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The FreeTone app delivers on its promise of free text messaging and calling within the US, but it's inconsistent and the ads might be enough to turn off most people.
During the setup process, you're asked to enter an area code; FreeTone automatically assigns you a phone number.
FreeTone's home screen is your inbox. From here you can access your conversations, start a new one, access the menu or launch the phone portion of the app.
Along the top of the screen your credit balance will be displayed.
The ad just below the search bar randomly appears, resulting in me accidentally selecting the ad on more than one occasion.
The most recent update introduced a Callheads feature. Similar to Facebook's ChatHeads, when enabled you can still send and receive messages.
To return to the call, tap on the small circle floating just above the background.
And yes, ads are placed inline with your text conversations.
Placing a call is simple and just like you'd expect. Should you grant the app permission to view your address book, you can call contacts without leaving the app.
The slide-out menu provides access to settings, the FreeTone Shop and a method to earn free credits among other options.
Purchasing credits for international communication is possible through the FreeTone shop.
A handy tool within the app will check a phone number for you and provide an estimate on the number of credits required to call or text the person.