If you’re tired of the native texting app on your smartphone, Google Play has a plethora of great alternatives. When choosing a new solution you need to be careful, as not all of them incorporate SMS. The Play Store is filled with apps for messaging services that lack any SMS integration. Many options disguise themselves as a text messaging app when they are actually an instant messenger, which would require you to get your friends and family on-board to put it to use.
That, of course, limits our scope quite a bit. But there are still plenty of great options out there, some even built by Google itself. Be sure to check them all out below and find the one for your needs.
There are people who look at Hangouts as merely an instant messaging service that Google positions to compete with Apple’s iMessage, but it also incorporates SMS features capable of converting it to an all-in-one messaging service. The nice thing about using Hangouts is that you have all of your text messages, instant message conversations, and video chats in a single place. On the contrary, this means that it can be frustrating trying to sift through text messages and instant messages.
Another great solution is Messenger by Google. It replaces your native text messaging app with a beautiful Material Design solution. It has your standard features–the ability to send photos, video, audio messages, and search past conversations. What makes Messenger unique is that you can change conversation colors, adding a layer of customization to your conversations while making it easier to identify who you’re talking to, which is especially helpful if you have a lot of messages going on. It’s a nifty little feature.
There’s also functionality for SMS blocking to get rid of those annoying spam messages that randomly hit your phone. It’s a relatively new app that hasn’t been updated since April, but we highly doubt that Google is leaving Messenger behind for much longer.
Textra features a gorgeous Material Design user interface, which is one of the many benefits of using it to replace your native SMS app. It’s a seamless and fast solution, featuring over 800 emojis, a dark mode, theme colors, the ability to schedule a message, quick reply popups, and much more. And if you’re an Android Wear user, Textra works seamlessly on smartwatches.
Hello SMS is an innovative replacement for your default messaging service, focusing on speed, performance, and quality. It’s quite possibly one of the fastest SMS options available, allowing you to quickly switch from conversation to conversation through a unique tabbing system. Hello puts conversations first, making sure you can easily send messages, start group chats, and send photos without much hassle.
As far as design goes, Chomp is your stock text messaging app. However, it aims to not be as boring by adding a lot of features. One of its best features is Quick Reply, where you can reply to a message on any screen, no matter what you’re doing. In Chomp, you’ll find other cool features like SMS blocking, SMS and MMS backups, and better group messaging. There’s also a crazy amount of customization options.
EvolveSMS does just about everything your stock text messaging app does. However, it has a beautiful and smooth interface, taking on a card-like style that you might find in Google Now or Google+. It’s loaded with features, such as GIF support, private inboxes, Facebook and Google+ cover photo integration, desktop messaging support, and more. The base app is free, but some of the fancier features will need to be unlocked through an in-app purchase.
While WhatsApp is not a direct SMS replacement, we had to mention it simply because of the sheer popularity of the application. It has hundreds of millions of users. That said, for it to work properly, whoever you plan on conversing with will also need to have the app downloaded. Besides that small caveat, it function as a text messaging and phone call replacement. There are no international charges since it uses your phone’s wireless connection.
WhatsApp features a lot of customization options, such as setting wallpapers for certain contacts and customizing your notification sound. It’s jam packed full of features, and if you can get your friends to join in, it’s a great solution.
The stock text messaging app that comes with your smartphone or tablet can be disappointing as it gives you a really basic package. You may want to replace your standard SMS app with something on this list if you’re looking for something that is packed with features and just looks better. If you’re looking for speed, Hello SMS will fill the void perfectly. Need free international texting? WhatsApp might be your go-to solution then. You really can’t go wrong with any of these apps.