- Manage Contacts
- Create and Manage Smart Groups
- Fast T9 Dialer
- Powerful Search and Filtering Options
- Shows Unfiled Contacts
- Speed Dial
ABContacts from Andrea Vettori is a powerful Contact Management solution built for power and speed. If you are looking for an application to get your contacts organized and quickly accessible, look no further. ABContacts is a great replacement for the native contacts application. Since ABContacts is such a robust application, packed with so many features, they have put together a very thorough, detailed, users guide, to help you get started. It helps a great deal to read it before diving into the app. And becasue they have gone through great lengths to provide that information to you, I am going to deviate a bit from the standard review format of Appsolute Reviews. So without further adieu, let’s get to the review.
ABContacts gives you a great starting point for getting things organized. The app successfully imports all contacts from your device. No need to leave the app to add anyone. I currently have about 350 contacts, so some organization is essential. From what I understand, Apple has made it impossible for applications to create native groups as of recent (please see the correction at the end of this post), therefor we miss out on one of the features ABContacts was capable of in the past. However, ABContacts is still capable of creating “Smart Groups” within the app itself. The “Smart Groups” will not be accessible outside of the app, but that’s really no big deal since you probably won’t open the native app once you download ABContacts anyway.
Smart groups are a way of grouping contacts together using sets of user defined rules. For example; Set one rule to match a company name. Set a second rule to match a work email address. ABContacts will do the leg work for you and find all contacts that match both rules and place them all in an easily accessible Smart Group. This has made contacting my coworkers so much faster since having the app. I actually prefer to use the Smart Groups now over native groups. With Smart Groups, I have the flexibility to change the rules, therefor changing the groups members, without searching through 350 contacts to add or delete them. It takes some getting used to, but once you’ve learned how to work with them, Smart Groups will alleviate some stress and are truly the way to go.
On a more simplified, equally powerful, scale, you can filter your contacts using a few presets. By tapping the filter option from any group, you have the option to filter by upcoming birthdays, upcoming events or companies. There is also the “Contacts Filter” option in which you can filter by company, notes and/or address. The “Contacts Filter” is a stripped down version of the Smart Group option with less fields available to sort and lack of permanency.
Something else that is rather unique to ABContacts, is it’s ability to search in T9 mode. If you select “Dialer” from the menu, you can either dial a phone number directly or search for a contact using the letters assigned to the number keys. It’s surprisingly fast and accurate. Additionally, if you have set up your favorites you can keep a key pressed to make a quick call using speed dial. You can access and create your favorites from the ABContacts main menu. You are limited to 9 contacts for the speed dial option. These are all some pretty handy features to have on deck. They are just another set of tools in our tool belt when we are looking to access contacts quickly and make good use of our time.
You also have the option to access your recent call history from the main menu. Something I am rather surprised about, as well as disappointed, is the inability of the app to provide a recent call history that pulls from the history of the device. As of the current version, ABContacts will only display recent calls that have been made from within the app. I am uncertain as to whether the issue lies with Apple or the apps developer (please see the correction at the end of this post). Either way, it’s a disappointment. I do not like to have two sets of call history records. All of my calls are answered using the iPhone’s native phone feature. As a result, none of those calls display in ABContacts. Bummer.
On a better note, from the settings, you have great options for configuration. You get to choose which applications handle the functions of ABContacts. For example; choose whether ABContacts places phone calls using Skype, GV Mobile or the native iPhone app? (of course, that is providing that you have the mentioned apps downloaded on your device) More than one email app? Decide which app to compose your emails in when doing so from ABContacts. The same for SMS as well. This is a nice feature for a lot of people. I typically use the native apps for all of the listed functions but some people really enjoy using other apps to place their phone calls with. I praise Andrea Vettori for having the foresight to see that it is not a “one size fits all” situation and designing the app accordingly.
All in all ABContacts is one of the better, if not the best, contact manager and group organizer for the iPhone that I have come across. I would highly recommend this app to anyone with a daunting list of contacts that is in need of some serious organization. In the future I would love to see better implementation of the Recent Calls* feature and an updated, more intuitive menu, but that should not hold anyone back from making the purchase. ABContacts is well worth its price.
If you would like to get a good feel for the app and its features, check out the Introduction/User Guide created by the ABContacts team.
Our apologies to the developers of ABContacts as well as our readers. We have incorrectly stated information about two of the applications functions/features. We stated that native groups cannot be created from within the app and suggested a different implementation of the recent calls feature. Below is the corrected information from the developer, Andrea Vettori.
From the Developer:
- Global recents are not accessible to developers.
- Native groups are not supported by the iPhone only when syncing with exchange or google. When syncing with any other method the native groups can be used.
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