Another year, another Samsung smartphone, and in Australia, our version seems to come with its fair share of issues. A shortcut dock you can’t change, a lockscreen that won’t open an app, and a camera that won’t shut up.
But thanks to how modular Android is, you can make all of these problems go away, more or less, “just like that.”
Another locked dock
Seriously, Samsung? We’re still doing this?
Last year’s Australian Galaxy S4 did come with a slight flaw to it, with no Aussie able to change the dock of their Galaxy smartphone.
We hope you like using the stock phone, contacts, messages, and internet browser, because in 2014, the same is true, and Samsung is blocking the ability to let you change the dock, a frustrating issue when you consider that pretty much every manufacturer lets you change this.
Is it a problem with the phone? Not from a hardware point of view, that’s for sure, and if you run a different homescreen on the S5, often called a homescreen replacement, you’ll be able to — yes, you guessed it — change the dock.
These apps are also called “launchers,” and as such, if you search for either, you’ll find a plethora of options out there, many which make it possible to retain the look of what Google envisioned, make Samsung’s TouchWiz more usable, or even offer a totally different way of viewing your smartphone that few companies would attempt.
There are loads of options out there, and no single one is “right,” but we’re listing our favourites, with each of these letting you change the dock to match your life, which Samsung still can’t seem to get right on the Australian phones.
Price: Free, though a more feature-filled version costs $5
One of the easiest ways to transform the S5 into one that looks like it was developed by Google, the KK Launcher brings the look and feel of Android 4.4 “KitKat” without needing to hack the phone and install Google’s Android OS without the Samsung touches.
Price: Free, though a more feature-filled version costs around $5
Not ready for that total departure from Samsung’s look? No worries. Apex is one of the more popular launchers out there, and it combines the look of Android 4.1-4.3 with one that can be easily modified. There is even a way to apply themes to Apex, complete with a TouchWiz inspired theme for Apex, making it possible to retain that Samsung look but still fix that dock uber-quick.