Having a functional SMS program is essential to those who text frequently and ChompSMS has long been a favourite due to the additional features included over the plain default Android Messenger application. The last few revisions has not only included some much needed customisation (as my screenshots illustrate) but also some performance tweaks so the application runs faster.
There is still a little bit of loading time but nothing to get overly concerned about, but once it does you are presented with a well laid out interface. Firstly you are greeted with your text history as a scroll list, but is organised by contact name. By clicking on the contact, a new window appears which hold all of your previous texts to and from said contact, much like a conversation.
This makes keeping track of your texts easier as it feels more natural, plus it becomes easier to know what the last text from your friends said before replying back. Even when typing out a reply you can still scroll up or down through the text history as a reminder as to what went on, or to simply copy and paste to quote.
Previously ChompSMS could not handle MMS messages at all, however it now can open MMS files without a hitch which was the only thing that prevented me from keeping it as the default SMS Application. Little touches like adding a character remaining list, the ability to add your contacts pictures next to their name, easily send texts to multiple recipients, assign individual notifications per contact, integrated blacklist and more just make it fully featured. Here’s a list from the ChompSMS website:
Quick Compose allows you to instantly reply back to any incoming texts, even when you’re browsing the web or using another application. No need now to close the application you are using and then opening ChompSMS just to read a reply. This is a great feature as it allows you to be more productive with your time.
Another feature I like is the ability to customise not only the colours for the text bubbles and the whole interface, but the ability to add images to be set as backgrounds too. I have used an image from the Japanese anime Macross Frontier featuring Sheryl Nome as my wallpaper as an example. Any un-read texts can also be read out to you, which is perfect if you are using a hands-free device or a Bluetooth headset. It takes advantage of the free TTS (Text-to-Speech) Library and does a fairly decent job of reading out the text to you. The new Donut build of Android has a built-in TTS Library which is vastly superior however no applications as of yet takes advantage of this as only recently the Android 1.6 SDK was released.
ChompSMS also allows you to buy credit so you can send texts instead of it going through your carrier. This can save you money in the long run as the rates offered by ChompSMS is pretty competitive. The downside of this is that it requires an internet connection for the text messages to be sent through. Depending on how much it costs you to access the internet this can be a real money saver as in the UK many networks give you an allowance of around 1MB of data free before charging. 1MB for example is enough to send 1,000 ChompSMS messages over the internet. Here are the rates offered:
|Currency||Rate per credit|
For the UK it is 6p per text which is half the price it is on many Pay as you Go networks unless of course you are on an unlimited text package which is becoming increasingly popular.
In all, ChompSMS does everything you ask of it to do and the great part of it is, it is 100% free with no adverts. It comes highly recommended and is one of my Android Essentials. Go download it from the market now or use your Barcode Scanner on the image below for it.