SPB Shell 3D For Android – More Of An Eye Candy Than Homescreen Replacement [Review]

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SPB Shell isn’t something new in the market. They developed customized “skins” for your device to enhance the functionality of smartphone especially Symbian and Android. Starting with Symbian, SPB Mobile Shell made a mark in the market by offering the best customizable screen to the old and grumpy Nokia phones. And going one step further SPB team aimed to capture Android user’s imagination as well with it’s Android version that too in 3D!

It all sounds good, majority of Android devices come with powerful hardware (read processor and RAM) and SPB has all the experience it needs. But, something went wrong. I reviewed SPB Mobile Shell for Symbian and apart from it being a RAM hog, I found it to be immensely useful. No doubts about it. But the installing and using SPB Mobile Shell 3D on my Samsung Galaxy S II (Android device) wasn’t a satisfying experience.

I have jotted down the highlights of my review of SPB Shell 3D for Android in points for your convenience. Read on!

1. RAM Bam 🙁

Starting from the basic, SPB Mobile Shell 3D rakes in around ~80 MB RAM which for a device like Samsung Galaxy S II with 1 GB RAM is peanuts but not all Android phones come with such humongous RAM, so for me that’s a let down as it might restrict users to the number of concurrent apps they run. When competitors like GOLauncher, QQ Launcher, etc are confined to using ~25 MB RAM at max, SPB Mobile Shell 3D really sounds like a burden on smartphone. Moreover, I do understand that it being a “3D” skin is bound to take some extra pounding on phone but then in my opinion it’s a bit too much for something offered by it.

2. That Sexed Up Home-screen!

Okay so, it’s a hog on RAM but the visual effects that SPB Mobile Shell 3D provides is out of the world! Some parts of the home-screen give a stylish futuristic look with you being able to switch between different home-screens via 3D carousel, which by the way is smooth like butter on Galaxy S II. In terms of visual candy SPB Mobile Shell has no competition, it looks sexy, feels great! And add to this, the animation effects you see when in 3D switch mode, the different panel’s shift automatically when left unattended, again giving an awesome feeling of having something great on your device, something worth flaunting 😉

3. Widgets – Where art thou?

Aha! The essence of Android lies in widgets. Put widgets on home-screen and you save yourself extra clicks. SPB Mobile Shell does offer the widgetization of its home-screen but the functionality of put them “anywhere” is not there. And the SPB specific widgets are limited, in short not as many as offered by others like GOLauncher, etc. It would have been great had SPB provided some more useful widgets like “Tap To Lock Screen”, etc. This being said, it is not a deal breaker since SPB Mobile Shell 3D draws functionality from default Android widgets so you do have the “usual” widgets at your disposal.

4. App Drawer – I have my doubts

It might be just me but the 3D effect in App drawer make it a little irritating. It allows only upward/downward scrolling. No sideways scrolling. Moreover, there is no damn way to organize your app in folders! That’s a little harsh on people like me who install hundreds of apps. How many times does SPB expect us to scroll to find the required app? Lol…

I must say that if not the option to select scrolling type in App drawer there should have been folder organization atleast.

To sum up, SPB Shell 3D is more of an eye candy than an actual screen replacement. It feels like a product in development. And the price tag in my opinion is a tad bit high. There’s 3D viewing, experimental Stereoscopic 3D mode in testing (which I think rumored Galaxy III will be ideal for) and all but SPB Mobile Shell 3D still needs some more additions, brush ups to be taken as an actual screen replacement app. On the side note, it is for you to decide whether you want to spend money on a homescreen replacement app that looks and feels good or something that does more than that. No doubt SPB Shell 3D has been optimized to run without any glitch, making full use of available hardware but it needs to have the essential elements as well.

SPB Shell 3D – Android Market Link

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