During the introduction of the iPhone in the January of 2007, Steve Jobs said:
What’s the killer app? The killer app is making calls!”
He was of course, referring to how difficult it was to actually make calls on most smartphones of that time. Then, the iPhone’s interface for making calls (now known simply as the Phone app) was definitely a leap ahead of what was currently on the market. However, in the past few years, while it has gained a few more options and is still on par with any other phone app on competing devices, the Phone app on the iPhone has evolved and changed little.
As a consequence of this, a few apps have showed up on the App Store that intend to either offer added functionality or replace the Phone app entirely.
Dialvetica ($2.99) is one such app. Let’s take a look at how it compares against the native Phone app and if it can be a suitable replacement for that.
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Native Phone App
As is expected from Apple, the native Phone app uses all the standard design elements that you find on most apps: Large buttons and big top bars and menu options so you always know where exactly in the app you are and how to get back.
From the Phone app you can also access your contacts, your voice mail, the keypad and, most importantly, your favorites, which are the people you call most often.
Nothing new for any iPhone owner here really, so let’s get to Dialvetica without further ado.
Aptly named Dialvetica (partly due to its use of the classic Helvetica font), this app by developer Mysterious Trousers is intended for one main purpose: Access your contacts fast.
The app uses a very nice minimal design that not only serves an aesthetic purpose, but is also necessary to get rid of all the clutter getting in the way between you and your contacts. The app consists of only one main screen: Your most frequently used contacts. Let’s call it your Favorites on steroids. Upon opening the app, it takes less than a second for all your most “frequent” contacts to show up. Depending on the information you have for any contact, you can use the symbols on the right to instantly execute an action, be it calling, texting or sending an email to any given contact.
The custom keyboard of Dialvetica also serves its purpose: It gets rid of the space bar and all foreign elements to give more room for contacts. The app is smart enough to learn from your behavior and display the people you contact the most at the top. If you still need to find someone though, just type one or two letters and Dialvetica will instantly filter out the relevant contacts. As you can see in the pictures below, sometimes all it takes is a single letter to reach the contact you want.
Long-pressing on a contact allows you to edit it and some of its settings. Also, if you need it, there is also a dial pad for you to dial a phone number manually. Other settings are also available, which allow you to choose, for example, the action that should take place whenever you tap a contact.
If you are a long-time user of the Phone app, switching to Dialvetica might not be that easy, especially if you are used to really work a lot with your contacts within the app or to use features like FaceTime calling. If all you want though, is a way to make your calls or send messages or emails as fast as you can, then Dialvetica makes that possible with just two taps, which, in my opinion, is something almost impossible to beat.