The desktop background of the computer may seem of little importance to some but other users pay very much attention to the image set as background of the screen. It either says something about their personality or it is simply an image conveying their state of mind.
Although the process of changing a desktop background is nothing complicated and implies opening a wallpaper with Windows' image viewer and choosing the option from the context menu, there are ways of completely automating it. BioniX Wallpaper Changer is one of the most appreciated wallpaper managers on the Internet and it comes jam-packed with options.
The application has three versions, one for every pocket: the Lite edition is absolutely free, the Extreme version is $14.2 and the Insane edition is $21.4 but you can get a 30% discount for the last two if you use the coupon code Disc30
upon purchasing from the developer's website. All three are differentiated by the number of active features. For a complete list of features for each of the mentioned versions you can check up this link here
We're going to test the Insane version
, which has all the features of the Lite and the Extreme editions and then some. Besides lifetime access to updates, it gives access to over 125 application skins, enables the wallpaper change shortcut, makes available the “lock on folder” feature and supports an unlimited amount of images in the playlist.
From the moment Bionix Wallpaper Changer is launched you can clearly see that the developer did not aim to impress with the aesthetics of the software but with its slew of features and options. Even so, there are a bunch of skins available to change the main application window and make it more pleasantly looking.
One thing needs to be mentioned about BioniX Wallpaper Changer: it is not a regular wallpaper manager as it is capable of handling an entire folder of images and change them according to a user-set time interval. It can shuffle them for a touch of ‘the element of surprise’ or roll them in the exact order they are stored on the hard disk.
In the main screen of the software there is a set of options very similar to the controls of an audio player. These can help you skip to the next or previous image and start/stop the countdown timer, which can be set down to a second but in this mode you will notice a computer drag as the CPU is used pretty intensely.
The main application window contains a drop-down menu that, once unrolled, gives you access to different menus situated in the lower part of the window: Desktop
and Lock on Folder
. The Info
tab shows the amount of free space on the drives of the system. Each of them contains options for configuring the wallpaper style, choosing the resampling quality and the contrast, saturation and brightness for the best looks.
Given the tooltips
popping up upon mouse hovering over an option and their brief explanation, working with the application should be a cinch. The list of resample filters includes the famous Lanczos and Mitchell filters as well as B-Spline, Hermite and Bell.
The Lock on Folder feature allows you to spin the images in a specific folder automatically every time you start the program. They make for the software playlist and you can add as many pictures as you want after the locking has been enabled because the application will simply count them all. Playlist view
can be enabled from the main application window (top right) and, just like in an audio player, you get to create as many of them as you want and save them on the hard disk. Sort options let you randomize the list or reverse the order of the items.
Configuring BioniX Wallpaper Changer is nothing complicated and allows for setting up the action to be taken at software start (change wallpaper and then close, start the countdown timer or do absolutely nothing). It can also be set up to start with Windows in minimized mode.
The application supports additional interface tweaks besides the various skins available, consisting of changing the opacity and making it transparent
Additional options relate to the Playlist Editor. Here you can choose the action attributed to the Delete button (removing the file from playlist only or from the hard disk as well) or select the default resample mode.
If the tooltips are popping up too slow, their appearance time can be changed, together with the duration they remain on screen. The place these can be set up is the Icon/Help tab of the Advanced Settings.
A very interesting option present in the Insane version of the software is the system-wide hotkey
. This enables you to change the current wallpaper with the next one instantly without calling on complicated menus. You just press a key combination that supersedes all apps on your computer and the desktop background is immediately switched with the next in line. However, you should be careful for the hotkey not to double with a different action in a different piece of software.
BioniX Wallpaper Changer makes for a great wallpaper manager both in terms of options and regarding the ease of use. It may not be the greatest looking application but its looks are irrelevant compared to the discounted price and the set of features it puts on the table. System resources are kept down to a minimum (in our case peak RAM usage was registered at 9MB while CPU was used only when changing the wallpaper) and it can help you create multiple playlists and load them up one at a time, just like in an audio player.
An exciting caboodle is represented by the Tools menu. It gathers options for hiding desktop icons and even the taskbar. These come in handy when combined with a lower wallpaper change delay as you can watch an whole playlist just like a slideshow on the entire monitor screen, without any hindrance from the shortcuts.
One of the biggest drawbacks of BioniX are the looks. The interface and even some of the skins are not in tone with Vista's shiny slick looks, not to mention with the upcoming Windows 7. Also, we noticed that the main application window and the Playlist Editor do not stick together when moved more vigorously. The Good
BioniX Wallpaper presents an amazing set of options and features dedicated to automating the way your wallpapers change on your desktop. It is extremely easy to use, runs on low computer resources and can give you details on the fill level of the various drives available on the system.
You can select the time interval for the desktop background to be changed and select a specific folder for the application to take the images from. Each image can run as it is or you can tweak the contrast, saturation and brightness to make it more artsy.
The tested version makes available no less than seven resample modes for the wallpapers to show their best. The Bad
The looks are nothing Bionix should be proud of. Not even some of the skins can do a better job and the Playlist Editor just can't keep stuck to the main application window if the latter is shaken a tad quicker. The Truth
If the current discounted prices remain ($9.9 for the Extreme edition and 14.9 for the Insane one) I'm sure BioniX will rake a whole lot more adepts. However, even without the discount BioniX makes for a pretty tempting offer.
It works quite well and besides the aforementioned mischiefs there is little to add on the downside. It can start with Windows and run minimized, you can use a system-wide hotkey to immediately change the current wallpaper and it can be set up to take user-specific actions once it is launched.
Try the Lite version for free for as long as you want, compare the features of the other two versions and decide if it is worth the money (hopefully, the coupon code will become a permanent offer). Here are some snapshots of the application in action: