When it comes to texting, the default Android app is… adequate. That’s about the best that can be said for it. The default messaging app does the job of sending bits of written text back and forth between you and your friends, but… it doesn’t do really well. If Steve Jobs has ever taught us anything, it’s that user interface is hugely important. The stock messenger is decent, but its UI is a bit lacking.
Enter Go SMS Pro. I used to be an avowed fan of Handcent SMS, but thought of giving Go SMS a try. Thankfully, Go SMS is a workable replacement. In fact, it’s more than workable. Go SMS Pro is a spectacular messaging app that isn’t just a more shiny version of the stock messenger, it’s one of the best designed applications I’ve ever seen.
Though the name of the app is Go SMS ‘Pro’, like other Go Apps, it is free and available for download in Android Market.
Introducing Go SMS Pro
This is one app where the title is absolutely representative of the app’s quality. Go SMS is essentially the Pro version of text messaging. Everything that ever irritated or frustrated me about the stock messaging app is polished away to a beautiful elegance.
That’s the one feature that stands out most – the user interface. Everything in Go SMS Pro is colorful and easy on the eyes. Android as a whole doesn’t pay enough attention to the UI in my opinion, but Go SMS thankfully bucks that trend.
Everything is super easy to use. You can organize your conversations by date, which is the usual method. A couple alternate methods are also offered by way of filters, favorites, and private messages. If you don’t feel that your messages with a certain person are anyone’s business, then you can move those texts to a special password protected folder.
Even the setup is very easy to use. Upon starting the app for the first time, Go SMS will help you out with a nifty setup wizard. It differentiates between users who want the basic texting abilities and those who want access to all the features. I highly recommend picking Pro mode, the extra features are pretty awesome.
Texting in Go SMS Pro
The actual texting in this app is superb as well. Go SMS thankfully has the features to back up its good looks. Those features come when you enable Pro mode. Suddenly the option to simply tap out a message on a virtual keyboard mushrooms into a whole spectrum of ways to communicate.
For those who are fond of smileys, Go SMS comes with a large number of reaction faces preloaded into the app itself. If you’re really that fond of smileys and emoticons, there are always more to download.
Word texting works, too. That would be kind of awkward if it didn’t. Go SMS doesn’t come with a special keyboard, just whatever you have installed. Swiftkey X works nicely here, but that’s a different app.
Of course, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes one good picture can express what an essay (or really long text) can’t. Go SMS has options to quickly look through your saved pictures and attach one to the message.
Alternatively, there’s the option to take a picture right there. If you see something funny and want to share it with a friend, this would be a pretty easy way to grab a quick pic and send it to them.
The same features go for video and audio. You can attach videos and audio clips from your SD card or record them on the spot. The best part is that these options are right there in front of you. No leaving the app, going to camera, saving the picture, and going back. Just snap (or record) it right there from Go SMS.
An even cooler feature comes when you tap the small paintbrush icon. Go SMS Pro actually has a feature where you can write your messages by drawing the letters on the screen. That’s right, you can actually text a handwritten note.
Added to that is the Doodle section. Sometimes you just want to send a friend your doodle masterpiece, regardless of how good it might actually be. The doodle editor isn’t exactly Photoshop (or even MS Paint, for that matter), but it’s got an undo button. It’s a doodle, it won’t get too detailed.
For those Android owners with Siri envy, there is the voice recorder. Just tap the little microphone icon and Go SMS Pro will try its darndest to translate your mutterings into a message. The translation is workable, but I wouldn’t use it simply because I feel stupid talking to my phone. But that’s personal preference.
Good god, the list of Go SMS Pro’s extra features reads like a list of what I’d want in the ideal texting app. Themes, message filters, security locks, scheduled texts, and batch messages all come with the app, no charge required.
The themes are particularly cool. I really liked the default Skype-esque theme that was heavy on blue and fluffy clouds, but there are plenty of other graphical options for cloud haters. The app comes with a couple of themes built-in but the real stuff is found under the downloads.
There are a couple of premium themes available in the App Store from the Go SMS Pro team themselves. The themes are pretty well designed and usually stick with a seasonal aesthetic (right now there’s a winter and Halloween theme). I’m not sure the themes are worth buying, but I’d do it just to reward the development team behind Go SMS Pro just for doing such a good job on their app.
Still, if you’re not willing to shell out for themes there’s always the DIY section. Fellow Go SMS Pro users can upload their own themes for other people to download, free of charge. These themes aren’t quite as good, but they’re still worth a look.
Perhaps my favorite feature of Go SMS Pro is saved for last. The creators of the app (saints, every one of them) removed just about every barrier between their app and the widest audience possible. Go SMS Pro is totally free.
As another nice touch, there is a plethora of language packs available in the Android Market that work with Go SMS. This is a helpful addition for people who understandably would want to use their phone in their native language rather than the default English.
The bottom line is that Go SMS Pro can be used by just about anyone. Since it’s free and available in a ton of languages, there’s really no excuse for not having it. Go download the app, it’s worth it.