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Last Updated: September 23rd, 2011

Next in our series of dialer reviews is a very popular replacement dialer called simply Dialer One, developed by Yermek Zhumagulov and available from the Android Market for free. It has a slick design with multiple theming options, and combines just about all the features you need into one screen, which seriously cuts down on time spent navigating around to find what you want.

At A Glance

I have a habit of talking a lot about the design of an app, but in this case there isn't much to say. The design of Dialer One is great. It's simple, clean, and interchangeable, including a black, white, gray, and 'wallpaper' theme (which makes the interface transparent, showing your own wallpaper behind it). The design isn't distracting, but gives the app an extra something. The interface is also pretty ingenious, giving the user buttons to access all the most common dialer features instead of separate screens. Strangely, the basic contacts list is only accessible through a quick series of touches rather than one centralized button. This fact was a bit frustrating because I generally use the contacts list more than other features when searching for contacts.

Features

The first thing that meets the user's eye upon opening Dialer One is a dial pad and the familiar swipeable call log above it. The dial pad works exactly as expected, but I felt that something was missing from the call log. In HTC's Sense dialer (and others), swiping the call log will display not just the recent log, but enable the user to keep swiping to reveal a complete contacts list. In its current iteration, Dialer One requires the user to press Menu then Contacts to get to a full list.

The user can also search for contacts using the dial pad, which searches using numbers and letters. Incidentally, the user can also search using the dedicated search button, which brings up a keyboard. This seems a bit redundant, but sometimes using a traditional keyboard to search can be easier than using the dial pad. An interesting facet of this feature is that it searches your call log and contacts simultaneously, providing a range of results.

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As mentioned before, Dialer One combines its features into a single screen (except the contacts list of course) and makes them available via a simple button tap. There are four buttons in the upper right corner of the screen, representing the user's options. The first of these is a button which will bring up a list of contacts sorted by organization. For me this option is unnecessary as I rarely add details such as organization (or even groups) to a contact file. I can see, however, that it may be useful for business users who need to search through contacts based on specific organizations. The next button shows contacts sorted by group, adding one more organizational option which, for me, is unnecessary. Finally there is a call log button, which gives the option to filter the call log on the main screen according to the interaction (whether the call was incoming, outgoing, missed, unknown, etc.).

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Dialer One has a couple of other features accessible by pressing your phone's Menu button. These are the contacts list and the speed dial list. In my opinion these features should have been included in the main screen's buttons, replacing the organization and group buttons. The good news is that one can set Contacts, Favorites, or Speed Dial to replace the call log in the main screen.

The contacts list is just what you'd imagine - a basic list of contacts. The app keeps the dial pad on screen until the user swipes up the contacts list, which I feel adds an unnecessary step to the process of viewing a basic list. Additionally, when scrolling through contacts using the scroll bar, there is no option to skip to a certain letter. In Android's stock dialer, using the scroll bar that appears when one swipes through contacts enables the user to scroll through letters of the alphabet rather than individual entries. This is a very convenient feature that I feel should have been included with Dialer One.

Speed dial is a fairly simple operation as well. From the contacts list, the user can long-press an entry, choose Speed Dial, and select what number the contact should be given in the speed dial list. Inside the speed dial list, there is a simple click-to-call functionality. I would have liked to have seen a few more options in speed dial, such as the ability to send an SMS message, but overall the feature works well.

Dialer One also has a "favorites" feature which will bring up a list of the user's favorite contacts, according to number of calls or interactions.

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One great thing about Dialer One is the amount of customization available. The app includes options ranging from auto-rotate (separating the dial pad and call log into two panes), to adjusting "vibration duration." The settings list is quite long and detailed, allowing for a lot of customization that will fit Dialer One to suit your needs or preferences.

Final Thoughts

Dialer One is a good replacement for Android's stock dialer - there's no doubt about that. The level of customization, paired with the app's slick design and useful features almost have me convinced to keep the app as my primary dialer, but that isn't to say it's perfect.

Pros

  • It's Free - This is another great dialer option that is available absolutely for free, a huge plus in my book.
  • Customization - Dialer One has 4 themes to choose from (which is really all I need), and a crazy amount of customization options that make the app extremely versatile.
  • Features - The app includes all the features I use most often, and no real fluff to speak of, making it a slick and light-weight app.
  • It's Not Intrusive - We've seen before that sometimes a dialer app can be a little intrusive (think RocketDial's call screen). Dialer One manages to keep things basic and compact, not chiming in where it doesn't belong.

Cons

  • Redundancy - While I could see some users wanting both keyboard and dial pad search options, I don't think they're both necessary, and I'd like to see the keyboard search button replaced by something more useful. The same goes for the group/organization buttons, which I feel could be replaced, or at least put in the app menu instead of Contacts and Speed Dial.
  • There Could Be More - There are a few incidental features I'd like to see such as the option to send an SMS to someone in your speed dial list more easily. Minor though they may be, adding a few more subtle features would really take this dialer up a level for me.

