When Windows 10 introduced its own dynamic wallpaper feature, many were excited about getting regular photo updates to their backgrounds that could take them to faraway lands. But, if you’re like me, sometimes a simple photo just isn’t enough to inspire you when you’re staring at your Windows 10 desktop.
That’s where live wallpapers come in. Although not for everyone, these animated images can add just the right amount of spice to your desktop or laptop when you’re feeling the dreary drag of the workday!
What to Consider
Although desktop users won’t necessarily find themselves affected by this issue, anyone considering setting up their live wallpaper on a Windows laptop or tablet should realize that while beautiful to look at, live wallpapers do eat up a bit more battery life than a standard wallpaper would. If you don’t have much charge left or don’t have a ton of capacity to begin with, you might want to consider sticking with a standard wallpaper.
Also, even though setting up a live wallpaper sounds like one of those cheeky Windows 10 hacks that could be done for free, currently there are no software options available that cost less than $3.99. Admittedly, it’s a relatively small fee to shell out, but either way, to get your live wallpaper … “live” … you should get that wallet out now.
Live Wallpaper App Options
There are a few different routes you can choose when setting up your live wallpaper, and each has their own benefits and drawbacks to consider.
Of all the live wallpaper options out there, Wallpaper Engine is definitely the favorite. This app not only features a huge library of both native wallpapers and creator-centric wallpapers provided by the community, but it also has a tool which lets you make and upload your own creations for others to enjoy!
To download Wallpaper Engine, you’ll need to have Steam installed on your PC first. Once you have Steam running, just type “Wallpaper Engine” into the store search and the following window will pop up.
As we mentioned earlier, you should expect to spend around $3.99 for the app (depending on whether or not it’s on Steam Sale when you search).
From there Steam will automatically download and install Wallpaper Engine, and you’re good to go!
Stardock DeskScapes 8
Stardock DeskScapes 8 is another option that some Windows users may prefer to go with thanks to the addition of a thirty-day free trial and slightly more comprehensive customization options for creating your own live wallpapers. Although it is a bit pricier at $7.99, Stardock is a better choice if you personally want to create your own animations out of photos or videos that may not be available in the Wallpaper Engine library.
Stardock makes it easier to edit images and create your own looping cinemagraphs thanks to some innovative software implementations that will automatically animate certain aspects of an image based on a few simple instructions. You can also get deeper into changing the color scheme, and it also features multi-monitor support if your desktop is powerful enough to handle it. The one major drawback to Stardock (aside from the higher cost) is that there’s no central library of content to pull from. This means if you want a live wallpaper, you’ll have to build it all on your own first.
Just in the course of writing this review, I cycled my own wallpaper through about a dozen of different choices, all of which added a whole new zest of life to my Windows experience. Live wallpapers can be a fun and resource-cheap way to spice up your Windows desktop, laptop, or tablet for less than the cost of a sandwich!