • The grid is a little off from where my default slider position is; this is visually annoying after I’ve been used to something for over a year.
  • Themes are downloaded by redirecting you to their blog via a browser. This is infuriating, as it makes the task of theming needlessly difficult. Beautiful Widgets does an amazing job of having a user gallery in-app; even GO Launcher runs a custom market search for you.

But really, these are all nitpicky things. The real reason I won’t be keeping WidgetLocker on my phone is that I don’t use it; my lock screen looks exactly the same as the way I had it before the app. I figure there is nothing on my phone so pressing that I absolutely need to access it before I unlock. I’d rather my phone unlocks in a timely manner all of the time than add a layer that causes it to do otherwise.

But maybe I just don’t have the creativity.

You can find WidgetLocker on the Marketplace for $1.99.

Matt Demers is Droid Life’s app guy – you can find his work here three times a week. His Twitter is always open, and his e-mail won’t kick you out of the bar, either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/monica.deea.9 Monica Deea
  • http://aicteapproved.com/ Aicteapproved

    Well these are really interesting features in an android phone. I am also looking forward to buy one very soon. 

  • Drew

    it says long press is disabled in Lock Mode.. can anyone tell me how to fix this.

  • Anonymous

    doubleTwist does a beautiful job of pre-lock app access. I’ve had WidgetLocker before but I found the layout overwhelming and ugly.

  • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

    The top two are stock screenshots.

  • Cfm Monkey

    garbage. battery killer

  • chris

    Does this app work on the Iphone?

    of course not since iphones aren’t open source and don’t allow the level of customization that android does. well what about an Ipad? does an Ipad have this app? because the Ipad is supposed to be better and much bigger then an Iphone so I’m sure the Ipad has this app. Nope. Of course not because the Ipad is actually just an oversized Iphone with little to no customization. Good work Google!!!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been wanting something like this for a bit now. I just bought and installed on my Droid X and LOVE it! Does exactly what I want: quick jumps to SMS or phone with a display of calander events.

    http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/3788/lockscreenu.png

    • Paa79594

      Which calendar widget are you using?

      • Anonymous

        Android Agenda Widget. It’s free on the marketplace. Took me a while to find one I liked, but this one seems to do the trick!

    • Paa79594

      Which calendar widget are you using?

  • Jae89

    Ok, maybe someone on here can help me….. I used to have an app like widgetlocker, that can put widgets on the lockscreen, but it was like pages of widgets… you could also use a bunch of different Lockers… for example, one was whac a mole. Any idea what this app is called?

  • Hopelessromantic_187

    If anyone could help me. I’ve been looking for the widgets that are on the top of his screen, the bluetooth and wifi toggle widgets. I have beautiful widgets but they’re aren’t like thos. They’re boxes. If someone could please lemme know what app that is I would greatly appreciate it. If its even an app. I hope you don’t have to be rooted…

  • DLow

    What wallpaper are you using?

  • http://twitter.com/Payaso_113 Nightmares

    I love widgetlocker. Tons of customization.

  • ANTONkoolaid

    AGGH!! HELP

    I just installed this application on my Droid 2 and my phone started acting weird. Now whenever I touch anything on it, the item is just highlighted and I have to tap it TWICE before it opens or responds to anything. I uninstalled and nothing changed. Did it change a setting on my phone and how do I change it back? HELP!

  • The Observer

    My main beef with this app is that after I get things set up, in order to unlock my phone I have to go through the Widget Locker slider, then the stock Android unlock slider, and then the patten unlock. How do I disable the stock Android unlock sliders? I do want to keep the pattern lock, but would like to not have duplicate sliders to go through. Running on a DX with Apex 1.4 and REVOlution theme.

  • Anonymous

    Since you have to disable the normal lockscreen (from what I’ve been reading at least) can you use widget locker and still require a pattern or PIN to unlock the phone?

    I realize that’s probably a moot point for many of you using this app, since it allows you to use the phone w/o unlocking – something that a person with a PIN or pattern wouldn’t want others to be able to do.

    • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

      Yeah. The pattern supercedes the lock, I think.

  • http://www.facebook.com/minh43 Minh Ly

    Widgetlocker is perfect for those jailbroken iPhone converts like me who used LockInfo.

    I love this app because i have my calendar posted right on the lockscreen, among other things like Pandora and Beautiful widgets.

    I’m running this on a DX running Liberty 1.5 with no OC, and it is smooth. I’m not sure why it’s so slow on your device, Matt. My DX treats it like the regular lockscreen.

    People should also know to disable your android lockscreen as well so you don’t have to unlock twice sometimes.

    Here’s what mine looks like.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v391/oo3/snap20110304_102945-1.png

  • Anonymous

    Does this app have the refund feature?

    • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

      The market only lets you refund 15 minutes after your purchase.

      • Anonymous

        For everything

        • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

          For everything.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25001493 Hank Godwin

          Yup.

  • Anonymous

    What beautiful widgets theme is that?

  • Mikee

    May I suggest upgrading your phone? You write for a technology based website…

    • Anonymous

      He’s a journalism student. Not a professional technology blog writer. Feel free to send him a new phone though. I’m sure he’d happily accept it.

