Weekend discussion: Which dialer and messenger apps do you use?


What I love most about the degree of customization Android offers is the ability to replace default apps for certain actions, such as the dialer and the message apps, with those that offer something different.

However, for some reason I’ve never been able to stick with one app that I really, really like. And I really want your help out to find out which ones I should try out, and at the same time have a little discussion regarding everyone’s preferences and what they really want from these apps.


I’ve used the Sense dialer (which I’d say has been my favorite), the stock Gingerbread dialer (now ICS themed, I use this currently), the TouchPal Dialer, and the exDialer.

What I really want is T9 dialing, since it makes it extremely fast to get through my contacts. Plus the chuckle I get while dialing ‘666’ to call my mom. It’s their in TouchPal, and I’ll probably reinstall it if I can’t find a better alternative.


Again, I’m on the stock Gingerbread messaging app, and have tried out mysms, have just installed the Handcent 4 beta, and quite a few others that I can’t remember for some strange reason.

What I really want is a clean interface, none of that iPhone-ish bubbles. I want to be able to just quickly glance at the message without getting distracted with any over-the-top theming.


So put in your favorites in the comments, and I’ll give them a try over the week and post an update when I’m back next weekend.

Raveesh Bhalla

Get the Galaxy Note now for $299

Previous article

Oracle’s case against Google rapidly deteriorating

Next article

You may also like


  1. CM9 Dialer is the best so far, as it’s T9 and fits perfectly with the OS.

    MyDialer was my next choice as it’s the only decent looking T9 third party one. It’s basically the MIUI dialer.

    The main thing I look for is T9 but with a clickable contact picture that brings up the default android contact pop-up thing.

    SMS; again I can’t see a reason to clutter my phone with third party apps. Stock ICS app works perfectly for me.

  2. I don’t make many calls but when I do its using GrooveIP.  I use Google Voice for messaging.  I also use G+ Messenger and Google Talk.

  3. ‘GoSMS’ is a really nice SMS app. You can customise most aspects of it, or just have it running in lite mode. No conversation bubbles if you don’t want them, which I also hate, as they’re just an unnecessary waste of screen real-estate.

    I have to say I’m really coming round to the idea of XMS as the next-gen of SMS, with video/photo/audio/location/contact sending built in to the capabilities, and all using your data rather than your text allowance. So free on wfi. ‘WhatsApp’ is good, and extremely widely adopted and supported across platforms. Also really like the crisp look and feel of ‘eBuddy XMS’, which I hope increases its capabilities and availabilty across platfroms.

    1. Go SMS is my favorite messaging app.  I liked Chomp, but it became a trial and Handcent was way too bulky/ laggy.

      I’ve never even considered another dialer…probably because I only dial about calls per week to order pizza.  (I mostly go to my favorites to make a call.)

  4. All of the “GO” products…

    1. ditto.  Even though I get errors now with the nexus.  It still works fine, but after I leave the app I get a notification that it terminated unexpectedly.  Still works so damn well I will put up with the minor annoyance.

    2. GO SMS is definitely my favorite messanger app after a bit of customization. I ditched Go Dialler to give stock ICS a try but I do miss T9 contacts… might go install it again.

  5. I use, “Go Sms”. Most customizible one I’ve tried. I HIGHLY recommend it. And I have the verizon xperia play, which is stock so I prefer the stock Gingerbread dialer. Much faster.

  6. Droid X, rooted with Liberty 3: I use Dialer One and Google Voice. Very occasionally (because usually I have a computer handy), I will use G+ Messenger or Skype (for text).

  7. I use the stock sense dialer and gosms… Only reason I stopped using the stock sms is because of some problems specific to the phone though, I had no problem with the stock sms other than that.

  8. Wait, you mean this thing can make phone calls?!?! Lol, I’m lucky if i have 5 minutes of talk time in a month. So i just use the default dialer.

  9. GO Dialer and Handcent.

  10. CM9 dialer and Google Voice for messaging. 

  11. Stock galaxy nexus ics messenger and dialer. No need for anything else, its perfect.

  12. I just use the stock sense apps.
    However, when I use launcher 7 and winphone style apps, I use metro messaging and wp7 dialer

  13. Just installed GoSMSPro, but I have one issue that perhaps someone can help with…  When I open up a new message the keyboard doesn’t automatically appear.  I have to press in the box first.  In handcent I had the option to have an automatic keyboard.  Is there a setting that I’m missing, or is that just GoSMSPro?

    1.  Hi bvoak. Think I might be able to help. Go to settings>advanced settings>appearance settings>conversation other settings. Check the tickbox for ‘show virtual keyboard’. Hope that helps.

  14. stock default.

  15. Stock Touchwiz dialer. I like that I can type a name and the number shows up. Also really helpful for when u only remember a couple of the first numbers then it fills in the rest

  16. Go Dialer and Go SMS, I also hate the iphoneish bubbles, so annoying.

  17. I would kill, well maim perhaps, for an ICS dialer that is stock except for including a tab for all contacts. Why in the world is that separate?

    Kermit Woodall

  18. what’s so great about the other dialers? So far I have used the stock dialers since 2.1 and never had I wished for something more….what is it that the stock dialer seemingly lacks? Same goes for messaging app, although I use whatsapp a lot more than texting

    1.  I can’t speak for everyone else but for me what I like about other dialers (like the Sense dialer) is the built-in T9. So basically if I want to call my mom, I don’t need to look for her in my contacts, I just press 666 on my dialer, which with T9 spells out “mom”. That’s a great feature the stock dialer lacks, IMO.

      1. owww never felt a need for that…..I only open the dialer when someone is reciting a phone-number or I otherwise want to dial a number I never dialed before….the rest automatically goes through my contacts app and I never minded the scrolling or typing in the search box to find people….

        Perhaps its because most phonecalls I make are to my favorites/starred contacts so their pictures are already at the top of the list

        1. I agree…most of the calls I make are to my starred contacts so I use that tab to make most of my phone calls as well. But I do think it’s much faster to call someone by dialing a couple of numbers on the dialer than looking them up by scrolling or typing with the keyboard.

          If you’ve never seen the Sense dialer (or one that works similarly) in action, I don’t think I can accurately describe how much faster it is to look up someone in your contacts in this way. I would say look for a video of it on YouTube if you’re interested.

          P.S. I forgot to mention, besides being able to look someone up with T9 on the Sense dialer, you can also look them up with the dialer by just typing in part of their phone number. So for example, if you’re calling someone with the phone number (555) 321-1234, just by typing 555 (or 321) the dialer will show you all of the contacts on your phone that have those numbers in their phone number. Hopefully I explained that clearly enough :- Like I said, it’s much easier to just see it in action lol

          1. yeah, that second feature is useless to me as this it the complete list of phone numbers I know entirely or partially:

            -my own number (in full)
            -my home number (in full)
            -112 (dutch version of 911)
            -1112 (Thai pizza delivery number)
            -1888 number look-up serice (which I never used, but the commercials were great)

            I don’t know partial phonenumbers….I really should learn at least one new phone number encase no one is home and I have no acces to my phone/internet.

            perhaps if I called more isntead of instant messaging/emailing I would see the need for a new dialer…for now, stock rocks

  19. Go dialer and go sms. I just like the themeing. Go sms does a good job of keeping out the double notifications. Dialer takes a second to pop up though.

  20. Dialer: Whatever the stock dialer in CM7 is (I believe it’s just the stock GB dialer). My favorite is the Sense dialer though. I heard DialerOne is sort of like it (in the sense that it’s T9).

    Messaging: I use Handcent since it’s highly customizable (like GoSMS) and I don’t mind the bubbles. I’m pretty sure you can scrap the bubbles if you don’t like them, though. The default SMS app is fine, but I like having pop-up notifications. :D

  21. GoDialer and GoSMS

  22. Messenger:

    GO SMS Pro

    GO Dialer EX

  23. Stock ics dialer
    Handcent sms

  24. Sense whilst phone unrooted. Now on CM7 so use the GO suite. This seems to me the adequate best of a generally poor field when compared with the Sense UI. Just shows what a good job HTC did.

  25. Stock ICS dialer and GO SMS (ICS theme…of course!)

  26. sense 3.0 dialer and
    handcent…. not very exciting but I have every adjusted as I like it.
    the stock dialer on sense is clean and quick and honestly I rarely make calls I usually just recieve so I have the contact direct dial shortcut on my home screen for my lady type (as well as the directmessage shortcut for her) and thats about it….

  27. Stock HTC Sense dialer and messenger.

    I own HTC Sensation XE 

  28. sense dialer iwth t9 makes it easyyyy

    mesaging dnt matter to e stock is fine 

  29. Whatever comes with Infinity ROM 1211, which i’m fairly certain is the Touchwiz4 launcher’s stock dialer, contacts and messaging apps. 

  30. Go Dialer and Go SMS, for their unmatched customizability.

  31. Google voice

  32. Go SMS and Google gesture search in place of a dialer for contacts. Stock sense dialer when I need to tap in a number – not very often now I can press to dial in the browser.

