24
Oct
hi-124-9

Continuing on the quest for the perfect dialer to replace Android's stock phone application, I've come across Contapps Contacts & Dialer, an app I had never heard of until I began scouring the market. For a free dialer app, it has a lot to offer, and I'm surprised that it isn't more popular.

At A Glance

Contapps is a dialer replacement that is simple, practical, and well-designed, with enough extra features to make it feel new. While it may have a couple of redundancies or inconsistencies, it's definitely a great dialer, and definitely has a shot at being my everyday dialer solution (at least until I get my hands on Ice Cream Sandwich).

Features

As usual, the first thing I want to talk about with Contapps is its design. The interface looks great - it's polished, clean, and a little shiny without going over the line or looking too gaudy.

Naturally, the next thing to discuss is the dialer panel itself. Contapps gives us the standard dial pad with a recently called/contacts underlay, but adds an elegant twist: your contacts list is no longer a list, but instead a collection of contact icons and names. Assuming you've assigned images to all your contacts, this feature can make the app look fairly awesome. If not, you get penguin and egg icons. As you may expect, Contapps includes a T9 search function right from the dial pad.

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Upon minimizing the dial pad, you'll notice a series of icons. The penguin icon is only for decoration, though it does have some entertaining animations. The filter button allows you to view only certain segments of your contacts list, either by groups or favorites. The only downside to this is that you can't filter by organization. A small complaint, but something that would've been convenient.

The user can also "sort," which is kind of like filter, except it is based around contact interactions. Users can choose to sort contacts into two groups: recently contacted and frequently contacted.

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You may have noticed in the above screenshot the words "Twitter," "Facebook," and "Google." This is because Contapps can sync your social media contacts with your original contacts list, which I think is pretty awesome. Best of all, it's able to do this in a fairly discreet way that isn't distracting or cluttered. Users can add contacts from pretty much anywhere, even LinkedIn.

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The Search feature has a little spice as well. The user can either search using the standard keyboard or enable gesture searches. Contapps' gesture recognition does a surprisingly good job, and if it doesn't recognize your handwriting, it will ask you what you meant, and add it to its knowledgebase.

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Contapps is not without its weak points, however. A good example would be the call log and contacts apps, which are installed simultaneously with the main dialer. What's odd is that both of these features are accessible from the main app by simply swiping the screen. Perhaps the extraneous apps were included so that users could create shortcut icons to commonly used features, but frankly I find them redundant and unnecessary.

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Final Thoughts

With only a couple of qualms, I would call Contapps Contacts & Dialer an awesome dialer replacement. Its clean, stylish interface (while lacking in customization), search options, and social integration help it stand out from the crowd, and it does plenty of things right to overshadow the minor nitpicks I have with it.

Pros

  • It's Free - Contapps offers all of its functionality and convenience for absolutely no cost, which is always a plus.
  • Social Integration - The extent to which Contapps can integrate various social services is not only convenient, but somewhat impressive.
  • Interface/Ease Of Use - Everything about the app looks clean and polished. The thoughtfulness of the design makes the app enjoyable to use.
  • Gesture Search - While I don't typically utilize the gesture search, it is a handy, intuitive feature that I was honestly impressed by.

Cons

  • Redundancies - Contapps puts three apps in your app drawer rather than one, for no apparent reason. Also, the multiplicity of search options may seem a bit like unnecessary clutter to some.
  • Some Small Touches Missing - While Contapps offers all the functionality I really need, the ability to more extensively sort contacts would be nice, and while the animated penguin icon in the lower corner may be cute, I think that real estate could be better used.
  • No Interface Customization - While the interface is already great, and looks very polished, it would definitely be nice to see a few options as far as customizing the app's appearance. Even just a few color schemes would be refreshing.

Overall, Contapps is a great option for those looking to break away from stock, and provides all the functionality you could want or need, while looking great. Considering the fact that it's totally free in the Android Market, it's certainly worth trying out.

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.

  • Jim

    I liked it too, until I discovered that it was bogging everything down, even dialing out seemed to take forever..

  • Stefan C. Ionescu

    I tried it and well.. it is slow. Also calling from the call list tab does not work. When i press an entry there (no matter if short or long pressing) either nothing happens or it only blinks for a moment.

    Not really usable at this stage.

  • zack

    WOW! thank you so much for this... i've been looking for this app since i bought my first android.
    and i can't believe you didn't write about the contact page... it's wicked.

  • Leo

    It's awesome on my nexus one. The social networks integration is really nice, and I absolutely love the sort by frequency option. Must have app.

  • Chris

    The extra apps in the launcher for different sections is what I look for actually. Like you said, it's to make creating shortcuts to each part. I normally set up my Dialer on the bottom bar in Go Launcher EX, with the swipe shortcut on the icon to load the Contacts.

    So I press it to launch the dialer, swipe on it to launch my contacts.

    I haven't tried this dialer, but I think that's why the extra app launchers are here.

  • waelblack

    I use it from month and half and i think it is the best contacts app

  • Joshua Morgan

    I didn't like the redundacies. For my dialer, it's a must to have the ability to send texts to entire groups at the same time. I couldn't access my boys soccer team group or my girls swim team group from contapps.

  • Lanso

    I would suggest also taking a look at Go Contacts EX, it comes with dialer and contacts and various features that I came to like. You can change themes, etc. Also been using it for about 2-3 weeks.
    I've started to use the other products they have made GO SMS and GO Launcher EX.

  • http://www.google.com Andy (AndroidSanFran)

    Hi Guys,

    Finally, you have added this into the boxing ring of all things, Contact Apps (ContApps, get it?)

    This App is simply by far the best out there, nothing even comes close to the features it use, and displays well. The GUI is so slick, simple and yet really effective to get to all data. It is really well thought out, and I know it sounds crazy, but this is simply what ICS is gonna achieve. Although I welcome ICS new dialer, this will still have a place on my Android as its is simple and fun, and well designed. Talking of Design, the team behind this app are also awesome, they reply almost instantly to all eMails, they take on board what you say. This App gets better and better with each update. v1.8 which Im not sure is in the market yet is the most complete and best build yet, and can only see it getting better too (esp some hints I added.... wink wink)

    For those who complain about it being slow, I dont feel its any slower than any other Apps in the same field, even stock dialer can be slow on my device (and my device isnt cutting edge, its mid-range Android) and yet its as responsive as I expect it to be, not only this, there is a option to turn it into "LIST" view, which makes it even snappier, and more like stock dialer, but still with all the bells and whilsts....

    This gets my vote (clearly)!!!

    • SCI

      on my DHD this is the slowest contact/dialer app i ever had. and i tested a lot.

      and the call list isn't working as i described in my post above.

  • jon

    wasn't this a free app of the day? I guess that one was pro, but I don't see any difference from what you presented in the free version.

  • Falconator

    It is a nice tool indeed (thank you Amazon)! My only con at the moment is no sms option. Yeah, you can stick with stock or just stick with the one on one type messaging for each contact, but it gets annoying after a while. Also, it does take some time to get used to but once you pass the learning curve, you will enjoy it!

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