And they succeed.
First up on this list is the beautifully colorful and straightforward Wiser. We’ve reviewed Wiser in the past and found it to be a fantastic way to simplify your Android experience, but let’s take a brief look at it in comparison to these other two launchers as well.
Wiser is so easy to setup that your older relative could easily get it installed with the step-by-step instructions if you just point them to the Play Store. You start at the home page with links to your Contacts, Dialer, Messaging, Camera, Gallery, and Applications.
Tapping the arrow to the right will take you to your Favorite People where you can add contacts. Going to the right again will show you two pages where you can add favorite apps.
However, going left brings you to the Notice Board, which takes all your notifications and puts them in an easier to read Wiser-style configuration. As the only launcher with notifications integrated like that, this is a standout feature for Wiser.
You can still access all your apps on the device, so the launcher doesn’t get rid of any functionality. The Dialer and the Contacts apps are both built-in to the launcher, but other additions like the Messaging app, Camera, and Gallery will take you to the Android device’s default — unlike some of the others on this list which have their own apps for those.
But for those times when you are redirected to outside apps, you can always customize Android’s text size and keyboard to make it easier to use.
2. Necta (Free)
Created by XDA forum member Williams.Joe, Necta Launcher is a comprehensive offering that has a lot of built-in simple-style apps. Aesthetically, it’s certainly not as nice as Wiser, but you can at least switch between a blue, green, or red theme in the settings menu.
The default page shows the date and day of the week at the top, three favorite contacts below that, and large icons with text for basic functions like calling and messaging.
Strangely, tapping on Call will take you to the built-in contacts apps, and it requires another tap to get to the phone dial, which could be a bit confusing for those not familiar with smartphones and phone/contact app integration.
However, Necta has the best selection of built-in apps out of these three launchers. While Wiser will redirect you back to your stock SMS app, Necta has it’s own simplified messaging app that follows its theme.
There’s also a built-in camera interface, gallery, flashlight, and SOS app. These apps all keep a back arrow at the bottom for easy navigation as well.
Just like in Wiser, you have an app drawer with all your installed apps available, but Necta goes a step further and includes settings in the app for for WiFi and other customizations. True, this could be confusing for some, but it also saves you from having to go into the System Settings, which are probably more confusing for the non-tech savvy.
3. Big Launcher ($10)
Don’t let the hefty price tag scare you away — Big Launcher is actually a viable option here. It won’t win any design awards, but it’s big, bold, and has high contrast, so it shouldn’t be a problem even for those with poorer eyesight. Right on the home page, you can see the alarm and cell signal, with large colorful buttons below and no text you’d need to squint for.
Big Launcher also has an SOS feature built-in, which can be used to either call or text pre-set numbers in case of an emergency. For senior citizens, this is a particularly helpful feature to alert their loved ones if they’re unable to get up or have a serious problem.
There is no built-in camera or gallery app, so you’ll be redirected to the defaults for that, and the phone app — like on Necta — opens to the contacts page and requires another tap to get to the dialer. You can still access all your regular apps, but this time it’s in a listview.
While its price is high, you can try out the free demo which doesn’t have ads or a time limit, but it is limited in a few features like how many past calls and text message threads will be shown.
Which Is The Best?
My personal favorite, and the one I would recommend for my old folks, is Necta Launcher. While visually it is a bit lacking, it has the most built-in apps which reduces confusion for the user, and it has the most features like SOS, finding your own position via GPS, and a flashlight. Wiser is clearly the simplest and nicest-looking, but it rather lacks on features. Big Launcher might be great for senior citizens, but the high price tag isn’t particularly inviting.
What is your favorite simple launcher for the older generation?