Ok, time for me to once again be a Google/Android fan boy. I've been using a Samsung Galaxy for the last year, and for the most part, I've liked it. The Touchwiz system is fine, though I found it a bit sluggish at times.
A few months ago, though, I sideloaded the Google Experience Launcher ("GEL"), and it revolutionized how I use my phone. First, the ability to just say, "Ok, Google" on the home screen and be able to launch a Google voice search was great. After installing GEL, I found myself talking to my phone. A lot. And it has been great.
The second thing that I really appreciated about the GEL was the ability to swipe from the left on the home screen and see all of my Google Now cards. There isn't a widget that gives the full Google Now cards like GEL offers. I found myself constantly swiping from the left.
Then, Nova Launcher had to come along and make things difficult. It offers a free version. It has the KitKat icon set. It is more customizable than GEL in my opinion. As of a couple days ago, it now let's you say "Ok, Google" from the home screen to launch voice search. You no longer have to be rooted to get full use of it. It displays more icons in the app drawer than the GEL.
I've read reports suggesting that Nova Launcher can be tougher on a battery, but it's too soon for me to know about that. The biggest down side so far: no swiping from the right to access Google Now cards. And, when I first installed and started playing with it, this was really almost a deal breaker for me. I really like the look and settings that can be tweaked in Nova Launcher, but the lack of the swiping to Google Now was tough.
Then, I realized that the Galaxy has a menu key still. I was able to set it in the Nova Launcher settings to open the Google Now cards on a long press.
I like the GEL, and I would recommend it to anyone. However, at least for now, I'm going to be using Nova Launcher. The ability to tweak settings, the icons, the app drawer layout, they all make Nova Launcher my launcher of choice for now.