One of the nice features of Android is the way in which it can be customised. Take the lock screen for instance. It can be totally transformed by installing a lock screen widget. It is much more useful than lock screen wallpaper and they often have some useful features.
The lock screen is the screen that appears when the phone is turned on. It could be an image, it might have a clock, you may have to swipe to unlock the screen or type in a PIN code or password. Wallpaper is better than a plain screen, but even so, it is static and once you have seen it a few times, it is tiresome.
Locket turns the lock screen on Android phones into a useful feature. It is basically a news app that downloads news stories from around the web. The images and headlines from these news stories are then displayed on the lock screen.
The display is different every time you tap the phone’s power button to turn on the screen because the news is constantly changing. New stories break throughout the day and so the lock screen changes too.
Locket collects several news stories in the background while the screen is off. Turn the screen on and it shows a large image and headline. Swiping across the screen goes to the next story and the one after that.
If you see a story that interests you, there are two options. By dragging the circle to the left and drop it on the book you can unlock the screen and read it immediately in a similar way to a news app. You get the full text and images of the news story. The other option is to drag the circle up and drop it on the heart. This saves it for later.
The app can be opened by tapping its icon like a regular app and then you can read all the saved stories. This is useful because you don’t always have the time to read a news story when unlocking your phone, such as to make a phone call. Saving them for later is really useful.
News stories are organised into categories like news, tech, business, food, sports, games, travel, music and several others. You choose five or more categories to show on the lock screen.
A problem with this is that you cannot select the news sources within a category. The app has a US bias, so US users will be right at home with it, but as I am in the UK I would like to see more local news stories. I would like to select the sources of stories so that it fits in better with my interests.
The app cannot control the news and some days there just aren’t any interesting stories. This means that sometimes the lock screen has stories that don’t interest you, which is a bit irritating and makes you wonder why you have the app installed. The next day there might be lots of interesting news stories though. Some days I really like the app, but some days I don’t.
There are some extras on the lock screen and there is a clock and date in the top right corner, with a mini weather forecast, well, really just the temperature and a weather symbol. There is an option to go straight to the phone camera or to share the current story.
In addition to the sometimes brilliant, but sometimes dull news stories, you have to bear in mind that this app runs in the background downloading text and images. This means that it will use data when not on Wi-Fi and it will also use the battery. Neither appeared to be used excessively, but it probably isn’t a good idea if battery and data use are already high.
Locket has mostly excellent reviews in the Google Play Store and a high rating. You should definitely try it. I am undecided whether to keep it or not. It is sometimes brilliant, but a bug or two and lack of detailed news source selection are irritating. It is still worthy of a good score though.
Title: Locket (Google Play Store)
Size: 6.6 MB iOS
Android: 4.0 and up
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 04 December 2014