Joining the vast crowd of dialer replacements in the Android Market, our hunt has brought us to Angel Dialer, an uncomplicated app that effectively replaces the stock Android dialer, but which may have compromised necessary functionality for a no-frills implementation.
At A Glance
While Angel Dialer takes a concerted stance against superfluous features, its simplicity is not always a plus. While its features work, and it provides the same basic functionality we've seen before, it is lacking a few things that would take it up a level, and make it a decent dialer replacement. As it stands, I wouldn't say it's in the running for my day-to-day dialer app, but it does have some positive points.
As usual, the app starts off with the familiar dial pad/call log screen, with a truncated call log available at the swipe of a finger. The dial pad features an easy-to-use T9 contacts search, but has a few extra quirks hidden away in the settings menu. The user can switch the size of the dial pad, turn on and off dial tones, and even enable a multi-touch feature which allows you to type in more numbers without lifting your first finger. Really, I'm not sure how practical or necessary this is, unless you indeed type so quickly that the display doesn't have time to realize you've lifted a finger.
Next is the call log tab. This tab has a simple press-to-call functionality that often comes in handy, as opposed to the stock dialer's habit of expanding call history when the user clicks a name. A long press will reveal a lengthy list of options, including "Be my favorite," which adds the contact to your favorites list, while sounding a bit awkward. While the ability to call at the tap of a contact is nice at times, I'd like the option to press a contact and reveal the specific page for the interaction I've selected, with options to call, text, or view contact, a la Android's stock dialer. This is a matter of personal preference, but an option to change this would be nice.
The Contacts tab is also a pretty familiar set-up, giving the user an alphabetical list of contacts, with click-to-call functionality. I have a few issues here, however. Remember earlier, when I said it seemed like Angel Dialer was missing a few things? Long pressing a contact in the Contacts tab gives a severely limited list of options, not at all comparable to the call log's options. I say this mainly because there is no option to text a contact directly by long pressing. The user can "view contact" and text from there, but the lack of an option via long press - especially when the option is there in the Call Log tab - is a real downer. Something useful, however, is the ability to view groups in just a few presses. I like that Angel Dialer avoided adding an extra tab for this feature, as it keeps clutter to a minimum.
The Favorites tab is also what we'd expect - a list of favorites. I have mixed feelings here, however. The long press functionality from the Call Log tab is back, but pressing your favorites is a different story. The functionality here is inconsistent. If you haven't contacted a favorite via phone in recent memory, Angel Dialer expands a compact contact view including the person's numbers and thumbnail. If you have contacted them recently, one tap will trigger a call to them. This seems a little odd to me, as I'd like to see consistent functionality.
Finally, we'll talk about the look and feel of the app. Personally I found the interface pretty drab. The only apparent customization the user has is the option to switch between black-on-white and white-on-black text schemes. This is a little disappointing, as I like to be able to customize things to death, especially when the default interface doesn't meet up with my expectations. Otherwise the user can change the size of the dial pad and which tab displays by default when the app is opened. Again, not too many options here.
Overall, Angel Dialer is okay. It isn't a terrible option for replacing your stock dialer, but it also isn't great. Given the choice between Angel Dialer and stock, I would choose stock every time. But that isn't to say that Angel Dialer is without its good points.
- It's free - Currently there is no difference in functionality between Angel Dialer's Free and Pro versions.
- It does what I need it to do - While it is missing a few incidental features, it has the basic features I need to make calls and search for contacts on the go.
- Not a lot of theming options- There's not a whole lot the user can change, visually speaking.
- Inconsistencies/Missing Features - There are areas of the app where performance is spotty, inconsistent, or simply missing intuitive features that I generally expect in a strong dialer app.
- There could be more - A lot more, actually. Leaving the incidental features aside, I would have liked to have seen more sophisticated, intuitive features, such as easy grouping of organizations, mass messaging, etc. that we have seen before.
In the end, I would not totally recommend Angel Dialer to replace Android stock. If you're dying to get a dialer replacement, and don't mind a simplistic, rigid interface, this might be worth a shot, but there are definitely much better options available on the Market.