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Next Lock Screen
Next Lock Screen is a tough thing to review. It’s tough because, in and of itself, it is a smooth and fluid service. It’s tough because there are things I really like about it, and there are things I really hate about it. But, mostly, Next Lock Screen is a hard app to review because it will be different for nearly every user. Next Lock Screen is a service whose functionality almost solely rests on the configurations and capabilities of the user’s smartphone.
WHAT IS NEXT LOCK SCREEN?
Next Lock Screen is an alternative lock screen for Android that acts as an organizer as well as a quick app launcher. It has a pleasant and customizable interface that allows users to make it a personalized experience, and it will certainly benefit many users. It is also a product of Microsoft Garage, a collaborative project of Microsoft’s that aims to deliver unique and functional apps to a variety of platforms.
There are a lot of good things about Next Lock Screen. For instance, I love the way the app looks and feels. The app comes loaded with preset images that are calming and pleasant to look at (these
can also be replaced by images of your choice. The natural flow of the device is very pleasant as well. I felt like the interface was very natural and simple to follow.
One of my favorite features of Next Lock Screen is the multiple lock screen setup. Essentially Next is set into three categories: At Home, At Work, and On The Go. Each of these three tabs can be set up with their own unique image as well as their own set of app shortcuts. It is excellent for instantly shifting your phone making it into what you need/want it to be when you need it to be that way. I found that, while working, switching my phone to At Work where I had instant access to Skype, Gmail, OneDrive, and my various other work apps boosted productivity. On the flip side, I also enjoyed having the app instantly access my favorite games while I was in At Home mode. It really gives your phone a new feel, and the feeling is great.
Making app shortcuts is also super simple, and it is compatible with every app installed on your phone. It also gives you access to setting such as WiFi, Flashlight, and Bluetooth without actually unlocking your phone. Next Lock Screen truly does streamline your phone and make it that much simpler to use. Not to mention you can answer phone calls, reply to texts, load music, and open your Calender all with a simple tap from the home screen. It feels a lot like Android Lollipop, and users still missing out on that may really enjoy this experience.
Needless to say, Next Lock Screen isn’t perfect. Many times I found myself trying to tap an app or the settings, and the screen would go blank and send me to my normal lock screen. Sometimes Next Lock Screen wouldn’t show up at all, and instead I would see my normal lock screen. Some times Next Lock Screen would appear, but would not do anything at all and I would have to turn my screen off then back on in order to get it to function. These issues would be minor if they weren’t so frequent. Sometimes the app is just too buggy to function.
There is also the issue of compatibility. Next Lock Screen is naturally an alternative lock screen, but in order to properly function it requires you to disable your standard lock screen. This isn’t a problem for some phones, which can easily dismiss their security features. However, when testing on my Nexus 6, I found that is not an option. Some phones actually require some basic form of security. This means that, if you want to use Next Lock Screen, you will have two lock screens, two swipes, and two pin codes to access your phone. This is frustrating and totally against the point of the app. It isn’t necessarily the app’s fault either, and it is a shame to see many phones miss out on what is otherwise a solid app.
I like Next Lock Screen, and I certainly hope it expands to Windows (which it is surprisingly absent from as of the time of this review). It also has some minor software issues that a simple patch or two could fix. Otherwise, so long as you have a phone with the right security settings, this is certainly an app to try out.