There is no lack of messaging apps for Android. In fact, Google has their own – Hangouts allows you to send SMS, and Lollipop ships with a new app just for texting. However, it’s no surprise that some of these apps don’t do anything but the basics – after all, they are meant to be system apps and offer simple functionality. Thankfully, you don’t have to use them! Android allows you to choose your default SMS and MMS app, and you can switch to a better, more featured app that does all the things you like. Today, we’ll be taking a look at one of those apps!
QKSMS is not revolutionary by any means. But it does bring back SMS specific functionality that the default apps overlook, since they not only do SMS, but also support a wide range of alternative protocols. That lack of focus makes it so that SMS support sort of feels like an afterthought, but that’s not the case with a dedicated SMS app like this one. Apart from that, the app also looks amazing – the Material Design styling is obvious, but more than that, it allows you to customize and set the style of the app to fit your taste. Let’s see how: first, download the free app from the Play Store by following this link. Install the app, and open it. You should see this screen:
Swipe to the next screen, and the app will prompt you to pick a color by tapping one of the available tones in the box. This will remain your app color: the header and UI elements will retain that styling, and if you’re in Lollipop, the status and button bar will even change to reflect the app color as well! So, pick your favorite, and advance to the next screen:
Here, you can test out night mode for your style. Night mode is, as the name says, something to enable when you’re reading in the dark. The app will invert and adjust its elements so that everything is not as bright and colorful, making it so that you don’t lose any sleep over that late-night text you received in bed. Here’s how it looks like:
One of the coolest features of the app is that it allows you to see and reply to texts right from your current screen. This feature, named QK Reply, makes it so you can reply to a text message from anywhere without having to go into the app. It even allows you to see and scroll through the whole conversation by clicking the title bar:
Apart from that, it looks and behaves pretty much exactly as you may expect. In fact, the design is not too much unlike the recent Messaging app in Lollipop: you see conversations grouped into individual threads, you see the contact image appearing as a circle next to their messages and you have a floating button bar to compose new messages:
One thing this app does a bit differently is that you can swipe between screens once you go into a messaging thread or option. From anywhere, you can just swipe left to right in order to go back to the main screen. You don’t need to press the back button at all. For example, here in the settings screen, I can just swipe to go back to the main screen:
Pretty cool! Speaking of settings, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into on this app: there are a ton of sections and options, and they all seem pretty useful or necessary. For example, in terms of appearance options alone, there are options to individually disable tinted elements or hide them altogether. The app also goes deep with the SMS options, with settings to enable delivery reports and how it should present and organize messages. It goes far beyond what something like Hangouts could ever provide, and it does a better job than Messenger at it, too. It’s pretty great.
All in all, it’s probably the best texting app I have ever used in Android. It sort of feels like a throwback to better days where the basic components of the phone like calls and messages received most of the attention, because it was what the phone shipped with. It feels solid, and as if it takes full advantage of the characteristics of the OS. It fits in amazingly well in Lollipop, of course, but it doesn’t look out of place in KitKat either. And for free, there’s really nothing to complain about. It’s worth mentioning that the app also has a paid version that unlocks a few extra settings and styles, including a whole new range of colors and options to automatically enable/disable night mode when it’s dark. If you liked the app, it may be worth checking out as well.