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If there’s one thing that Android makes really good use of, it’s the notification panel. Evolved quite a lot over the new versions, the biggest use I find for the notification drawer (apart from viewing the actual notifications, of course) is quick access to system toggles, which have become so much of a norm that manufacturers are including more and more customized solutions in their stock offerings. Then, there have been AOSP based ROMs like CyanogenMod, MIUI, AOKP etc., that have put as many as 15 toggles in the notification tray, making it almost entirely unnecessary for a casual user to venture inside the Settings menu. With Android 4.2, Google itself seems to have taken a liking to the whole idea, adding versatile quick settings controls in the same drawer. Open source has its advantages, and while your device may not be rocking Android 4.2 yet, you can get a taste of what the toggles feel like, right now.

Enter Control Panel for Android, a free app originating from XDA-Developers and available now on the Google Play Store. The app is aimed to mimic the sort of functionality and ease of access that is promised by Android 4.2’s Quick Settings, and is definitely more functional than MIUI’s offering (I have found nothing in all popular custom ROMs that beats their quick toggles). The best part: Control Panel works as a standard app, and you don’t need to be on any specific firmware to make use of it.

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The app needs to be launched once for the settings to become available, as indicated by the persistent Android doodle in the status bar. Within the notification panel, you get quick access to ringer volume, vibrate mode and brightness adjustments, while tapping the Quick Settings button itself populates a panel with 16 toggles/shortcuts, including the likes of the conventional Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Sound, Vibrate etc., and the scarce ones like Screen Timeout, Dial tone, Haptic Feedback and a few others. Want still more? Hit the doodle at the bottom, and the app itself will launch, featuring a four-tabbed holo-ish interface, containing even more quick access shortcuts.

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On its own customization front, Control Panel for Android sports 5 different themes, although the dark (default) one is perhaps the easiest on eyes. Tabs include Sound, Network, Display/Others and About, and can neither be reordered nor customized. One big annoyance are the in-app ads, and since there’s no donate/paid version yet, you’ll have to make do, at least for now. Beyond that, it’s a pretty neat offering, one that you’ll find pretty useful in a lot of scenarios.

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Control Panel for Android was initially launched at XDA-Developers, and later made available through Google Play Store. Head over to the Play Store link below to simply grab it. Android 2.2 Froyo and above are supported.

(Source: Control Panel for Android on the Play Store)

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