Nova Launcher vs Prime (2020) | The Ultimate Comparison

Nova Launcher vs Prime | Photo by Francisco Fernández from Pexels

Nova Launcher free is useful, but it does not offer all the features. Nova Launcher Prime, on the other hand, comes with many great features. When it was listed as one of the best Android apps of all time, I was not surprised at all, because I knew how good Nova Launcher is. The blog post compares Nova Launcher vs Prime and sees the missing features in the free version.


Screenshot Showing Gestures in Nova Launcher Prime
Gestures in Nova Launcher Prime

The first thing to care about is gestures. With gestures, you can do many things on the home screen. Launcher apps such as Microsoft and Evie, offer gestures for free, but Nova does not. So, what gestures are available, and what can you do with those gestures?

The available gestures are:

  • Swipe up
  • Swipe down
  • Double-tap
  • Double-tap + swipe up
  • Double-tap + swipe down
  • Pinch in
  • Pinch out
  • Two-finger rotation counterclockwise
  • Two-finger rotation clockwise

What can you do with gestures:

  • Open app drawer
  • Expand notifications
  • Expand quick settings
  • Open recent apps
  • Screen lock
  • Search app
  • Google discover
  • Assistant
  • Search on Google
  • Voice search
  • Toggle notification bar
  • Toggle dock
  • Open default page
  • Jump to a page
  • Show previews
  • Open Evie settings
  • Open an app
  • Shortcuts for apps, including contacts, messages, Maps, WhatsApp, Email, Google Play Music, Google Drive, Docs etc.

Scrolling effects

The next section in Nova Launcher vs Prime is scrolling effects. When you swipe left or right on the home screen, the effect/animation is called scroll effect. The free version of Nova comes with three scroll effects (simple, cube and card stack), while the Prime version comes with 13 scroll effects, including flip, in and out, wipe and more.

Notification badges

Why should you consider Nova Prime if you can get those features in another Launcher? Well, because Nova takes each tool to the next level. With other launchers, we only get the simple dot and numbered notifications. With Nova, alongside dots and counts, it offers dynamic notifications. Let’s talk about each one right now.

Related: POCO Launcher vs Microsoft Launcher – Which One is Better?

Dynamic badges

Screenshot of Dynamic Notification Badges in Nova Launcher Prime
Dynamic Notification Badges – Nova Launcher Prime

The notifications are displayed according to the app. For example, if you get a message, the notification badge will be the image of the person. If no contract image is found, the initials are used. Furthermore, if you receive sports updates, then you will find the sports icon above Google icon. Other elements to consider are the notification size and position. You can choose between small, medium, large sizes and top-right, top-left, bottom-right, and bottom-left as the positions for the badges.


Dots are simple Android eight and + notifications. The extra features include changing the position and size of the badges.

Numeric Dots

Numeric dots contain some advanced options which we don’t see in any other launcher. Besides the position and size features, we have the style of the badges. There are a few styles and an option to create custom styles. You can also adjust the corner radius to make badges square or circle shaped.

Related: Nova Launcher vs Evie Launcher | Is it Time to Switch?

Hiding of apps

The next section of this Nova Launcher vs Prime is hiding of apps. The feature allows you to hide apps from the app drawer. The imperfect tool offers the basic options, but you don’t have control over the app in the search. The hidden apps always appear in the search results. Furthermore, there isn’t a password feature to protect the hidden apps. This element of Nova Launcher needs improvements to compete with other launchers.

Related: 16 Best Launchers to Hide Apps for Free in 2020

App drawer groups/folder first

Screenshot of App Drawer Group in Nova Launcher Prime
App Drawer Group – Nova Launcher Prime

Other cool features of Nova Launcher Prime are app drawer groups, folders, and showing folders at the top in the app drawer menu. Drawer groups/tabs allow you to create folders in the app drawer as well as tabs. The tabs are like app drawer which contain only selected apps. Moreover, you can also choose to show the folders on the top in the drawer.

Is it worth the money?

The same question is on Reddit, and almost every answer is yes. But, it does not mean that you buy Nova Launcher Prime straight away. The features explained in this comparison are what you get, but you should understand whether you need all those features or the free one is enough. You can also give other launcher apps a try and see if they fit.


I hope the blog post helped. I purchased Nova to write this Nova Launcher vs Prime comparison, but after using it for some time, I like this launcher. Anyway, thanks a lot of reading, and let me know if you have any comments and feedback down below so we can discuss more.

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