Despite the multitude of alternatives available in the Market, I’ve stuck with the default contacts phonebook on my phone. Most of the phonebook replacements out there were too slow, lack basic functionality or just didn’t look decent enough.
Contapps: Contacts Phonebook is being dubbed as the most advanced replacement for the regular phonebook app. Find out whether it’s good enough to try or should be thrown directly in the garbage in today’s test report.
Features & Use
The app greats you with a very ugly scene: all your contacts are presented in a chaotic mess. It’s virtually impossible to find your away among this jumble of phone numbers and Gmail contacts. So the first thing to do after opening the app is to head straight for the Settings.
The Settings are divided into the following categories:
- Facebook Synch
- Contacts Grid View
- Gesture Search
- Homescreen Widget
In Tabs, you can adjust which social networks are allowed to access your contact details. You can select between Facebook, Twiter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. In addition you’ll find tabs labeled Address, Google It and Social Feeds.
If you enter in an address, it then automatically appears on a map next to the contact profile Google It searches for your contact’s name in Google and Social Feeds displays the latest social network post of the given contact.
In the Facebook Synch section, you can adjust when contacts should be synched with Facebook. You can also synchronize manually when the name in Facebook does not match the contact’s name in your phonebook.
And here’s where an annoying problem comes up. When you forget to link a contact manually and try to do so from the contact’s Facebook tab everything synchronizes except for the profile picture. So you are basically forced to synch every contact manually, which is a whole lot of pain and zero fun.
Under Contacts Grid View I finally found some settings for bringing a little clarity and order to my list of contacts. Here you can organize your contacts by last name and exclude contacts without phone numbers from your list.
Additionally, you can decide whether your most contacted contacts should automatically be added to your list of favorites.
After tweaking with the settings a little bit my contact list looked much better.
Activating Gesture Search allows you to search for contacts by outlining the name of the contact on the screen instead of using the keyboard. Just type in the first couple letters a name to locate the correct contact. It’s a nice gimmick, but it’s not any faster than using the keyboard.
When setting up the app’s widget you can determine which contacts will be displayed there. You can either mark your own or display the most contacted people. You can also adjust whether tapping a contact in the widget automatically initiates a call or opens up the contact’s profile details.
I find it disappointing that the widget doesn’t display the contacts in the same way as they are shown on the main menu. The worst part is that the widget doesn’t allow you to scroll through the list making the whole thing thereby useless.
In the General settings, you can turn on birthday notifications and deactivate Contapps as your default phonebook app.
Back in the main menu, you’ll find 5 buttons at the bottom of the screen. The first button is an animated penguin that starts moving when touched. The point of this button is beyond me. Moving on: the app comes with a regular T9 touchscreen dialer with the help of which you can also search for contacts. You sort your contacts alphabetically, by how frequently you call them and according to most recently called.
Via the menu button you can adjust the contact pictures. Unfortunately, it is impossible to customize the picture unless you send invitations to five of your friends to download the app. Pestering people with stuff like that could actually make you lose a couple of friends so you can forget about customizable pictures.
Swiping across the main menu from right to left opens up the list of recently called contacts.
All the contact details in this app are exactly the same as in the regular phonebook. In fact, Contapps is way too similar to my default phonebook app to be really worth going through the trouble to install.
Bottom Line: Contapps: Contacts Phonebook doesn’t bring anything new to the table: it simply regurgitates the same functions as our default contacts app. Neither the Facebook synch nor the widget work any better than what you’re used to. So this app doesn’t really cut it as a phonebook replacement app. If you’re satisfied with your normal phonebook, why switch to something that’s virtually identical?
Screen & Controls
Contapps: Contacts Phonebook is really simple to use. I didn’t experience any difficulties finding any of the main features. This doesn’t change the fact that I just didn’t find the app to be esthetically pleasing.
Speed & Stability
The worst part about the Contapps: Contacts Phonebook is that - on top of everything else - the app is very slow and laggy. How are you supposed to quickly find a contact when the app takes forever? Everything is just a tad too slow: from swiping between screens to opening the dialer.
The only thing to cheer about is the fact that the app never crashed during the entire test.
Contapps: Contacts Phonebook can be downloaded for free from the AndroidPIT App Center.