Our smartphones do so much these days, they've been getting smarter and smarter all the time. I'm sure a great many of you would feel completely lost without your smartphone, I'm the same but, they're constantly presenting us with distraction. How many times have you picked up your cell to reply to an SMS or check your e-mail and then end up spending 4x longer on it than you wanted to. Communicating with people is still the main feature of our smartphone use and with Reach, you can carry communicating with people from your desk without picking up your smartphone and wasting time.
Description: Reach is an app that lets you tap into your phone's incoming and outgoing communications through the web through a web page. It connects through your Google account and there's no need to set up a new account with the service. The idea is that you you just head to the webpage on any PC or browser and log-in with your Google account. From then on, you'll be able to see your calls, SMS and keep an eye on your device's battery and signal strength. You could liken it to other apps like DeskSMS but, this looks a lot better and brings it all together into one personal feed that makes responding to messages and missed calls easier than anything else out there.
How it Works: When using Reach, things are a little different than other apps. You'll not be using your smartphone much and instead, you'll interact with the app on the web. First of all though, you'll have to head over to the Play Store and install the app. After that, there's a short set-up process to be done on your phone:
Thankfully, you don't have to sign-up with a new account, all you have to do is give the app permission to access your Google Account:
Once you've got the app set-up on your phone, you'll want to head over to the website to connect to your device. All you have to do is head over to www.reachmyphone.com, that's it. You don't have to go to a strange IP address and enter a mirrored passcode or anything like that, just give the website access to your Google Account. The website really shows off the design prowess of the team. Everything is laid out well and it's a crystal-clear concept explained brilliantly:
The following shots are from the website, this is how it'll look when you access it through the web. What's really great about the app is that you get given a sort of guided tour to get to grips with the app:
It'll let you know signal strength and battery levels right there from the web page. For what it's worth, I didn't notice any noticeable hit on battery life when using Reach at all.
The tour really is quite well featured and once you've gone through you'll know exactly how to use the app. Which is something that can't be said for everything, a lot of apps leave you in the dark but, with Reach you'll know how to use everything once you've gone through a few steps.
Above is where most of the action happens when using Reach. This is the main feed and it shows all texts, calls missed etc. It's a great approach to dealing with your communication on your smartphone. It works well and presents itself cleanly, with calls and texts easily distinguishable. The more you use Reach, the less time you'll find yourself reaching for your smartphone if you're at your desk a lot of the time. I think something like this would be great for when you're at work.
Opinion: I've been using Reach for a few days now and while it's still in Beta, I had no issues with it and everything worked fine. It's a brilliant idea, especially if you spend a lot of time at your desk like I do. For a lot of the day I'm on the web working, so picking up my smartphone is a distraction and at times an annoyance. While a lot of us use GTalk or another protocol to chat, here in the UK - and elsewhere around the globe - sending text messages is still pretty common and with Reach I can still text friends and family over the web. It's become another one of my pinned tabs that I have live through in Chrome and I don't see it shifting any time soon.
- Speed (4/5) - There were no issues setting up the app, and it runs quickly, messages and calls are placed quickly from the web.
- Features (5/5) - I've spent time with MightyText and DeskSMS but Reach is the most-featured way to communicate through your Android phone.
- Theme (5/5) - There isn't much to the way the website looks, and that's the beauty of it. There's a good-looking and minimal theme at the heart of it that gets out of your way and lets you get things done. It's brilliant.
- Overall (5/5) - We all love our smartphones but, they can distract us and when we just need to send a quick SMS it's a hassle having to perhaps find it in your bag or whatever. Reach presents an easier option and it works very well indeed.
- Easy to follow setup makes the app easily accessible to all.
- Works perfectly over the web, no need for wires or passcodes, just load up the website.
- Good-looking theme on the website creates a simple and easy way to access texts and calls.
- Syncs with your Google account, there's no other account info you need to remember.
- E-mail integration would be nice but, loading up another tab is not too difficult.
- An easier way to get to the per-contact Inbox for messages would clean things up a little.
Conclusion: I've been using Reach for a few days now and it does make things a lot easier when you're at your desk, sending messages and seeing missed calls is real easy to do from a pinned tab. It's unobtrusive as well so there's no added distraction from having this open. What's really good about the app is that there's no need to plug it in, enter a passcode every time you launch it or anything like that. All you have to do is sign with your Google account, which hopefully makes for a more secure connection than other options. The interface is clean and easy to use, it just works and it's a brilliant app for those who spend a lot of time at a desk. Definitely something to recommend to others.