Overall I'd say Dialer One makes a capable - though imperfect - replacement dialer app. Considering the fact that it's absolutely free in the Android Market, it's definitely worth a shot.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Leo Benveniste

    I'm using Go Contacts, but you make this one sound tempting, how do these 2 match up against each other?

    • Jim

      @Leo why not try it for a few days, it's free! I've found it to be a great, stable simple dialer. I consistently use the dialpad to search for contacts,I usually find it takes only 2 or 3 taps to find a contact.much faster than scrolling through a list. I will try gocontacts for a couple days to see what the hype is about.

  • Leo

    I was thinking just that...will do and comment my take

  • val

    AContact is awesome!

  • Rony

    i use this dialer and i love it. tried go contacts and came back to this one. i don't understand much what it is complain about contact list in the review. i never go to contact list because i do all my searching thru dialerpad. great feature is that it shows by most frequent searched names .

  • Praveen

    I personally prefer Youlu Address Book over Dialer one.. I think u'll should review it

  • Mathias

    Sadly Dialer One doesn't support search for contacts Nick Name which I was used to with HTC's dialer. Now I am using Eir Fast Dialer

  • jhalsey205

    DialerOne has been my "go to" dialer for a while. I have tried all the others ... (I really like Go Contacts but experienced performance lags) but also returned to DialerOne. It just works ... well.

  • Defiant

    Another con for me is that the phone icon to the left of a typed-in number is not green - the universal color for "dial".

    I have a 6 year old, and we worked the procedure for dialing 911 with her as: "remember 9-1-1 and then green". It's also what she its taught at school.

  • wackadroid

    I use dialer one and it is the bomb. I only wish the dial button was bigger or a diff color on the phone. It blends in too easily and this is a dialer after all.

  • Leo Benveniste

    I tried Youlu Address Book because of a comment here, and it looks the best and simplest, it works great, much faster than the others, and it's just one app for dialer and sms, which is great, i don't need separate apps for that anymore.
    looks like a keeper

  • Jorgen

    Dialer One must be the ugliest dialer I've seen so far... I also tried Youlu Address Book after the comment here and it looks very slick!

  • Praveen

    Hi Leo and Jorgen.. Thanks for trying out my suggestion! :) I wanted Android Police to review Youlu Address Book because not many people are aware of it.. Sadly many people just go the ratings and the top most option that comes up when u search for anything in the market.. But ive used a lot of other dialers like Go Contacts, Dialer One, ets.. but none of them come close to the sheer speed of searching contacts in Youlu..

  • Jörgen

    There could very well be a problem with the Chinese screenshots, that usually scares the shit out of westerners...

  • Mike Ysstog

    Either I don't understand the wording in this review or you didn't use this dialer very thoroughly:

    1. In its current iteration, Dialer One requires the user to press Menu then Contacts to get to a full list.

    No, it doesn't. From any screen, swipe the entry field (the area where numbers appear as you type them). This will cycle through the call log, the contacts list, and a screen to create new contacts.
    If that doesn't work for you, enable it in the preferences.

    2. In my opinion these features should have been included in the main screen's buttons, replacing the organization and group buttons.

    I sure hope they don't do this. I can't believe you don't use groups to organize your contacts. I regularly use them to do things like pick restaurants (I have a group called Food)--when I'm hungry and indecisive, I click the group and am reminded of all the places I like to eat. Very handy. :)

    3. Again, adjust this in your preferences. When I bring up Dialer One the default screen is my contacts list. I swipe UP from the bottom to show the dial pad.

    4. The same goes for the group/organization buttons, which I feel could be replaced, or at least put in the app menu instead of Contacts and Speed Dial.

    Again, I hope not. I don't use Speed Dial or Favorites.

    5. I would have liked to have seen a few more options in speed dial, such as the ability to send an SMS message...

    Long-press any contact to send an SMS.

    My only complaint about Dialer (I think it's perfect otherwise) is that it claims a spot in the Notification bar. I don't understand the purpose of this since most people put their dialer on a button on the home screen anyway and that real estate is needed for other things. If the developer added a preference to remove it, I'd be very happy.

    • http://www.liamspradlin.com Liam Spradlin

      Hi Mike, thanks for the thoughtful response to my review. I wrote mainly from the perspective of initial use, leaving most of the settings unchanged.

      Many of the other comments I made were based on my own preferences, as stated. These admittedly come down to individual opinions, which may vary with each user. I'll update the SMS comment as needed.

  • Force.

    I find the permissions of this app slightly concerning...

    It has unnecessary ones like "FINE (GPS) LOCATION"
    and seems to be lacking "DIRECTLY CALL ANY PHONE NUMBERS" which I believe is needed to call emergency numbers like 911.

    For these reasons I switched to dialer2.