Fast Dial ~ photo dialer and social app launcher for your contacts ($0.99) by Omar Sosa is a lightning fast way to get quick access for contacting your favorite people. If you like having shortcuts, but don’t want something as complex as Launch Center Pro or Buzz Contacts, then perhaps Fast Dial is the way to go.
Shortcuts — they make life so much easier for us, don’t they? Of course, when done properly, as there isn’t always a shortcut in life. But for talking to your most important people with your iPhone, there are plenty. Fast Dial is an incredibly fast and fluid option for those who are looking for a simple way to contact their friends, family, and co-workers without friction, and has a gorgeous interface to boot.
Fast Dial features a very simple and clean, yet beautiful, interface that is just perfect on iOS 7. It is completely flat, and features plenty of whitespace along with a yellow-based green header bar. Typography is light, but still easy-to-read. There are no extra bells and whistles beyond what you need for a fast access contact app, making Fast Dial incredibly fast and responsive. There are two different views that you can use, which are the List and Face Dial, which are reachable from the bottom menubar, along with a Settings tab.
The List view is just that — a list of your contacts. The Face Dial view will place the emphasize on the contact images stored on in you address book, so of course this looks best if you have images for everyone. You can add the contacts you talk to most by tapping on the “+” button in either view.
When adding your favorite contacts, you will need to do this one-by-one. The developer has already told me that a future update will include a way to quickly add all of your contacts into the app. Though I can understand why this would be requested, it doesn’t make too much sense to me as this was meant to be an app to access your most used contacts, not everyone, but I digress.
Once you added in your contacts, there are several things you can do. From the List view, you can swipe left to reveal a contextual menu for that person with options to call, message, or email them. For people with multiple contact information stored, tapping the method will bring up a menu asking you which number or email you want to use. If you swipe right instead, you can access even more alternatives for contacting them, such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, or Twitter.
The Face Dial view works a bit differently. Rather than swiping on images, it requires tapping to access the various actions you can take. You can actually configure the amount of taps it takes to do an action in the app’s settings. By default, one tap will call, two will message, and three does email. If you do four taps, it will reset to the defaults for that contact. There is also a toggle to wait five-seconds before the action takes place, in case you prefer the delay.
I was a bit surprised to see that there is no way to rearrange the order of your contacts in the Face Dial tab. I thought it would make sense to drag the photos around, but the only way to reorder your people is to go into the List screen and edit, where you are then able to tap-and-drag them to your preferred order. Hopefully this can change in the future.
Also in the app’s settings is the ability to show email addresses for iMessage, show only “Mobile” numbers, add prefixes to Skype numbers, and Twitter actions (default mention or private message and choose where to tweet from). The supported methods for Twitter include from within the app itself, official Twitter app, Tweetbot, or Twitterrific.
So far, I’m finding Fast Dial incredibly useful, and it’s definitely more intuitive than Apple’s own Favorites section in Phone.app. Plus, the extra third-party options are a plus, and you don’t see that too often in a fast access contact app.
The only thing that I don’t like right now is the inability to rearrange contacts in Face Dial view. I would have thought that this would be a given, and it’s annoying to have to go to the List View for this one task. I hope that the developer sincerely addresses this in future versions.
Still, Fast Dial is a great solution for quickly getting to your favorite or most important people from your iPhone. I recommend it if you want a better method than Phone.app’s Favorites.