We’ve outline the top weather widgets to make sure you always know if you should wear a jacket or go shirtless. We’ve also checked out the best Android widgets so that you can fill your phone with switches and modules that tell you how much battery you have left and if you are connected to WiFi or not. Now it’s time for the Beautiful Widgets vs HD Widgets vs Fancy Widgets Android app battle, where I take three of the top widget apps for your Android phone and compare them side by side.
I’ve always gotten a kick out of widgets, especially now since Apple is following suit and including widgets on their phones. (They are finally catching up with Android) Overall, widgets are great for learning about the weather, news and stock market, but they can also suck down your battery, so make sure you download one of our top battery saver apps if you plan on using widgets.
Let’s put these awesome widget apps next to each other and figure out which one is best for your everyday life. Some of them are great with your battery and others are amazing when it comes to the amount of widgets offered.
Beautiful Widgets: 4.2 out of 5 stars
HD Widgets: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Fancy Widgets: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Google Play Ratings and Links:
Beautiful Widgets: 4.0 out of 5 stars
HD Widgets: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Fancy Widgets: 4.3 out of 5 stars
Beautiful Widgets – Sleek Widgets, but Some Weird Navigation
Beautiful Widgets does indeed offer beautiful widgets. To start, the setup is great because it walks you through exactly how to activate and insert a widget on your phone. I enjoy this feature because it’s not all that easy to include a widget, particularly if you are new to the Android platform. I can hear all the Android buffs yelling at me right now, but compared to some of the other functions, it takes a while to figure out how to include a widget on your homescreen. That’s why it’s important to explain to people how to add a widget to your phone.
The process to add a widget from this app is actually a little tedious, but they have images and text tutorials so that you can teach yourself and figure it out within a few seconds. The menu on the left hand side is sleek and effective, giving you the theme store, location options and a widgets configuration. This is nice because you can find this menu no matter where you are in the app. If you want to add a widget randomly while you browse the app, just swipe from the left and you can get started.
The clocks are nice looking, and you have plenty of ways to customize them. I enjoy the fact that the clocks include the weather, date and time, and some of them even offer calendars to help you stay organized. There are 2500 themes, but you have to upgrade in order to access most of them.
There are also plenty of widgets and themes to choose from. My favorite are the toggle or switch widgets that let you do things like change your WiFi connection and connect to Bluetooth. If you take a look below you can find things like clock, weather and battery themes, all of which are easy to set up and they look pretty nice on the homescreen.
Once you choose a widget you can navigate to the homescreen and see what the widget looks like. The widgets are clear and effective, and you can place them anywhere on the screen. I also like the fact that you can choose from a wide range of sizes for your widgets.
The app has some strange functionality, since it asks for a location just to use any of the widgets. This sounds fine, but if you aren’t currently connected to the internet or not using data at the time the warning just blocks your screen and makes it difficult to get anything to work. I finally figured out that you have to remove the default weather option in order to get past the warning and activate the entire app. Other people might not have the same problem, but it’s quite tedious if you encounter it.
In terms of privacy the app has access to your accounts and location. So if the app wants to, it can take your email account info and sell it to other companies. I’m not saying it does this, but I’m not sure why a widget company would need your email. It would be my assumption that they sell this information. In terms of locations, that’s just something that comes along with your standard text widgets. They use this for grabbing weather information.
I’ve also found that the free app is getting more and more stripped down to push people to buy the paid versions. Maybe this is a sign of poor revenues, so they aren’t able to support a free version since most people seem to just use this.
The Bottom Line
Beautiful Widgets is my second favorite of these widget apps, but it still works nicely. It seems like past users have started to get a little frustrated with recent updates, since they are really stripping down the free apps. The widgets work nicely, but there doesn’t seem to be as many options as you might find in the other apps we are about to outline. I will add that the interface is quite sleek with this app.
