Sidebar Pro Review: Taking shortcuts can pay off

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Uniqueness, it’s what defines us, it’s what separates us. The separation here inevitably comes in the form of what mobile phone you use as your weapon of choice on a daily basis.

Some prefer the integrated apps and live tile view of the Windows and Blackberry phones, some prefer the beautiful simplicity of an iPhone, and others prefer the endless customisation in Android offerings.

An undeniable fact which separates these four operating systems is the customisation on offer. The open nature of the Android OS allows for apps such as the one in our feature review today.

Sidebar Pro is a utility which allows for app shortcuts and widgets to be placed not on your home screen, but as a rather more useful side bar which can be called upon from any screen on the phone.

Sounds simple right? That’s because it is. It’s Apple’s multitasking menu done right.  Here is a run down of the full feature list:

Features

  • Pin as many apps & toggles to the Sidebar
  • Live running apps and running indicators
  • Task management allows killing running apps (swipe running apps out to kill them)
  • Customized colors, opacity, sizes, and positions
  • Starts on boot
  • Minimal RAM fingerprint and affect on battery life
  • Ongoing notification can be disabled(4.1+) / made invisible
  • Many widgets to choose from (Home, App Drawer, Wi-Fi, Mobile Data, Bluetooth, GPS, Sound, Rotation, Brightness, Torch, Play/Pause/Skip music)

Sidebar Pro

Sidebar Pro lifts the limitations put on the lite version and opens access to new customizability as well as functionality – elevating sidebar, to its most impeccable and pure state. Sidebar Pro offers the full set of features including:

  • Unlimited items!
  • Right side swipe!
  • Live Running apps!
  • Live Running indicators!
  • Task Management!
  • Lock items!
  • Custom icons!
  • Full settings!
  • Adjust width!
  • Adjust opacity!
  • Choose color scheme!
  • Disable notification!

The point of apps such as these, which follow a design and function ideology of the Ubuntu phone is quite simply to make your apps as quickly accessible as possible.

Check out the video below to see Sidebar Pro in action!

No longer should you have to call up your app drawer time after time, or visit your home screen for anything other than browsing your widgets (and viewing Kim Kardashian’s latest pregnancy outfits).

If technology is about facilitating your life, then apps like these have rightfully earned their keep in the Google Play store. In an era when we want genuine multitasking on our phones or tablets, innovation in instantiating apps is key.

Let’s think about the real world usage of such apps. You’re playing Angry Birds, and let’s say for example sake, you want to find a particular species of said bird. Instead of pressing your home button and then searching for the app in your app drawer, you can simply swipe in from the side of your phone and bring up your list of recently used or pinned apps. Bingo, now you have Google at your fingertips that little bit quicker.

If you want to try out the Lite version, hit up the Play store link here. The Pro version which offers the features mentioned above can also be purchased here.

If you’re interested in evaluating your options, Unity Launcher, Pie Control and Swapps are three great alternatives. The latter two can even be used in conjunction with Sidebar (may we recommend Sidebar on one side of your phone screen and Pie Control or Swapps on the other side). Unity Launcher and Sidebar are very similar in functionality, however in testing we found Sidebar to have the edge in terms of options and memory/battery drain.

Ultimately if you’re an Android user, you owe it to yourself to make your life easier with such apps. They not only make multitasking that little bit speedier, but they cut out middle operations such as the ageing app drawer all together.

As smartphone users, who wouldn’t want to see more innovative, quicker and customisable ways of accessing your apps? Let’s fact it, the home button double tap and app grid are so 2007. Phone manufacturers, are your software developers paying attention?

A certain Mahatma Gandhi once said “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” Here at GadgetsBoy, we’re not so sure.

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