Apr 09 AT 12:13 AM Guest Blogger 24 Comments

Handcent SMS: The Flexible Messaging App


Although the stock Android messaging application gets the job done, it remains a relatively bare bones utility. Handcent SMS is a messaging replacement application for the Android platform that offers a flexible and highly customizable user experience for all versions of Android.

Where Handcent SMS thrives is in the volume of customization the user is given. Functionality such as pop up messages, custom notification icons, LED colors, fonts, skins and background images are some of the major elements the user can take control of.

One of the most useful features of the application is the Quick Reply function. Akin to the application SMS Popup, Handcent SMS allows users to deliver a quick reply without having to pull down the notification bar and fully dive into the application. When multiple messages appear, the user can simply swipe through to read them all. This function, like many others in the application, can be toggled on or off and has several customization options.

Handcent SMS supports a slew of multimedia message options, supports Android 2.x voice dictation, offers several font packages, a flexible batch mode and a text-to-speech function for messages with a (free) download.


  • Free
  • Available to all platforms of Android
  • Deep user customization


  • Sometimes laggy and sluggish

Final Verdict

Handcent SMS is a great messaging replacement application and can be made as useful as the user wishes. When considered against the stock Android messaging application, it wins hands down.

Note: This review was submitted by Brendan O’Neil as part of our app review contest.

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Source: Handcent

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  • Killa

    Good review, but you forgot to mention the really neat feature that you can setup so that it repeats the notification of unanswered messages.

  • http://Website Russ

    Does it work with Google Voice?

    • http://Website Wally

      No, that is the only bummer. I am keeping it on my phone until they add it, though. You can, however reply to someone who sends a sms to your google number. You cannot initiate a sms using GV through Handcent. :(

    • nerdstalker

      Nope and thats the deal killer for me.

  • http://Website Zhenya

    This is an awesome app. Have been using it on my G1 and N1 and absolutely love it. Gave it a 5 star review. Also, not sure I’ve ever seen it being sluggish, even on my G1.

  • http://Website jon

    chomp is better :D

    • http://Website J.Savoff

      Chomp was better until their recent update that added annoying ads, but beside that minor inconvenience, you’re right

      • Prince77

        ChompSMS might be better, But Handscent takes up less space. Trust me on that I checked. And you know how we all (depending on the phone) like to have as much space as possible. Everyone that doesn’t have a Behold 2 is lucky, everyone with this phone (me included) we can’t disable the stock messaging notifications. We have to disable (in my case) the Handscent notifications but use Handscent as the main text messaging tool.

  • http://Website Nicholas

    It was the first app I downloaded to my Droid, but I removed it. I would use it again if it had the stock android look. Not a fan of the iphone UI style on Android, it does not fit the rest of the system.

    • http://Website Louis

      The UI is customizable. You don’t have to use the iPhone style. Give it another shot.

  • http://Website nanodroid

    Handcent and Chomp are both great, but can lag at times.

    I stopped using Handcent in particular because every time I reset my phone it re-sent messages that were previously unsent (from no network connectivity) which led to some confusing situations with people.

    Even though on their changelog they say this error was fixed, the software was still doing it…

  • http://Website herloboy

    This has been a must have app since realizing you can’t select a contact when forwarding a message with the Droids stock messaging app.

  • http://Website KC

    I keep getting a really annoying bug with Handcent where when i reboot my phone, it would resend a bunch of random messages to people.

    anyone know how to fix that problem? i had to uninstall it because it kept re-sending messages to my friends.

  • http://www.philipwolstenholme.com/ Phil W

    You can make the interface look a lot more attractive than it does in the screenshots too, complete control over background and foreground images and colours, as well as bubble styles etc. It’s a very flexible app.

  • http://Website WHAT?

    Handcent really sucks. I dont like it at all. I had Chomp before and then their update with the annoying ads came about and i deleted it. Then i heard about Handcent and decided to try it out but its EXTREMELY laggy and sluggish! I cant stand it! Whenever you click on the app itself, it takes foreer to open up and then if you recieve a message, you get a blink of light and then the notification comes on, and THEN you see youre message. I give it a 0 out of 5. HANDCENT = FRUSTRATION!

  • http://Website Kim Callis

    This would be a real winner if it would integrate with google voice. Right now, it is a novelty, considering that I send all of my SMS messages via GV.

    This will definitely be a 5 star app when GV integration is in place.

  • http://Website RC


    It attaches my text to the text I get back, like an email, with RE: in the title line … and not only that, but the text I get back is all warped and messed up because of this and in some cases I cannot even make sense of the message I received, since the app insists on including my text I just sent to someone a minute ago, in case I forgot … Can I turn this off? Haven’t been able to figure it out … if I can’t … that sux and I will have to revert to default messaging.

    Second, can you place a Widget? And I don’t mean the little icon, I mean a big ass interactive thing like the default messaging app on the droid … I liked that a lot and if you can’t do it with Handcent will have to revert. Haven’t been able to figure out if it’s possible or not, checked all the widget options and I don’t see anything … but when I receive a text this nice looking GUI pops up that looks like it would be the perfect widget.

    Any clarification appreciated …

  • Pingback: possible to disable SMS/MMS contact picture thumbnails? - Android Central Forums()

  • http://Website Sara

    I love this app – the only problem I have found is pictures. I cannot attach photos to my text messages. When I do a little ‘i’ pops up telling me it can’t send it!! Can anyone help with this???

  • http://Website jman

    I really love the handcent app the only problem i am having is when i recieve a txt message latly my fone backlight will not cut on like it is supposed to do. Ive changed the settings and evrythng. Anyone can help with my problem?? Please

  • http://Website mike

    question…how do you set the phone where you don’t get messages from both handcent sms and the one that comes with the phone..I keep getting two messages everytime i get a tex….using android 2.1…thanks for the help..

  • http://Website Payton

    Is there a way to get rid of the pop up view for this app.?

  • http://www.howtospyontextmessages.net text message spy

    is there any way to get rid of the stock SMS notification that looks like a little letter on the status bar, i get the handcent one ASWELL as the normal one?

  • Mili

    I use to text with Handcent and it was ok, now im using Zlango Messaging, it’s really fun…