With the feature phones of old relying on a very heavy mix of SMS and calls, smart handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy Fame rely more on IM and email services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Gmail.
If we start with the SMS app, again this is another functional and unattractive app. This is highly disappointing, because LG has shown on the Optimus L3 2 just how nice the app can look.
The blue and yellow bubbles can be changed, as can the background. It's a bit of a shame that one of the others isn't set by default, since we don't see many people actively searching these changes out.
One useful feature of the SMS app is the ability to change the text size by using the volume keys, which is ideal for older users. Given that we see the Samsung Galaxy Fame being heavily targeted and used by much younger audiences, this feature may prove to be a little redundant.
Group messaging is also very easy. For this, selecting the small icon that looks a little like the contacts icon brings up your contacts list, meaning you can choose to text multiple people, even from your list of favourites and recently contacted people.
Because SMS is slowly being replaced by alternate messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, BBM and iMessage, Samsung is keen to get in on the action.
WhatsApp is proving to be very popular across multiple operating systems, and is thankfully available on the Samsung Galaxy Fame. BBM has been announced for iOS and Android phones, though Apple's iMessage is unavailable on devices other than iOS-powered ones.
Samsung has also provided its own option, dubbed ChatON. While having all the right ingredients to prove a successful IM app, the large amount of other OEM devices and other IM services, coupled with the lack of contacts we found, make ChatON a little disappointing.
Google Talk has also been replaced with Google Hangouts, its newly branded instant messaging and video calling service.
This service links in with your Google accounts, making it easier to find contacts who are online and available to message. There is also a dedicated Google+ Messenger app, which is highly confusing.
In order to type all the messages, you need a decent keyboard. We can't put our finger on the exact reasons why, but we found that the Samsung Galaxy Fame keyboard was a little sub-par for what we hoped.
The smaller screen makes the whole keyboard a little cramped, and the autocorrect feature is hardly the best we've ever seen.
Samsung's offering does give you continuous input (the Korean firm's answer to Swype) and we were also impressed with the ability to swipe the entire keyboard to the side in order to switch between different keyboard inputs - it's a slightly easier option than finding the tiny button in the corner.
One of the major bonuses of the Samsung Galaxy Fame's screen size is that it means you can use the keyboard one-handed. Unfortunately, the compromise is that it makes it slightly more squashed, which given the poorer autocorrect meant we had to type a lot slower.
On the flip-side, we've commented before that on 4-inch screened phones, landscape typing can be a little more difficult, given the size. The smaller screen on the Samsung Galaxy Fame is the complete opposite, with the screen size being nigh on perfect for two-handed landscape typing.
Email is also well catered for on the Samsung Galaxy Fame, in much the same way that it is on every Android phone on the market. Google has created Gmail and Email apps that are very functional and very easy to use.
The newly updated Gmail app is a far cleaner and more attractive option than before, and is still highly usable. The new colours make it brighter, and it comes packed with all the features that you can get from the desktop version.
The update also throws in contacts' pictures, making the whole app feel clean and well put together. Labelling and archiving emails also shows just how intuitive the Gmail app is.
For other email accounts besides Gmail, the stock Android Email app is available, and is very easy to set up. Pop in your account information and the necessary details are all drawn in automatically. On the odd occasion, you may need to manually input POP or IMAP settings.
Inside the app is just about everything you could wish for from an Email client, including an aggregated inbox to handle multiple accounts.