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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Hi all,

    I was an iPhone owner since original launch day in '07 but made the switch to an HOX about a month ago. I've been thrilled with the switch, though the UI experience has been, to put it kindly, a little buggy. Sense was crashing several times daily and the phone would freeze up at least once a day, requiring a reboot. I installed the Apex launcher, and it has revolutionized the phone for me. I haven't had a hard freeze since, and while Apex has quit a few times, reloads are fast and the UI has been a pleasure.

    I've got the phone running close to perfect, but I'm a geek at heart and am debating whether to root and install a custom ROM. Would it do me any good, though?

    I'd love to hear some thoughts from you guys. My priorities are:

    1) Extra home screens – I run a ton of large, live widgets, and seven home screens in Sense just wasn't enough real estate. I'm currently running nine screens in Apex at 4X5 with zero open spaces.
    2) Stability – I'm not afraid of betas or nightlies (as in, I don't think they're going to brick my phone or burn down my house) but I make my living with my phone, and I'd prefer to keep crashes to a minimum. I'm running the latest Apex beta, and I find it wonderfully stable.
    3) Stock-style launcher, but Sense apps – The best part about Sense, to me, is in the apps. I prefer the Sense email app to stock ICS (or JB), and the Sense camera app is the best I've ever used or seen, IMO.

    So, what do you think? In case I do decide to go the ROM route, I'd appreciate any links to a reliable root/install guide (Mac compatible, please).

    Thanks guys!
    Chip
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  2. #2  
    Kevin O'Quinn's Avatar
    AC Team Emeritus

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    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Well it depends. There are plenty of Sense-based ROMs that are stable and fast, with excellent battery life. You'll need to know what firmware you currently have and stuff like that. I would do a TON of reading before you jump into it.

    As far as a very stock looking ROM that runs great, look at CleanROM V. You'll still have to run Apex, though.

    If you're three bullet points are your main priority, I'm not sure rooting is the best option for you, since you'll be using your phone in an identical manor as you do now.
    Kevin F.I.M.T.K. O'Quinn Esq.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Your current software level may prevent you from being able to root. If you are on anything newer than 1.85 and are not already rooted/unlocked, I think you will be waiting on a new root method. For the sake of discussion, lets bypass that and move on .

    CleanROM V is the newest version, still in testing. CleanROM 4.5 Developer Edition was Sense with a lot of the cruft removed and came with the Apex launcher by default, but the Sense framework still there. Mostly just for the Camera, which is excellent as you note. You will want to avoid the AOSP based ROMS (AOKP, CM, etc) as they have no Sense, and lose the camera app (along with the other sense apps of course, but most have equivalent alternatives, but not the camera so much).

    CleanROM is pretty good, and I ran the DE version for some time. All the Sense based stuff should be listed here. Plenty of discussion and screenshots to get lost in for a while.

    One X Android Development - xda-developers
  4. #4  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin O'Quinn View Post

    If you're three bullet points are your main priority, I'm not sure rooting is the best option for you, since you'll be using your phone in an identical manor as you do now.
    Well said.

    There are far too many people that rush into rooting with no clear idea of what it is that they expect to gain, and with no clear understanding of what they stand to lose. Fine if they just want to experiment, and can afford to be without their phone, but far too many end up with non-working phones posting desperate pleas for help.

    Basically I never root anything till late in the warranty, or when the manufacturer abandons the device. If the phone is SO bad that I think I need to ROM it to get a functional device, I'd rather sell it and get a different phone.

    I've run third party launches in the past. I ended up going back to stock every single time.
    Thanked by:
  5. #5  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Well, I have to thank the OP for his post, it got me curious about trying Apex and I am now very happy with what I see. It feels faster and smoother than Sense, doesn't seem to stutter so often, and I am amazed at the apparently endless list of customization options.

    I am a bit confused about the camera bit, though, because if I click on camera, I get the exact same thing I used to get before Apex. have not noticed any difference... What is missing?

    I have seen a big difference in terms of widgets, I firmly believe Sense's are unbeatable, but I guess there are alternatives out there. Besides, the weather and clock widgets are absolutely stunning, but I ended up removing them because they apparently made the interface even heavier and slower.

