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One of the most frequently used apps on many Android smartphones is the dialer, which is often only so-so. The dialer on my HTC Thunderbolt, for example, has always felt a slow and clunky, and doesn’t allow for customization.
As with any other function on an Android phone, these shortcomings can be addressed with third-party apps. Let’s have a look at three that improve the quality of the dialer and contacts experience free of charge.
Angel Dialer [No Longer Available]
If you’re looking for a simple and quick replacement for the default dialer and contacts app, Angel Dialer may be your best bet. There’s not quite as much to this Android calling app as some of the competition, but the basics are there. The dialer, contacts, groups and favorites are all available as part of one speedy interface. Most dialer apps have a tendency to lag just slightly from time to time, but I didn’t encounter that with Angel Dialer.
There are no themes available, but there are some customization options available which can be used to slightly change the interface. The only one I absolutely recommend checking out is the Page Animation option. When turned off, this app should perform well even on relatively old devices.
The free version of this app is ad supported. Those annoyed by ads can opt for the Pro version, which is functionally identical and priced at $1.93. Both versions require Android 2.0 and up.
DW Contacts & Phone [2.1+]
This powerful dialer and contacts replacement offers the most functionality of the three apps here. In addition to the standard dialer, contact, group and favorite tabs, the interface has several more options for sorting information such as events, which displays upcoming calendar events related to contacts in your phone.
But wait, there’s more! A sort feature available makes it possible to display contacts by first name, last name, frequency of contact, and more. There’s also a call filter that can temporarily block calls from specific people or groups of people. There’s even extensive support for interface customization.
DW Contacts & Phone is supposedly ad supported, but the ads only seem to appear in the Toolbox section, and only advertise the $9.98 Pro version. Free users also have a few features disabled, such as the background service for contact events, which means the app won’t automatically remind you about them. Both require Android 2.1 and up.
Go Contacts [No Longer Available]
The Go series of apps is one of the most popular on the Android Market. Most of them are popular because they are free, filled with features, and offer extensive customization via themes. All of this is true of Go Contacts which, in spite of the name, includes a refresh of the dialer and the contacts in one package.
Features includes easy group support, favorites support, and an interface that can work with both portrait and landscape phone positions. The most unique feature, however, is the theme support that is built into the app. Only two themes are available by default, but a wide variety is available for download through the app’s interface. Those who care about their phone’s appearance will enjoy browsing the themes to find one that’s appealing.
Go Contacts is not ad supported, and no Pro version is available. It requires Android 2.0 and up.
There are a number of dialer and contact apps available that aren’t covered here, including some popular options such as Dialer One. These three are my favorites, however. Currently, I use Go Contacts on my own smartphone.
Do you have any other Android calling apps that aren’t covered here? As always, feel free to let us know in the comments!