If there's one thing that we do more than anything else these days with our smartphones, it's messaging. Us humans are a chatty bunch and thanks to our quick thumbs, and even quicker smartphones we can send SMS messages quicker than those cool kids with BlackBerries ever did in the noughties. Android is great and all but, if we're really honest the stock Android SMS app is pretty basic, and not in a minimal way but, more of a boring way. Textra aims to be something different, simple yet beautiful without slowing you down. Can Textra keep those thumbs of yours tapping away at breakneck speeds and keep you happy? Read on to find out.
Description: Textra SMS is a replacement SMS app, that aims to give you more power in the form of customization when you want, and to speed you up when you don't want it. Customization wise there are 800+ emoji, signatures, a quick reply pop-up, better MMS and group messaging As well as easy per-contact notifications (icon color, led color, message sound, vibrate pattern and quick reply popup). All of this makes Textra an SMS app that is bursting with features. How do they work together though? Read on to find out.
How it Works: If you've tried out other third-party SMS apps before, like Handcent and others, you'll need to remove them before you get stuck in with Textra. If you're coming from the stock Android SMS app, or from the SMS app from HTC or Samsung then all you have to do is download the app from the Play Store and then run it.
After that, you'll find that Textra just goes ahead and brings in all of your inbox without any fuss – or even asking you for that matter – and then you're left with the inbox you had just moments ago.
When you're in a conversation, you'll see the minimal look of the message bubbles and how effective Emoji can be in a conversation:
Inside the settings of the app, you'll find a myriad of tweaks and changes that you can make:
What might be of particular interest to you, is the setting to turn on or off waking up the lock screen when you get a message:
That's not all though, you can change pretty much everything when it comes to notifications and you can set a number of different per-contact settings as well. MMS is as easy as pie, just hit the plus button when composing a message to get access to a whole host of options:
Group messaging is something that you'll find easy to do with Textra SMS. While some of you might thinking why you'd want to use group SMS, think about it this way; your friend has an iPhone, a few more friends have iPhones and some Android phones, some dumbphones and maybe a Windows Phone or two. How can you be sure to start a conversation with everyone? SMS.
It really is as simple as that to get to grips with Textra SMS. Everything is where you expect it to be and there are no nasty surprises, this is the easiest replacement SMS app to go to by far.
Opinion: For someone like myself, who has used the stock Android messaging app for years now, switching to Textra has been a breath of fresh air. I think my favorite feature, is that things don't change too much. Coming from the stock app – or even Samsung or HTC's messaging app – you might not notice too many difference at first, but as time goes on and you start to explore the more advanced features you'll soon realize how helpful Textra can be. The quick reply pop-up is great for those times when you just have to finish that YouTube video or you're in the middle of a call at the same time. The ability to customize per-contact notifications is going to be great for those that have work and play on the same device. For instance, you can have one notification tone for your friends, another for your work colleagues and a death knell for the boss.
- Speed (5/5) – If you're looking for a faster SMS app, look no further than Textra.
- Features (4/5) – It might not seem that way on the surface but, Textra is an app chock-full of features a lot of you will find useful
- Theme (4/5) – Those using a Nexus or just running a stock ROM will appreciate the fact that Textra blends in, and has a simple look. HTC and Samsung users will welcome the change.
- Overall (4.5/5) – Textra is a brilliant all-rounder when it comes to messaging, there's nothing to worry about when it comes to the look and feel as things are kept mostly the same. What you do get is a much faster and far more flexible messaging app in Textra.
- Good-looking and minimal app that doesn't get in our way.
- Faster than the stock Android messaging app and less cluttered than OEM offerings.
- Wide variety of customization options from per-contact to global settings.
- Quick pop-up reply from the notification tray works wonders
- Some users might prefer their original SMS app.
- Default settings might be frustrating for some.
Conclusion: If you're looking for an app to replace the somewhat basic stock Android app, then look no further than Textra. Thanks to its simplistic nature, there's nothing that will catch you out and the set-up is going to be easy enough for everyone. The addition of per-contact customization is also neat and is great for those that mix work and play together on the same number. Not only that but, the 800+ emoji on offer will allow you to have fun with your messages and the options of how you're alerted to messages will help make sure you never miss a message again. For me, the fact that Textra doesn't change too much, and yet still delivers a superior messaging experience is a testament to the effort that's gone into the development of this little gem of an app.