What’s the Most Efficient Blacklister in Town?
Before moving on any further, let me clarify a point outright. I have a lot of respect for companies like Epocware and SmartphoneWare which make the Symbian S60 market quite competitive by producing a wide range of applications for this platform. In fact, the success of the Symbian OS is, for the most part, attributable to what these companies creatively provide. The purpose of such comparisons is to both stir up competition and inspire Symbian S60 users to know these applications better.
At any rate, I’m sure everyone needs a good blacklister on their cell phones for many reasons. It has become a must-have application on my N82. If you also want to use such a handy feature, you can try a few applications to see which one suits your needs. I know of two blacklisters which do their assigned jobs elegantly: Handy Blacklist produced by Epocware and Best Blacklist by SmartphoneWare. The former costs $19.95 and the latter costs $9.95.
What do they share?
Handy Blacklist and Best Blacklist enjoy a number of similar features which have been implemented a bit differently. Both applications can run as a service, meaning when you open them for the first time and later close them, they can remain in the memory and perform their job without appearing in the usual list of background tasks. Handy Blacklist and Best Blacklist (which has the unadorned name of “Blacklist” on the phone) rely on two different lists to allow or reject calls: a black list and a white list, or in the case of Handy Blacklist, an allow list. Best Blacklist can have an unlimited number of black lists and white lists, but Handy Blacklist only allows the addition of multiple allow lists and makes use of just one black list. In Best Blacklist, you should first enable what the developers call “Service” by pressing “Key 2”, define the members of a black list or a white list, and then activate that list in order for the phone to allow or reject calls. When pressed, “Key 2” enables and disables the service, respectively. In Handy Blacklist, on the other hand, you simply define the members of a desired list and activate it to make use of the application, and there’s no need to enable or disable Service first as it doesn’t have this option anyway.
Handy Blacklist has two tab sheets:
The first item in the “Lists” tab is called “Black list” and cannot be deleted by the user. The second item, by default, has the name of “Allow list”. Multiple allow lists can be created and removed here. If, for instance, you press “Key 1” when the focus is on the “Allow list”, you’ll see the following options:
- Timed activation,
- New allow list,
- Set reject action,
Some of them are self-explanatory, but some aren’t. For instance, the “Timed activation” feature allows you to activate a certain list for a specified period of time. Also, the “Set reject action” option allows you to define the behavior of the application when a call is rejected. You can opt to simply reject calls with short beeps as if the line were busy or send an SMS to the person whose call gets rejected. With Best Blacklist, you can’t send an SMS message to the rejected number.
Upon adding numbers to an allowed list, the Add submenu helps you select numbers from the following places:
- Recent calls,
- Contacts – using the first tab sheet of the Contacts application,
- Contact group – using the second tab sheet of the Contacts app,
When you want to add numbers to your black list, a couple more options are added: “Private numbers” and “Unknown numbers”. Unlike Handy Blacklist, Best Blacklist cannot add numbers to its lists from recent calls. Also, the Settings option in Handy Blacklist allows you to enable or disable the option of adding a rejected number to the black list – this is missing in Best Blacklist.
The second Handy Blacklist tab sheet, “Log”, is useful for reviewing blacklisted numbers. Here you can clear the log, call the person whose number was blacklisted, and, as a unique Handy Blacklist feature, send an SMS message to the focused number in the list.
The power of Best Blacklist resides in its capability to create multiple black lists and white lists without any limitations. It has one main window which displays your lists. Pressing “Key 1” on a list displays the following options:
- Activate list,
- Add list,
- Edit list,
- Delete list,
- Move up,
- Move down.
- Edit list,
- View log,
Best Blacklist has a unique feature called Scheduler whereby you can define the schedule for each and every list you add. For instance, you can set the application to activate a list at 8 A.M. on Mondays and activate another at 9 P.M. on Tuesdays. This is missing in Handy Blacklist. You just specify the time, the date and select a list for a schedule to function. Moreover, as you see in the options above, Best Blacklist can alter the position of each item in the list, but Handy Blacklist doesn’t.
To get a brief overview of rejected calls, Best Blacklist displays the number of rejected calls as opposed to the number of accepted calls in the main window. So you might hear something like “Rejected: 3/5” whenever this window gains focus.
Which one is better?
Who dares to declare a winner in this tight competition? Handy Blacklist V3.0 has a couple more features such as flexible log management, adding items from recent calls, and quick inclusion of a rejected number in the black list, but this comes with a +$10 higher price. Best Blacklist V1.02 fights back with its -$10 price tag and unique features such as the Scheduler and the addition/modification of all list types. You might find it interesting to know that Handy Blacklist offers a comprehensive manual as it is installed, but Best Blacklist doesn’t have online help. If you’ve tried both or have selected one of them, let us know what your reasons were in the Comments section.
If you use Nuance TALKS&ZOOMS screen reader on your handset, you can label the icon which displays the active or inactive status of a list in both applications. This icon follows the name of each list, and you should label two icons in each application.
Related Info: Best Blacklist Updated To V2.00