There are several factors in how we pick our next smartphone. First we consider our budget and needs, than we start looking for devices that fits us the best. Well it’s definitely not an easy pick since the selection of Android devices keeps increasing. We want big batteries, gorgeous displays, good build quality and cameras that takes awesome pictures. Most of today’s flagships can deliver those needs easily but picking the right hardware and type of buttons that you want to use could be challenging.

Our devices are made out of many different materials, textures and size displays. But because size of the display matters, it is shown in different variations of the display size and the button bellow it. Don’t believe me? Let’s compare Nexus 6p and iPhone 7 plus. Nexus 6p doesn’t have a physical button compared to iPhone where there’s a big circle button at the bottom.

The thing is that in today’s word the space for physical buttons is going away and companies are trying to change it and find other ways of replacing it. That’s why we are seeing more and more phones with navigation bar on the screen since this is the easiest solution. But that could be a problem, just look at the new Google’s Pixel phone. The bottom ‘chin’ is huge and there is no additional speakers to fill the space. The ideology, that such a big companies like Google are releasing a rushed hardware seems stupid to me. I know Pixel is one of the best phones of the year and I can’t argue with that.

Let’s move to a pros and cons about having a screen on buttons. First of all I need to tell you that my current phone, Nexus 6p have screen on buttons while my previous phone, Galaxy s4 had a physical button.

One of my favorite things about having screen on buttons is that screen of the phone is much bigger and the space below the screen can be used for additional speakers. You can watch your YouTube videos on larger screen without sacrificing the size of the phone. There’s also no unwanted pressing the home button in your pocket or purse since screen is off. But those reasons aren’t ones that convince me to move to on screen buttons, since you can also unintentionally press your power button in your pocket and you can also have font facing speakers (again depends on the company that designs the phone). The thing that makes me move away was bad hardware. Since I got my Samsung Galaxy s4, the home button was broken. I’ve read that many users had the same issues and even after repairing, button felt unbalanced. The same, broken button issue occur several months later.

Now I’m owning Nexus 6p and I’m happy with on screen buttons. You need some time to get used to it, but after a few days of use you are going to be fine. Every app I used worked perfect with it and also going back from YouTube videos isn’t a problem anymore (since you have to drag on screen buttons out since YouTube videos are playing in full screen) because I got used to it.

Companies are shifting to making their home buttons a flat surface. That’s because it takes less space and all the issues with bad buttons are over. For example we can take a new OnePlus 3T. Even thought those buttons doesn’t feel the same, they work better and without any issues since you can’t press them. The only problem I found is that you can’t use them with a glove but again if you want to check the clock you can always press the power button since you still need to take your glove off if you want to use your phone.

So if your phone have screen on buttons you can try out app called Navbar apps. It’s a fairly ‘old’ app that I really love since the release. It’s available for free in the Google Play store and it works perfectly without root. You have several different setting and options you can pick from. App is wrapped in beautiful material design interface that works and feels nice. You have option to change color of the Navigational bar. There are two options:

  • Active app — option will pick the color of the app that you are currently using. I really like this setting but you will need to get used to it.
  • Static color — option will allow you to pick one color that will stay the same all the time.

Of course you can customize both settings to your needs. For example if the active app setting doesn’t show correct color, you can add that app to a list and pick your own color for it.

After you choose the settings for the color of the navigational bar, than you can play with navigational bar widgets. This selection seems more interesting to me but you will need to get used to it. You can add a battery percentage or additional image.

When the app launched there was already soon available selection for the music widget but since then we yet didn’t get the update for it. I think that developer is working hard to bring that feature to us and I can’t wait to try it out!

This is not a promotion for Navbar app.