    Anyways, very happy with Apex so far, and the great thing is that I can always go back if I get tired of it.

    Thanks!
  6. #6  
    Ethere's Avatar

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    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Chema Martin View Post
    I am a bit confused about the camera bit, though, because if I click on camera, I get the exact same thing I used to get before Apex. have not noticed any difference... What is missing?
    All of the apps on the phone won't change when you change launchers. All that changes is the launcher itself, and the widgets that go along with it. Yes, you'll lose out on the Sense widgets but running Apex/Nova on stock makes the phone feel free again. I personally prefer Nova over Apex. It just felt smoother. However, I'm currently running Cyanogenmod 10 on my HoX and I love my buttery smooth phone.
  7. #7  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Good, cheers

    I will give Nova a try... Not in a while, Apex took a while to set up down to my tastes... it has an insane amount of features/options!
  8. #8  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    since I installed apex, I can no longer take screen shots... Anybody has the same problem? Any ideas on how to fix this?
  9. #9  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Chema Martin View Post
    since I installed apex, I can no longer take screen shots... Anybody has the same problem? Any ideas on how to fix this?
    Uninstall Apex.
    It really gives you nothing of importance and chews up a lot of memory.

    This is the age old problem with add on launchers.

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
  10. #10  
    Kevin O'Quinn's Avatar
    AC Team Emeritus

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    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Apex shouldn't stop you from taking screenshots.
    Kevin F.I.M.T.K. O'Quinn Esq.
  11. Thread Author  Thread Author    #11  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Hi guys,

    I really appreciate everyone's perspective on this. It was my first post on the forums, and I'm very encouraged with the response. I'm going to stick with Apex and the factory ROM for the time being. I've got the phone running like a well-oiled machine, and I couldn't be happier with the performance.

    As an aside, after selecting the option to keep Apex in memory the launcher has been exceptionally smooth and stable. "Lag" is a word that's just not in my HOX's vocabulary anymore, and that's not something I could have said out of the box.

    My biggest fear when making the switch to Android was that HTC/AT&T would screw me (and the rest of us) with the Jelly Bean update. Indeed, I have zero confidence that we'll see the update anytime soon, but I honestly don't miss it now. Apex says the beta version I'm running is built on JB code, and considering how project-buttery smooth the thing is running, that's good enough for me. Google Now will hopefully (...doubtfully) just be a Christmas present.

    So, thanks again!
    Chip
  12. #12  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Thanks, but it is not required... The old method I used to take screenshots (lock + home button) no longer works (not even on Sense), not sure why... However, the standard Android (vol down + home buttons) does, it just takes a bit of getting used to. I thought the screenshot was taking instantaneously, but it requires that both buttons are pressed for about a second..

    Anyways, problem solved, thanks for the replies...

    As for Apex eating memory... It is quite the contrary on my case. With Sense 4.1 I am always in the 150-250 MB available memory range. However, with Apex I many times find my phone is on 300+ MB available, almost never below 250 MB, and it shows. Apex is way faster and smoother than Sense 4.1, at least in my experience... Plus the ability to customize so many things quickly turns into a need after you have it...! ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by icebike View Post
    Uninstall Apex.
    It really gives you nothing of importance and chews up a lot of memory.

    This is the age old problem with add on launchers.

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
    ---------- Post Merged at 08:05 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 07:56 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by DaChipsta View Post
    As an aside, after selecting the option to keep Apex in memory the launcher has been exceptionally smooth and stable. "Lag" is a word that's just not in my HOX's vocabulary anymore, and that's not something I could have said out of the box.

    My biggest fear when making the switch to Android was that HTC/AT&T would screw me (and the rest of us) with the Jelly Bean update. Indeed, I have zero confidence that we'll see the update anytime soon, but I honestly don't miss it now. Apex says the beta version I'm running is built on JB code, and considering how project-buttery smooth the thing is running, that's good enough for me. Google Now will hopefully (...doubtfully) just be a Christmas present.
    Chip
    Thanks for the "in memory" tip... Apex was smooth before, but now it flies!... Awesome!

