Making calls and answer ones directed to you may seem like a redundant need when you have a tablet, after all, they’re far too big to lug around as a primary phone. And let’s not forget that tablets usually don’t come with a phone plan. A smartphone is, well, smarter for phone calls. However, that doesn’t mean that tablets should never be used as a method for making and answering phone calls, oh no, quite the contrary. In fact, your tablet could be your saving grace.

How many people have you known that dropped their phone and, on one unfortunate night, dropped it again, only for it to finally break for good? It happens to everyone at some point. And just like phones–people usually have at least one tablet at home. So, rather than rush for a new phone, one could use a tablet as an alternative until a new phone can be acquired.

Another instance where a tablet could be a boon is making Wi-Fi calls. It’s true that many of the apps listed below are also available for your mobile device, do you want to fill your phone with a bunch of different apps? No, they’re storage is already small enough and a tablet could handle the secondary calling apps without filling your main device.

So, how do you make and answer calls on your tablet? It depends on your flavor of apps and there’s plenty of those to go around.

On the Topic of Emergency Calls…

Before you move forward, you should understand that most, if not all, of the apps listed below don’t have the option of calling for emergency services. If you’re looking for a secondary application that can contact emergency services, you’re best bet may be a phone plan on your tablet or do further research on the applications below and weed out the ones that do allow emergency calls.

Make and Answer Calls with Google Voice

Google Voice can make phone calls very simple, giving you access to both PC to phone and call to PC with relative ease. You’ll need a Gmail account as well as a number to link your account with, which won’t always work, but there are several applications out there (like TextNow) that give you a number to use (they don’t always work, just a warning).

Calls made in the United States and Canada are free, but are limited to three hours. However, you can just call the same person again. Any calls outside those two zones will tack a charge on your call.

What about Google Hangouts?

Google Hangouts is going through a lot of changes, specifically a complete shutdown. It was originally slated for October 2019, but has since been pushed for June 2020 for G Suite users and then, shortly after, non-business users will also get the stick.

So, in other words, Google Hangouts isn’t worth putting time into since its shutdown has already been decided.

Make and Answer Calls with Skype

Unlike some of the applications listed here, Skype is one of the few that doesn’t want you to sign up with a phone number. Not only that, phone calls–whether answering or calling–are free too, but only between other Skype users.

If you want to make phone calls outside of your circle of Skype friends, you’ll have to throw some money at Skype. Depending on how often you use it, it isn’t terribly expensive for the occasional call. However, if you like using Skype and use it frequently, there are subscriptions that you can invest in.

Once you have a subscription, you can make calls outside of your circle of Skype friends without having to pay every single time.

Skype is available for both Android and iOS.

Make and Answer Calls with Facebook Messenger

If you’re looking to make a phone call to a friend on Facebook, why don’t you use Facebook Messenger? It’s free to use and it has the added option of using your camera to speak “face to face” (you can turn it off if you don’t like it).

Not only is Facebook Messenger free to use for answering and making phone calls, Facebook Messenger is already free to download and install. The only problem is that you’re stuck answer and calling people on Facebook.

With that being said, Facebook Messenger is perfect for a clutch-call to a friend, so long as you have a network connection.

Facebook Messenger is available for both Android and iOS.

Make and Answer Calls with Amazon’s Alexa

Believe it or not, Amazon’s Alexa–their voice assistant found in just about every Amazon device–can make and answer calls, provided you have the Alexa app downloaded to your tablet.

There are a few caveats. First off, like it was just mentioned, you need the Alexa app, which is free to download and easy to set up. Once you’ve done that, you can start making phone calls as soon as your phone number has been verified. After that, you can import your contacts and make and answer phone calls.

However, there is one itty bitty problem: you can only make calls to other devices using the Alexa app. If your contact doesn’t have it, they can’t answer your calls or make one to you.

Amazon Alexa is available for both Android and iOS.

Make and Answer Calls with TextNow

TextNow makes its way here by giving its users the ability to text and call for free, provided they have a network connection and those calls are being made within or between the United States and Canada. That’s not a bad deal, whatsoever. And if you want to make a phone call outside those two locations, you could pay as little as $0.01 per minute, depending on the location.

What makes TextNow even better is providing you with your own phone that’s tied to your location. Now, you do have to frequently use it. Failing to use the phone number given to you will result in you losing said number and you’ll have to get a new one–which is free.

TextNow is available for both Android and iOS.

Make and Answer Calls with a Phone Plan

When you first buy a tablet, you usually aren’t given the option for a phone plan immediately after. However, some phone companies offer bundle deals when buying a new phone, often throwing in a tablet or two for an extra small fee. And with that, an offer for a phone plan on said tablet.

Get in touch with your service provider and speak with them about adding a tablet to your plan. A representative will be able to walk through the process with you and give you an idea of which tablets are accepted.