There’s no shortage of apps and services that want to be the iMessage of Android devices, but one of the more promising entries in the market is AirText. Instead of something like Facebook Messenger with a data-only messaging service and desktop equivalent, AirText mirrors your SMS and MMS messages to your desktop, laptop, or iPad. There’s no extra service to convince your friends and family to install, for better or worse.
So is AirText worth the price for desktop SMS integration? Let’s find out.
Setting up AirText is incredibly simple. You install the software on your computer and smartphone, create an account, and you’re set. The app sits in the background of your phone while you use your regular SMS app of choice, and if offers a slick interface on the desktop side.
Once you get the service going, it’s really pretty flawless, too. Texts show up nearly instantly on the desktop application, and there’s no noticeable delay on the texts being sent to others.
The desktop program integrates extremely well into both MacOS and Windows 10, too. You’ll get native notifications that blend in perfectly with either operating system, and you can even reply directly from the notification. It really feels like a native solution for desktop SMS support.
If you’re the type of person to roll with a tablet for a “desktop” instead of a traditional laptop or PC, you can still take advantage of AirText. There are apps for both iPads and Android tablets that function like their bigger counterparts and will let you reply and send messages from your tablet as long as you’re connected to the internet.
AirText offers a free tier and a paid tier with a few varying features. As of writing, the free tier gives you access to unlimited SMS and MMS messaging and cloud storage to hold 5000 text messages. That’s not a ton of storage, and a heavy communicator can probably burn that up in a month, but if you don’t ever need to browse back through really old text messages it shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
The free tier does have ads, and all of your texts do get appended with a “Sent via AirText” signature. That’s fairly common for services like this, even if it is fairly annoying. Even if it doesn’t bother you, your friends might not appreciate the signature every single time. But hey, gotta do something to convince you to upgrade.
The paid tier offers unlimited cloud storage and nixes the signature and in-app advertising and can be had for as little as $1.99 per month. However, you do have to pay for the subscriptions annually and up front. No monthly options here.
The annual subscription costs $30 up front which comes out to $2.49 per month, and the five-year plan costs $120, also up front. That’s the $1.99 per month plan. These plans do change every so often, so they might bring back the monthly plan at some point.
So how does AirText hold up in 2018? Well, if sending messages from a computer is something you really need and your setup can’t already do it, it might be worth it.
If you have an Android device and a Windows computer with Windows 10, you can already use Cortana to reply to text messages on your PC. Granted, it’s much more limited and certainly can’t be billed as an iMessage replacement, but the functionality is already there.
If you’ve mixed an Android device with an Apple computer or need messaging from your tablet, there’s definitely some usefulness here. Being able to immediately respond to any text message with any device you have is invaluable and one of the bigger selling points of Apple’s iMessage, and having an app that works flawlessly like AirText is very appealing.
It’s still not truly iMessage for Android; there’s no magical interaction between AirText users like you get with Apple’s platform, so there are no read receipts, no integrated payment methods, no games and stickers, etc. Is it a huge deal? No, not really, and it’s not something that AirText even claims it can do.
So it really comes down to how much you want desktop text messaging without any of the other features of iMessage or a similar platform. If that’s all you’re looking for, AirText is a solid addition to your toolbox.