    As for JB... Well, if rumors are correct and October is the official release date, why not Christmas? I really hope carriers don't give us a headache with it, Google now on our phones will rock hard!
  13. #13  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    US carriers are almost always a headache, seemingly, compared to European ones. I am new to HTC, but ATT Samsung updates seemed to lag several months after Europe got them. I am hoping HTC has a better IN to get it done. Making the already pretty darn nice experience buttery is something I might have to see to believe.
  14. #14  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DaChipsta View Post
    Hi all,

    I was an iPhone owner since original launch day in '07 but made the switch to an HOX about a month ago. I've been thrilled with the switch, though the UI experience has been, to put it kindly, a little buggy. Sense was crashing several times daily and the phone would freeze up at least once a day, requiring a reboot. I installed the Apex launcher, and it has revolutionized the phone for me. I haven't had a hard freeze since, and while Apex has quit a few times, reloads are fast and the UI has been a pleasure.

    I've got the phone running close to perfect, but I'm a geek at heart and am debating whether to root and install a custom ROM. Would it do me any good, though?

    I'd love to hear some thoughts from you guys. My priorities are:

    1) Extra home screens – I run a ton of large, live widgets, and seven home screens in Sense just wasn't enough real estate. I'm currently running nine screens in Apex at 4X5 with zero open spaces.
    2) Stability – I'm not afraid of betas or nightlies (as in, I don't think they're going to brick my phone or burn down my house) but I make my living with my phone, and I'd prefer to keep crashes to a minimum. I'm running the latest Apex beta, and I find it wonderfully stable.
    3) Stock-style launcher, but Sense apps – The best part about Sense, to me, is in the apps. I prefer the Sense email app to stock ICS (or JB), and the Sense camera app is the best I've ever used or seen, IMO.

    So, what do you think? In case I do decide to go the ROM route, I'd appreciate any links to a reliable root/install guide (Mac compatible, please).

    Thanks guys!
    Chip
    A Jellybean ROM blows Sense with Apex launcher out of the water. Faster, smoother, less buggy, a million times better multitasking, better battery life, etc. Stock Android on the One X wins by miles. And the Sense jellybean update will still be slower and use more RAM because of Sense.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Android Central Forums
  15. #15  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Unless of course you want Pandora bt streaming to your Toyota, which doesn't work on aosp. Our want camera shots that don't require post processing to match what sense gives.

    I have been trying to use cm10, and these last annoying problems, along with terrible network performance... I can wait for it to get better. It is not all roses over there, and the difference is not so much after a launcher replacement on sense.

    It is plenty good enough for some, usually those that the camera is not a big deal. My bt issues are pretty much automatic fail .

    Sent from my HTC One XL using Android Central Forums
  16. #16  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by loraque View Post
    Unless of course you want Pandora bt streaming to your Toyota, which doesn't work on aosp. Our want camera shots that don't require post processing to match what sense gives.

    I have been trying to use cm10, and these last annoying problems, along with terrible network performance... I can wait for it to get better. It is not all roses over there, and the difference is not so much after a launcher replacement on sense.

    It is plenty good enough for some, usually those that the camera is not a big deal. My bt issues are pretty much automatic fail .

    Sent from my HTC One XL using Android Central Forums
    That's odd, Bluetooth streaming with Pandora works fine with my Prius with AOKP's ROM. I don't use CM10. The difference in performance is that big. It HUGE. Not only speed wise, but it's also nice never having chrome or your apps having to reload. And I've never had any issues with network performance, it works perfect. It honestly feels like I'm using an HTC One X Nexus. It's really just perfect.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Android Central Forums
  17. #17  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Pretty sure cm is not getting hspa speeds. Speedtests for me were always slower on cm, but that was not the deal breaker for me.

    The bt thing is odd. I can stream from play music just fine. But I am invested Pandora now. No going back... I own little music.

    Once they get vsync working, I may just deal with plugging in the cable.

    Sent from my HTC One XL using Android Central Forums
  18. #18  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by loraque View Post
    Pretty sure cm is not getting hspa speeds. Speedtests for me were always slower on cm, but that was not the deal breaker for me.

    The bt thing is odd. I can stream from play music just fine. But I am invested Pandora now. No going back... I own little music.

    Once they get vsync working, I may just deal with plugging in the cable.

