App Review: GO SMS Pro
Of all the apps that I have downloaded and continue to download on my Android phone there has always been one that continues to outlast any other even when switching ROMs. I send thousands of text messages each month and the messaging app built into Froyo, Gingerbread and ICS were never really worth using for any amount of texting. The lack of a good messaging app built in forced me to quickly track down a replacement and it hasn’t left my home screen in almost 2 years.
GO SMS Pro is an app that has been downloaded millions of times from Google Play and there are plenty of reasons for that the least of which being it is free to use. The features of GO SMS Pro along with the title may lead you to believe that you should be paying for it because it’s an all-inclusive application that meets any texters needs; again for free. You don’t get just texting but you get customizable notifications, backgrounds and even the ability to encrypt messages and those are just a few of the features. GO SMS updates pretty frequently as well which can be a mixed blessing but they at least keep the interface fresh when compared to other SMS replacement applications which I see as a plus.
This may sound ridiculous but one of the features I most enjoy about GO SMS are the emojis which come in a separate download but integrate seamlessly. I’m not talking about the regular smiley ones either although those are included but I favor the ghost like emoticons that are not only cute but actually convey a little more emotion than a normal one. I use these probably every day and when I get one in return it never fails to make me smile but they do have one drawback – they’re stored in your photo gallery. If you clear out your gallery regularly like I do then you have to be careful not to delete those emojis or you’ll have to re-download the pack which can get pretty annoying.
While we are on the topic of drawbacks it’s important to note that even though I use this app constantly it does have some negative aspects. The biggest to me is that it is a Chinese developer and while that may be acceptable to some I just can’t get over the fact that someone could be syphoning off my messages due to built-in spyware. It’s one of the reasons that I’ll never use the GO Keyboard. This isn’t confirmable but it does linger in the back of my mind and in reality it shouldn’t bother me since the United States can already read my texts without a warrant.
Moving on from speculation and onto actual irritations leads me to something that annoys most users of smartphones – random ads. The application itself is ad free but that doesn’t stop GO SMS from sending you new product announcements to your inbox in the form of a message. These ads usually include an image of what they’re hustling and that gets stored in your gallery once again and must be manually deleted. They also inform you of updates in the GO store including about free themes that aren’t really free; just free to download. For example I had used the built in GO SMS ICS theme for months until an update hit that forced you to download it from Google Play, where it said it was free, and upon downloading it I’m told I need to pay $2 to a developer. They also made the theme uglier but that’s beside the point. I realize they have to make some sort of money to make it worth their time but they need a better strategy.
GO SMS sports a vast amount of features so I’m going to list some of the better ones to save you some time.
- Scheduling messages – You can schedule a happy birthday message for every year or just control when your messages go out.
- Encryption – This allows you to password protect individual conversations or the whole app.
- Photo editor – You can add filters to your photos before sending them.
- Voice messages – Built in voice recorder to send what you don’t feel like typing.
- Backup and Recovery – Don’t lose your texts ever again. Now requires a GO SMS cloud account .
- Online texting – Send messages via WiFi or data for those of you who don’t have unlimited texting.
- File Sharing – Send greeting cards, files or your location.
- Full theme customization – Create your own theme and make your messaging app look just the way you want it. Customizable backgrounds, incoming/outgoing appearance, notification light and more.
Like I said there are quite a few reasons this has been downloaded millions of times and why it sports an abundance of 5 star reviews but I’d advise downloading it sooner rather than later as the updates seem to keep limiting features unless you want to give away more information. It is however an app that you’ll literally use every day and once you use it you realize that you will never be going back to the old messaging app unless it’s to laugh at its worthlessness.