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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.