Not Happy With Your Phone’s Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

pure contacts   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android Android’s default Contacts app is one of the things phone makers seem to relish customizing. Maybe because it’s a straightforward app, or maybe because you’ll be using it every day and they want their style constantly on your mind. Whatever the reason, chances are that unless you have a Nexus device, your Contacts app is customized in some (potentially annoying) way. The good news is that this being Android, there are numerous alternative contact apps to choose from. Today I’m here to show you two apps vying to replace or augment the Contacts app you’re currently using: One is utterly unique, while the other is time-tested and more conventional.

A New Take on Contacts: PureContact

Like them or hate them, Facebook’s Chat Heads certainly have a distinctive style: Contact photos in circles. If you enjoy that aesthetic but don’t want Facebook Home, you should check out PureContact. This free and minimalistic contacts app offers a very different type of experience from what you’re used to, starting with its first screen:

contacts 2   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

Yup, it’s blank. It’s preceded by a short dialog most people likely won’t bother reading, and then… this. I would expect a contacts app to actually have my contacts in it when I open it, but that’s not how PureContact works: Turns out it’s just for your BFFs. In other words, you have to manually add the people you want in the app, and it works best when it plays host only to a handful of your most frequently-contacted people. Fortunately, adding someone is easy:

contacts 5   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

And if that person has more than one email or phone, you need to pick one which you prefer. That’s because PureContact uses gestures:

contacts 3   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

Pretty soon, PureContact looks like this:

contacts 8   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

Swiping each of these contacts right would email them, in my case. Swiping left would send a WhatsApp message. You can also configure up- and down-swipes to perform various actions.

Finally, you can switch off the names (it’s only a handful of avatars, easy to tell apart) and enable a dark theme if you’re into dark apps:

contacts 11   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

The end result is a fun way to contact your favorite people with just a simple swipe, without fiddling with your regular Contacts app. Simple, and quite pretty.

PureContact is far from perfect:

  • You can’t divide your contacts into groups.
  • There’s no homescreen widget (would have been classic for an app like this).
  • It’s not smart enough to automatically add your favorite (starred) contacts.
  • You can rearrange contacts, but not by drag-and-dropping them.

The Conventional Route: Go Contacts EX

PureContact is aimed at augmenting your existing contacts app, rather than replacing it. But what if you’re looking to ditch your Contacts app altogether, and replace it with a full-featured, simple alternative? Go Contacts EX is one app to check out. It comes from a good home, Go Dev Team, the same guys behind Go Launcher EX. Go Contacts EX doesn’t try to break the mold: Rather, it’s a conventional, dependable, do-it-all contacts app. It has everything you’d expect, starting with a T9-enabled dialer:

contacts 12   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

Start tapping out someone’s name, and their number will show. You can also start dialing a few digits from their number, of course. Next comes the Contacts tab:

contacts 14   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

Pretty much what you’d expect, nothing overly shocking. You can switch tabs by swiping, but rather than the standard Android swipe behavior, Go Contacts EX takes this chance to show off some visual flair:

contacts 15   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

Much like a home-screen rotation animation, each tab becomes one face in a cube.

Finally, this being a Go Dev Team app, you can also apply various themes. Two themes come with the app, but it also contains a catalog of many other themes which you can download from Google Play:

contacts 21   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

Many of the themes are quite heavy on the visuals. Here’s what the Graffiti theme looks like:

contacts 23   Not Happy With Your Phones Contacts App? Try These 2 Alternative Contacts Apps For Android

Looks are subjective, of course, but if you value Android’s minimalistic Holo aesthetic, you may be frustrated with Go Contacts EX’s looks. Other than that, it’s a capable, mature contacts app. A 4.4-star average out of over 41,000 reviews on Google Play shows that Go Dev Team got many things right with this app.

One Final Alternative

Finally, one alternative I just have to recommend is my favorite way of searching my device: Google Gesture Search. Personally, I use it just for quickly finding apps (beats rummaging through a busy icon drawer!), but you can also use it to search for contacts. Just start scribbling the first few letters of a contact’s name, and up comes their information.

What do you use to manage your Android contacts? Is the contact apps for Android that came with your phone good, or did you end up replacing it?

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8 Comments -

0 votes

likefunbutnot

Android contact handling is delightfully inconsistent across devices. It really is one of the weakest aspects of the platform. Sadly, none of these does the very simple thing that I want, which is the ability to load a stock, Google-approved Contacts app that replaces the craptastic Motorola/HTC/Samsung/Sony/Toshiba et al. version.

0 votes

Erez Zukerman

That’s very true… Google has been gradually bringing more and more of their stock apps into GPlay (like they recently did with the stock JB keyboard — now anyone can download it off GPlay). I can only hope they’ll do it with the contacts/dialer someday.

0 votes

zadik

Contact+ . It has everything, including a dialer, sms, contacts, the whole lot.
Doesn’t crash and doesn’t consume too much space or battery. Syncs with everything, even with the NSA records…..

0 votes

Erez Zukerman

In general, I think NSA record sync comes as a standard feature with any app these days… So not a major selling point. :)

0 votes

Peter De Mangelaere

As another alternative, especially useful in mobile situations, check SpContact.

0 votes

Deepak IJ

Hi, I have a HTC Desire A8181 and have around 32MB of contact data. Internal memory space is an issue.. I have rooted my phone and have 4.2.2 Jelly Bean version which is awesome

So here is what i want to do…

I have saved all the contacts onto SD card, cleared all the data on memory card. So to access my contact data i need to import the contacts back to it. Right? So what i am looking at is, an app that can read the contact data from SD card and not from my phone memory. I know that it’s all linked… but do you think something like this is possible?

0 votes

Erez Z

I must say I’m not sure. You may want to submit this as a question to a wider audience using our Q&A section, MakeUseOf Answers: http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/

Let’s see if the experts over there may be able to help! :)

0 votes

yong926

Hi, I want to recommend another address book — Efficient Address Book Free which is freeware yet powerful contacts managemnet software. You can see more info at: http://www.efficientsoftware.net/addressbook/