Go Locker is the newest contender in the competitive world of lockscreen replacements, but does it have the polish to succeed against such apps as WidgetLocker?
Go Locker is developed by the Go Dev Team. These are the people behind other massively successful apps such as Go SMS and Go Launcher.
The lockscreen replacement market was previously dominated by the massively popular and customisable WidgetLocker; later in the review I will compare the features of both apps, but for the time being I will focus on Go Locker.
What distinguishes Go Locker (and most other Go Dev Team apps) from others in the same category, is that it is very customisable – at time of writing there are more than 15 themes available. This is great for those who like to constantly change their phone’s theme, as with a few taps your whole lockscreen will be transformed into something more stylish and functional. It also sets itself apart from the competition by the fact that the app itself is free, and so are the optional extra themes.
Since the app is all about customisation and design, the interface is important – but sadly, as with most apps, the settings screen does not receive attention; you are presented with a basic list of options that range from enabling a security lock to setting custom wallpapers just for your lockscreen. How about the themes themselves?
As Go Locker contains many themes I will do a run through of the main three. The first of the main themes is the default one. The default theme is styled very similarly to that of MIUI. It is a very intuitive theme and allows you to access three main functions: Dialer, Unlock and Messaging. The theme’s minimal style allows most of your wallpaper to remain seen without being intruded upon by the unlock bar.
The second theme I am going to take a look at is the Ice Cream Sandwich theme. Anybody who followed my guide on how to mimic Ice Cream Sandwich’s user interface on their Froyo or Gingerbread phone will really like this theme. It is styled identically to the default ICS lockscreen, including convenient functions such as one-swipe opening of the messaging and dialer apps.
Sadly, this version of the lockscreen is not as intuitive as WidgetLocker’s version. At some stages it lags and the animations can appear to be cut off. None of these glitches are major deal breakers, but anybody who is thinking of forfeiting WidgetLocker for Go Locker’s ICS style may want to think twice.
The final theme I will be taking a look at is Simple Blue Slider. This was the theme I personally took quite a shining to, as its simplistic feel won me over. Some may argue that this lockscreen is far too similar to that of iOS, but when a lockscreen is functional as well as stylish does it really matter where it originated? (Editor’s Note: Well, Apple might think so…) It relies on a sliding gesture that is done across the bottom of your screen on a blue arrow. The elegance of this theme will please lovers of minimalist interfaces with ease.
Go Locker Vs. WidgetLocker
As I said in the opening paragraph, the lockscreen replacement market was previously dominated by WidgetLocker, but does Go Locker have a vast enough feature set and a sufficient user interface to compete? Let’s see!
The first main absence from Go Locker that is included natively in WidgetLocker is the ability to add widgets to your lockscreen. Having this feature adds an infinite amount of customisation potential to any app and allows you to choose from any of the hundreds of thousands of widgets on the Market to grace your lockscreen.
The second difference is that customisation on Go Locker is sadly not up to par with that on WidgetLocker. There is absolutely no way to change your slider’s functionality, which is a major downfall for those who mainly use their phone for purposes other than calling and text messaging.
Go Locker’s feature set could be described as rich and vast. It includes options such as setting up lockscreen-only wallpapers and making many downloadable themes available (which I looked at above).
The first feature I will take an in-depth look at is the lockscreen only wallpapers. This is a feature sadly missing from the stock Android lockscreen but luckily the Go Dev Team have it built in natively to Go Locker. As somebody who swears by Android’s customisation, the wallpaper is one of the first things I change to reflect my wishes. Thankfully this wish was granted, and done so in an impeccable fashion in Go Locker. From the settings menu you can choose to have the stock wallpaper that was bundled with your downloaded theme, your launcher background and the custom background option. From there on in it is as simple as selecting your preferred image – and then you’re sorted!
The next feature is downloadable themes. Although Go Locker’s collection of themes is in no way scarce, it currently has very few themes when compared with its older brother and sister: Go Launcher and Go SMS. You could argue that this is because it is the newest creation of the developers, but it also could be a sign that perhaps WidgetLocker has won over the hearts of the lockscreen customisation crew already.
Go Locker has some other minor features as well, but nothing that you wouldn’t expect from a lockscreen replacement: being able to set up a custom lock and setting up sounds that play when your device is unlocked. While I could go on all day about the bells and whistles that the developers have included, there are two major problems that plague the app’s very existence.
The first of these is one that I have mentioned above: the inability to add widgets to your lockscreen. What does this mean in practice? If the theme you intend on using includes a clock, that’s great; you have a clock on your lockscreen. If this clock turns out to be badly designed, you’re stuck with it unless you intend on completely changing your theme. If your lockscreen theme does not include a clock, you have no clock. This is an extremely annoying feature to be missing and definitely holds the app’s potential back.
The second annoyance is one that turned me off the app completely. One of the most touted aspects of Android is its customisation features, and one of the first things that people change when they get their phone is often the launcher. I am using ADW at the moment and loving it (but that’s a different post), but if I want to use Go Locker I have to download Go Launcher to use it. This means that every time I check my phone’s memory I will see memory being wasted by a launcher I will never use. This is exceptionally annoying especially when your phone’s memory is scarce and you are trying to save every bit. This feature to me is a major deal breaker as my phone’s space is valuable and I don’t want an extra launcher hogging it.
To conclude, Go Locker is an app that has great potential but the very fact that you have to install Go Launcher to access the app makes it unbearable and almost feel like bloatware. This app has some great features and an even better price tag of free, but drastic improvements must be made before it should even be considered over its competitors.