HD Widgets – Top Notch Widgets for Your Android
This is the best widgets app because it has tons of little tabs and buttons to adjust settings such as bluetooth and data. You’ll notice below that the status buttons are clearly available, so you can see how much battery there is on your phone, and if you are connected to the internet. I also like that there is a Google button so that you can talk into the phone and search for something on Google. There are over 50 switches, allowing you to fill your screen with these little tabs. There are so many different sizes for the widgets, making them easy to move around and customize. The lock screen widgets are also nice, since you don’t always want to open your entire phone in order to check the status of your WiFi or the weather.
The app works nicely for both tablets and phones. They have something called a Glass Gems theme pack, which lets you download loads of new widgets and buttons.
You don’t get a free app to test things out, which is a bummer, but I can tell you that the paid version is worth it. The app can access your accounts, location and contacts, meaning it’s the worst in terms of privacy. If you are one of those people who hates giving up your information then you should avoid this app. Some of the time it hangs when you want to click on a widget to view the weather or change one of your settings. You’ll also notice that the widgets suck down your battery and use up loads of data if you use your data and not WiFi more frequently.
The Bottom Line
Although you don’t receive a free app to test this one out, it’s still the best option for putting widgets on your phone. These widgets are so darn clean and effective, making your homescreen look more and more beautiful. It’s relatively lightweight compared to some of the other widget app options, and you receive a huge selection of switches, buttons and widgets to pack your homescreen with.
Fancy Widgets – Plenty of Widgets, but a Horrible Interface
The Fancy Widgets app offers slick widgets that automatically go into your widgets “add” area so that you don’t have to activate anything. You can customize the app for when you want the widgets to refresh, which is helpful for saving battery and data usage. One of my favorite features is that the app sends you sever weather alerts. I’ve noticed that I occasionally receive severe weather alerts on my phone, but this app is more reliable.
With over 400 clocks and weather widgets you should be able to find something that fits your needs. The app also includes a market and skin management component to make your widgets look exactly like you want them to.
They don’t really explain how to install the widgets if you are new to the Android interface. They just bring you to some boring settings screen, which is both ugly and somewhat useless, since I don’t want to change my settings before even seeing what widgets are being offered. You can see the settings screen below. The page is fine for changing your settings, but it’s the only thing that comes up when you click on the app. It’s really bland and doesn’t get me pumped to start downloading widgets.
There also aren’t many options in the free version, so it’s almost essential for you to get the paid version. This is fine, but you should still test out the widgets on your free version to see if you even like the interface. Keep in mind that this widget app actually taps into your location. Although this privacy invasion is the least of your worries, since the other apps go into your personal information even more, it’s still a bad part of this app. The reason it taps into your location is because it wants to give you the weather for your homepage widgets.
The main problem with this app is that you need to go to your task killer and specify that this app should not be killed. Why? Because otherwise the entire app will malfunction. This is not good in my mind.
The Bottom Line
Fancy Widgets has plenty of widgets to put on your homescreen, but it seems like the task killers screw with the app too much. The interface is quite poor, but some might consider it simple since you don’t have to walk through any crazy steps to get your widgets. You simply go to your widgets area and drop them on your homescreen.
All of these widget apps are nice if you are just getting started off. It’s great to test out the different options, especially since you can get most of them with free trials. After your testing I would highly recommend going with the HD Widgets option. It works well for just about everything you need, so when you want to check your WiFi status or see what types of clothes you need to wear before running off to work, you can do it all with this app.
Fancy Widgets is a little strange because they don’t really explain how to set up the widgets. This is all fine and dandy for those who know the Android interface, but it’s tough for those who are new to the platform. The worst thing about HD Widgets is that you don’t get a free version to test out the app. This isn’t all that bad, since you can just use this review and spend the dollar for the app.
Let me know if you have any questions about the best widget apps for your Android phone. This is all I have for the Beautiful Widgets vs HD Widgets vs Fancy Widgets Android app showdown, so feel free to let me know what you think.