      • Anonymous

        don’t forget he’s living in toronto, it’s not like he can pick up any US based carrier device…

        • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

          Aw, you guys really DO care.
          Sadly, Timoh is right; I’m a student, and though I’m starting to get paid more, I can’t just drop my phone and buy a new one across the border. Sadly not all the phones work on the networks up here. Believe me, if I could, I would.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=545634778 Alan Paone

            Being in canada is rough for cell phones. We basically can only have AT&T phones, and they all suck :/
            I don’t mind my milestone though. Why don’t you have gingerbread yet? CM7 is sexy.

          • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

            Sadly the Milestone architecture is different from the OG Droid; we can’t use the same ROMs. I pretty much have a selection of 2-3, including a really bad Cyanogen port.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=545634778 Alan Paone

            Being in canada is rough for cell phones. We basically can only have AT&T phones, and they all suck :/
            I don’t mind my milestone though. Why don’t you have gingerbread yet? CM7 is sexy.

  • Keeler

    I’ve had widgetlocker for quite some time now. I definitely like the new improvements. My biggest complaint is that you can set an “icon” for a slider to either perform based on the default action, or choose a custom icon. I’ve noticed that some actions, such as brightness, don’t have an icon at all. You can choose one from the WidgetLocker default set but it will not change based on the action. This was not a problem in the last version, so I’m assuming it’s a bug.

    • Keeler

      Ok on looking at it again, it appears to be a problem with the “Moto Theme”. I guess that theme doesn’t have icons that change depending on the action.

  • WormDoes

    Widgetlocker is great! The ability to create minimal themes/sliders is well worth the $1.99.

  • Hunterking

    I put pure messenger on there, so with a quick press of the wake button I can see my last 5 e-mails, facebook messages, tweet mentions etc. What’s the point in a blank lockscreen?

  • http://xeonblue.pip.verisignlabs.com/ David Thoren

    Just a point of clarification.. you can use ADWNotifier with GOLauncherEX. I do this with my WidgetLauncher screen. Just get ADWNotifier from the market and you’re all set.

    • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

      Apologies; when I was looking at ADWNotifier on the market it said it required ADW to work. Will correct.

  • Anonymous

    love it!!

  • Guest

    Your posts on this site are WAY too long man. Less is more… get to the point.

    • Anonymous

      As more than a guest, I disagree. I’m glad Matt is so thorough with his reviews. If you think it’s too long, stick with reading the market descriptions.

      • http://twitter.com/EvanTheGamer EvanTheGamer

        Agreed.

      • Anonymous

        Amen! Matt provides enough detail to decide if an app is worth my time. I’d rather spend a couple minutes reading his posts than 10 or 15 minutes “testing” an app.

    • Apfire21

      yeah go bye a simplae apple

      • Anonymous

        If u dont like broad details

      • http://twitter.com/jbernard703 Jeff Bernard

        it wouldn’t hurt for you to buy a dictionary

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B2QSIC2M72JOFETTNGSRQFCFRY EricS

      I prefer a well written, concise review. This is an excellent review.

      Less is not more, it is just stupid.

      If you want less, then go visit a lolzcatz website. That is more appropriate for your intellectual level.

      • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

        Thank you, sir. Your compliments made me glow.

    • Anonymous

      This is rarely long for Kellex. I was gonna ask him if he is on vacation or something because his posts are usually short.

      Seperate note, funny how last week someone bagged on Kellex for him upgrading his phone so much. Now someone is saying he needs a newer phone.

      • http://twitter.com/mattdemers Matt Demers

        I’m not Kellex. There are other writers on this site.

  • jake – myLock

    In a sentence, WidgetLocker displays a lockscreen superseding window upon wakeup to give you access to tools and a lockscreen like experience. To someone who likes being able to perform certain actions at a moment’s notice, quick unlock is invaluable.

    The reason widget locker’s performance sucks is because GOOGLE refuses to implement tools to let developers and thereby end users customize the lockscreen or the unlock experience. There is no way yet to get a smooth unlock when you display a lock superseding window. There used to be, but google broke it in 2.2 by disabling transparency for lock superseding windows.

    Your BEST option in the area of changing the lock experience is to minimize the lockscreen by using quick unlock, I developed this with the myLock application and along the way discovered all pitfalls to attempting to build a real lockscreen replacement without doing it via root techniques like the stericson’s lockscreen did in pre 2.0 rom days.

  • John

    unlike the author…i need access to several things ASAP. and this works very well for that.

    • turdbogls

      in all honesty, do you REALLY need to get there ASAP….will the 2 seconds to unlock the phone and get to your mail/sms/dialer do any damage to your life….highly doubtful.

      however, I do LOVE this app….been using it for about 6 months. love version 2.0. and FWIW, it runs flawlessly on my DX…it even ran good on my original Droid.

      if nothing else, it was worth the $2 just to get rid of the haptic feedback on the slide to unlock….everything else is just a bonus to me :)

  • http://twitter.com/EvanTheGamer EvanTheGamer

    Funny…I’ve put off downloading this incredible app for sometime, then a few days ago, I caved in and bought it.

    And never looked back. Definitely worth a few hundred pennies, and with custom lockscreens, it even adds more value.

    Buy it, you will not regret it!

    • Anonymous

      So Watson… Ill have to throw my screen up on here to show how amazing things can look once you spend some time playing around with this app.

      • http://twitter.com/EvanTheGamer EvanTheGamer

        Done it…that image was just an example of some of the themes you can make.

    • tjhrulz

      my only issue is it doesnt count by the phone as a lock screen but an app and so apps that must be foreground to run will not run properly when the screen is off because this is in front of everything.

  • Anonymous

    I definitely love this.

  • Jay P

    it the best