Beautiful Widgets: Spruce Up Your Home Screen

“What time is it?” A simple question, right? If someone asked you the time, what would you look at? I’m sure that most of you have a watch, but if you are here reading you probably look at your smartphone more often. Like most of our possessions we want to customize it and make it beautiful – so why not make the time and weather more pleasing to your eyes?

Clock, Battery, Weather

Beautiful Widgets are sets of widgets that can tell you the time, battery status and weather conditions. When you choose to add a Beautiful Widget on your home-screen you get lots of different options. Here are all of them:

  • Beautiful Battery 1×1 – a simple widget that shows you your battery status.
  • Beautiful Home Weather – a 4×2 widget that tells you the time, date, location and current conditions at a given location.
  • Beautiful SuperClock 2×1, 4×1, 4×2, 4×3, 5×2 – the same as Beautiful Home Weather but with a different look and feel.
  • Beautiful Text Clock 2×1 – just a simple text clock.
  • Beautiful Today 1×1, 2×1 – a simple widget that shows you the current date.
  • Beautiful Toggle Widget – as the name implies, it enables you to toggle different features (WiFi, GPS, Data, 2G/3G).
  • Beautiful Weather 1×1, 4×1 – the small one displays the current weather, while the bigger one adds a 5-day forecast.

Some of them are shown in the screenshot below.

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Different Widgets

They’re Resizeable!

If you have a launcher that supports resizeable widgets – such as GOLauncher or LauncherPRO – you can also resize all of the widgets. Each can be stretched without issues and adapt very well to new sizes.

screen02v2

The SuperClock Widget 4x2 stretched to 4x3 and various other re-sized widgets.

Infinite Themes

Another thing I really like about Beautiful Widgets is the huge amount of of themes built for them. The application has a built in system for downloading new themes, as shown below:

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Just a few of the themes (notice the tiny scroll bar!)

SuperClock

The SuperClock widget is one of the most customizable widgets available. It’s similar to the Home Weather widget in a few ways. First, because you can customize how the clock is displayed (either in AM/PM mode or 24-hour mode), and second, because you can set up your weather service (Google Weather or AccuWeather.com).

In both widgets you can also set up what application starts when you tap the clock, the date, or the weather forecast. I’ve set it up so when I tap the clock it goes into the default clock application, so that I can quickly edit my alarms. When I tap the date portion, I’m taken to the calendar application.

The five-day weather forecast can be opened when you tap the weather portion of the widget. You’ll see a beautiful animation of the current conditions and a forecast for the next five days, and if you tap the forecast, another application can be opened. I’ve set it to open the News & Weather application – a little redundant I know, but I don’t have any other weather application installed.

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The five-day forecast screen.

If you want to have those “beautiful animations” when you enter a five-day forecast, you need to download the Beautiful Widgets Animation Pack. It’s free on the Android Market.

Speaking of animation, you can even set it up to animate when you unlock your device. This used to be unique to HTC Sense, but now everyone can enjoy beautiful weather animations on their Android. This has its bugs though. When you unlock your device, it plays the animation regardless of whether your phone’s screen is turned off (and locked) or in an application. HTC Sense, on the ther hand, only plays animations if the weather widget is in view. Beautiful Widgets’ animations can therefore be frustrating if you want to get quickly to an app or if you want instant access to your home screen. I’ve disabled it because it began to annoy me, but for you eye-candy fans out there, this feature exists.

I started this section talking about the SuperClock and Weather Home widgets. This is where the similarities end. On the Weather Home widget you can only change the theme of it and that’s pretty much it. SuperClock comes along and says: “Hey! I want a different layout!” and gives you the ability to change the layout of the elements. You can have the clock at the top, weather icon in the middle, date bottom left and temperature bottom right – whatever you want. You can also set it up to tell you your battery level instead of the weather.

But Wait, There’s More

So far I’ve focused on the SuperClock and Weather widgets, but there are also Toggle widgets. You can also add a toggle widget to enable/disable phone features such as WiFi, Data and 2G/3G – and, you’ve guessed it, they can also be themed.

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Different Toggle Widgets, with the default skin.

Final Word

Beautiful Widgets is a great widget pack. Some of the widgets are just awesome and the number of themes is mind-blowing. It’s no HTC Sense, but it sure tries to be one.

The only thing I found a bit confusing are the settings. You can access them in the five-day forecast section, for your specific widget, or by the application icon in your drawer, for more general preferences. The themes for Time, Weather, Battery and SuperClock are linked together so if you change your SuperClock theme all the other widgets get changed to the same theme. The Toggle widgets and the Home Weather widget don’t follow this pattern, but that’s not too inconvenient.

All in all the application deserves a perfect score of 10. The small bugs are clouded by its sheer number of themes.


Summary

A great widgets pack that give your phone the HTC Sense feel, but with more control over its look.

10
  • http://twitter.com/puck Puck

    Good to see Romanian writers (: Un articol foarte frumos. Keep up the good job.

  • dixhuit

    Never understood the fascination with this app. The widgets/themes are far from beautiful and there seems to be better dedicated apps out there that out perfrom it in all of its main functions. No thanks.

  • Bryan

    I would agree with dixhuit…as an iPhone-to-Android switcher, I have to say that at least most of the iPhone apps were easy on the eyes. The majority of widgets (and some apps) on Android make my eyes bleed…What is it about designers on PC’s that choose to ignore basic design principles (neon, wtf)? I’d like to see Android’s developers try putting some effort into the look of their widgets, icons and apps and if you can’t do it, partner with someone that can. ‘Cause damn.

  • larrygeary

    I use them and do find them attractive. I do not use any of the themes, just the wallpaper on my phone. They work well.

  • http://www.bundlesite.com jdhoss

    I end up always back at Fancy Widgets. They clock and weather look better to me.

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  • Marcin

    Yes, that screenshots are awful.

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