  33. Stock ICS dailer and goSMS

  34. Never found a reason to use another dialer or messaging app other than the one that comes bundled with Sense UI (3.0+).  They just work well and have a great look… tried others and they have failed.  I always come back to Sense… it just makes sense (lol).

  35. I had my Incredible from day one and loved the Sense dialer. Now I have the Galaxy Nexus and I can’t stand the default ICS dialer. I found TouchPal and my sanity returned. 

  36. On GB: Sense dialler and handcent.
    On ICS: Stock to both.

  37. Dialer One. Dial by name (I chuckle at the 666 when i dial mom too)
    Handsent sms as i can assign diff sounds from diff senders

    1.  I use the same, Dialer one and Handsent.  I tried using blur for a while when I got my D4 but just didn’t like it as much as Dialer One. 

      In my case I get the same chuckle you do when I call the wife, our home number actually ends in 666.

  38. Stock dialer (ICS themed) and Go SMS (pule theme. seriously man, the century gothic font has never looked better) Hell, I just spent last night customising my vibration patterns so that it spells out my contacts names in morse code.

    1.  Andrea takes the ‘geek’ prize for using morse code vibration patterns! Good one ;0)

  39. Moto blur dialer, its just an improved version of the stock dialer (I realize it doesn’t make sense saying improved and blur but it is) When I had a t bolt I absolutely hated the sense dialer so I tried a lot of dialers from the market and dialer one was the best, its my second favorite dialer now.

  40. Love the Sense dialer.

  41. As far as texting goes, I use GO SMS.

  42. The Sense dialer is the best!

  43. Really like exDialler. Looks lovely and I like the “swipe to call” feature

  44. I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself using mysms in the end. I’ve tried a
    few, but this one’s just the best. Dunno why everybody is so obsessed
    with whatsapp. mysms has far more features and you can use it on your
    computer!!! also, you can turn off these iPhone-ish bubbles :) 

  45. Hi Raveesh, I’m happy to read you’ve tried mysms! Hope you enjoyed it. We’d be very glad to know what you think about it. Also, let us know what you’d change. Just email us: [email protected] cheers!

  46. I liked the clean look of the GB messaging app, but I loved how the bubbles alternated sides of the screen for each text. However all the messaging apps on market got really bloated and are either slow, or look bad.
    The ICS messaging app is exactly what I was looking for, works great! The scrolling in the conversation view is oddly jaggy, but it’s not that bad at all compared to <2.3 on older phones.

    The ICS dialer with t9 enabled is the perfect as well. I like the MIUI dialer a lot as well.

    1. Ok, got a stupid question . . . how in the hell do you enable T9 on the stock ICS dialer??  I’m lost . . . .

  47. Stock touchwiz dialer
    Stock touchwiz messaging app

    they have everything i need.

  48. Stock ICS everything for me.

  49. GoSMS is the best messaging app(it’s feature and theme rich) I tried, so as exDialer(it’s small and fast)/

  50. Handcent for msgs is way better than stock… I see what you are saying about the clean look, however I love being able to create a custom timed vibrate pattern for each contact, so I can tell who it is in my pocket without even looking!  Not to mention a custom led color and blink rate for each contact (when I see pink, it’s all good), as well as different security and pop-up settings for each contact.  As far as looks, you can change almost anything including color, font type, and font size for each individual setting, which is nice if you have friends who always send novels.

    As for the dialer, I barely even enter a number so I could care less… Even with pizza I end up clicking a link for google places…

  51. I use “Contact Caller.” But I’m probably biased since I wrote it :-)
    It displays your contacts with three icons next to each one: Home, Cell and Work. Just tap the one you want to call. Or long press the Cell icon to send a text message.

  52. HTC Droid Incredible – Gingerbread: stock dialer and Handcent.

  53. I use stock because I see no need to replace the dialer and messaging apps.  Others may see otherwise, as seen in this article and comments :)

  54. I use and really like PhoneTell for a dialer because of the builtin, location aware number search. Handy.

  55. I have the Rezound and I use the stock Sense dialer (tried Go Dialer but Sense was bullying it) and Handcent for sms with Swiftkey X’s keyboard… for me Handcent has been a little better than Go SMS…

  56. XLsms. As I live abroad I find that XLsms is the way to go as it combines all my standard texts whilst allowing me to send to text via an internet server. Whilst I admit it still has bugs I just love the fact all my texts are in one spot. 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Opinion