One of the beauties of Android is the option of choice, and not having to stick with a certain app or ability that comes with the phone. Whether you use your phone’s stock messaging app or Google’s preferred Hangouts app, there are many more options in the Google Play Store. Let’s check out our favorites.
Evolve stands out as one of the best apps to utilize Google’s Material Design principles the best. The slide-out bar to the left is very convenient for those who want to access other contacts quickly, and switching between different contact messages is as easy as swiping left or right on your messages thread. Colors of your navigation and notification bar will change depending on what theme color you want throughout the app, or you can turn that off in the settings for either a transparent white look or the default black bars. The app also lets you choose a custom background for message threads from your gallery if you want. Evolve also includes an amazing feature of pop-up messaging to allow you to read and reply to messages on top of another app. With the speed it offers, as well as the customization and features you won’t find in most messaging apps, Evolve is a must try.
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Textra focuses on speed and simplicity, and does that by offering a very fast way to get in and out of text messages without the hassle of navigation. Textra also offers the pop-up notification, similar to Evolve SMS, that you simply tap for a small window to open up on top of your current app, and you can swipe the window out of the way if you want to get rid of it. Textra gives you a theme color chooser and a number of other customization options including text size, dark mode, Emoji styles and more. This SMS app is perfect for people who want a fast, eye-appealing alternative to their stock messaging app.
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Chomp comes from the same developer as Textra, and for the most part it’s a very similar app. It lacks a couple Material Design implementations that Textra offers, but one feature I’m fond of which some people may really like, is the more advanced Quick Reply Popup which you can customize heavily, including the ability to awake your phone, quick add a contact’s number or quick reply right from the popup. Chomp also gives you the option of creating a Quick Compose Shortcut, allowing you to create a shortcut either by holding your search button (if you have one) or placing the option in your notification drawer to create a new message fast. Custom background are included in the app as well and the theme color of the user’s choice.
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Hello is an SMS app that stands out to me more than others because of its trademark tabs page you’ll find on the left side of the interface. It makes switching between threads incredibly easy instead of having to swipe around or having to press the back button a few times. Hello is also heavily geared towards people who are big into sending a lot of picture messages, as it gives you a very quick and easy way of capturing pictures right from your messaging thread if you have hellocam on, but leaving this feature on can be quite a battery drain since the messaging app will always be using your camera. Hello is also more than just an SMS app, as it wants your friends to use the app too. If they do, you can message them with data rather than SMS. Dark Mode is also present in Hello, a feature that absolutely needs to be seen in all SMS apps.
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One of the first apps to give us the ability of floating chat heads is HoverChat, formally known as Ninja SMS. When a new message arrives, it will come in the form of a Hover Head on your screen where ever you are, and by tapping it you can open a small window for viewing and replying. HoverChat lets you customize many aspects of the app, including the shape and size of the Hover Heads, and you can get new ones at their own HoverChat Store. Full Android 5.0 optimization has not come to HoverChat yet, so there aren’t any Material Design qualities present, but rest assured, this is one of the most advanced SMS apps out there.
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The development team behind the series of “Go” apps also has a very popular SMS app. GoSMS has tons of customizable features, and a huge store that holds the most amount of themes than all the other SMS apps. GoSMS has the Popup ability as well for messaging on top of other apps. Messaging stickers, themes, fonts and more can be downloaded at the store, so you know this app can be suited just the way you want it.
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I did not include Google’s Messenger or Hangouts on here because they are the default app for many Android phones, but let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with these apps and which ones you prefer!
Thanks for sharing
GO SMS should not be in the list. It has taken a step backward lately.
Backing up and searching inside of texts is mandatory for me. Which sms has these functions?
How about QKSMS and Google’s new messenger?
I mentioned in the article I would not include Google Messenger because it can be considered a stock texting app. But great suggestion with QHSMS, I do like that app!
Hi.. is there any app in this list..that allows me to select a bunch of sms threads and delete them all in one go..?
Yes there is! I’m using Evolve SMS right now and it allows you to do that
Facebook messenger doesn’t have sms capabilities, way to show you did zero research.
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Nice selection but you don’t mention which ones are compatible with Google Voice. It’s very hard to find one that will send a text from your GV number.
Appreciate the heads up. A “Part 2” post will be released in the future and I’ll definitely include Google Voice compatibility.
I prefer hand cent due to the ability to not make a group blast a group convo
Let me put in a vote for using Google Hangouts integration. That puts SMS and audio and video hangouts all in one place… makes it very easy to review all conversations with any of your contacts.
Is there an Android app that you can make the default messaging app that will provide you with read receipts? I’m having a hard time finding anything with internet searches…
Read receipts like in iMessage??That’s not possible with sms on android. Unless you use a messenger app, or you meant delivery reports….
Not delivery reports, actual read receipts…just like iMessage, but for Android. I was looking into Whatsapp, but it looks like that isn’t an SMS replacement app. I can’t find any confirmation on that though
Then that falls into what I said, Whatsapp has read receipts because it’s an instant messenger. No sms replacement app has read reports, read reports aren’t a thing with Android.
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