    Sent from my HTC One XL using Android Central Forums
    I'm using AOKP, CM10 is buggy. As I said, it streams Pandora over Bluetooth just fine, And it works just dandy with HSPA+ and LTE.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Android Central Forums
  19. #19  
    JobiWan144's Avatar

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    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DaChipsta View Post
    Hi guys,

    I really appreciate everyone's perspective on this. It was my first post on the forums, and I'm very encouraged with the response. I'm going to stick with Apex and the factory ROM for the time being. I've got the phone running like a well-oiled machine, and I couldn't be happier with the performance.

    As an aside, after selecting the option to keep Apex in memory the launcher has been exceptionally smooth and stable. "Lag" is a word that's just not in my HOX's vocabulary anymore, and that's not something I could have said out of the box.

    My biggest fear when making the switch to Android was that HTC/AT&T would screw me (and the rest of us) with the Jelly Bean update. Indeed, I have zero confidence that we'll see the update anytime soon, but I honestly don't miss it now. Apex says the beta version I'm running is built on JB code, and considering how project-buttery smooth the thing is running, that's good enough for me. Google Now will hopefully (...doubtfully) just be a Christmas present.

    So, thanks again!
    Chip
    I think you made the right choice. Messing with rooting, unlocking, and flashing ROMs can be fun, but it's also a pretty big time commitment. I have an HTC EVO LTE running CM 10 and Apex launcher (after using it on a Sense-based ROM, the stock CM launcher paled in comparison to all the customization Apex offers). However, I'm strongly considering going back to an ICS/Sense-based ROM because of the several things I miss about HTC Sense. One thing I don't miss about stock Sense, though: the poor multitasking and way-too-common, way-too-slow launcher reloads. Apex fixes the second problem, but not the first--that's custom ROM territory.

    Anyway, that's my $0.02.

    Sent from my HTC EVO 4G LTE using Android Central Forums
    Last edited by JobiWan144; 09-22-2012 at 04:09 PM.
  20. #20  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by crackberrytraitor View Post
    I'm using AOKP, CM10 is buggy. As I said, it streams Pandora over Bluetooth just fine, And it works just dandy with HSPA+ and LTE.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Android Central Forums
    Tried AOKP last night, was even worse with BT on my 2011 Camry. Would not sync for media at all. Tried the latest CM also, and it was the usual "everything works except Pandora". I can overlook the other problems, but the BT streaming of Pandora is on the short list.
  21. #21  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by loraque View Post
    Tried AOKP last night, was even worse with BT on my 2011 Camry. Would not sync for media at all. Tried the latest CM also, and it was the usual "everything works except Pandora". I can overlook the other problems, but the BT streaming of Pandora is on the short list.
    I don't know how that's even possible. As I said, I use AOKP, since the August builds Pandora has worked fine with my Prius with Bluetooth. And your Camry should work if my Prius does, I mean, they're basically siblings.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Android Central Forums
  22. #22  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Same thing with my previous gnex and captivate. Bt would work one nightly and then stop for months at a time. Stock had always worked, with all phones, even on the old Camry.

    Anything aosp was hit or miss. All miss for months now.

    I have and no idea what the deal is. You have the nav unit? I know the systems are different for no nav. I just have upgraded stereo, no nav.

    Sent from my HTC One XL using Android Central Forums
  23. #23  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by loraque View Post
    Same thing with my previous gnex and captivate. Bt would work one nightly and then stop for months at a time. Stock had always worked, with all phones, even on the old Camry.

    Anything aosp was hit or miss. All miss for months now.

    I have and no idea what the deal is. You have the nav unit? I know the systems are different for no nav. I just have upgraded stereo, no nav.

    Sent from my HTC One XL using Android Central Forums
    Oh, maybe that's it. I've got the touchscreen console. Maybe you should have spent a bit more on upgrades I keed.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Android Central Forums
  24. #24  

    Default Re: Apex Launcher vs. Custom ROM – Seeking Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by crackberrytraitor View Post
    Oh, maybe that's it. I've got the touchscreen console. Maybe you should have spent a bit more on upgrades I keed.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Android Central Forums
    I have a HOX on my dash. Built in screens are old school

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