One of the best features of Android is of course the ability to replace the default apps in the system. One of those default apps is the SMS/messaging app. We've decided to highlight a few of the best replacements available in the Google Play Store. They offer simplicity combined with functionality and are suitable for both casual and power users. Each of them is different and in its unique way redefines texting or at least makes it easier.
Note: Apps are in no particular order
Released by Google and installed on Android 4.4 KitKat by default, Hangouts is an official application for the service known by the same name. It allows you to make voice and video calls and thanks to the recent update, it supports text messaging. The app doesn't offer many features, but provides basic functionality wrapped in an elegant interface. With Hangouts, you can send and receive both SMS and MMS messages.
8sms is basically the vanilla Android stock messaging app with a few added features and new icon. It is extremely smooth, with clean interface and absolutely no bloatware. In addition to basic ability to send and receive SMS and MMS messages, 8sms was equipped with an option to display a quick reply pop-up when a message appears. It's a neat little feature that doesn't get in your way when you're busy doing something else. The pop-up enables you to send a reply within the window and go back to business without having the workflow interrupted.
Sliding Messaging is probably the most advanced SMS app in the Play Store. It was designed with power users in mind and equipped with a plethora of options. When you download it, you can not only send and receive messages, but also customize the interface and experience to a great extend. The app allows you change theme (both UI elements and colours), define font type, size and alignment and set background for conversation view as well as gestures and navigation style. Just like 8sms, Sliding Messaging can display a pop-up when a new message arrives, but in its case it's fully editable with two themes and a palette of options to choose from. Additionally, the app allows to reply, call or mark as read the message straight from the notification area.
Being one of the most downloaded SMS apps in the Store, Handcent SMS brings a lot of features to the table. Apart for support for SMS and MMS messaging, it enables group texting, advanced spellcheck, theming and sharing files. Moreover, it has support for Emoji icons and a built-in Blacklist feature to block numbers you don't want to receive messages from. The app can also schedule tasks and thanks to Handcent's own integrated online chat service, send messages to any mobile platform for free.
Downloaded by over 10 million users, chomp SMS is an app that once was exclusive to jailbroken iPhone. Now it's available for everyone and offers a range of useful features. It can send and receive texts, block unwanted numbers and SPAM and schedule messages. The app is also equipped with a number of security controls, for instance passcode lock for conversations and an ability to backup essential data. Plus, chomp SMS has heaps of customization options for notification icons, ringtones, vibrate patterns, font types and sizes and background wallpapers. Support for quick reply box isn't missing, too.
chomp SMS has a younger sibling available in the Play Store. It's Textra SMS, a less powerful, yet lighter app for older devices.