10 May 2016

Android Angles: Contacts+, one of the most versatile contact apps for Android

I'm a complete perfectionist and it is the worst experience ever to have an Android device. There are far too many choices and I just can't decide which is the right one.

In order to save you from the same nightmare of choice, I present to you an app that I think will cover almost all the bases for those needing a better Contact management experience on their device.

I present... Contacts+ as enjoyed (or at least, installed) by more than 10 million users.

Why do I like this app? Well, it's not perfect, for starters, but it seems to cover my wishlist for a contacts management app:

  • Simple, intuitive, fairly minimalist interface
  • One-stop app to cover all my basic communication needs
  • Duplicate Contact management
  • SMS conversation management (including deleting multiple SMSes easily)
  • Fast dial functionality
  • Unknown number identification
  • Cloud backup
Looking through my list you'd think I was asking for the impossible. But thankfully, I found my home with Contacts+.

I must say from the outset that it's not at all 100% perfect in all departments - in fact, on a loan Samsung Galaxy S4 I found that received SMSes were blank "MMS" ... could have been the sender though, because other users were fine. At any rate, my experience has been around 95% satisfactory which is a large step up from using seven different mediocre individually focused apps.

Let's get started then, shall we?

Simple, intuitive, fairly minimalist interface

The interface is very straightforward - you can customise the screen to display as a grid or as lines, and you can resize it to show more or fewer contacts. The settings can also prescribe your default landing page within the app when you load it up - start at Calls, Dial pad, SMS, or Contacts (and you can add another menu for "Speed Dial" which is your favourites and frequent contacts). Sorting can be done alphabetically, by frequency, etc.

  Contacts +- screenshot
Contacts Page
Customisation options
Contact card information options
  






One-stop app to cover all my basic communication needs

One app to manage SMS, Contacts, Calls, with 3rd party app integration (for example, WhatsApp).

Duplicate Contact management

Although Google allows this with Google Mail etc. this is a very handy instrument to get your phone contacts in order (and merged) too ... behold! 




  Contacts +- screenshot  



SMS conversation management (including deleting multiple SMSes easily)

Contacts+ lets you select a thread (or multiple threads) for deletion or blocking but what's really great is that there is a search box to filter out the messages you don't want to tamper with. I absolutely love being able to nuke 100+ SMSes in only three taps (select, delete, confirm).

The search box gives a very rich list of options for search criteria..
.  Contacts +- screenshot



Fast dial functionality

Contacts+ allows you to tap one button (or you can choose to have individual buttons added to your home screen if you want shortcuts to specific aspects of the app, like a shortcut straight to Contacts, or one straight to SMS) and then swipe left or right to get where you want to go. There's an option to start the app into the dial screen if you prefer, but the floating dialer button isn't much of a hassle to get to.

When inside a Contact, you can also drill-down to your SMS conversations and Call history. What I really like is how the call history shows a brief history of incoming, outgoing, and missed calls per contact so at a glance you have a basic idea of your most recent interactions.

The app integrates 3rd party apps so for example you can tap on the WhatsApp chat bubble or the WhatsApp VOIP button to initiate the appropriate action. The choice of what cards to display by default (or minimised) enhances the experience.

  Contacts +- screenshot

Unknown number identification

  Contacts +- screenshot

Says it all - I've actually had limited success with this in South Africa - it did identify an 012 number in Pretoria with the correct name, and that contact wasn't in my records anywhere, so I was impressed by that.

Cloud backup

Backup your contacts, SMS, and Calls to the Contacts+ cloud - it's a pity that you can't set this to save to Google Drive but in a way this means you can have backups of your backups if you choose to user another 3rd party app for the Google Drive backup.



Conclusion

So far I'm enjoying this app a lot! It has plenty of customisation options like what icon you want, themes, chat notification bubbles that pop-up over your existing screen (optional) so you can reply quickly to a text. All-in-all, my current go-to app for all things contacts-related.

THE ONLY feature that I miss from this app is the ability to mark / pin SMSes - if that doesn't get added then I will need to look at alternative apps to fill this need for me (unless I manually copy to Google Keep every time).

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