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Not ready to buy the CheetahPhone? Try the UI out beforehand using CM Launcher 3D

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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Cheetah Mobile has released a new version of its custom Android launcher named CM Launcher 3D, ready to replace the standard Android launcher on your phone, whether that’s Lollipop, TouchWiz, or another launcher you’ve downloaded from Google Play. Interestingly, the launcher is practically identical to the software installed on the new CheetahPhone, which we recently checked out.

The launcher is a 3D graphical extravaganza. We noted how pretty the launcher looked on the CheetahPhone, and have had a better chance to try it out using CM Launcher 3D. There are multiple transitions and fades when swiping through home screens, plus completely new app icons, a cool weather panel, and an overhauled app tray.

Cheetah says the launcher uses a special 3D engine, OpenGL, and an in-house animation library to optimise the performance of all these visual tweaks, ensuring it doesn’t slow things down. It seems to work. We tried it out on an Oppo F1 — a mid-range Android phone — and it ran smoothly. There are also various security and privacy features, a virus scanner, a clever folder view mode where a swipe takes you from one folder to another, along with Cheetah’s own battery and performance improvements.

However, those improvements are likely to be more obvious on the Cubot-produced CheetahPhone, due to Cheetah having more involvement in optimisation of the device. While CM Launcher 3D looks great, and seems to perform well, it’s also covered in ads — from icons recommending apps to download, a misleadingly named Market icon filled with Play Store shortcuts, and a search bar with trending searches found on Yahoo already input. Ours wanted us to search for static caravans, and fast ways to lose belly fat. Charming. Most of these are widgets, so can’t be uninstalled as such, but can be removed from view, tidying up the launcher.

The appeal of the CheetahPhone is the potentially longer battery life, and faster performance from deeper integration of Cheetah’s tools. It’s unclear whether any effect will be as pronounced using only the launcher, but it may be worth trying it out on your own phone first, if you’re thinking of buying the phone in the future. Cheetah’s CM Launcher 3D is available to download for free from Google Play right now.

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