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How to make Phone Calls with Android

Wow, making phone calls ? Yes, it's true, a smartphone isn't just for updating Facebook, checking emails, surf the Web, take photos, play games etc, you can actually make and receive phone calls! You may wonder how come this chapter isn't the first chapter, but setting up and organizing your Android phone from the beginning makes making phone calls and everything else so much easier.

How to just dial a number or use your Contacts

This is the easiest part. You tap the icon for the Phone, which is often located in the Apps Dock, it may look something like this:

Here we'll use Android 4 for the screen examples. The Android 4 Phone app has three parts, you can swipe the screen between the parts or tap one of the top icons, Dialer, Call log, and Contacts. let's look at a simplified example:

Dialer Call log Contacts

So if you have a number that's not among your contacts then just tap in each digit and then tap the phone icon in the middle at the bottom. If you know you have the person among your contacts, then just tap the Search button at the bottom left and type in parts of the name and the matches will pop up. The rightmost overflow menu has the settings.

The call log will list calls by time and the rightmost screen enables you to browse through the contacts. Only contacts with a phone number will be shown.

During the call you'll get the following screen. Below the person's photo is the big red rectangle which ends the call. At the bottom you have the following icons:
Dialpad (see below), Speaker on/off, Mute, Hold and Add people.

During Call

Why do I get a low-resolution contact photo when calling?

This is an unfortunate issue which hasn't been resolved yet. In the screen example above you can see it clearly. When you receive or make a call you get this pixelated version that doesn't look very good. You get that even if you put in a nice high-resolution picture on your phone, due to the sync with Google Contacts in the cloud.

How to receive a Call

This is very easy, if the phone number is among your contacts you'll see the name and if it has a picture that will appear too, otherwise you'll just see the phone number. In Android 4 you get a lock-screen type of action as exemplified below. If you move the circled-phone to the right you accept the call, if you move it to the left you'll return a busy signal.

If this caller wasn't in your Contacts then you just see the phone number and no picture. After the call, you can tap the call log, then tap this call (or any others without names) then you'll get the right screen below. Tap Add to contacts and then fill in the name and other information you may have.

Incoming Call Add Caller to Contacts

How to activate the keypad during a phone call

Most of us have been calling some company where you're told "press 1 for English, 2 for Chinese, 3 for Japanese ..." and similar, when all you want to do is to talk to a real person! But when you look at your phone it's dark and there's no keyboard, so what do you do ? First of all, the screen is dark because your phone has a proximity sensor that turns off the screen when it's near you. So you just move it a bit away from your ear, then it will lit up again. Just tap the Dialpad symbol on your phone then you'll see the dialpad again and you can easily put in the required digits. It's often useful to turn-on the speaker in these cases.

Here is an Android 2.3 example:

Tap Dialpad Tap Speaker

As you could see in the screen example for During Call a bit above, the Dialpad icon in Android 4 is the leftmost icon at the bottom