When a friend told me about eBuddy XMS, I was a little reluctant. Besides the native iOS SMS app, I already have Whatsapp, Talkbox and the recently released Facebook Messenger. Do I really need another messaging app?
Short answer: no. But that didn’t stop me from downloading the app and putting it through its paces. And it’s a nice change from Whatsapp.
Interface-wise it’s quite similar to Whatsapp, with tabs along the bottom for Messages, Contacts, Settings and More. The colour scheme is a clean blue and grey, and the overall design feels sleek. Messages come in the form of the now generic chat bubbles, with your friend’s text in grey and yours in blue. Blue ticks and dots show the read or unread status of messages.
You’ll notice an interesting interface decision in the screenshots below. In XMS the ‘Send’ button is situated on the lower right of the keyboard (where ‘return’ usually is). Whatsapp follows the native iOS convention of the ‘Send’ button being next to the message space. In XMS that section is occupied by the emoji and camera buttons instead. This may take some getting used to, especially if you’re used to hitting ‘return’ to move to the next line. Then again, most of us tend to use messaging apps the same way we’d use chat programs, i.e. sending each line of chat as an individual message, or just typing one long message before sending it.
Unlike Whatsapp which only gives the option to use iOS message tones, XMS has its own notification tones. Though there are some tones that any self-respecting person would never be caught dead using, there are a few good short tones which will let you know straightaway you’ve got an XMS message.
Another feature it has over Whatsapp is its web interface, pretty useful if you’re low on funds but still want to send messages to people. In that sense, XMS is more similar to Facebook Messenger. However, XMS doesn’t do group chats. So if you’re really into talking to multiple friends at once and use that feature often, Whatsapp may still be your messaging app of choice.
In the past month or so, Whatsapp has been experiencing a number of annoying outages. Although it’s seemingly nothing to really get annoyed about, Whatsapp has become one of the main messaging apps for many people, simply because it uses data and is consequently so much cheaper than SMS. So when an outage means you can’t message people like you always do, it’s not hard to imagine how it could get on someone’s nerves.
So is eBuddy XMS more stable than Whatsapp? At this point it’s too early to tell and I haven’t used the app nearly long enough to find out. But eBuddy isn’t a stranger to messaging; many people are pretty familiar with eBuddy and its online messenger services. Given its experience and track record, XMS seems to be on a good roll. Plus it’s available on both iPhone and Android phones, with Blackberry support coming soon.
But as with any social or messaging app, its usefulness is directly linked to how many of your friends are using it too. Since I’ve got a number of friends on it already, XMS has found a firm place in my messaging folder.
And so far, I’m quite enjoying it.